Where does creativity play into the land of plenty? Do art and music transcend their commercial value? What of the hymn? What of the ballad? What of the slave song? What of love songs that were actually written for a certain individual rather than a target audience? What provides unique inspiration for a nation absorbed by the pre-packaged?
The barcode has traditionally been relegated completely to a single function — organizing and tracking products; Barcode Orchestra uses the classification system of the commercial inventory– the barcode — to create music. Barcode Orchestra allows people to create a new relationship to this system and reclaim a sense of control over the morass of packaging that surrounds them. Using a simple algorithm, the barcodes’ digits are translated into notes on a staff–a process that imbues each product with musical potential. The resulting auditory experience transforms the act of shopping into a stream of musical phrases.
In 2010, Barcode Orchestra staged in-store performances by playing products on the shelves and in the carts of customers within several Wal-Marts and Targets in the Northern Virginia region.