The Vital Organ

07—23 October


Be enchanted and awed by Rodney Berry's living organ composed from weather balloons and pipes set in the atmospheric Old Quad, the historic centre of the University of Melbourne.

Grainger's self-designed instruments seemed to possess a life and soul of their own. Artist Rodney Berry's musical 'organs' take it one step further: instruments that breathe and sing, inspired by Grainger's Free Music Machines.

Built from the most unlikely of materials, Berry's musical machines are organs for a secular age. His Vital Organ uses PVC pipes and weather balloons to create an instrument that exhales, while Percy's Laundry Organ repurposes washing machine parts, rubber, a vacuum cleaner and more to pay tribute to Grainger's experimental designs. As enchanting as they are alien, these artificial lifeforms straddle the same boundaries between the worldly and the sublime that drove Grainger's often outrageous artistic quest.

Rodney Berry is an artist, composer, lecturer and researcher whose practice has ranged from sculptural musical instruments and sound installations to computer-based interactive artworks.

Please note: running of the Vital Organ may be subject to cancellation in the event of inclement weather.


SUN 09 OCTOBER from 11AM

Make a day of it and discover Melbourne Festival’s Visual Arts program. We have put together two self-directed walking tours for you. Find out more →

IMAGE | Rodney Berry, Vital Organ 1986; Photo by Heidrun Löhr, Image supplied by the artist.
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