In his spare time, David Cranmer makes weird gadgets. Gadgets which, more often than not, make weird noises.
A graduate in product design who's since gone on to day jobs at various workshops--producing special effects, sets for TV and stage shows, components for museum exhibitions, and so on--the U.K.-based Cranmer also creates work
that might lead one to label him an artist. Specifically a sound artist or sculptor. But our man mischievously sidesteps such lofty designations.
"I think it's funny--if you make a robotic penguin, for example, then people label you as an 'artist,' when you could in fact just be making it for practical purposes," he deadpans, adding "I've always enjoyed making things."
One of the latest of those things is the Badgermin
. It takes a theremin
electronic instrument used in various classic sci-fi and horror films, as well as the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations"--and houses it inside a (dead, we think) badger.
The first flash of inspiration for the Badgermin "came about during a conversation with a friend at the 2010 Ether Festival
," Cranmer says, referring to the cutting-edge music fest put on by London's artsy Southbank Centre. "We were looking after a collection of 16 theremins the public could interact with, and my friend asked what casing I would use if I were to build a theremin. I said probably a traditional wooden casing, or maybe a taxidermy badger. My friend replied, 'A Badgermin--that's a great idea!'"
The, um, instrument was finally realized earlier this year.