Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Please Play

A new work by David Byrne, of Talking Heads Fame, Playing the Building is a clever idea. Take one old and slightly decrepit space, add sound, make it interactive and invite the public. This sound installation converts the physical infrastructure into a giant musical instrument. Devices are attached to the the metal beams and pillars, the heating pipes, the water pipes — and are used to make these things produce sound. The activations are of three types: wind, vibration, striking. The devices do not produce sound themselves, but they cause the building elements to vibrate, resonate and oscillate. All the devices are attached to an old organ which the public can play.

It was first done in Sweden in 2005 but the New York version is much grittier and has more pathos. Sponsored by Creative Time, you can catch it at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street at Whitehall Street.

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