Playing the building

With a little bit of a delay, but better now than never. A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to visit the new installation that David Byrne has re-created in the Roundhouse in Camden.

Notice that I say re-created as Byrne had originally created the installation for the Färgfabriken in Stockholm in 2005. The installation has transformed the Roundhouse building into a huge musical instrument which the visiting crowd can play through the keyboard of an old pump organ that is place in the centre of the space.

The sound is produced by attaching various devices to the structure of the building such as the metal beams, the plumbing or the water pipes. It is important to mention that no effort has been placed in concealing these attachments and thus the player/spectator can trace the source of the sounds. Those sounds are produced by wind, vibrations or strikes. It would be difficult to say that you can play “melodies”, but nonetheless the result does put a smile in the faces of the visitors.

Stripped of a stage or seating benches, the space seems to be much smaller than usual, and the cacophony of the installation fills the arena in a way that invites the players to experience the building at a different level.

Playing the building is on show until August 31, 2009.

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