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Image: New Orleans’s Music Box village.
Fast Company
New Orleans’s Music Box village.
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updated 5/31/2012 11:45:09 AM ET 2012-05-31T15:45:09

The floors sing in the shacks and shanties of New Orleans’s Music Box village. The walls hum and the cabinets tinkle and the bathtub sounds like an upright bass — all of which is entirely befitting an art installation in a city where music seems to rise out of the very sidewalks.

The Music Box is the brainchild of Brooklyn street artist Swoon, who collaborated with artists and musicians to turn salvaged materials into a miniature shantytown on the banks of the Mississippi, where each house doubles as a makeshift musical instrument.

There is a Singing House in which a harmonic drone synthesizer is tuned to the weather; wind speed, sun, moonlight, rainfall, and lightning modify an ever-present E major chord. There is a Lookout Tower Drone Organ, with a spiral staircase covered in pipes from a church organ destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. There is a Rotational Ruckus Machine, where industrial fans are converted into percussive sound machines (complete with rat traps for foot pedals).

The entire village can be "played" in performances that look and sound like some kind of voodoo "Fantasia."

See more photos of New Orleans’s Music Box village at FastCoDesign.com.

(via Grist)

Suzanne LaBarre is a senior editor at Fast Company's Co.Design. Email her at suzannelabarre@gmail.com.

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