Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Piano, Fire, Axe, Art

Introducing "Piano Dismantling Operations" a performance in which a grand piano is destroyed. Completely. Why? Apparently it's some kind of deconstruction a go-go inspired happening:

"pianos are the most extreme incarnation of western rationalism. The keys are lined up in regular order, the extremely wide register matches an orchestra's, the tuning by equal temperament is done so because of cost priorities, there is a minute action of the hammers and the pedals, the steel frame supports the inside, there are taut wires, and the quality of the wood and the coating is important. Whichever factor you examine, the mechanism which has such cumbrous complexity is integrated with rational thought, but dressed in transcendental decoration."
A Japanese reporter in attendance said, "I felt that it was like hunting and defeating a beast with the whole village and sharing the delicious parts with everyone"

I was reminded of "Piano Dismantling Operations" by a news blurb I saw a couple weeks ago about an "artist" in Australia who had taken a chainsaw to a piano. You can read about it here. Judging by the news reports, those in attendance did not find the parts very delicious.

And all of that reminded me of composer Anna Lockwood's avant-garde "composition" from the 1960's titled "Burning Piano". You guessed it. A piano is set on fire. Lockwood has also composed a variety of other "piano works" ("Piano Drowning", "Piano Garden").

And that leads around and about back to Australia and the "World Association of Ruined Pianos". Surprisingly. Ruined pianos do make beautiful music.

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