Google Creative Director Alexander Chen (who previously turned NYC transit data into music) recently sat down with his viola and a pair of Google Glass specs to record snippets of video and audio which he then looped and edited to create this miniature orchestra. While the video editing was done externally to Glass, the perspective lends itself nicely to the viola and there’s something sort of life-affirming about the music and snippets of life recorded just beyond the instrument. Beautiful music, well done. (via explore)
Cateura, Paraguay is a small city that has grown atop a massive dump. It is regarded as one of the poorest slums in Latin America, a village where people live among a sea of garbage. Incredibly, the landfill itself is the primary form of subsistence for many residents, who pick through waste for items that can be used or sold. Prospects for most of the children born in Cateura is bleak as gangs and drugs await many of them. But then one day, something amazing happened.
A garbage picker named Nicolás Gómez (known as “Cola”) found a piece of trash that resembled a violin and brought it to musician Favio Chávez. Using other objects collected from the dump, the pair constructed a functional violin in a place where a real violin is worth more a house. Using items gleaned completely from the dump, the pair then built a cello, a flute, a drum, and suddenly had a wild idea: could a children’s orchestra be born in one of the most depressed areas in the world? As you can guess, the answer was yes.
Now a group of filmmakers, producers, and photographers are trying to tell the story of the orchestra through a documentary titled Landfill Harmonic. The orchestra seems poised to offer many of the children opportunities outside of the slum— they are already planning a multi-city tour around the U.S. The movie is currently being funded on Kickstarter and just passed the halfway mark today. Watch the video above and you can learn more over on their Facebook. Backed!
As part of his latest project Imagine, Mexico City based artist Pedro Reyes acquired some 6,700 weapons that were scheduled to be buried (as is customary in mass weapon disposals) and instead collaborated with six musicians to create 50 working instruments as part of a statement regarding increased gun violence in Mexico. The numerous firearms were cut down, welded and formed into a variety of string, wind, and percussion instruments over a period of two weeks last month. Via his blog Reyes says:
It’s difficult to explain but the transformation was more than physical. It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost. [...] This is also a call to action, since we cannot stop the violence only at the place where the weapons are being used, but also where they are made. There is a disparity between visible and invisible violence. The nearly 80,000 deaths by gun-shot that have occurred in Mexico in the last 6 years, or the school shootings in the US are the visible side of violence. The invisible side is that one of gun trade-shows, neglecting assault rifle bans, and shareholder profit from public companies. This is a large industry of death and suffering for which no cultural rejection is expressed.Guns continue to be depicted as something sexy both in Hollywood and in videogames; there may be actors who won’t smoke on the screen, but there has not been one who would reject the role of a trigger-happy hero.
Surprisingly this is not the artists first project involving the reuse of guns. Back in 2008 he was provided with 1,527 destroyed weapons which he melted down to build shovels to plant 1,527 trees as part of his Palas por Pistolas project. If you liked this also check out the work of Al Farrow. (via my amp goes to 11)
Musician and sound artist Diego Stocco (previously here and here) is known for his unique multi-track music videos that combine sounds sampled from common objects and modified instruments. In his latest video Custom Built Orchestra Stocco endeavored to create nearly a dozen custom instruments, some completely from scratch and others from instruments he acquired with structural defects that he then altered to create new musical devices. The result is pretty amazing. See the full details of the project over on Behance.
21 Balançoires (21 Swings) is a recent project by Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours, known for their wide variety of interactive public installations and experiences. Surrounded on both sides by a new music complex and science center, designers Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat chose to bridge the gap between the two by converting a narrow strip of land into an enormous interactive instrument. Pre-recorded sounds from a xylophone, piano, and other instruments were programmed into color-coded swings that when in use play various notes, however when swung in unison with careful cooperation, more complex melodies and harmonies arise. An additional “secret mode” was programmed to only play when all 21 swings were in use. What a fun idea.
Earlier this week a few blogs reported a photo from this series as being some type of swingset bus stop. According to Andraos, while the installation has close proximity to the street it does not actually serve the purpose of a bus stop. All photos courtesy Olivier Blouin.
Robot Repair is a bi-coastal (NYC/LA) music company that composes music and sound design for advertising, TV, film and art projects. In this clever promotional video they demonstrate how they use over 180 different musical instruments.
If you had to think of a word to describe the portraits of classical musicians and their instruments, what would it be? The one I thought of is: extremely boring. OK that’s two words. But really, when is the last time you saw an exciting photograph of a trombonist? Award-winning photographer (and cellist!) Nikolaj Lund has clearly identified the problem and solved it. His fun and often aggressive portraits take classical musicians out of the orchestra pit and off the stage and literally hurls them in the ocean, makes them tumble on the streets, and stagger through the desert. If I was a musician I would be calling this guy immediately (fyi, he’s based in Denmark). You can see much more of his work on Flickr, and his website. (via reddit)