Opera Daisy

Opera Daisy was created for dAs and Ninah (of Big City Orchestra) as a gift for their honeymoon/tour of Europe in October 2000.
It was mangled from a really cheezy mechanized flowerpot toy that had "battery-operated" and "Daisy" in the name, thus it became the Opera Daisy. It is a horrible toy, singing a really awful truncated and lyric-changed version of "Daisy (A Bicycle Built for Two" by a woman with a very shrill and unappealing voice.
Keep in mind, as you circuit-bend a toy, you have to listen to the stock sample over and over and over for a few days while you find the good bits on the board to modify. I still have nightmares featuring her terribly sappy opening "He-llooo! Isn't it a be-oo-tiful day?!?"

Opera Daisy features two optical resistors sewn into its plastic-fabric leaves that you can play like an optical theremin. It takes real subtle movements of the hand, revealing and covering the resistors to the light, to create amazing scintillating noises, warbles, semi-intelligible fast speed pitch bending "Daisy" song bits, and pure long tonal and white noise. Exquisite!

In addition, the flowers and face (the replaceable nose and mouth part from a CPR dummy made out of creepy fleshy rubber) rotate and go up and down. Really sick. And very funny during live performance.

The flowerpot base is painted with silver hammerite, and one of the flowers is painted silver and bronze. It also has a 1/4" output where the green "dirt" is under the leaves, and a powerswitch on the bottom (very important to have a switch that you can cut power off completely when not in use. Gadgets are very touchy about stray voltages and being left on too long. See my description of the Nice Cube of White Noise).

dAs and Nina took this all over Europe where it was quite a hit. They stayed with their friends Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (of Chris & Cosey, and Throbbing Gristle) and Cosey took quite a liking to it, once she figured out how to play it. Also, Phil Knight of the Legendary Pink Dots (another good friend of dAs and Ninah's who took them around the Netherlands) had quite a good time playing with Opera Daisy. Neat!

I love this gadget, and have one more still virgin in the box waiting to be mauled. Update: I just found 2 more on ebay!

Followup: Around 10/12/03 The Legendary Pink Dots were in San Francisco, playing a show at Cafe Du Nord. Before the show, they stayed at Ninah and dAs' house where they discovered Opera Daisy. They all took quite a liking to it, and Edward Ka-Spel disappeared for a bit to write a special piece for it to integrate it into their show. He renamed Opera Daisy "George" and had Ninah come up on stage to perform with it while he related the "story" he had written about it. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the show, but I hear it was quite something. Neat!!! The Dots are very interested in acquiring a Daisy for themselves, so I'll be making one for them soon.

(And now have! Check out: Opera Daisy, Iteration the 2nd, Pink Dots Edition).

See below for an audio recording of "George's Story" (Coming soon...)

Here is a pic from the Pink Dots show with Nicoletta (their theremin player) soundchecking the Opera Daisy (now dubbed "George"). Thanks Ninah!!!

More pix as they come...

Completed: July 2000
Dimensions: appx 12" high
Current Status:

Owned and frequently abused by dAs and Ninah (of Big City Orchestra)

Audio Bits:


OperaDaisyDamnSong.mp3 Here's most of the damn song.
OperaDaisyBeootifulDay.mp3 I had to hear this way too many times.
OperaDaisyDatanoise.mp3 , OperaDaisyDatanoise02.mp3 Some lovely DataNoise.
OperaDaisyLong.mp3 A long rambling poetic tribute to trickle-down technology.

The Pink Dots recent performance with "George" will be posted here soon. Check back.

A close-up of Opera Daisy.
Don't you want to just open-mouth kiss it?
Professor Werner V. Slack shyly operates some highly advanced trickle-down technology at CELLspace's Mad Scientist's Ball, Sept. 2001.
Opera Daisy plays noisily by itself amid the chaos in the foreground. At this particular show, the Opera Daisy was being controlled by a pair of optical resistors attached to an LED sign that was scrolling digital ASCII gibberish.