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Byrne Turns Factory Into Instrument
When musician David Byrne says he is going to "play a factory" in Stockholm, he is not planning a gig at a trendy new venue, but talking literally.When musician David Byrne says he is going to "play a factory" in Stockholm, he is not planning a gig at a trendy new venue, but talking literally.
The Talking Heads founder has turned a disused paint factory by the Stockholm waterside into a giant musical instrument, constructed around an old wooden pump organ with its entrails ripped out and replaced with wires and pipes.
"The public can just come in and sit down and play what they like," he said this weekend while the installation at "Fargfabriken" ("The Paint Factory") was being set up.
"Playing the Building" is not a Byrne concert but a hands-on art installation that runs until mid-November. The organ's keys and stops are linked to dozens of clear plastic tubes that pump air through the factory vents to make a range of whistle noises, bang hammers that clank against hollow iron pillars and start four engines ranged on the roof.
The resulting cacophony is deafening and the factory, which dates from 1889 and once produced guns, combine harvesters and more recently paint, briefly sounds like it has been granted a new lease of industrial life.
"It's a very democratic instrument -- everyone is reduced to the same amateur level," said Byrne.
He said he wanted this to be a more "hands-on" experience than most installation art. "A lot of the time people think the art world is pulling their leg, that there's an elite crowd that understands what is going on but that the general public is not in on the joke," he said. "In this case I think they don't feel intimidated."
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