Credit: Mao Yamamoto
Ei Wada (JP), Megumi Takei (JP), Rinichi Washimi (JP), Keisuke Tanaka (JP)
The Tokyo-based artist and musician Ei Wada started the Electronicos Fantasticos! project, where he revives old domestic electronic devices and turns them into electronic musical instruments, in 2015. Among the various instruments the project has created is the Sempookin (literally, “electric fan harp”).
This instrument was based on the wild idea: “what if the god of electric guitars, Jimi Hendrix, were to play the electric fan as an instrument?” A light source and a guitar strap are attached to the electric fan and the fan’s blades are replaced with original disks with holes in them. The instrument is played by rotating the fan, where the flashing light created by the blades is picked up by a photosensitive device. The resulting electric signal is turned into sound and by calculation the holes in the disk create different scales.
The player carries the Sempookin upside-down – the left hand controls the photosensitive device and the right hand controls the rotation of the fan. Switching the fan strength, high/ medium/low, leads to transposition. The player will be swinging the neck! Once, the mass-produced electric fan was the key to post-war reconstruction in Japan. Now the player has created a deformed rock band by carrying the electric fan upside-down.