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Fort Thunder; an electro acoustic playground

  • Fairfield City Museum and Gallery 634 The Horsley Drive Smithfield, NSW, 2164 Australia (map)


opening 14th 2pm

14th April - 21st July
Open Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm | FREE ADMISSION

In this their first major collaboration, Sydney based artists Lucas Abela and Keg de Souza have combined their backgrounds in exploratory music and temporary architecture to create Fort Thunder! An electro-acoustic playground with a splattering Goethe’s Colour theory that forms an experiential synaesthesia of colour and sound that introduces children to the joys of electronic music creation and audio manipulation. 

Disguised as play equipment the fort’s Instruments are played through physical play with responsive cause and effect interactions. These instruments are amplified and connected up to all manner of analogue electronic music making sound processors that bend and mould audio in fantastical ways, which are controlled via child friendly oversized knobs & joystick controllers designed as if Willy Wonka himself made effects pedals.

Fort Thunder, 2018
Lucas Abela and Keg de Souza
Electronic Engineering by Nonlinear Circuits
Stainless steel , Oscillators, Electronics, Speaker, Plywood, Perspex

Fort Thunder is a touch play synthesiser built into a play fort that generates an startling array of electronic noise as bodies inside connect the 22 stainless steel poles, and themselves, in different combinations. Essentially it works by replacing the knobs you would find on typical synthesiser with bodies, which act as resistors between two points of oscillating circuit resulting in a fun, playful way to produce electronic sound. 

Double-Feed-Swing-Back, 2018
Lucas Abela and Keg de Souza

Swings, Microphones, Speakers, Audio Effects, Plywood, Perspex

A swing-set / feedback generator that emits syncopated rhythms as children swing back and fourth over sets of speakers. Additionally each of the swing’s four microphones are connected to a bank of audio effects housed in toddler play-stations. So, as the microphones swing causing momentary feedback, children can randomly augment these four channels of discrete audio to produce individualised bursts of processed sonics that together form complex and unique rhythmic patterns.

Ding Dong, 2018
Lucas Abela and Keg de Souza
Toy Xylophone, Pinball Parts, Audio Effects, Contact Microphones, Plywood

A child sized hybrid of pinball and toy xylophones with the chimes connected to audio effects triggered and changed by pinball targets so as you play the audio created is always in flux, twisting and turning to form everything from ambience to the sounds of a crazy sonic washing machine.


Lucas Abela’s practice evolved from within the experimental music underground where he’s best known for ecstatic performances with shards of amplified glass. After a long performance career, he’s turned his attention to participatory sound installation, or to put it more accurately large-scale stochastic instruments devised to switch roles between audience and performer in line with his philosophy that experimental music is more rewarding to play than observe. These participatory installations are devised with musical play in mind, providing users with fun tangible experiences filled with purposeful goals requiring focused engagement.

Keg de Souza’s practice investigates social and spatial environments, influenced by her formal training in architecture and experiences of radical spaces through squatting and organising. She is interested in how unusual temporary architectures can alter conventional spaces and create platforms for discussions, events and interactions between people and act as sites for thinking differently about teaching and learning.

Earlier Event: April 12
Maria Moles & Adam Halliwell
Later Event: April 14
Ta Go Lak @Eupcaccia