And you may find yourself sitting at the keys of an old pump organ in the centre of the London's Roundhouse, with cables and wires streaming from the organ to various pipes, pillars and beams around the auditorium. And you may ask yourself, well... how did that get here? The answer is David Byrne.
That the former Talking Heads frontman Byrne is a master musician and performer is beyond dispute, yet this hasn't been enough to keep him content. Over the years he has continually added strings to an ever-expanding bow (a bow now so large it could be one of his own conceptual installations) and his myriad projects include a record label, art, design and theatre work, musicals... The list goes on.
One of his most interesting recent works is an "interactive sound installation" at the Roundhouse venue in London. This is the aforementioned organ and wires known as Playing the Building, which opens in London tomorrow and runs until 31 August, after previously having been seen in New York last year and in Stockholm in 2005.
The point of the organ is that the keys act as switches; each key is connected to a wire or cable that in turn leads to some part of the Roundhouse. As the keys are played, the cables react and there is corresponding clanging and vibration and rattling as some part of the building is hit. There is no electronic amplification and the whole sound is achieved mechanically as the building is turned into one giant instrument. It's what Byrne calls "Victorian steam-punk technology". The 160-year-old Roundhouse building is an appropriate location.
The public will be able to wander around the room, seeing and hearing the whole thing come together. But most importantly, each member of the viewing public is invited to take a turn at the organ – Byrne has said that the only way to truly experience the installation is by playing it. Don't worry, musical ability isn't necessary.
For him though, a major point of the installation is that it's not about Byrne as a musician. He is only going to do a brief performance today, then he's off to play some gigs over the weekend, and no doubt he'll soon be dreaming up new schemes to keep us on our toes.
Same as it ever was.
8-31 August; www.roundhouse.org.uk; 0844 482 8008Reuse content