music box shantytown in NY Times

Here’s a nice New York Times article about the big crazy sound sculpture shantytown I helped out with in New Orleans:

A Symphony of Floorboards, Pipes and Stairs
(My nightingale floors made it into the title! Whoo!)

“You’re going to have a house, and the house makes music. When you get here, you’ll figure it out.”

That is more or less accurate, as far as it goes, though it clearly falls short as a practical description. “The Music Box,” the project of which this tower is a part, is one of those things that requires a hyphen or a compound word to describe; Delaney Martin, its curator, calls it “a shantytown-sound laboratory.”

In more literal terms, it is a collection of tumbledown wooden and metal structures built on the site, and almost entirely from the remains of a late-18th-century Creole cottage that collapsed a couple of years ago here in the historic, bohemian Bywater neighborhood.

Each structure houses an instrument, or two or three. In some cases the structures are musical instruments themselves. There is the thatched-roof hut that is home to an elaborate arrangement of Balinese vibraphones, the shack with amplified floorboards, the rusty spiral staircase that is also a foot-operated pipe organ and the little glass house containing what looks like a giant, bell-lined hoop skirt. They are all clustered together on the narrow lot, like the stage set of a fairy tale that takes place in a junkyard.

Be sure to check out the slide show.

There’s also a brief video about the first performance. (You can hear my floorboards starting at 1:22 or so)

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