The Ugly Stick Orchestra 2017. Roadie cases, gum tree, beer bottle tops. Photo by Ivan Buljan

deconstructed airplane

The Ugly Stick Orchestra 2017. Roadie cases, gum tree, beer bottle tops. Photo by Ivan Buljan

deconstructed plane

The Ugly Stick Orchestra, detail, 2017 Photo by Ivan Buljan

The Ugly Stick Orchestra


Healy and Cordeiro's latest installation, The Ugly Stick Orchestra, is based upon the lagerphone, a rudimentary musical instrument, commonly associated with bush bands and gold rush era Australia. An anachronistic object, The Ugly Stick Orchestra explores the artists' observations and ideas about our historical and environmental relationship with the land.

Typically, a lagerphone is festooned with crown bottle tops. These bottle tops, invented in 1892, are one of the earliest products designed for disposable single usage. The lagerphone could also be seen as a connection between the native Australian environment (the stick) and imported Western culture (the bottle caps). The combination of the two creates a relatively harmless folksy percussive instrument. The problem arises when the lagerphone stick grows from a branch to a tree. What was once an endearing folk instrument has grown into a monstrous botanic voodoo doll.

By encasing their instrument in flight cases, which typically house instruments for touring bands and orchestras, Healy and Cordeiro's work symbolically alludes to central themes of relocation and displacement. This in turn relates to the growing pains experienced in the transformation of human endeavours from community actions to global systems.