Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre – Glasgow

Sharmanka (Russian for hurdy gurdy) is a theatre of kinetic sculptures made by Eduard Bersudsky.  It was founded in St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1989 but has been based in Glasgow since 1996 and is now at Trongate 103.  Every week there are performances when these amazing things come to life, complete with lights and sound.  They hugely full of unexpected twists and turns, surreal and frequently very dark in humour and content.  I loved them, and worried for the sanity of their creator!  As I am thinking about ‘going kinetic’ for my next work I went with a research hat on, but this guy is a genious.  A member of staff kindly showed me the circuit boards which are the brains  for these works…I have never seen anything like them: circular boards with various raised or flattened ridges on them which could be read a bit like anold vinyl LP.  These ridges determined the sequence in which various motors and lights became operational..effectively the choreograph of  each work. 


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