For one year beginning in June 2000, [The User] will animate an ongoing audio exploration of Montréal's Silo #5 grain elevator. SILOPHONE combines sound, architecture, and new communications technologies to transform this landmark of Montreal's industrial cityscape. The SILOPHONE instrument blurs the boundaries between music, architecture and net art. Using a combination of communication technologies including internet, telephone and radio, sounds from around the world will be drawn into the Silo. Sounds arriving at the site will be broadcast into the vast concrete grain storage chambers inside the building. Reverberated, transformed and transfigured by the remarkable acoustics of the structure, the sounds will be captured by microphones and rebroadcast back outside the building. Throughout the year, a series of artists will be invited to propose musical interpretations with the SILOPHONE.
A trained architect and a musician, respectively, Thomas Macintosh and Emmanuel Madan have been operating as [The User] since 1997. They have produced a family of acclaimed works that include musical composition, audio-visual performance and sound installation. Their ongoing and open project “Silophone” turns an enormous chamber, inside a disused grain elevator in Montreal, into a supernatural reverb chamber where all sorts of sonic transformations take place. Their recent “Coincidence Engine” is an audio/visual series inspired by György Ligeti and his musical use of metronomes. This talent for sculpting and reconfiguring sound from unexpected sources will be on sonic and visual display when they perform, for the first time in many years, “The Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printers”. Networking more than a dozen of these now obsolete machines together and running a ‘score’ of ASCII text files, the printing action produces a remarkably harmonious screech of different frequencies, pitches, and melodies.