Hack the barrel organ

text r.v.

In the beginning of the movie ‘The Dress’ (De Jurk) (1996) of Alex van Warmerdam we see how an Indian man, after a Dutch paver has made an end to his Hindu music, pushes a barrel organ into the water, as an elucidation thereby shouting “You kill my music, I kill your music!”. In another Dutch movie this archetypical Dutch phenomenon also gets destroyed. In the classic chase scene in Amsterdamned (1988) of Dick Maas a police car comes halfway to a standstill in this typical Dutch musical instrument. Both fragments express a slight intolerance of this noisy instrument of which I certainly approve. Personally I was of the opinion that apart from the volume this aversion was caused by the repertoire and the pushy way the bottler calls attention to his collecting box. Any other street artist who would combine these characteristics would immediately be arrested. But perhaps there is another feature that brings about the underlying antipathy. I am hereby alluding to the mechanical. The pieces of organ music are after all entirely written to so called punch cards and as a result every performance sounds the same. This system of punch cards has originally been developed further by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in behalf of the first automatic weaving loom (1790). The punch card functions hereby as the data carrier of the various weave diagrams. Eventually this technique contributed significantly to our computer technology. That the combination of artificiality and organ music can also turn out well proves hip hop artist DJ Shadow on his album Endtroducing….. (1996). In the sublime track Organ Donor a piece of organ music is being sampled and consequently lifted to incredible height. So the use of technology doesn’t automatically lead to an artificial end product, to the mechanical. From this perspective computer users could be classified in the creative and passive. Do you use a computer in the first place to make your life easier or as a way to express yourself? If you belong to the latter this probably means that a lot of the standardization in computer programs form an undesirable obstacle, a hindrance to your expression. This asks for disadjustment, for being hijacked. It’s no coincidence that the hacking of computers allures to so many. Hereby it’s not about eliminating the system but about controlling it. To return to that archetypical Dutch musical instrument; hack the barrel organ!


About The Bleeding Tomato

The Bleeding Tomato is the online sketch book of Roberto Voorbij - Visual / 3D Artist. A place for his spin-offs, new ideas, personal frustrations and fascinations. Blogging about art, sociology, technique, marketing and more…
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