Created and performed by Guillaume Maupin for the Cinema Nova in Brussels in 2005 the Human Jukebox is based on simples rules: the musician is sitting with his guitar inside a box that can take various shapes and sizes. At times, it’s hard to imagine that there is a real human being able to crawl inside it...The box is plastered with kitsch vinyls covers, echoing the Juekebox world. A list of nearly 200 songs hangs on one of the sides, all of those learned by heart by the man inside.
The audience is invited to insert coins (generally about 50 cents) an enter a song code on a small pocket calculator, the only tangible link with the musician.
The song is then performed by Guillaume Maupin, sometimes close to the original one, sometimes in a strange way, and with improvised verses when the actual words are sweeping from his mind...
The song choice is wide, from typical Jukebox material (The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Bod Dylan...) to more recent pop and rock artists (The Cure, Beck, Madonna, Britney Spears, Mickael Jackson...). Many French singers (Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Dominique A,...) and French traditionnal songs revealing the singer’s origin, alongside freak muscians like Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, famous « Outsiders » ( Daniel Jonhston, Wild man Fisher, The Shaggs, Jean Luc Le Tenia,..) and even unknown and unheard of amazing artists (Paulo de Domoy, Caillouche, Calypso Fact, Lonely Kid Quentin,...).
In a world where everybody has DJ inclinations, the audience, can choose the mood of the evening and turn into a dancing party, a weird songs discovery evening, a sing along fun time, a challenge to find the craziest song, etc...
The Human Jukebox is also an “Anti concert” experience, giving the audience the opportunity to rediscover live music. It is a way for famous and unknown songs to travel, making no diffrence between Pop, traditional music, jazz, chansons, rock’n roll, turning the interpret into a modern Troubadour figure.
The Magic and succes of the Human Jukebox relies on the fact that it brings a new way to experience music together. People, amused by
the dichotomy of the machine and live feeling, are talking when choosing their song, are making comments without fear close the musician, pay attention to the interpretation aspect. It shapes an event into a very special social experience.
The Human Jukebox is first a musical project and experience, its Freak/Art Brut installation aspect fits perfectly for big or small events. From the circus/ carnival- like events, to big festivals, or even private parties and as the highlight of crazy venue-type event.
The Human Jukebox was performed at Cinema Nova, Voorkammer (for Pierre Bastien’s opening) (Belgium), the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (Netherlands), Parole de Conteurs de Vassivière, Festival de Théâtre d’Avignon (France), White Trash (Berlin), the Museum of Everything (London), and many others big and small events throughout Europe.