Somewhere Down in Africa Toto is Playing on Loop

Amidst the vast expanse of sand dunes in the Namib desert, there now exists a sound installation dedicated to pouring out the 1982 soft rock classic “Africa” by Toto. Six speakers connected to an MP3 player all powered by a few solar powered USB battery packs, and it is literally located somewhere down in Africa (see lyrics). The whole project, known as TOTO FOREVER, was the creation of film director [Max Siedentopf] who himself grew up in Namibia.

“I set up a sound installation which pays tribute to probably the most popular song of the last four decades…and the installation runs on solar batteries to keep Toto going for all eternity.”

Max Siedentopf, Creator of TOTO FOREVER

[Siedentopf] certainly chose a song that resonates with people on a number of levels. Toto’s “Africa” was one of the most streamed songs on YouTube in 2017 with over 369 million plays. The song continues to reach a new generation of fans as it has also been the subject of a number of internet memes. Though those local to the sound installation have had some less than positive things to say. [Siedentopf] told BBC, “Some [Namibians] say it’s probably the worst sound installation ever. I think that’s a great compliment.”

The idea of the installation “lasting for all eternity” will certainly be difficult to achieve since the components most certainly lack any serious IP rating. The audio player itself appears to be a RHDTShop mp3 player that according to its Amazon listing page, has three to four hours of battery life per charge. Considering the size of those solar cells the whole thing will probably be dead in a week or two (it is in a desert after all), but no one can deny the statement TOTO FOREVER makes. Below is some footage of the art piece in action taken by the artist himself.

via BBC

26 thoughts on “Somewhere Down in Africa Toto is Playing on Loop

  1. “Some [Namibians] say it’s probably the worst sound installation ever.”

    I mean, not to be THAT GUY, but I’m inclined to agree. If you’re going to basically just leave trash in the desert (which is all it’s going to be, after the first blessed rain it sees), at least put some effort into the basic premise of your “art” project. This would have been substantially more interesting if it was something actually designed to last as long as possible, rather than some consumer-grade crap left out in the weather.

    1. Almost exactly what I thought seeing this piece of “art” for the first time. The basic idea was pretty good but the execution… I’m pretty sure that going solar is a bad idea here if it’s planned to be a “forever” installation – I’d go with some thermal solution as solar will quickly get covered with sand. Also, right now it’s not even close to being energy efficient – if it must be solar I would go with one big panel on the middle pillar (maybe with a windshield wiper that would trigger once in a while to move away dust from the top) and mod those Logitech speakers to be one “6.0” set instead of 3 sets of 2.0 (I’m pretty sure it would be better to have one power supply than three)… And those ugly hanging wires…. ugh…

  2. Fun idea, unimpressive build quality. On the artists website none of their installations are any better. Seems like their only hack is convincing society their art is worth supporting.

    1. “…their only hack is convincing society their art is worth supporting.” THIS, infinite thumbs up. So true for a lot of “art” but insanely true for this piece of hastily cobbled together, utter rubbish. I’d expect this level of “art” from paint-huffing middle-school dropouts with room temperature IQs.

  3. in all honesty, this will sadly be dead within a week or so due to just the extreme heat that is in a desert.it would either be the MP3 player going to shutdown for overheating,or the solar battery packs internal batteries failing.
    however, just based on a few rough estimates on the power required to run this installation and knowing how well charging lithium cells in high heat enviroments drops their useful life and capacity, the solar battery packs solar cells would not be able to keep up with the power demand required to both power the installation and charge their internal batteries.

    1. I wonder if there’s enough energy in that battery pack to keep the player going all night? Because otherwise he’s going to need someone to come press “play” every morning.

  4. To start with that’s an insult to Toto.

    and looks like some one had a bit of picnic in the desert and left in a hurry and forgot their crappy music player.

    I believe a number of organisations send their ewaste to africa for “reprocessing” but calling it art is a bit rude.

  5. This sort of hokey nonsense is why I could never appreciate so called “modern art”. Whether it’s some random splashes of paint on a canvas with some alleged hidden meaning or something like this ridiculous pile of soon-to-be-junk sitting uselessly in the middle a desert, it’s all crap.

    1. the first person to make a piece of art with the intent of outraging the audience due to its lack of artistry was an artist (see, for example, “monochrome art”). A couple hundred years later, it’s just no-talent sloppy nonsense.

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