Make Cities Like Pop Songs

The Dutch have a tradition with barrel organs in the city. But what happens if you put the city into a barrel organ? Dutch artist Akko Goldenbeld of the Eindhoven Design Academy exhibited his ‘Stadsmuziek’ installation at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.

A physical model of the city of Eindhoven is rolled onto a drum and attached to a piano. Buildings with each a unique form and dimension hit the piano keys. This way the physical pattern of the city is expressed into sound. Eindhoven apparently produces quite a messy piece of music, without any recognizable patterns at all. Which, of course, has to do with the rather chaotic urban lay-out of the Dutch City of Light. “Yet another reason to build straight forward cities”, the Modernist would say.

In addition, it makes us wonder which city would produce the more catchy types of songs. I could image Manhattan to be quite bombastic, or Milan to sound like Verdi’s La Traviata. But the main question addressed by this installation is whether cities that produce more interesting songs would also be more livable. I can’t tell yet. But at least we can test if it’s true what people say about Dubai: that the Macarena is embedded in the street patterns of Palm Island.