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A Starry Mural That Hums When You Touch It

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“Do Not Touch” is a bummer of a directive to give to curious kids. So when designer Scott Garner was selected for a Tough Art residency at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, he opted to create something that encouraged engagement with the piece itself, as well as with the people surrounding it.

Garner describes his sculpture, Reach, as a “large-scale interactive mural and musical instrument,” but even without the added functionality it’s an impressive work of art—not to mention a beautiful display of incredible craftsmanship. The backing was made from three Baltic birch plywood panels, which were given a metallic finish with a trio of regular Sherwin Williams paints, while the moon and each of the 24 aluminum stars were cut with a water-jet (with edges filed way, way down for safety). Machine screws that attached each of those pieces to the boards also work as conductors, passing electricity through to all the complex technical wizardry happening behind the scenes (read more about the complete set-up here).


When visitors get up close enough to touch both the moon and a star, a tone will play; holding hands and giving it a go will have the same subtle, surprising effect. Have a look at the video below, which shows a making-of and how it works. [notcot]