Archive for the ‘Art/Aesthetics’ Category

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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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Sigurdur Gudmundsson

July 16, 2014

Guided by an existential interest in the unknown, Sigurdur Gudmundsson generates work of abundant wit and verve that questions the way that vernacular culture and art relates to nature. Depicting everyday circumstances with absurdist tweaks, his Situations read as visual poems that explore the idiosyncrasies of human existence and tend toward the comical while retaining philosophical gravity. Gudmundsson uses himself as the subject of the Situations, but does not consider the works to be self-portraits but, rather, open-ended reflections that invite the viewer to ponder alongside the artist. Turning to sculpture in recent years, Gudmundsson has focused on creating works that retain his characteristic humor and are dominated by elegance, simplicity, and technical perfection.

In 1978, with 19 other artists, Gudmundsson co-founded Reykjavik’s Living Art Museum, which is dedicated to experimental and innovative contemporary visual art. His artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at the 37th Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and his public commissions have been displayed in Rotterdam, Groningen, and The Hague.

Born: 1942
Hometown: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lives and Works: Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Xiamen, China

Text via Artspace
Images via i8 and ilikethisart

Collage, 1979. C-print, 69 x 87 cm / 106 x 127 cm framed

Horizontal Thoughts, 1970. Silver print on fiberbased paper. 100 x 95 cm

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Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

May 16, 2014

The relationship between bodily pleasure, space, and architecture—from one of the twentieth century’s most important urban theorists

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, the first publication of Henri Lefebvre’s only book devoted to architecture, redefines architecture as a mode of imagination rather than a specialized process or a collection of monuments. Lefebvre calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses.

Lukasz Stanek’s work has already taken scholarship on Henri Lefebvre’s concept of space to an unprecedented level of philosophical sophistication. With the discovery of the new text, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, Stanek escorts Lefebvre to the center of architecture theory since 1968. Lefebvre’s conceptual text and Stanek’s exquisite introduction together enable the possibility of thinking not about architecture, but thinking architecturally about how we inhabit our world. Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment takes us toward a concept of the architectural imagination that is a powerful mediator between thought and action.

—K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Text and Image via UPRESS

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Arvo Pärt on the Creative Process. From an interview conducted in November 1978

May 4, 2014

The following interview with Arvo Pärt was conducted at the composer’s home at Mustamäe, November 28, 1978. Filmed by Andres Sööt, the dialogue (at times, Arvo’s wife Eleonora seconds his husband behind the screen) and the rehearsal of the soon-to-be-premiered ‘Italian Concerto’ at the concert hall “Estonia” became the basis for the film-portrait entitled, suitably, “Arvo Pärt in November 1978”. The conversation, which lasted more than an hour (for the transcription of which we thank Jaak Elling), has been edited in order to make it more readable. Text from the actual film is in italics.

In February 1980, Arvo Pärt moved abroad with his family. His music stayed in his homeland as did two films by Andres Sööt about him: “Arvo Pärt in November 1978” (Eesti Telefilm, 1978) and “Fantasy C-dur” (Eesti Telefilm, 1979), which haven’t been aired since the name and the compositions of Arvo were banned in Estonia.

Ivalo Randalu: I remember when you came [to the conservatory] in 1954 you had lots of blank sheets with you and you began to write a violin concerto. Then you had a very beautiful prelude a la Rachmaninov cis-moll, which you threw away after a year. You always changed, new qualities emerged. It led to your first symphony in your second year at the conservatory. And all those collages at that time. And then you had to turn again. What was it that made you change so much and move on?

Arvo Pärt: I think maybe the ideals that escort and accompany a human being in his life. Or let’s say – teachers, if we can say so. One has several teachers. One teacher can be the present and the people surrounding him – let’s say some school teachers belong there. At some period of time, a human is like inside these conditions and tuned to them. And then suddenly you discover another teacher for yourself – say, the past; great men of the past; all the cultural treasures of the past. It can happen that he becomes blind to all other things and fixes his view on the past only. And this certainly influences a man, gives a new tinge to his actions. Plus, there maybe exists the greatest teacher of all, I mean, the future – or let’s say, conscience. View yourself – what you’d really like to be. What you aren’t, but how you’d like to see yourself. We can say, it’s like a future we want to arrive at. Is that clear enough? Like an animal or, say, a little child chooses food.

