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November 9, 2009

UK artist Antony Hall refers to himself as an amateur scientist. Indeed, his work constantly blurs the lines between science, art, and technology.

antony hall portrait

Hall has worked with acoustics, chemical oscillators, liquid vortices, and electricity, sometimes all at once. One of Hall’s signature pieces is the iLog—a hollow log housing a musical synthesizer. Its cousin, the Sound Lathe, “explores the sonic properties of wood work,” producing a “unique wooden object at the end of each performance.” Hall refers to these as “tabletop experiments”: where science meets art in the space of the laboratory.

What’s your ideal working environment?


Any place where there’s a lot of junk, spare parts, and broken stuff. Sometimes it takes an empty wooden box of a certain shape to give me an idea of what should be in it and what it should do.


Is there someone outside your field who inspires you?


David Attenborough has been an inspiration ever since I can remember. His passion and focus on close observation really inspired me to work with animals and left me in continuous awe at the fact that we exist at all.


What novels, music, or films keep you thinking about design?


I read a lot of science fiction. The War of the Worlds was the most interesting for me in terms of vision and design.


Is there a specific object that changed how you think about design?


I enjoy functionality. The bicycle is an example of a design that has changed little from Leonardo da Vinci’s initial drawing—more specifically, the derailleur. I have always admired the fact that no matter how often companies redesign bicycle components, the derailleur has remained basically the same. 


What three buzzwords do you never want to hear applied to your own work?


“Pretentious,” “theatrical,” and “trite.” 

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