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Karaoke Torii Made of Speakers

a traditional Japanese torii gate made out of speakers

a traditional Japanese torii gate made out of speakers

For the Kobe Biennale held in Kobe, Japan in 2016, sculptor Benoît Maubrey created a traditional Japanese torii gate out of speakers and a bunch of inputs (Bluetooth, line-in, even an 8-track). Using microphones or their phones, passersby could connect to the torii to play music or sounds, talk to each other over the mics, or sing karaoke. The structure was later relocated to Kamiyama. Maubrey has made several similar artworks; here’s what he says about his work:

Artistically I use loudspeakers much in the same way that a sculptor uses clay or wood: as a modern medium to create monumental artworks with the added attraction that they can make the air vibrate (“sound”) around them and create a public “hotspot”.

The audio part of my sculptures is also site-specific and flexible: in all my work the sound level is controllable and the interactivity is regulated via a mixing board (a bell tower or pendulum clock also make sound).

Participation: according to the sculpture site and purpose my sculptures can be equipped with a microphone (self expression), Bluetooth receivers (individuals can play their own tunes music), telephone answering machines (people can call and express themselves Live), radio receivers (for low-level cosmic white noise that sound like whispering pines), and “audio” twitter that allows people to send phonic messages. In some cases the whole system can be used as a PA system for announcements, concerts, open mike sessions, and DJ events.