The Gamelatron Project, draws on the thousand-year-old sonic tradition of Indonesia–Gamelan–and the emerging field of robotics to create magical, viscerally-powerful, site-specific performances and temporary and permanent installations. The mission of the project is to innovatively bring the legacy and creative cultural power of gamelan to new shores, new people and communities and to create an intimate experience with acoustic resonance. The essence of the Gamelatron is in the live experience: Handcrafted, masterfully-tuned orchestras of vibraphones, drums, chimes, bells and resonating bronze gongs played by robotic mallets are installed to immerse the observer in living kinetic sculptures. Compositions range from solitary reverberations of massive gongs and singing chimes to full ritual or storytelling orchestrations.
The project was born out of years of research at the Institut Seni Indonesia di Yogyakarta and an Artist in Residency at The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) in early 2008 by artist and composer Aaron Taylor Kuffner . Working directly with Eric Singer, the construction of the beta Gamelatron was fully realized in September 2008. The Beta Gamelatron was later deconstructed and used in the making of 2 modular touring pieces used in 2010 – 2011. Over the last 7 years Kuffner has built more than 40 Gamelatrons of various sizes, instrumentations and intentions. The collection of Gamelatron works are shown in diverse settings around the globe ranging from museums to retreat centers, spas, private homes, unique public spaces, educational institutions, cultural centers and at exceptional events.
The Gamelatron Project has received grants and in-kind support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (through the Clocktower Gallery), The Trust for Mutual Understanding, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, The Experimental Television Center with The New York Council for the Arts, The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, Ableton Gmhb, The CEC Artslink, Scope Arts, Artist Wanted, The New Orleans Airlift, TechShop San Francisco, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and The US Artists International partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.