Richard Kean: Esoterics of the Monochord

Wednesday 24 May
1–2pm Black Theatre

Richard Kean is an artist based in Sydney. He has been working with the monochord for the past five years and will present a lecture discussing his recent work Esoterics of the Monochord, both what it is and where it has come from. A monochord is any taught string with an aural capacity. From this humble definition, Kean has moved through an inquiry into the possibilities of the monochord using contemporary art as a format involving installation, performance, drawing and lecturing.

This inquiry has shown how the monochord reaches back to our cultural beginnings as human beings. Since our time as hunter-gatherers, it has been a seminal instrument in the development of our culture and technologies at large, from philosophy to music to mathematics and more. It has helped to describe and understand the politics of being human, especially in a vast post-colonial country such as Australia. The monochord, by its very nature, has shown how it in itself is connected to the natural world from human physiology to the oceanic span of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Image: Richard Kean Esoterics of the Monochord (detail) 2017, graphite, steel, wood. Installation at Our Neon Foe, Sydney