Credit: Andrea Bauer

“I wasn’t really intending to make an instrument,” Eric Leonardson says. “I was interested in using contact microphones to amplify the sounds of everyday found materials.”

But nearly 18 years after its initial construction, Leonardson’s “springboard” remains the sound artist and composer’s main ax. Fragile components occasionally need replacing to keep the instrument’s moaning eeriness in pitch, but otherwise, the springboard has required little altering over the years.

“Being made from inexpensive and found objects, [the springboard] was never precious to me. So I didn’t get shy about trying things and ruining it,” Leonardson explains. “The backbone is the two-by-six board, which has some large eyebolts that I can stretch a coil spring or some large rubber bands around. Aside from the coil springs, there are three flat, wooden pieces I can bow, pluck, or stroke. I can push on them in different ways and change the pitch.”

The oddity is perched upon a walker—only adding to its peculiarity—for easy transport from Leonardson’s studio in the experimental/noise Wicker Park venue Enemy.

Leonardson often collaborates with ad hoc groups and is helping curate the “Make Sound 2012” exhibition along with Julia Miller and Christopher Preissing at the Zhou B. Art Center (1029 W. 35th). The opening reception is Fri 1/20 and will include a performance by the trio of curators.

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