David Byrne: How Architecture Helped Music Evolve


Prolific musician, author, curator, designer, and all-around creative David Byrne explores how context has pushed musical innovation. Can the same insights be considered for branded content application?

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 22 june 2010

David Byrne spoke at TED in February about how architecture helped music evolve. A very curious and interesting individual, Byrne’s extensive portfolio of work has taken his performances to a multitude of locations, and has evolved over time with a variety of influences. At TED, he asked himself (and his audience):

  • Does the venue make the music?
  • Do I write stuff for specific rooms/venues? Do artists paint for particular galleries or walls, and software developers for particular hardware?
  • And is that a model of creativity – making things with a venue/context in mind?

Citing a variety of examples across artists, genres, his own portfolio – and even nature – Byrne explores how context has pushed musical innovation. Byrne arrives at his conclusion that “Yes – it’s evolutionary, it’s adaptive – but the pleasure, the passion and the joy is still there”. We may have changed what we do and how we do it to fit the context – but the passion, they joy in creating it, are still there.

Context is often discussed these days, particularly with respect to content, media and the state of mind an individual is in when they are engaging with different forms of content. Some argue that content is media or context agnostic, while others argue that the content should be tailored to the context in which it will be consumed. We found this video to offer an example outside the realm of media and brands of how important context is in influencing content – in this case, as pertaining to a purely artistic medium – music. Byrne’s perspective, among others, is worth considering.

Watch the presentation below:

David Byrne

[via TED Talks]


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