The next time you're in New Orleans, you might want to skip Bourbon Street and head for this incredible shanty town that doubles as a giant musical instrument. Built by Brooklyn artist Swoon and the New Orleans Airlift, Dithyrambalina is a fantastical series of structures made from reclaimed materials that work together as a larger-than-life music box. The amazing sound laboratory opens to the public on April 14th and visitors can even meet the artists and musicians who create work in this extraordinary place.
Each “house” in the Dithyrambalina shanty town is constructed from a hodgepodge mismatched windows, reclaimed wood, musical instrument parts and found objects, all from the New Orleans area. The house sculptures double as interactive instruments, designed by sound artists to be able to be played. Musical components are built into walls, floorboards, stairs and the like, allowing visitors to move through the houses and create sounds. More experienced sound artists can fine tune the house-instrument and manipulate theses sounds into more orchestrated music. Both the design of the structures and their function are inspired by New Orleans’ history of ornate architecture, and dedication to local music.
The Music Box is a prototype of the sound sculpture experiments that are created at Dithyrambalina for public consumption. Located in the St. Claude Arts District, the shanty town sound lab seems like a dream- with singing walls, heart-beat triggered percussion machine, organ staircase and weather sensitive oscillators. The open house invites the public for a rare glimpse into this giant living art installation, whose tiny rustic structures look right out of a movie set.
Throughout the year, Dithyrambalina is used as an experimental art and sound lab, but also hosts not to be missed concerts, where national music artists are invited to orchestrate the shanty town. The Music Box will be dismantled in June, so right now is a rare opportunity to experience this fantastical sound art installation.