selfportrait.net's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Monday, June 16, 2008

David Byrne Wants You To Play His Piano



What do you do after you’ve invented art rock, perfected punk and forged the modern age of music? If you’re David Byrne you build a building.

For the last thirty-five years, the former Talking Heads front man has changed the face of art and music a dozen times over. From his earlier days as an artist in Rhode Island to his work with the Heads and a collaborative career with Brian Eno which spanned almost a de arguably gave birth to hip-hop and techno.

Recently Byrne, a conceptually trained artist has focused on his art, exhibiting around the world and publishing two books through Dave Egger’s McSweeneys. His newest project, Playing the Building, melds conceptual art and music in a way that only he could.

In it, Byrne takes a step to the sidelines and allows visitors to play the role of musician, operating an antique organ in the center of an old industrial building downtown. The organ itself is not the instrument but rather a controller for the building, which through a system of cables causes the structural elements of the building to vibrate; making noises that sound somewhere between Cocteau Twins and gastric bypass surgery.

Although the sounds are scaled according to pitch, the instrument is virtually unplayable; putting professionals and amateurs at equal foot in a wonderful allegory of modern music, art and life.

Playing The Building is free and open to the public Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Noon – 6 PM at the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street in New York City.

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