Myriad, the english expression, stands for a huge, uncountable number of persons or things. Composed of 2,464 identical pieces, the nearly uncountable – myriad music box mechanisms, TOPOTEK 1’s Cacophony Collage, although masked in manufactured uniformity, is a sonic representation of a paradox heterogeneity. Produced in China, their components are outwardly indistinguishable.
By turning the music box key, however, the visitor reveals an array of inner auditory diversity: each one plays one of fifty-four different tunes, encompassing a broad spectrum of copyright-free melodies. The melody list, arranged in 6 musical genres and 14 subgenres, began with the top 20 music box tunes sold in China and was expanded upon to represent musical diversity that in total represents 14 different global nationalities and spans chronologically from the 1400s up to the 20th century. Chosen and arranged by collaborating composer Rebecca Saunders, the distinctly recognizable melodies exude an innate sense of familiarity and childhood intimacy. Collectively however the tunes create a collective polyphonic composition, projecting cumulative surfaces of sound into the acoustic space. Heard en masse, the music boxes create a startling sonic image, reflecting a tension between the unit and the ensemble, or the individual and the collective.
Myriad is activated purely by the interactive collaboration of visitors, who compose a unique sonic image and a collective melody – generating a continually evolving and diversified cacophony. As such, a visitor on any given day experiences an entirely unique acoustic landscape, at once deeply personal yet global. The acoustic milieu and assemblage closely responds to the interaction and migration of people through space and time, reflecting the realities and social dynamics of many places in the world nowadays.