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Tooooot! Pratt Institute Rings in 2010 With Musical Steam Explosion

steam-012810BLDGBLOG has turned us on to a New Year’s Eve musical performance with an ingenious, arty twist. Instead of counting down to midnight at a dance club, for the last few years a brave clutch of New Yorkers has been heading over to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, to watch as the Pratt Institute’s steam power plant is transformed for one night into a bellowing, explosive instrument whose sound and systems leave it “somewhere between subterranean calliope and mutant wave organ”. Conrad Milster, Pratt’s Chief Engineer since the mid 1960s, has been collecting and, periodically and very noisily, displaying a vast array of steam whistles hooked into the massive steam plant which, as it started churning out power in 1887, is the oldest private, continuously operating generator in the U.S. A literal blast from the past, the organ not only stretches ideas of what a musical instrument is, but transports viewers back in time to when the novelty of industry itself could inspire ground-shaking art. Enjoy the BLDGBLOG’s exclusive video—just remember to turn your sound down before hitting “play”.

To keep expanding your musical horizon, check out “Music + Travel Worldwide” from our guidebook series. If it makes music, it’s in there.
“Steam Tunnel Music” [BLDGBLOG]

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