Do-it-yourself public sound installations are serendipitous surprises: Former Talking Head David Byrne wired the Battery Maritime Building to emphasize its haunted house groans and creaks, and it’s further improved by human agency. A few hundred yards away, chimes are planted amidst the shrubbery. Leap on them.
“Playing the Building,” an ingenious installation by the man who sang “Psycho Killer, qu’est qe c’est?”, triggers whooshes, clanks, buzzes and such with the keys of an old organ which sits in the center of a large, high-ceilinged room of an otherwise empty old port structrure. It will be in place through August 24, open basically during business hours. When I attended on a rainy Saturday after “Playing the Building” had just been opened, a line of would-be Byrne collaborators was waiting to explore what the keyboard could make the room do. It could have taken half an hour or more to explore and connect particular keys and stop-settngs to the sounds they started, and no one had the moxie to command so much the time, so the result was everybody dabbled and nothing could be planned (or “composed”).