The final adjustments to "Playing the Building" were done just in time for the opening yesterday. Arun figured out how to successfully add a 3rd octave to the pipe/flutes and his girlfriend brought additional lengths of tubing from NY to accomplish this. Down to the wire.
Arun reconnecting some wiring to the back of the organ:
After a group dinner the crew connected the additional tubing and tested the air pressure (it turned out that it was difficult to sum the air pressure in single tubes from multiple sources, as increased pressure in some tubes would flow backwards into the less pressurized manifold openings — hence the need for additional tubing. Who would have guessed?)
Johanna and Emma arrange for the explanatory text I'd written to be stenciled in the hallway, and we decide it needs to be lit somehow. Between them and Per they manage to light it just in time before the crowds arrive in the morning.
Justin had the idea to mount one of the motors to the cement floor of the building, causing the whole area surrounding that motor to vibrate. That motor/floor is now the loudest of all the machines, emanating a massive Wagnerian bass tone. Almost terrifying.
Matti manages to redirect the power in the building from the now removed fluorescent lights to the circuit supplying the motors and solenoids, which had blown some fuses previously.
Justin and Matti testing the day before the opening:
The solenoids pinging on the hollow metal columns that line this building make a wonderful super stereo effect — each column has its own natural pitch and each note comes from some unexpected place — sometimes near, sometimes at the far end of the building.
A solenoid on a column:
Johanna added a little stenciled symbol to each column — a hand with a line through it to indicate that folks shouldn't insert their fingers in the solenoids. (No danger of electrical shock, but should some youngster manage to insert a tiny finger in the space where the solenoid closes they'd probably get a nasty bruise.)
On the morning of the day of the opening I arrive on Jan's borrowed bike in time to see maybe a hundred people drinking coffee in the café and waiting on the stairs for the doors to open at noon. “How am I going to get a nice clean installation picture with all these people here?” I think to myself. I forget this as soon as I see people begin to play the thing. They're totally enraptured, entranced.
Couples play together, children go back for a second session and one man plays using his knuckles. A young woman takes a bow after her “performance”:
Those waiting their turns form a large semicircle behind the players and some drift forward into the building to sit on the floor and listen or examine where the sounds are coming from.
Some people go downstairs for coffee and sweet buns and then wander back up to just listen. Needless to say, I'm pleased — thrilled is more like it.
There's a makeshift dinner table set up in the Färgfabriken office, so during the opening in the evening we take turns helping ourselves to the salads and cheeses laid out by a local café. Then we wander upstairs in ones and twos to see what's happening, who's playing. Jan and I give a little speech — he introduces me and I attempt to credit and thank everyone who worked for around a year on this project.