The Machines

Felix Thorn builds machines for art installations, live performance, commercials, theatre accompaniment, and shop window displays. Felix specialises in de-constructing real-life objects and creating new experiences with movement, music and light.

Felix's Machines were initially conceived in an experiment aiming to facilitate live music by transforming sound into a three-dimensional visual show. As an ongoing project, the music-performing machines built by Felix do not intend to match human potential. Instead they exist to test the advantages of mechanical instruments alone.

"Although my medium focuses on the development of acoustic sounds, I am continually inspired by electronic music - the countless abstractions act as blueprints for the construction of its acoustic counterparts. I aim to build a space where artificial and dream-like environments can become a reality." FT '08

Videos

Biography

Felix Thorn was born on 23rd December 1985 in Brighton, UK. At an early age he attended Brighton Steiner School where his affinity for the arts gave rise to a preoccupation with drawing, a passion that later developed into oil painting. Then at the age of 7 he was formally introduced to music as he began studying the piano. His lack of inclination towards reading music preempted an obsession with jazz improvisation in his teenage years.

At college, Felix developed this sensibility into a new media of music creation when he discovered a keen interest in electronic music production via computer software. He had a love for making music with computer synthesizers and an ability to create in a range of styles, something that often derived from his organic means of creation that lacked preconception. His continued passion for art saw him continuing sculptural and painting work during his art foundation course at Brighton City College in 2003.

In this time of music-making and painting Felix was primarily concerned with finding ways in which the two media could be united. Whilst a focus upon the theme of synaesthesia dominated the theoretical side of his work, he continued to exercise the more traditional types of art such as life drawing. The visual side was seemingly interrupted when he chose to study Sound Art at The London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, however this did not stop the artist from finding ways to incorporate drawing and sculpture into his sound projects. In order to achieve the effect, Felix began to teach himself electronics.

After graduating with First Class Honors, Felix's Machines caught the attention of the London Sinfionetta which led to his first installation in Autumn 2007 at the British Library. Since then, interest sparked and Felix's Machines have subsequently performed at venues ranging from the Great Hall at the Battersea Arts Centre to a soundproofed control room inside a turbine bunker at the Faster Than Sound festival. Although they are mainly intended as a performance device, they have proved successful as an installation piece for parties such as in the final year show at the Royal College of Art (2008) and in a solo public exhibition at the Gasworks gallery (2008-09). During 2009, exposure has brought Felix's activity over seas: an exhibition in Norway, a commissioned piece in Slovenia, and performances at Santarcangelo theatre festival, Italy.

All the while, Felix's Machines have been in development and were most notably upgraded for a live collaboration with Warp's Plaid for a live show in Bordeaux. Beside involvement with the arts, Felix was selected to lecture to an exclusive audience at TED in the summer resulting in worldwide recognition. 2009 ended with a performance at the Barbican Centre in London. 2010 included exhibitions in Berlin, Paris and a placement as artist in residency at during Ether Festival at SouthBank Centre.

Contact

For all enquiries, please email: info@felixsmachines.com



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News

10 May
2013

BRIGHTON FESTIVAL

Brighton Festival

The Latest addition to Felix's Machines; a marimba machine was premiered at this year's Brighton Festival performances.

08 Mar
2013

LOOPMASTERS SAMPLE PACK

The sample pack contains: 71 Live Percussion Loops, 301 Virtual & Manipulated Loops, 09 Bass Drum Hits, 09 Snare Hits, 13 Cymbal Hits, 35 Glockenspiel, 133 Percussion, 07 Synth Hits, 176 MIDI Files, 376 Rex2 Files, 53 Soft Sampler Patches for NNXT, Halion, SFZ, EXS24 and Kontakt.

23 Oct
2012

MUSICBOX 2

musicbox2

A personalised music box commission.

12 Oct
2012

MOLESKINE ORCHESTRA, BLICKFANG, HAMBURG

Utrecht

Interactive installation with the Moleskine Orchestra at Blickfang design exhibition, Hamburg.

02 SEP
2012

GAUDEMUS MUSIC WEEK, UTRECHT

Utrecht

Live performance and installation at Museum Speelklok as part of the Gaudemus Music Week Festival .

25 Mar
2012

THE MOLESKINE ORCHESTRA

Moleskine

A themed set of machines built using Moleskine products to explore their sound-making potential and kinetic manifestations. Diaries are clappers, glasses are drum sticks, and the brand's new range of items are animated in a multi-sensory display.

26 Oct
2011

DIGITALIFE2: Romaeuropa Festival

Digital Life

Felix's Machines installation in Rome, 26/10/2011-11/12/2011

01 Oct
2011

FELIX'S MACHINES EP

EP

Tracks selected to form Felix's first EP, documenting the growth of the machines and the performance spaces they have been exhibited in. Available now on audio CD and MP3 download - FLAC and WAV versions and a bonus track are exclusive to Bleep.

