DJ makes music using...barcodes

03rd February 2014 - Fine Cut
DJ makes music using...barcodes

Traditionally, barcodes might be used for a whole number of reasons - electronic component identification, barcode tracking, product marking, serial numbering, batch control or component marking, for example.

However, Jakub Pisek - a musician based in Kosice, Slovakia - is using them for a whole other reason.

Inspired by the monotonous sound of cashiers beeping endless products through the tills, the DJ decided to sample the noise to make music. He then used performances of his work to 'sound bomb' grocery stores and put on live shows for members of the public going about their daily shop, reports.

Naming the spectacle Barcode DJ, Mr Pisek walks around the outlets with a trolley full of speakers, scanning barcodes on the shop shelves in order to create the familiar sound that usually rings out from the tills.

The concept was born back in 2010 during an event called Nuit Blanche in Kosice.

"Sound was always very important to me and the loud beeping of the cash registers is [a distinct] sound in grocery stores. They are monotone, but rich in rhythm, changing all the time and there are lot of them, so it is a truly multi-channel sound piece," explained Barcode DJ's creator.

The project has not been without its problems. Mr Pisek explains how he has been thrown out of shops on occasion, due to his 'sound bomb' behaviour. However, he recalls one performance in Bucharest, at which onlookers stopped to watch and even took photographs.

His talents are not just limited to barcodes. The artist also runs a project called trashcan symphony, in which three rubbish bins erupt with a different sound when opened - one canned laughter, another techno music and the third, the sound of hands clapping. 

Whether the music is to your taste or not, one thing's for sure - Mr Pisek has taken the humble barcode and certainly made it something really quite extraordinary.

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