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BBtv: Playing the Building


Today’s episode of BoingBoing TV visits [David Byrne]‘s Playing the Building installation which we covered before. The video provides some insight into the artistic process: they wandered around and whacked things with mallets to see what sounded good. They use counterweighted motors to vibrate cast iron girders and columns. Many of the empty radiators are being struck by solenoids. He says the installation is very approachable because people realize that even if a skilled musician sat down they wouldn’t be any better at playing the device.

Playing the Building with David Byrne


Do you remember the solenoid concert that used a sequencer to control several solenoids striking different surfaces? Musician David Byrne has taken the concept and executed it on a much larger scale with his “Playing the Building” installation in an old municipal ferry terminal in New York. Devices that bang the girders, rattle the rafters, and blow through the pipes of the building are attached to the only object inside, a weathered pipeorgan. Every key is wired to different device in the building, each producing a unique sound. Attendees are invited to fiddle with keys of the organ to produce sounds from the building’s various materials, thus playing the building like an instrument. Here’s a video from the installation.

[via Today and Tomorrow]