Why Build Crystal Sets?

Larry Solomon, copyright 2006

Of course, anyone can buy a radio for a few dollars these days that outperforms any crystal set and doesn't need a long wire antenna -- so why build crystal sets? There are several reasons, but my goal is to create works of art that may or may not have a practical function. Most art is useless, has no practical function. In fact, uselessness is considered a virtue of art. In this case, crystal radios do have a function, i.e., it is useless, but that is not the principle reason for making them. Just as a ceramic, hand-made bowl  has a function, it may also be art. A painting has no practical function, yet it is normally considered "art". Consider the following image:

fm crystal set

This is considered an image of an  impossible radio by some scientists, because it was designed to receive FM stations. Yet it works! I considered it to be an artwork that also functions. Primarily, it is an aesthetic object, and the function, in this case, enters into an aesthetic principle. Therefore, I do not build crystal sets to listen to them pick up radio signals, I build them because I like to look at them and ponder their function.


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