Ondřej Adámek

 Airmachine 1, 2

Airmachine 1 and Airmachine 2 are two different automated valve systems working with air to be used for concert pieces or for installations.

Installations means breathing and wind instruments sculptures set up in space, adapted to each different occasion and each different space.

There is a large palette of possibilities between a large room with a loud automated wind orchestra or a small, intimate sculpture of silently breathing object.

Up July 2015 Airmachine 1 and 2 and other components of installations are going to be hosted by Grame, Lyon. In a future a stage manager might be instructed to set up the Airmachines for concerts or installation.


– main panel

– accessory to plug: wind instruments and inflatable objects

– sculpture unites

– vacuum cleaners

– controlling system


Airmachine 1 and 2 can be played by a musician (for example percussion player) via midi keyboard or other midi controller or they can be played automatically through computer or midi player. Till now I use Fatar Studiologic VMK, 88 keys, we are developing with Christophe Lebreton, Roémo Monteiro and Grame a sophisticated control system for Airmachine 2 using touch pads, captors, pedals and a Mac computer with patch Max.

For installations, I use a Yamaha MIDI player and a special box converting MIDI to DMX.

Airmachine 1

Airmachine 1 has been constructed between 2011 and 2014 by Ondřej Adámek, Sukandar Kartadinata and Carol Jimenez with the support of Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD and SWR – Donaueschinger Tage für Neue Musik.

Airmachine 1 is a panel with a system of metal pipes, 14 water valves connected with servo-motors, two air inputs and 10 air outputs with simple plugging system. Airmachine 1 has an aspect of a futurist art-brut handmade experimental machine. The movement of red automated water valves is visible and the noise of servomotors audible.

Airmachine 2

Airmachine 2 is a continuation of the project Airmachine 1, its new generation. It has been constructed by Christophe Lebreton with the support of Grame (Lyon) in 2014-2015. It is a wooden box where the system of pipes and valves is hidden. At each of its 7 air outputs two automatic electromagnetic progressive valves are connected. It has more aspect of music instrument and less futurist art-brut handmade aspect of Airmachine 1. Airmachine 2 has a very fast opening of valves and allows playing very fast and very articulated rhythms.


Air for Airmachines

Both Airmachines function with 2 vacuum cleaners; one blows the air in and the other sucks the air out. At least one vacuum cleaner needs to have a blowing function. I use Kärcher 3200, 1800W. The vacuum cleaners are controlled in very fine way to dose the exact quantity of air in the right rhythm through dimmers Showtech.

Each vacuum cleaner needs its own independent dimmer (because of the power of 1800W).

If Airmachines are used for installations, more then 2 vacuum cleaners might be used. I have 6 vacuum cleaners and 6 Showtech dimmers available.

The vacuum cleaners should be set up in a separate room or in silent boxes.

If the vacuum cleaners are in a separate room, the air is brought to the Airmachine through solid garden water pipes (-o- 25 mm). The water pipes should be brought from the separate room to the stage through a small window that allows only the passage of the tubes and all the space around the pipes must be blocked so that any noise of the vacuum cleaners is perfectly isolated.

I have now about 50 m of available water pipes, so a way up to cca 16m if 2 vacuum cleaners are used.

Silent boxes

There are two white silent boxes specially constructed for Airmachines that allow setting up the vacuum cleaners directly behind the stage or directly inside the exhibition room.

One is 117x109x83 cm, the wait is cca 160kg and it is made for 2 vacuum cleaners.

The other is 75x166x79 cm and the wait is cca 160kg and it is made for 3 vacuum cleaners


The plugged instruments

There is a collection of plugged instruments made by Carol Jimenez, Ondrej Adamek, Christophe Lebreton.


It contains for example:

8 overtone flute microinterval trios


7 membrane saxophones


6 membrane saxophone trios


pipes with white or colourd latex gloves


6 large slide flutes

2 slide flutes trios

party blowers, party blowers trees


dog toy latex animals


2 tourniquets with pan flute

4 siren whistles with bell



  1. Airmachine 1 was developed at the same time as the piece Körper und Seele for choir, orchestra and Airmachine has been composed.

SWR commission for Donaueschinger Musiktage, Premier 19 October 2014

  1. Conséquences particulièrement blanches ou noires

    for Airmachine 2 solo, (22 min).

  2. The 10th March 2016 will be a world premier of

    Conséquences particulièrement blanches ou noires – concerto

    for Airmachine 2 and 15 musicians by festival Biennale Musique en scène at the Musée de la Confluence in Lyon, performed by Roméo Monteiro (Airmachine 2) and Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain.


There are many possibilities and forms of installations with Airmachine 1 and 2:

large, intimate, noisy, silent…

A large installation would work with several vacuum cleaners (I have now 6), and several independent units of wind instruments or breathing objects.

Small installation can work with only 2 vacuum cleaners and 1-2 independent units of breathing objects or wind instruments.

Silent installation can work only with breathing objects or a combination of breathing objects and mictrotonal overtone flutes.

Loud installation can work also with membrane saxophones, party blowers, different reed instruments, sirens, overtone flutes, dog toy animals etc.

Already designed and constructed units can be used or new unites can be designed and constructed to a specific occasion or a space.


Exemples of installations

Donaueschingen 2014:

3 vacuum cleaners in separate room


3 x12 m blue water pipes

1 breathing sculpture with white hands

1 breathing sculpture with hands and flutes

1 wind instruments sculpture with membrane clarinets, latex dog, toy animals and party blowers

Stand with 2 lights behind, 1 blue lights on the floor in front

MIDI player with 6 minutes sequence

Cri de mains Villa Medici 2015:

adamek (3)

Airmachine 1

3 vacuum cleaners in a silent box used as support

3x 8m blue water pipes

overtone flutes

membrane bass clarinets

2 spots on the floor


Airmachine 1: 70 x 48 x 22 cm, 18 kg

Fly-case for Airmachine 1: 81 x 55 x 24 cm, 10 kg

Airmachine 2: 140 x 80 x 23 cm, 80 kg

Fly-case for Airmachine 2: 146 x 97 x 43 cm, 30 kg

Silent box 1: 117 x 109 x 83 cm, 160 kg

Silent box 2: 166 x 75 x 79 cm, 160 kg


Research atelier Balthus, villa Medici

Airmachine 1 with overtone flutes slide flutes, white gloves

5 vacuum cleaners in 2 silent boxes

3x stands with overtone flutes and white gloves