cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

If you get to hang around Grant Potter on a mission of discovery, then you are in for a good day. Today we ventured down to the Montreal water front to find this project he came across called the Silophone:

Silophone is a project by [The User] which combines sound, architecture, and communication technologies to transform a significant landmark in the industrial cityscape of Montréal.

Silophone makes use of the incredible acoustics of Silo #5 by introducing sounds, collected from around the world using various communication technologies, into a physical space to create an instrument which blurs the boundaries between music, architecture and net art. Sounds arrive inside Silo #5 by telephone or internet. They are then broadcast into the vast concrete grain storage chambers inside the Silo. They are transformed, reverberated, and coloured by the remarkable acoustics of the structure, yielding a stunningly beautiful echo. This sound is captured by microphones and rebroadcast back to its sender, to other listeners and to a sound installation outside the building. Anyone may contribute material of their own, filling the instrument with increasingly varied sounds.

This project takes cues from transformations of similarly imposing industrial sites in Europe such as La Fonderie in Brussels, Belgium and Emscher Park in Germany’s Ruhr, both of which reactivate abandoned sites by appropriating the mandates of existing cultural programs in their surrounding communities. The Silophone project aims to raise popular awareness of the building and to catalyse activity that will eventually result in the discovery of an appropriate new function for the abandoned elevator.

We envisioned finding our way inside silo #5 to do a live broadcast on #ds106 radio, perhaps even having people call to link in to generate the sounds as described. Well the access was restricted…


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

And Brian Lamb reported no luck with uploaded sounds or using the telephone number. But Grant and I did easily locate the sonic observatory (its on the boardwalk) where you can speak in and get booming echoes back from the Silo


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

We made a bunch of noise for the radio, could be some bumper material in there:

Silophone Sounds

Not quite ready to give up, we ventured to the office address for the project, only to find it did not even exist anymore, much less be occupied.

So that’s about all of our Silophone adventure, having not quite been able to get inside it, or locate [The User] dude who made it (the web site functionality seems MIA), we opted for a refreshing cold drink.

UPDATE (June 21, 2012): Grant located more project info at http://www.undefine.ca/en/projects/silophone/ including this image of the microphone placement inside the silo:

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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