Installation Concept

LyconBinatorio is based on found objects elevated to a status far beyond their intended use and origin. Because of this, they are easily anthropomorphized not for their conformity to modernist rules of aesthetic refinement but for the beauty of their spectral/tonal irregularities. This has happened almost arbitrarily but enabled by conditions invented by John Cage and others in the Fluxus movement. “Lydes”, my name for these objects, are cast aluminum pot lids and useful because they were discarded, accessible and inexpensive, not engineered for formal musical use (made to cover boiling food) and exhibit a tonal spectrum of such extreme irregularities (complexity) tuning is senseless lest their beauty be destroyed. Within an aesthetic context, they are utterly non-western due to this opaqueness and, therefore, it is only possible to “negotiate” with and accept them as they are even if any sound combination of these instruments "works". This trait, however, makes possible this derivative presentation.


Since my chance discovery of these found artifacts in 1996, I have collected, refined and used them for workshops, moving performances through cities and forests, linear and nonlinear musical compositions, and now for this installation. Several years ago, I was asked to contribute to the opening of the Glass Museum in Tacoma, Washington where paper works of John Cage would be on display. For this, I created a system to translate the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching into graphic symbols and sound. In 2016, I recorded these symbols, me performing, for use in performances using software like Ableton Live. LyconBinatorio combines the score graphics (A-D), and these recordings of the lydes (H). Every aspect of the installation has stand-alone strength—the sound has been brilliantly recorded; the graphics are beautiful as works of print art as positioned by the curatorial staff. The single Gamelyde (thirteen instruments) presented will invite further exploration by patrons.

Artist Bio

Dan Senn is an interdisciplinary artist working in experimental music composition, experimental and documentary video, sound sculpture and media installation. His "Catacomb Memories" installaton won the grand prize at the bi-annual Papier Festival at the Leopold Hoesch Museum in Düren, Germany. Dan directed the Computer Music Studio at the Canberra School of Music in Australia, and the Interdisciplinary Computer Lab at Ball State University in Indiana. He studied at the University of Illinois-Urbana with Salvatore Martirano, Ben Johnston, James Beauchamp, Otto Laske, and Herbert Brün. His work for "Any Three Treble Instruments In the Same Key, based on his Raku Composition Progrm software was released in 2015 by Ravello Records, along with works by Scotto and Cage and performed by the McCormick Percussion Group. In 2017 his work "Four Psalms Modal" was premiered by the Kuhn Choir of Prague. Dr. Senn is co-founder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City and currently directs the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. He lives in Prague, The Czech Republic, and Watertown, Wisconsin in the United States.

Installation Layout 

The diagram above represents a general layout of LyconBinatorio without reference to door or window openings, room size or positioning of the 64 print graphics (A-D) which are grouped here in bunches of 16 Lycons. All of these elements will need to be adjusted for the available space.
A-D. Each high resolution symbol graphic is printed and suspended or attached to the walls of the exhibition space, the size (and groupings) determined by the room dimensions and curatorial tastes. For example, these graphics may be quite large and arranged in rows between the audio speakers on either side. A link between the graphic, the touchpad (E) and sound will likely be made without signage but this may be further explored.
E. The recommended surface here is a Novation Lauchpad with the 8x8 color coded keypad available to patrons using black foam board with a 19.5cm square cutout exposing relevant keys. When a button is pressed by a patron, the sound of the associated graphic symbol will play for about 2 minutes unless interupted. Each selection represents a standalone solo performance but up to 8 keys may be selected simultaneously (hear sound of three playing). The touchpad will positioned atop a cabinet (black with a flat surface) that is linked via a USB cable to a computer within the cabinet (hidden) running Ableton Live programmed with the 64 corresponding sounds. An optional surface, a computer screen or iPad with a 16 by 16 chart as given below.
F. The installation may be fitted into a small room (4 meters square with 3 meter ceiling with proportionetely smaller speakers andf graphics) BUT a larger space is more effective as the sounds and graphics are quite beautiful.
G. Four matching and discreet (4-channels) speakers are needed with the size depending on the space.
H. A Gamelyde is comprised of 13 lydes (bells). These may be positoned on the floor, 1 mallet per group, or placed on small low, small tables.
P. This is an interactive installation suggesting a need for a docent for security and instruction. It may also be an opportunity for musicians (percussionists) to be present to teach patrons to play the lydes and manipulate the touchpad effectively.

Play Chart for 16 of 64 Lyde Symbols (click chart)

Dan Senn's Site