Luthier puts violin in a dishwasher to prove a point, and there’s outrage

13 August 2021, 16:57

Dishwasher violin from @violintorture
Dishwasher violin from @violintorture. Picture: Instagram / violintorture

By Kyle Macdonald

Sadistic behaviour towards strings is the theme of a new Instagram account. And it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Violins are cut, deconstructed, placed in beehives and cruelly placed in kitchen appliances.

This is the work of someone who calls themselves an “experimental luthier”, establishing the social media handle violintorture for their workshop of string-based savagery.

We’d guessed it was all about exploring the limits of violin destruction and then repair.

But a recent video showing @violintorture placing an instrument in a dishwasher, for a full rinse, wash and dry cycle, might be a bit too much.

They term their Instagram channel their ‘dungeon’, and it’s full of dark deeds performed on four strings. “Follow my journey as I disrupt the long-held standards of what a violin should be,” says its bio.

In a New Yorker article last month, the account’s creator was unmasked as Tyler Thackray, a San Francisco software engineer and musician. During lockdown, he explored his interest in violin-making and repair. He told the magazine he soon saw the similarities between a luthiers clamps and ancient torture devices, giving him the idea for an Instagram theme.

Since then, violintorture has gained almost 15,000 followers, as Thackray shares products of his disruptive workshop.

It’s fair to say these experiments are not universally popular – but for Thackray, it feels that’s kind of the point.

“[T]his is the most stupid and pointless thing I’ve seen in a long time,” says plasticfreeschool on Instagram.

Others see it more as a work of experimental art.

For us, we’re generally fans of musical instruments not going through a rinse cycle with our plates and cutlery.

However, if anyone wants to call anything art, we will not be standing in the way.

Happily, a few days later, the sparkly-clean instrument reappeared and was in the process of being restored by our trigger-happy luthier. See below.

Maybe it’s all part of a wonderful experiment and circle of violin life.

And if you're interested in more violin violence. This one involved bees...