Silophone is a long-term intervention into Silo #5, an abandoned grain storage facility in the port of Montréal. A quarter of a mile long and over twenty storeys high, the building is a vast complex formed of 115 vertical storage chambers, each 30 metres tall and up to 8 metres in diameter. This structure constitutes a sonic environment with extraordinary acoustic properties, most notably a reverberation time of over 20 seconds. Sounds occurring inside the building are dramatically transformed by these unusual acoustics.
[The User] has made the acoustic space of the Silo accessible to the outside world in a number of ways, including the participative website silophone.net, the telephone access system +1 514 844 5555, and the “Sonic observatory,” a permanent public sound installation located near the site in Montréal. These three elements of the Silophone public instrument are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and continue to be widely accessed by participants from around the world. In addition, a series of punctual interventions took place in galleries and performance spaces in North America and Europe between 2000 and 2003. Original works using the Silophone instrument were commissioned from twenty-five sound artists and musicians. Audio recordings of these works are available at Reservoir, Silophone’s online archive
Silophone is created by [The User]. The inaugural season of Silophone (2000-2001) was presented by Quartier Ephémère, the Société des arts technologiques, the Chaîne culturelle Radio-Canada with the technical collaboration of Bell and the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Daniel Langlois Foundation, the Port of Montréal and Mackie Designs.
The Silophone website was created with the technical and design expertise of Simon Piette and Étienne Désautels. Silophone’s telephone interface was developed in collaboration with the Bell Canada’s DATEC Emerging Technologies laboratories.
Since June 2001, the ongoing production of Silophone has been maintained by the /Undefine organization (formerly Silophone) with ongoing technical support and bandwidth provided by the SAT and financial support from the Conseil des arts de Montréal. [The User] wishes to thank the many individuals who contributed to Silophone. Special thanks to Virginie Pringuet.