Earlier this month I had the pleasure of working with Take A Part on their Green Orchestra project (led by artists Neil Rose & Natalia Eerstmann, in partnership with iOrchestra & the UK’s National Philharmonia Orchestra) – a musical ensemble of fruit, vegetables and natural objects made right here in Plymouth.
Take A Part is a long-term, community led socially-engaged arts project to bring Plymouth communities together to explore many different strands of creative practice – they encourage communities to grow and eat together, make film, broadcast, and commission work that responds to local needs. As part of 4 days of activity, we played and experimented with Makey Makeys together to wire up fruit and vegetables to play weird and wonderful sounds – from pianos and drumkits to vegetables that sang their own names – great messy, sloppy, sticky fun!!
Alongside trying out the Makey Makey, folks were building and learning to play their own instruments from a whole range of fruit and vegetables, including carrot clarinets, butternut squash percussion and specially grown allium trumpets.
A few weeks later, for Plymouth’s Lord Mayor’s Day, the Green Orchestra made their debut performance in the city centre to a pretty large crowd of passers-by. It wasn’t long before the Orchestra had people up and clapping, dancing, whooping and joining in!!
All photos courtesy of Take A Part.
You can find out more about the breath of Take A Part’s activities on their website, including full documentation of the Green Orchestra. I will be running more Makey Makey workshops this summer with young people in Plymouth as part of Plymouth City Council’s Summer Mix programme.
Rachel Dobbs is one half of LOW PROFILE, an artist, educator and tinkerer based in Plymouth, UK. Rachel runs workshops for students, arts practitioners and communities in creative approaches to using simple technology like Makey Makeys – contact me for more details.