Untitled (Nautilus pompilius), 2021

nautilus shell, Arduino, acrylic, silicone tube, air pump, fringe from noisemaker, 9V batteries

40 inches x 8 inches x 6 inches

The nautilus pompilius or the chambered nautilus has been appropriated as an artist’s material since the Renaissance as a result of the spice trade. Loved by Dutch engravers, the nautilus was a place where masterful human technique could be shown off and displayed. By taking a statement like, “You can hear the ocean in a seashell,” and flipping that expectation to, “Hey, you don’t own me, human, I’m going to blow into your ear,” the humor indicted becomes a sculpture of a “breathing” shell. Informed by the chambered nautilus’ use of propulsion, I am using a silicone tube as a way to push air to get the streamer to move. Anthropomorphizing the chambered nautilus shell via modern electronics creates a terrible sonic dissonance, paired with its contemporary friend, plastic.