Letter to Israel

By Sarah Kricheff

Published May 08, 2008, issue of May 16, 2008.
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The 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet will be getting a lot of attention this year. The samech, which represents the number 60, has taken form in California as an 8-feet tall, 400-pound sculpture. Created by the artist Kingsley, the piece — an interactive musical work of art— was commissioned to commemorate Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Alphabetical: A sculpture by Kingsley was commissioned to celebrate Israel’s 60th.
Alphabetical: A sculpture by Kingsley was commissioned to celebrate Israel’s 60th.

Made of wood, aluminum and steel, and covered with hand-painted canvases, the Kingsley Samech features 60 steel strings, tuned to harmonious chords. It is being shown as part of the Let My People Sing festival, a weeklong series of cultural events in Los Angeles, produced by musician Craig Taubman.

“Ninety percent of my work is interactive. It’s something that people absolutely love,” Kingsley told The Shmooze. “This is something that everyone can be an accomplished musician with. It really draws people in.”

A digital recording device and an amplifier are built into the interior of the sculpture so that the sounds created by the strumming and plucking of participants will not be lost in the moment.

“The viewer really becomes part of the art,” Kingsley said.


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