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Some History of Piano Destroyers

March 7, 2018
Disclaimer: The content you are about to see contains graphic images of pianos being destroyed in different ways. Some viewers may find the following videos offensive. If so, you are not advised to watch the following.

 

*As one might imagine, there have been thousands of undocumented piano destructions all over the world. This list is a just a brief compilation of pianos being destroyed under different contexts/circumstances (artistic or not) and it does not represent an actual chronology of piano destruction. 

PIANO DESTRUCTION RITUAL: COWBOY AND INDIAN, PART TWO by Raphael Montañez Ortiz

“Participatory Performance. Background Sound Thunder and Lighting. The Piano is a powerful instrument of sound to convey the message of Sacrifice I wish to convey to the Universe. The Sounds of its Destruction gives full voice to Sacrifice: To the Destruction Creation in it cycle of Creation is giving us time to understand the preciousness of Mortal Life that it never be given up to or for Sacrifice of any kind… If we must have WAR send our PIANOS to WAR. If we must have VIOLENCE send our PIANOS to VIOLENCE, I dare YOU to HATE your PIANO to fill it with your HATE and BIGOTRY and Let Creation Know your PIANO’S Life does not compare to the Miracle of Life WE MORTALS are and that OUR PIANO is the SACRIFICE TO THAT FACT…As for the Egg and the Feathers they are the subtle aspect the preparation for the SPIRITUL BONDING with the PIANO: The Egg when it is held gently in one’s cupped hands and You imagine the worst aspects of Your Character and then crush the Egg on the PIANO you have committed Yourself to the surrender of those worst aspects to the Sacrifice the PIANO is… The Feathers placed on top of the crushed Egg are the signal to the Angels to carry the Sacrifice to a place of Spiritual Redemption.”

Piano Burning by Annea Lockwood. Festival PiedNu 2016

Annea Lockwood’s classic performance music work, Piano Burning (1968) was composed when she found abandoned upright pianos on the banks of the Thames River in London during the 1960s.

Busy Signals for 10 decomposing pianos by Paul Wiancko. Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, 2015.

Performed by Paul Wiancko, Emilie-Anne Gendron, Ryan McCullough, Elena Urioste, Ayane Kozasa, Charles Noble, Curt Spiel, Kevin Krentz, Meeka Quan DiLorenzo, Brittany Boulding Breeden, and Sonja Myklebust. Commissioned by the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival and premiered at the grand opening of Howard Johnson’s Piano Garden on Signal Hill in Twisp, WA on July 26, 2015.

The End of Civilisation by Douglas Gordon, 2012.

“I wanted to do something with a piano in a landscape of some significance and I suppose, as a Scotsman, there’s nothing more significant than the border. I thought it was beautiful to look from one country into another and I liked the idea that Hadrian’s Wall is, under a certain interpretation, a great end of civilization…  I was overwhelmed to be in a landscape of such beauty, and with such a huge unfathomable history.” —Douglas Gordon

PIANO DEMOLITION PERFORMANCE byMATTHEW BOURNE , SPATCHCOCK, LONDON, MAY 15, 2010.

“SPATCHCOCK’ nights were legendary: hosted by a community of extraordinarily creative people living in amongst the warehouses in Overbuy Road, London. Raucous, intense, powerful, FUN. As the evenings progressed, one could be guaranteed of becoming quite mashed-up, and continuing well into the following morning… SPATCHCOCK had asked if I would play an old upright piano – one they were looking to dispose of. Not wishing to pay for its removal, they asked that, as part of the performance, would I mind progressively destroying it… Armed with tools from Rupert Lees’s nearby workshop, I set about the task of a ‘demolition performance’. The video ends with an ‘encore’ performed off-camera, on another upright, elsewhere in the warehouse. The debris from the demolition was recycled, and fashioned into functional or decorative items by Rupert Lees; and the strung, iron frame, is still in use today, at Ellis Gardiner’s nearby studio.”

Yosuke YAMASHITA “Burning Piano 2008,” March 8, 2008 at Noto Resort Area Masuhogaura, Shika-machi, Ishikawa, Japan) Related Event of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Third Anniversary Exhibition, Graphism in the Wilderness: Kiyoshi Awazu Exhibition.

“In the upcoming event, I will encounter an old piano built decades ago, otherwise destined to be discarded. For this old piano, I would like to perform a funeral requiem with the deepest love from my heart. At the same time, I would like my performance to pay homage to the 1973’s performance (this film work “Burning Piano” by Kiyoshi Awazu was presented in 1974,) as well as to Kiyoshi Awazu, the artist of richly experimental spirit who created it, and to all experimental avant-garde art movements of the sixties.” Text Via

fig_1.jpgLeonhard Lapin, Ülevi Eljand, Ando Keskküla, “Trio for Piano,” 1990, happening in Tallinn Art Hall, 1990. Image courtesy of the Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn.

One of the most well-known events organized by SOUP was the happening Trio for Piano, held on International Women’s Day on March 8, 1969, in the main hall of the State Art Institute. This event wasn’t called Trio for Piano initially (the name was given retrospectively by Lapin), nor was it – at least not unambiguously – understood as a “happening” at the time. There are no recordings of this event, only the memories of the participants and the audience, according to which this happening can be, cautiously, described as follows (keeping in mind that memories are rather fluid).

