Art installation transforms Pittsburgh's Market Square into a living record player | Blogh

Art installation transforms Pittsburgh's Market Square into a living record player

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Sporting tan leather shoes, rolled-up pants and maroon socks, Allard van Hoorn oversees production of his latest work of art, an installation that will transform a Downtown hub — Market Square — into a massive, interactive jukebox.

Allard van Hoorn, the mind behind the public art installation, Mix-n-Match - COURTNEY LINDER
  • Courtney Linder
  • Allard van Hoorn, the mind behind the public art installation, Mix-n-Match
The installation, Mix-n-Match, utilizes various forms of LED light and sound to convert the space into an over-sized record player.

At a press event this morning, the internationally renowned Dutch performance, sound and installation artist revealed that he was inspired to create this space during a search on Google Maps.

While looking at aerial views, "I was struck by the fact that Market Square looks like a record player already," he said, reflecting on the then-barren ring.

Mix-n-Match is an interactive experience — it allows passersby to control musical tracks that van Hoorn created in collaboration with local artists and a diverse collection of Pittsburgh organizations. The music plays from the three-foot-tall, cylindrical metal pin (like the spindle on a turntable) located in the heart of the Square.

Through an app on Market Square Public Art, visitors to the "turntable" can operate the "45 rpm disc," selecting songs. The sounds will play aloud throughout the day and early evening hours. Outside of these times, the music will be accessible via headphones.

Among the eight tracks van Hoorn created with Pittsburgh community groups are contributions from The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Clean Team and Point Park University. "1099 on Fifth and Wood" features sound effects from street-cleaning, and "Tapping Down the Road" includes the clicks and clacks of tap shoes.

Mix-n-Match is an opportunity to reclaim the area in a way that's anything but square. 

"There's a lot of culture going on in Downtown Pittsburgh," van Hoorn said. "We want to rethink how you can be entertained in a square."

Sallyann Kluz, associate director at the city's Office of Public Art, says the jumbo record player stitches together the community.

"It's an opportunity for communities to participate in planning," said Kluz.

Throughout the course of the installation's six-week stay, local groups who helped produce the jukebox tracks will provide live performances, including a community dance class and a family-friendly dance party.

In addition, Mix-n-Match is a stop on the walking tour for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's special Bicentennial Gallery Crawl. Local community members are already taking note of the project.

This morning, onlookers watched the production with enthusiasm. Patricia Bruce, a Carrick resident, describes her anticipation: "I definitely know it'll bring people together. Pittsburgh loves culture, and it's already an artistic city."

The piece officially opens at 5 p.m. Friday. At 6 p.m. Saturday, there will be an opening celebration including a public talk with van Hoorn and an accompanying performance by local artists.

Mix-n-Match
is a combined effort of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Office of Public Art and the City of Pittsburgh Public Art Division.

The installation will be on display through April 30.

Visit www.marketsquarepublicart.com for schedule and details.

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