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 Felix’s Machines, installations, live shows and artwork commissions contact: info@felixsmachines.com

For commercial projects, machine design, special FX supervision and more, contact: felix@tenhertz.com



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News

7 Nov
2014

LIVE SHOW WITH PLAID, CENTRE POMPIDOU, METZ

metz

Following the residency at workshop Infiné, we took the Plaid show to Metz.

  • 'Musique Volantes 19' Event Page
  • 29 Aug
    2014

    PLAID AND THE MACHINES

    infine

    Plaid recently continued to develop music for Felix’s Machines during a residency at Workshop Infiné, Normandoux, France. Here’s a video of one of their tunes ‘Visible’ filmed at the live show:

  • Plaid & Felix's Machines 'Visible'
  • 9 Apr
    2014

    GlASGOW SCHOOL OF ART

    reid

    The machines were installed during an event at the Glasgow School of Art to celebrate the grand opening of the Reid building.

    1 Jan
    2014

    'TENHERTZ'

    tenhertz

    New year, new company! Tenhertz Ltd. Felix has teamed up with long-term collaborator Jon Sly. Find us here www.tenhertz.com

    1 Sep
    2013

    'ADHOC MACHINE'

    Adhoc Machine

    A new standalone piece was created for the ‘Adhocracy’ exhibition at Limewharf, London

    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.

    Buy from:

    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.