UCF professor, artist creates one-of-a-kind instruments
His roots as an artist date back to his early childhood, where he first drew inspiration from the rocky Colorado landscape and the ancient sights of western Turkey. As a military child, visual arts professor Scott F. Hall moved around the world. But from one destination to another, a similar soundtrack followed – the influential sounds of progressive rock bands.
It was at an early age that he first became interested in the integration of sound and visual art. Upon returning to the states, he went on to receive 12 years of classical training in music, trading in the flute and trombone for electronic instruments to play in his own rock bands after school.
Now half a century old, Hall is an internationally recognized artist specializing in the integration of sound, music, still images, video and sculpture.
He currently works collaboratively with Miami-based MONAD Studio, with architects Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg. Together they co-design and co-create original musical instruments, many of which are the first of their kind, through a synthesized process that often involves handcrafting and 3-D printing.
“Not only am I creating these instruments that produce music that is harmonious, but it’s also interesting to take the sound into someplace different,” Hall said. “And you discover that even though you might be letting go of harmony, rhythm and emotion still comes through.”
He defines his auditory productions as sound art, which can sometimes be harmonious, but other times are simply about exploring sound in its own right.
In 2012, Hall invented and designed the monobaribasitar, a single-stringed guitar working in the baritone and bass pitch spectrum.
The instrument , which he has composed an extensive solo repertoire for, set the early foundation for his collaborative work with Goldemberg and Zalcberg in MONAD studio.
“They got really excited about that core structure that I was building and playing,” he said. “Monobaribasitar has become the instrument that I love the most and like to play the most.”
But before his full emergence into synesthesia, the integration of all sensory stimulation, Hall had come upon one realization that ultimately led him where he is today.
“In the late ‘80s, when I tired of the inherent limitations in working as a pop rock musician, I suddenly realized that being back in school would be just right — and ultimately pursuing a professorship, since that would provide me with a more long term life style as a researcher,” he said.
So he went back to school to pursue BFA and MFA degrees in sculpture, which he said is an “expanded field practice” in which anything can happen.
“Anything goes in the 3-D space,” he said. “As an undergrad and grad student, I was immediately able to begin intertwining both art and music in the context of sculpture.”
After graduating, Hall taught in both California’s Silicon Valley and in New York before arriving at UCF in 2000, where he currently teaches sculpture and animation while also conducting research.
As an associate professor, he’s been able to continue his solo work while also scouting new talent, such as BFA sculpture senior Vicky Boisvert, who was first in Hall’s sculpture class last fall.
“I immediately discovered that the way she was laminating wood was completely unique, beautiful and really well done,” he said. “It was very solid and interesting, and I’ve been laminating wood since 1982.”
The two partnered up to create the first carved and painted wood monovioloncello in 2014, a mono-stringed piezoelectric cello invented by Hall that year.
The instrument, which is currently on display at the UCF Art Gallery, showcases a handcrafted body composed of stacked, laminated pieces of wood.
The duo is also currently collaborating twice a week to work on another instrument, a two-string bass, which Hall said will eventually become as beautiful and interesting and the computer-generated ones he has traditionally worked on.
Although both instruments with Boisvert differ from many of Hall’s collaborations with the MONAD studio, which are often technologically assisted, he said that Boisvert’s constructive method does resonate with the use of layers which has long been a part of computer-based design.
“She’s got strong intuition for math in her head and seems to be able to spontaneously generate step-built pieces, which have equal impact of computer generated images, but she’s doing it by visualizing freehand as she goes along, slice by slice,” he said.
Boisvert said that, although she envisions the piece before starting, the process itself is spontaneous and she designs the layers step by step.
“I am good at math, which usually you don’t see in artists, but really I just enjoy working,” Boisvert said. “It really just comes more from within.”
Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.