During my trip to Stockholm where I am participating in a workshop about forum theatre methods, I discovered this …. thing in the neighboring museum of modern art: a “Gigantophone”.
Made of tubes, ladders, pieces of wood, this I-don’t-know-how-long instrument stood there, outdoors in a lawn, accessible to anyone. Of course I had to test it!
One of my current projects is to incite those who make decisions about our public urban streetscapes to start thinking about the ‘street-furniture’ in terms of the possibilities for passers by to make sounds on them, to use them as ‘streetstruments’. This is an example of a rather conventional way to give us a means of making sound in public space.
However, as I discovered the following day, it certainly has an appeal on people….
This evening, I experienced a perfectly clear illustration of the ‘audience crisis’ of contemporary artistic expressions. And a possible solution. Approximately 5 meters from the giantophone there is a tent meant for performances, concerts etc. Here, the Fylkingen (Swedish electro acoustic music organisation) hosted an event at which sound artists had a public jam session.
So: You see two groups of people engaged in the same kind of activity. Both groups immersed in the creative exploration of sound, curiously, open and collectively. But not together. Actually the ‘real’ musicians had as few people, or less, watching as the ‘amateur’ guests playing on (/with) the giantophone, 5 meters away.
Would it be conceivable to join the activities of the two groups into one collective, learning, curious, openminded, sharing activity, where the ‘guests’ would get inspiration from the ‘pros’, and the pros would have their competencies with sound as a means to expression put into play with people who are not normally involved in this?
I think the answer is obvious, and the way to do it is extremely simple: mic it up! Put microphones on the ‘streetstrument’ and use ‘ordinary people’s’ sounds in your avantgarde musical processes.
This is an impro I made on the giantophone: