You press one of the play buttons — the old kind that click when you push down on them — then you press another, and another. The small gallery fills with noise. It’s not unpleasant, but rather agreeably cacophonic. Perhaps this construction isn’t so scary after all. In fact, it’s kind of playful. Press as many of the 30 play buttons as you want, in any order, at any time — the score is yours to design. For a few minutes, everything is jubilantly loud and you’re delighted with your nonsensical masterpiece.
But then some of the tapes begin to stick, or slow, or stop entirely with an abrupt “tick” as the play button snaps back into its resting position. You press one of the players over and over again, trying to bring back the music, but the button refuses to stay down. Restarted, another tape spools slower than before, creating a warped, melancholic melody that is only an echo of its previous tune. After a while, you stop pressing the buttons and leave. When — if — you go back, you don’t know which buttons you pressed before or in what order; some of them don’t even push down any more after repeated use. Whatever fleeting opus you previously enjoyed is lost forever.