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David Byrne Turns A Building Into An Instrument
Published June 2, 2008

By Joanna Padovano

Playing The Building: An Installation By David Byrne allows visitors to experience the unique sounds created by the structural design of the Battery Maritime Building.

Beginning on May 31, 2008, visitors to the Battery Maritime Building on South Street will be able to "play" the building. Playing the Buildingis a joint effort between well-known musician and conceptual artist David Byrne and non-profit arts group Creative Time, who first began working together back in 2002.

The mechanics of this creation involves the attachment of an antique organ to various parts of a building through specific devices and wiring in order to produce different sounds- wind, vibration and striking effects are used upon pillars, metal beams, as well as heating and water pipes.

There is nothing electronic about this project, meaning that there are no microphones or amplifiers, only the sounds that result from the wiring of the organ to the infrastructure of the building. Byrne compares the sounds that the pipes make to that of giant flutes.

The organizers hope that the buzz surrounding this project will help revitalize the historical building at the bottom tip of Manhattan, as well as liven up the neighborhood. This free event will be open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-6 p.m. until August 10.

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