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01 Aug
2011

CADBURY'S 'TWIRLYGIG'

Cadburys

In collaboration with visual FX company Mattes and Miniatures and engineering partner SlybyDesign, Felix's Machines designed and built the central sections of this fully mechanical ‘Twirlygig’ for a cadburys commercial.

16 Apr
2011

DE LA WARR PAVILION INSTALLATION & PERFORMANCE

de la Warr

The Pavilion has curated a nod to Cage; a seven-week programme of music, performances and installations in response to Cage's work and ideas. Artists include Margaret Leng Tan, Charles Atlas, Yoko Ono, Felix's Machines, Mount Kimbie + Creep, eighth blackbird, Brainwaves: Mira Calix, Anna Meredith, Aurora Quartet and Loop.pH and comedian Stewart Lee's reinterpretation of Cage's Indeterminacy readings. Events and installations take place throughout the Pavilion, most are free of charge.

07 Apr
2011

LIVE VS. PLAID, VILLAGE UNDERGROUND

Village Underground

The second live collaboration with music from Plaid written specially for performance with Felix’s Machines. An experiment of live amplification and processing to join acoustic sound with digital synthesis. Line Up: Felix's Machines vs. Plaid, Leafcutter John, Plaid (DJ set), Missaw

16 Feb
2011

LIVE @ THE APPLE STORE

Apple

Live amplified performance in the Apple store in Covent Garden, London.

17 Aug
2010

SHOOTME FILM FESTIVAL

Shoot ME

Short performances for a film festival, the Hague, Holland

20 Nov
2010

SONATAS, MACHINES, AND INTERLUDES IN BRAZIL

Brazil

Inspired by the work and the thought of John Cage, the English musicians Sarah Nicolls, Kathy Hinde, Felix Thorn and Frenchman Pierre Malbos present concert based on the prepared piano technique of the American composer. Felix's Machines presents a prepared piano using custom built solenoid attachments activated by Christmas tree light controllers with live processing through Logic.

13 Oct
2010

'IN OUR BlOOD' METALWORKS, LONDON

Metalworks

Lineup: Plaid (DJ Set), Global Goon, Simon Fisher Turner, Tetine, Felix’s Machines, Dave i.D., DJs James Stroll On Crispin Dior, Tender Love Soundsystem, Missaw, visuals by Weirdcore

17 Jul
2010

THE CREATOR'S PROJECT, LONDON

Creator's Project

Event held at Victoria House, London in partnership with INTEL and VICE. Lineup: Peaches, Mark Ronson, Kele, Yuck, Cassette Playa, Mumdance, Radical Friend, Jammer, Paul B. Davis, Felix Thorn, Rodaidh McDonald, Moritz Waldemeyer, Trevor Jackson.

14 Jul
2010

SOUNDBUILDERS, INTEL

Intel

A challenge to build a machine in one night only and add it to the setup in an episode of the Soundbuilders series on Motherboard TV.

16 Apr
2010

ETHER 10, SOUTHBANK CENTRE

Ether

Southbank Center Commissioned ‘Techno Harmonium’, a fully automated bellow-driven Harmonium as a new addition to Felix’s Machines.

28 Nov
2009

LIVE @ THE BARBICAN CENTRE

Barbican

A day of live performances in the foyer of the Barbican Centre, London

09 Oct
2009

LIVE VS. PLAID, Bordeaux

Evento

Live Collaboration with WARP’s Plaid, ‘Evento’ Bordeaux Art & Architecture Biennale '09

30 Jul
2009

'ARMADILLO' IN OXFORD

Armadillo

Interactive exhibition using sonar sensors, mini cams and live projection

22 Jul
2009

TED GLOBAL

TED

Felix introduces his machines and performs live with the full setup.

01 Jun
2009

MOTA SONICA FESTIVAL 09, SLOVENIA

Slovenia

On-site construction of new machines for a prepared piano. Various solenoid, motor and servo actuated machines built to hit, scrape and slide over piano strings. In collaboration with programmer Thomas Parslow

01 May
2009

CONVERSE

Converse

AD campaign for Converse ‘What do you Do?’. Included a series of installations at events for the Campaign. Interactive versions of Felix’s Machines were exhibited in London, Paris and Berlin.

17 Apr
2009

LYDGALLERIET, NORWAY

Norway

3 week Installation and performances.

15 Nov
2008

GASWORKS EXHIBITION

Gasworks

Felix's Machines first solo exhibition. Included a collaboration with Open Music Archive, and live events curated by Lumin.