On: Matter, Monkeys, and the King - Trimpin

On: Matter, Monkeys, and the King - Trimpin

Quiet tinkling sounds from Rube Goldberg-like musical contraptions made of re-purposed toys.

Where is it?

Concourse A

This artwork is currently undergoing refurbishment. Normally sited parallel to the moving sidewalk across from Gate A-7.

About the Art

A metaphor for the movement of travelers throughout the airport, Trimpin's multimedia and kinetic piece is intended to depict "what sound looks like." Two interactive mobile "contraptions," as Trimpin calls them, are constructed from found objects. The work is witty and charming, embodying both sound and rhythm. The colorful shapes you see on the roof modulate in different ways the sound originating from within the glass case.

The Details






Multi-media kinetic sculpture (found objects, metal, wood, glass)


12' high x 6' 8" in length, segmented

Did you know?

Because Trimpin creates his sound sculptures with the intention that the art will be experienced first-hand, this piece lacks all forms of technological amplification.

About the Artist

Despite creating kinetic sculptures and sound art that have since become part of the cultural fabric of Seattle, German-born Trimpin remains largely unknown in his adopted hometown. A severe allergic reaction to metal in brass and woodwind instruments brought an abrupt end to his formal music training, subsequently forcing him to redirect his educational path. His degree in social science and art therapy introduced him to the idea of interacting with people through the powerful resonance of sound, vibration, motion, and visuals.

"Although I use the latest technology available, I work with 'natural' elements – water, air, light, fire, etc. – and reconfigure them in new and unusual applications, pushing them to the limits, and beyond, of what we traditionally think of as their role." – Trimpin

Short Bio

As an innovative artist, Trimpin wears many hats. He is considered one of the most interesting one-man forces in art today, dabbling in sound sculpture, composing, and inventing. Interfacing computers with acoustic instruments, Trimpin has developed numerous ways of playing trombones and percussion instruments with computers.

For example, while attending the 1989 Composer-to-Composer Conference, Trimpin unveiled a Macintosh-controlled system that performed composer Conlon Nancarrow's short studies for player piano on one hundred Dutch wooden shoes.

See More

Artist Trimpin talks about his creative process.

Artist Trimpin talks about his creative process.

Similar Artwork

Work by Trimpin

- Hydraulis: an interactive water sculpture at the Seattle Center Key Arena (created in collaboration with Clark Wiegman).

- If VI was IX: a sound sculpture composed of hundreds of electric guitars at the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center.

Please visit Connected Stories below to see Trimpin's local commissions.