August 19th, 2009

David Byrne at the Roundhouse. Via Creative Review

On view now, David Byrne’s exhibition, “Playing the Building” is open to the public until August 31st. Located in north London, the Roundhouse was originally constructed in 1846 as a steam engine shed. Later on in the 20th century, the structure was converted into a popular arts center that hosted bands like The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. “Playing the Building” was originally commissioned in 2005 by Färgfabriken in Stockholm before moving to New York last summer. Byrne has completely transformed the Roundhouse, so that it is now a playable instrument. Metal beams and pipes make whistling noises, while iron pillars vibrate and rumble when blown.

Related Links:
David Byrne: Playing the Building, London [FT.com]
David Byrne “Playing the Building” [BoingBoing]
David Byrne’s Playing the Building [New Tang Dynasty Television]
David Byrne: Playing the Building [About.com]
London: Playing the Building III [David Byrne’s Journal]
Playing the Building: An Installation by David Byrne [New York Magazine]
David Byrne: Playing the Building [The Art Newspaper]
David Byrne on Playing the Building at the Roundhouse [Telegraph UK]

Playing the Building Via Roundhouselondon Youtube

More text and pictures after the jump…

David Byrne. Via Telegraph.

The music behind the Roundhouse exhibit can be traced to an opened organ, which is attached by wires to various parts of the building. Several musical instruments are connected to the walls, and the public can actively interact with nearly all aspects of the installation. Byrne has said of the project, “It’s all mechanical. There are no electronics or samples or any of that sort of modern rubbish.” He describes the Roundhouse as “the perfect building” and says that the music it creates is “very democratic,” in that no one will be better at playing the different parts of the installation than anyone else.

David Byrne at the Roundhouse. Via Creative Review

Byrne, 57, is famous for being co-founder of Talking Heads, an American rock band that combined avant-garde, pop, funk, and world music. He has worked in a variety of media, including film, opera, and photography. Byrne is also well known for his support of cycling, a subject on which he has recently published a book titled Bicycle Diaries.

Organ in the Roundhouse. Via Roundhouse

Roundhouse in London Via bd