Playing the building

August 23, 2009

David Byrne´s sound installation Playing The Building is currently on display at the Roundhouse. When I went there this weekend it was quite busy, with people queuing to play the organ and lots of others scattered around the space, enjoying the atmosphere.

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Wires are attached to the back of the organ, which translates the pressing and depressing of the keys into impulses causing different devices, which themselves are attached to parts of the building, to make sounds. There are three sounds, a flute tone, created with wind blowing through pipes, a humming, caused by vibrations of the metal crossbeams and clapping sounds, by little metal plates.

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I liked the sound scape, and that everyone tried to create a sort of symphony with these sounds. The space also became a hang out place, where people stayed much longer – sitting, lying, resting – then they would in a normal exhibition space. And it didn´t feel like a distant art piece. It is also a thing that is enjoyable for everyone, judging from the crowd, ranging from young arty hipsters, to families and old people. It would have been interesting what else could be done with an idea like this. Opening and closing of the windows, creating movement within the building, changing of lights and so on. Just a more extreme interaction with the building, but as it is, it is definitely worth going. 5 GBP /2,50 GBP concessions.

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