Monday, March 8, 2010

How the music will surface

So I spoke of recording and archiving the music and engagements that take place within the stage/natural PA/resonator installation, and of the possibility that real talent and creative passion may be discovered in doing this. Given the nature of many of those who choose to keep their music on the street, (in that they do not wish to ever step into the limelight) the idea of providing their creative work world-wide and subjecting them to solicitation makes the situation a bit dodgy.

Clearly, it is important to preserve the privacy and creative choices that these artists make, and that is why I am choosing to create an open archive that, rather than exploit the people that contribute to it in any way, simply lets others observe what they may have never experienced in their lifetimes, a new source of the culture that is in it's most raw form: on the streets of a city. In turn, those artists may have their first chance at recording their work in some way, and instead of having to navigate a corporate system to affect people with what they are most passionate about, they can just do what they do best: play out in the open on the street.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I think I know what I want to do....

Alright, latest idea:

This almost fully rejects the online-based collaboration that I had in mind before. Picture a high-foot traffic public area such as a city park or a busy arterial with a large sidewalk that could accommodate street musicians. What I'd like to do is design type of permanent acoustic aid for music performance and collaboration, a sort of stage+background resonator that acts as a sort of natural PA, allowing users to affect their volume by the position of their instruments further in and out of specific areas within the setup.

This idea stems from a concept presented at the pacific science center where two dishes are fixed perpendicular to the ground, aimed at one another, and placed something like 100 feet apart. Users can speak into these dishes and have the sound of their voice be transmitted through the air to the other dish and another user can hear them clearly on the other side:

With this technology we can establish place where all are welcome and can equally have their voices and instruments heard while playing together.

The second part of the design will involve permanently installed drums and other percussion instruments that passers by can create rhythm and music with even if they don't have or play an instrument of their own. This allows for people of all levels of musicianship to play together, as we all have voices and some natural instinct and appreciation for rhythm.

The third possible addition to this design would be a hidden or embedded microphone of some kind to archive and/or broadcast the music that people in different regions create. This adds another dynamic in which the music that comes from these public places can be shared in meaningful ways. With this capability, I could imagine themes for songs and performances being shared across the internet and watching the interpretations of them unfold across neighborhoods and cities and countries and cultures.

I realize I have once again opened a whole new can of worms with the addition of the third element of this design, but think of the possibilities! What incredible talent and beautiful song might surface on an ordinary day in the middle of the street?

Let me know of you think I'm crazy, or if this whole thing is stupid and I'd especially like thoughts on the idea of making these installations "plugged in." Is this a step too far or does it make the entire design worthwhile?