Mark Dixon and Bart Trotman have been baffling audiences for years, grafting obscure and obsolete scientific, mechanical and electronic technologies onto various musical instruments for Invisible, their Greensboro music collaborative. "We definitely exist at a transition or edge point between performance art and music," notes Dixon about earlier performances that have featured self-styled "artstruments," including the Selectric Piano (with notes generated by a typist entering text on an '80s-era IBM electric typewriter) and an oversize music box-like contraption called Rhythm 1001.
UNC's Process Series starts a new season with this free workshop showing of Invisible's latest multimedia/performance work. An array of leaking glass lab instruments triggers a series of percussion instruments and events on stage, and a wheel of modified cassette tape players meets an equally improbable musical fate. If synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog and Rube Goldberg had gone into business together, the result might have looked and sounded a lot like this. For a jaw-dropping glimpse of their last piece, search for Invisible and "The New Obsolete" on YouTube.