Reverse Busking

Brainstorming phase:

Tas and I wanted at first to agree to explore the idea of interaction through the use of popular Internet videos or ‘Memes’ such as the ‘Running Man’ videos. We came to this conclusion at first because at the time it was the ‘it’ video to be watched all over social media and it had involved a dance that we thought would invite the public to dance along to. This idea ultimately became a failure because by the time we had started the work; the video slowly died out and therefore was not eligible for our original idea. This bred the thought of public inclusion though music. We then decided to busk, and that evolved to our final idea, the Come Play, Hear Our Sound do it yourself style busking thought where we would prop up a keyboard for the passing public to play as we were recording there sounds on the computer.


Our process for this assignment came up through a jumble of ideas. After we had come up with the idea we were happy with we had the idea of hosting it in the University, and also to make it as mobile as possible because we wanted to have it in at least three sites. We then had the idea of doing it in public and we gained access to the sites with the help of Bianca. We then had to think of the equipment we wanted to use. The obvious choice was a keyboard with enough octaves on it so people could play two-handed and with a lot of freedom. Next were the speakers. We wanted them to be loud but only loud enough so that the surrounding shops would not be disturbed. Tas supplied two, but in the end we only used one and we found that was sufficient enough for the experiment.

We found a use for the sound program Abelton as well. Through our computers we were able to record what the public was playing to mold the work of our experiment. Lastly a few chairs were needed and a sign that was altogether inviting enough for people and also simple enough to fit on a sign.


Execution of Process:

On the day of the assignment Tas and I were given three options of where to set up amongst the mall of Wollongong. We chose a spot right next to escalators, seating arrangements and shops.


We chose this place because we thought a lot of people would be trafficking through and be interested in our set up.

Our decisions let to the piano facing away from us and tas and I sitting behind a table on chairs far from the keys themselves. The speakers were set up below the keyboard so to project the sound from below in order to minimalise it. The sign was then placed next to the keyboard, standing at about the same height.

At first we spent a few minutes hoping for more people to be coming through our space but we thought we got lucky with a few people who gave us looks but kept walking. Mostly we would call out to people, colluding to our public interaction experiment. We did this in our best inviting voices but it only worked four, maybe five times. Our first interaction involved a man who worked in one of the phone stores above us. He asked us questions about what we where doing (This popped up quite a few times) and gave what he said was his ‘best shot’ on the piano.


Most of our interactions started with the question stated above. About fifteen or so minutes before we decided to pack up. One of two people who stopped thought we were selling something. Perhaps the piano or something we kept under the table. Tas and I acknowledged that although the sign did have that factor to it. Its simple message was what was needed for our space to make sense to the public.


This experiment ultimately could have been decided on the variables that we had brought on the day. If we positioned the piano wrongly, or if we didn’t have any sign, then it would have been seen as busking. Thankfully, that opinion was only voiced by one couple, of whom ended up playing one or two notes in total.

At first the two of us were skeptical about our location and wanted to move, but as the early morning turned to mid morning more and more people passed us we were thankful that we had chosen that spot.

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