Read fully HERE

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When Hitler Was Curator

April 27, 2014

Hitler loved art. His taste tended toward classicism. The Greek ideal of beauty was his general standard in aesthetics. He once wrote the following memorandum about how he guaranteed that he would get “good” art for the Munich Museum. “I have inexorably adhered to the following principle,” Hitler wrote.

If some self-styled artist submits trash for the Munich exhibition, then he is a swindler, in which case he should be put in prison; or he is a madman, in which case he should be in an asylum; or he is a degenerate, in which case he must be sent to a concentration camp to be “reeducated” and taught the dignity of honest labor. In this way I have ensured that the Munich exhibition is avoided like the plague by the inefficient.

And it was. I suspect a number of contemporary curators and museum directors feel roughly the same way Hitler did about artists who “submit trash.” But what made Hitler, Hitler — and not just your average Museum Director — was that he was willing to go that extra mile. He did, actually, send artists to prison, the asylum, and the concentration camp.

The current show at the Neue Galerie in New York City (“Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937”) mostly displays art that appeared in the now-infamous “Degenerate Art” exhibits organized by the Nazis in Munich and then taken to other cities around Nazi Germany. The point of the “Degenerate Art” exhibits was to demonstrate just how bad modern art had become, according to the Nazi sensibility.

In the late 1930s, Hitler made it Goebbels’ responsibility to purge art of degeneracy. Goebbels appointed Adolf Ziegler, who happened to be one of Hitler’s favorite painters, to the position of Director of the Reich Chamber of Visual Art. Ziegler looked around and declared many of the artworks of his time, “the products of insanity, of impudence, of ineptitude, and of decadence.” Ziegler went about the process of seizing much of this “degenerate” art, some of which appeared in the “Degenerate Exhibit” before being sold off to other countries or destroyed. The show at the Neue Galerie includes paintings by Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Paul Klee — to name a few of the most well-known “degenerates.” The Neue Galerie’s show also displays some of the work that Hitler and the Nazi apparatus liked. There is a painting by Adolf Ziegler himself, entitled “The Four Elements: Fire, Earth, and Water, Air” (1937). This painting was a special favorite of Hitler. He kept it hanging in his Munich apartment.

Written by Morgan Meis. Read full article at The Smart Set.

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Senses Of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound

October 22, 2013

The study of the senses has become a rich topic in recent years. Senses of Vibration explores a wide range of sensory experience and makes a decisive new contribution to this growing field by focussing not simply on the senses as such, but on the material experience – vibration – that underpins them.
This is the first book to take the theme of vibration as central, offering an interdisciplinary history of the phenomenon and its reverberations in the cultural imaginary. It tracks vibration through the work of a wide range of writers, including physiologists (who thought vibrations in the nerves delivered sensations to the brain), physicists (who claimed that light, heat, electricity and other forms of energy were vibratory), spiritualists (who figured that spiritual energies also existed in vibratory form), and poets and novelists from Coleridge to Dickens and Wells. Senses of Vibration is a work of scholarship that cuts through a range of disciplines and will reverberate for many years to come.

Senses of Vibration
A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound
By: Shelley Trower

Text & Image via Bloomsbury

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Hunks: How Ripped Became an Ideal. A historic look at images of masculinity

October 20, 2013

Not all purveyors of art think the male form gets enough attention. Exhibitions like Sascha Schneider’s show at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art have highlighted the importance of the male nude and its relationship to history; but others, including the recent “Masculine/Masculine” retrospective at the Musée d’Orsay, have prompted the question: “Why had there never been an exhibition dedicated the male nude until … last year?” The answer: Unlike female bodies, which are supposedly mysterious and full of secrets, male bodies are boring—or at least they’re presented that way. A new book, Universal Hunks: A Pictoral History of Muscular Men Around the World, 1895-1975, provides a little more perspective.

In Hunks, authors David L. Chapman and Douglas Brown trace the origins of the sculpted, nearly nude, or totally bare male silhouette across the globe. Their journey begins in Europe with Anglo-German “physical culturalist” Eugen Sandow and ends in South America with a snapshot of Hercules Cement—not because the West is the fount of all masculine identity or idealization, but because it was a tremendous exporter of those concepts at the time. The “male body factored prominently in the construction of modern national identities,” write Chapman and Brown, and as the imperial powers of the day disseminated their own religious and sociopolitical standards, they also strove to shape the actual bodies of the people they encountered.

Still, the exchange (or replacement) isn’t so cut and dry.

Text and Images via The Atlantic. COntinue THERE