PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 (All day) to Friday, November 17, 2017 (All day)
Photo of Holy Wahcamoly guitar pedal
Drawing from work in design, the humanities, ethnography and music practice, this exhibition features 50-plus effects pedals supported by large-scale photographic displays, music samples, an interactive installation and abundant interpretive material. PedalCulture presents a unique opportunity for visitors to view rare, unusual and decidedly offbeat effects pedals, owing to the participation of some of the most notable guitar effects designers and manufacturers worldwide. Ron Light, guest curator. DesignSpace hours: Tuesdays - Fridays, 11am - 4pm. Reception/panel discussion/performance with guitarist Jimmy Leslie: November 2, 4pm - 7pm. Free.
Fine Arts Building, DesignSpace (Room 115)
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PedalCulture demonstrates how manufactured products both affect and reflect the culture at large. Understanding this relationship is key to our looking at designed objects more deeply in search of discovering the underlying values and culturally significant properties embedded in the design of the things we touch and use everyday.

“Beyond the wildly expressive tones produced by guitar effects pedals and their outrageously arty outward appearance, pedals become a fascinating study when viewed as cultural objects,” Light (B.A., Anthroplogy, ’71) says. “When I began to observe how guitarists obsessively collect effects pedals and the way their tend to fetishize these objects by imbuing them with a sort of supernatural power, that’s what so surprised me and made me want to organize the exhibition.”


The DesignSpace, launched in 2016, provides a public forum for deeper engagement in design, its practices and discourses. The gallery also serves as the primary campus showcase for student work in graphic design, consumer product and industrial design, interior design and apparel design.


Image: Holy Wahcamoly wah pedal, by Dr. No of the Netherlands