Pipe organs are incredible, awesome instruments. One incredible aspect that contributes to their awesomeness is their ability to play a space. Each space an organ resides in reacts differently, creating different tones, and essentially allowing room for an infinite variety of instruments. Unfortunately nearly every pipe organ in existence is bolted irrevocably into a wall staring longingly at fornications all day. This is why I'm creating the Anywhere Organ.
I've designed a system where each note, each pipe of a pipe organ is attached to a central air supply through a hose. The air to each organ pipe is controlled by a solenoid valve articulated through Arduino. I'm writing modules to take MIDI keyboard information and translate it to the valves. Each hose is independent making for an octopus like instrument where each separate pipe can be installed with care and consideration relative to the space. This means the instrument can be installed anywhere; a park, a fire escape, an abandoned warehouse, a secret underwater cave. The pipes can be distributed to take advantage each location's specific character and personality. It also means that anyone can participate in the project and take a turn. I'd like to get people playing with the Anywhere Organ so they can see the effect space has on music and sound, so they have a public venue to fool around with music, and to have an opportunity to collaborate with other musical artists to create new sounds with it.
Churches are switching over to digital music. This means they're saving the expense of cleaning, tuning, and clearing dead pigeons out of organ pipes. It's sad to see such a cool instrument phased out for the sake of cost and convenience but it's inevitable. This also means that there are entire registers of pipes for sale on Ebay for a song. I'm slowly buying these up. I'm also reaching out to the awesome music and hacking scene in Brooklyn to begin finding collaborators who want to help create new music with the system and help me find amazing venues to install the project in.
Here is a picture picture showing my conception of the system installed in a park: http://sinbox.org/whereverorgan.jpg
Thank your for your time. I hope the idea of this project makes you as excited as it makes me.
Funded by New York City, NY (March 2010)