This Statement of Practice unfolds in three parts and reflects an ongoing conversation between curator Henrietta Lidchi at National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the Portuguese-Angolan musical instrument artist Victor Gama about the nature and form of Gama's work. The Statement explores the genesis of a commissioning project which was developed to coincide with the renovation of the gallery spaces at the National Museum of Scotland between 2006 and 2011, and in particular the gallery Performance and Lives. Gama was asked to create four playable musical instruments inspired by non-Western forms that could be accessed in the permanent gallery. Gama was commissioned in 2008 and worked in response to the wide-ranging archive of musical instruments and sound recordings created by ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins. This Statement of Practice will first explore the history and motivations behind the commission. It will then describe the four objects/instruments that were the result of the project and their inspiration and form. Gama designed these instruments using digital technology combined with handmade components and natural materials. The Statement will finally feature a conversation between Henrietta Lidchi and Victor Gama; they worked closely on the genesis of this commissioning project and have worked together since. The interview was recorded in Amsterdam in April 2014 and addresses the use of digital technology in the fabrication and evolution of musical instruments, plus Gama's influences and his philosophies of instrument design.
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