The Poetry Machine


The Poetry Machine


Interactive audio/mixed media installation including organ, speakers, carpet, computer and electronics.

Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Courtesy of Luhring Augustine, New York, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo.

Cardiff & Miller

A vintage Wurlitzer organ from the 1950’s sits in the middle of the gallery. Sitting on top of it, are various old speakers and gramophone horns. If a key is pressed on the organ, you hear Leonard Cohen’s beautiful, gravelly voice reading a poem from The Book of Longing. Each key on the organ contains a different poem from the book. They can be played one at a time or all at once. If you press one key singly and then another, it is like creating different linkages between Cohen’s poems, almost like creating new poems from his words. Uncanny juxtapositions can take place. If you press numerous keys at once, a wonderful cacophony of Cohen’s voice surrounds you.

“With this piece we were attempting to create a magical machine that would be a small monument to Leonard Cohen’s brilliance.” –Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.


All Poetry written and performed by Leonard Cohen from The Book of Longing, published 2007 by McCleland and Stewart.

Special thanks to Robert Kory and The Estate of Leonard Cohen.

Dedicated to Leonard Cohen 1934-2016