TECHNOLOGY

Printer Orchestra Plays Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are A-Changin' (VIDEO)

11/09/2012 01:41 pm ET

Yes, this is a commercial for Brother's next-generation printers, but it's a pretty great one.

In order to drive home the idea that the old days of printing are over, a team of expert technicians and interactive artists from London studio Is This Good? hooked up an "orchestra" made of 97 antiquated printers, scanners, modems and other bygone "relics" to play a pretty solid rendition of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

There were originally 103 pieces in the orchestra, but six broke on the day of filming.

The long-obsolesced gizmos were modified to become MIDI instruments, "through a rigorous process of soldering, reprogramming, hacking, and re-wiring" undertaken by Neil Mendoza, Marek Bereza, Stefan Dzisiewski-Smith, Justin Pentecost and others, according the YouTube description of this behind-the-scenes video about the project.

"[There's] no way we could have faked what we did and had it be as exciting," Dzisiewski-Smith said of the project. That kind of observation underlies a fundamental truth about technology: It takes a lot of work to produce an effect that looks like magic.

Believe it or not, this kind of project isn't without precedent. In 2008, James Houston hacked a quartet of similar old gadgets to play a cover of Radiohead's "Nude."

Here's the original version of the Bob Dylan song:

More:

Bob Dylan
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS