Playing the Building is Byrne's latest sonic innovation, and morphs the century-old Battery Maritime Building into a clanging, vibrating sound sculpture. In this installation, the former Talking Heads co-founder blurs the boundaries between the creators and consumers of culture. He explains:
Devices [have been] attached to the building's structure – to 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 cause the building elements to vibrate, resonate and oscillate so that the building itself becomes a very large musical instrument.
Byrne sees music as deeply embedded within the natural sounds that surround us every day, and believes "anyone can be a writer, artist, or musician if they want to."
Playing the Building continues through August 10, 2008 at 10 South Street, New York, NY; open every Friday through Sunday, noon – 6pm. Admission is free of charge.
Link to Boing Boing tv post with discussion and downloadable video.
Update: Byrne will receive a lifetime achievement award at the Webby Awards tonight.