As the Art Institute had recently acquired a new piano, the old piano was donated to students who had requested it. According to Lapin, they had heard that pianos were being destroyed by young and radical artists all over Europe. The students were generally familiar with the phenomena of happenings and they had organized some similar events at the Art Institute and elsewhere. International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the country with performances, lectures, and other events, and the art students made their own contribution to this celebration. In front of an audience of other students, they put the piano at the center of their activities and played on it and with it in every possible way. For example, Künnapu played the piano while reading an architectural drawing as a “score;” others painted smiling lips on the instrument and “made love” to the piano before moving it to one side and breaking it into small pieces, which were thrown to the audience to take away as souvenirs. During the event the artists also considered whether the piano should be thrown out of the window onto the street crossing next to the art school, which was known as a dangerous place where a lot of accidents happened; however in the end, this idea was abandoned. The audience was excited and reacted to all of the activities energetically; the event was remembered many years later as a legendary disturbance, but it had no serious consequences for the organizers. Text Via

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a12Wiener Gruppe – 2nd Literary Cabaret – 15. 4. 1959. Porrhaus, Vienna. Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer, Gerhard Rühm and Oswald Wiener.

Tthe evening (of 15th april, 1959) began as promisingly as the first one. As soon as the first spectator entered the auditorium we started to play the tape recording of an oil—extraction plant transmitted by loudspeaker, which we kept going for about three-quarters of an hour till the beginning of the performance proper. This created a technical atmosphere and made for nervousness in the crowded audience (there were about 700 people). Continue HERE

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Evidence Rebuts Chomsky’s Theory of Language Learning

September 14, 2016

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The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions.

The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child’s first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all—such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique hu­­­man ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen. The new findings indicate that if researchers truly want to understand how children, and others, learn languages, they need to look outside of Chomsky’s theory for guidance.

Read HERE

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Experimental Governance: Thousands to receive basic income in Finland

September 14, 2016

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Finland is about to launch an experiment in which a randomly selected group of 2,000–3,000 citizens already on unemployment benefits will begin to receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros (approx. $600). That basic income will replace their existing benefits. The amount is the same as the current guaranteed minimum level of Finnish social security support. The pilot study, running for two years in 2017-2018, aims to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.

The Finnish government introduced its legislative bill for the experiment on 25 August. Originally, the scope of the basic income experiment was much more ambitious. Many experts have criticized the government’s experiment for its small sample size and for the setup of the trial, which will be performed within just one experimental condition. This implies that the experiment can provide insights on only one issue, namely whether the removal of the disincentives embedded in social security will encourage those now unemployed to return to the workforce or not.

Still, the world’s largest national basic income experiment represents a big leap towards experimental governance, a transformation that has been given strong emphasis in the current government program of the Finnish state. Additionally, the Finnish trial sets the agenda for the future of universal basic income at large. Its results will be closely followed by governments worldwide. The basic income experiment may thus well lead to the greatest societal transformation of our time.

Read HERE

 

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All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life

September 14, 2016

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Where would you look for alien life? An astronomer and science popularizer explains the basics of astrobiology to outline five plausible scenarios for finding extraterrestrials

It takes Jon Willis, astronomy professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, 170 pages – the length of a Henry James short story, for Pete’s sake – to get around to the Drake Equation in his winning debut, All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life, but we should probably deal with it immediately. In 1961, at a conference in West Virginia, astronomer Frank Drake worked up an exotic-looking equation on a blackboard. Drake had just recently completed a project designed to detect alien radio broadcasts from the region of the star systems Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridanus, and the blackboard equation he wrote has become a signature parameter for the whole subject of Willis’s book, astrobiology.

More HERE

 

 

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100 Million Years of Decorating Yourself In Junk

July 12, 2016

 

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Every year, in northern Myanmar, thousands of farmers pull tonnes of Cretaceous amber out of the ground, and send the glistening nuggets to local markets. For six years, Bo Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues have visited the markets and sifted through 300,000 of the glistening nuggets. It was a lot of work. Then again, it takes a lot of work to find animals that spent their whole lives trying not to be found.

Within the amber, Wang’s team identified dozens of ancient insects that camouflaged themselves by adorning their bodies with junk. They had short bristles and elaborate feathery tubes, onto which they stuck sand, soil, wood fibres, bits of ferns, and even body parts of other insects. They were the earliest animals that we know of to camouflage themselves, some 100 million years ago.

Read HERE

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The philosophy of ugliness

July 8, 2016

The ugly is a very intractable concept: as anomalous, messy, irregular, unsettling and ultimately unsurveyable as the phenomena it characterizes. The ugly sits squat and tumorous at some hidden place in our body conceptual, reaching out to unexpected points while conspicuously absent in more expected places. It touches sensitive places in our psyche and culture, for example in its connection with issues of deformity, otherness and gender. It is a concept horribly well connected, as Mojca Küplen points out, with ideas such as “alienation, estrangement, dehumanization, destruction, degeneration, disconcertion, absurdity, and with emotions evoking terror, horror, anxiety and fear”. The concept of ugliness, though, has sufficient shape and regularity to reward the philosophical attention which these three books supply, but, as we learn in different ways from all of them, it seems to wilfully frustrate the demand for a consistent and satisfying explanation. The concept’s misshapenness and eccentric centre of gravity mean that even its relation to the beautiful is not cleanly binary. As Gretchen E. Henderson notes in Ugliness, the beautiful and the ugly are like “stars which fall into one another’s gravity and orbit one another”, but their orbit is a highly eccentric one which no Keplerian law of symmetry could hope to describe. Read HERE

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Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind

July 8, 2016

A paper in The British Medical Journal in December reported that cognitive behavioral therapy — a means of coaxing people into changing the way they think — is as effective as Prozac or Zoloft in treating major depression.

In ways no one understands, talk therapy reaches down into the biological plumbing and affects the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. Other studies have found similar results for “mindfulness” — Buddhist-inspired meditation in which one’s thoughts are allowed to drift gently through the head like clouds reflected in still mountain water.

Findings like these have become so commonplace that it’s easy to forget their strange implications.

More HERE