Brother Printer Orchestra

Last year, I formed a collective with Neil Mendoza, Chris Cairns and Mathew Holloway, called is this good?. Our first project (through Partizan) was this one: an advert for a printer company, that was basically a whole orchestra of old printers, scanners, fax machines, receipt printers etc, playing the Bob Dylan song, “the times they are achangin'”.

We worked out how to make the motors of each device make different noises and made a series of prototypes based on Arduino, using midi to control them. I didn’t really know what I was doing, just prodding different wires inside the printer with the speaker output of a hifi amplifier until I could make a printer make an interesting sound, and then we’d try to recreate with an Arduino.

Next we commissioned Mike Harrison to make some swiss-army-knife arduino-compatible boards, that could basically make anything make a noise (christened “The Printrattler”) which we then proceeded to wire into loads of stuff we managed to pick up from office surplus warehouses.

Then we got the amazing Will Cohen to arrange the tune for the orchestra in a standard bit of music composition software. Then we set it up in a massive film studio and got it filmed.

More detailed tech breakdown here: