American (post): Cymbals! (December 2011)

Woohoo! Django and John just found me in the coffee house next door to my studio so that they could deliver two awesome retired cymbals, which Django has generously offered up for this experiment. Aren’t they beautiful!

Thanks Django for donating these lovelies!

I’ve been looking for cymbals to use for making the boxes that will serve as the houses for the translation-objects that I’m cooking up from the plane-poems. Joseph Cornell’s boxes served as early inspiration when I begin thinking about how to present the translation-objects.

I intend to suspend the whole collection—all forty-nine elements of it— from the ceiling at eye-level so that the “poems” can be interacted with as beings in the room. You’ll be able to approach, walk around, and read them as beings in the space much like we do with human beings in a space.

I specifically wanted to use cymbals because:

  1. they are made of bronze, which has all kinds of symbolic and cultural resonances in addition to the obvious acoustic ones—(Check out the Venus Magic Square, etc. conversation in “what’s with 49 & 7?”for more info.)
  2. they are circular and when cut up and shaped will make boxes with curves, which means that not only do I begin with a circle, but I can approximate curved space with it as I make it into a box such that the box has parallel lines that can theoretically meet; and
  3. because I like the idea of recycling materials for this project.

I’ll use these two cymbals from Django to test out the vision by building prototypes, and then, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be looking for a whole bunch of retired cymbals…

The Advance “Cymbal Heads-up”:

….if you happen to have some cymbals packed away in a closet, the attic, the garage, your trunk and/or you know drummers, orchestras, or school bands with a stash of cymbals past their first-life’s prime, I’m hoping that you will consider offering them up for a second life with American (post).

Please stay tuned for the “Calling All Cymbals” shout-out.


  1. Looks awesome! I was reading something entirely unrelated (Jung lectures on Yoga) and came across a reference to the etymology of the word “symbol”. Jung defined it as meaning something like “throwing or casting things together”. I love the interplay between the “cymbals” as houses for translation-objects and “symbols” as “throwing things together”. In addition to the bronze being “symbolic” and culturally resonant I think the cymbal as collecting box is almost literally “symbolic”. Maybe?

    1. Hi Chuck,

      Really interesting connections. I’m so glad you added your insights to the stew!

      I’ve been noodling on them since you left your comment, and some thoughts are starting to coalesce. More soon…

      Thank you for contributing!


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