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A Bywater lot becomes ‘The Music Box,’ a bohemian musical playground

(Doug MacCash, New Orleans Times-Picayune) A group of bohemian artists and musicians has banded together to produce a symphony of musical sculpture titled “The Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Laboratory,” on an empty Bywater lot. Based on a few preview visits to the project, I predict it will be a transporting experience that no lover of cutting edge art will want to miss. The Piety Street site, shielded by a jagged fence, is crowded with whimsical shacks built mostly with lumber left over from the demolition of the blighted house that once stood there. Each structure is home to an engagingly eccentric musical instrument.

credit: Floyd KamenitzThe floorboards of one small house work like a primitive keyboard. Step from plank to plank and a system of wires and pulleys designed by Ranjit Bhatnagar brings about exaggerated creaking sounds. On a second-floor alcove, a strangely beautiful custom-designed synthesizer — for lack of a better word — by Taylor Lee Shepherd repeats the sounds of human voices like vague conversations heard through thin walls.

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