Some would say vinyl's making a comeback, but for most people, those crates of albums gathering dust in a garage will never again see the light of day. What to do with these little black circles of nostalgia when you've thoroughly admired the album artwork and re-purchased the music through iTunes? Paul Cocksedge has an idea with "Change the Record," a live, interactive performance that breathes new life into vinyl records by bending them into speakers for iPods. The performance is part of an installation curated by Ron Arad at London's Roundhouse called Curtain Call.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own records to the performance, where Cocksedge will use heat to mold them into phonograph-style cones. Propped on simple lucite stands, the records are turned into low-tech amplification systems for any MP3 player or smartphone that's propped inside of it. (It also makes a nice hat for Arad, who's known for his inventive chapeaus.)
While turning vinyl into pieces of art and design certainly isn't a new concept -- we've seen everything from bowls to wallcoverings rendered from old Beach Boys albums -- there's an interesting twist here in using the vinyl itself as a way to turn up the volume on digital music. I hope there's a symphony at the event where people are playing the album their iPods are nestled inside as the very first selections for their new speakers.
Of course, melting perfectly good vinyl into a non-record shape will always raise the ire of sensitive audiophiles. While purists might bemoan the idea of rendering a record unlistenable in the service of a cheeky art project, I'd suggest this peacemaking effort: How about people only bring in ones that are scratched beyond recognition?
Cocksedge's performance happens August 27 at the Roundhouse in London. The Curtain Call show is up through August 29.
[Photos by Mark Cocksedge]