Posts Tagged ‘piano’

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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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Play Me, I’m Yours and The Sky Orchestra

March 27, 2013

Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over two million people worldwide – more than 700 pianos have already been installed in 34 cities across the globe, from New York to London, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.

Located in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges and ferries the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Who plays them and how long they remain on the streets is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. By creating a place of exchange ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.

Play Me, I’m Yours is currently taking place in Monterey in California until 24 March 2013. Watch out for Street Pianos coming to Munich, Cleveland OH, Omaha NE and Boston MA later in 2013! Watch this space as we will be announcing further new cities for 2013 over the coming months.

The Sky Orchestra is an artwork designed to deliver music to sleeping people from out of the sky. A form of provocative urban art, Sky Orchestra questions the boundaries of public artwork, private space and the ownership of the sky.

The Sky Orchestra is made up of seven hot air balloons, each with speakers attached, which take off (at dawn or dusk) and fly across a city. Each balloon plays a different element of a musical score, creating a massive audio landscape.

Many thousands of people experience the Sky Orchestra event live as the balloons fly over their homes at dawn. The airborne project is both a vast spectacular performance as well as an intimate, personal experience. A form of provocative acoustic urban art, Sky Orchestra questions the boundaries of public artwork, private space and the ownership of the sky.

All text and images via Luke Jerram.

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Sound Made Visible: Piano notes made visible on the CymaScope

February 24, 2013

For the first time in history individual piano notes have been made visible using the CymaScope instrument. The piano notes were painstakingly recorded by Evy King and then fed into the CymaScope one by one and the results recorded in high definition video. Click HERE to see sound.

Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to image the notes in video mode because when we observed the ‘A1’ note we discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the string’s harmonics mix in the piano’s wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them–probably a first in acoustic physics.

Capturing the dynamics was only possible with HD video but taming the dynamics of the piano’s first strike, followed by the short plateau and long decay phase, was tricky. We achieved the result with the help of a professional audio compressor operating in real time.

The Cymascope is an instrument that makes sound or music visible, creating detailed 3D impressions of sound or music vibrations. Here the rapidly expanding sphere is captured in a frozen moment. The interior reveals a beautiful and complex structure representing the rich harmonic nature of violin music.

All text and images via Cymascope

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Perch Verdad by Cliff Dweller

March 4, 2012


LA-based Cliff Dweller, a sonic and visual project by Ari Balouzian and friends, announces the release of their Perch Verdad EP on Rebel. Combining analog and digital, art and music, and organic and electronic, the five-track EP–including a remix from hotly tipped Baltimore beatmaker Ricky Eat Acid–truly fuses the best of both creative worlds for the aesthetically-minded listener.

A classically trained violist, multi instrumentalist and music producer, Balouzian isn’t shy of incorporating his wide spectrum of influences into a Cliff Dweller output that is all at once warm and melancholy. With the entire EP totaling just over ten minutes, each track seems much like a vignette of sound, rich with emotion and the nostalgia of analog influence. Included in Cliff Dweller’s four original mixes are accordions, piano, funky basslines, claps, vocal layering and plenty of rich elements one can’t immediately identify — which is a testament to the mastery of sonic trickery this project has up its sleeve.

Ricky Eat Acid, though hailing from the opposite coast as Cliff Dweller, provides a fitting complement to the package in his remix of the title track. The mix sees a strip-down the original’s moody elements and building on them with a more commanding beat, electronic plinks making for a contemporary yet reminiscent take on a release already full of brilliant duality.

Via Rebel Magazine

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A Piano Listening To Itself – Chopin Chord

January 4, 2012

A Piano Listening To Itself – Chopin Chord

1st installation: Castle Square, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Warsaw, Poland, October 2010

Commissioned by Warsaw Autumn

Gordon Monahan: Six long piano wires are suspended from the tower of the Royal Castle in Warsaw and are connected to a piano positioned in the middle of the square below. At the connecting point high above on the balcony of the tower, audio recordings played into an amplifier are transmitted into the long piano strings using vibrating coils in small motors attached to the wires, which cause the piano strings to vibrate in sympathy with the audio signals. The vibrations in the long piano strings are transmitted down the long piano wires and are amplified by contact to the piano soundboard below. The audio recordings are thus reproduced without any loudspeakers – instead, the motor coils, the long piano wires and soundboard become substitutes for a loudspeaker system.

Audio recordings transmitted into the piano strings consist of note sequences derived from piano compositions by Frederic Chopin. The note sequences were extracted from midi files of Chopin’s piano pieces and ‘recomposed’ using midi software, to form new pieces that were then recorded using a software-based piano. In total, twenty-six ‘recompositions’ were derived from twenty Preludes, two Etudes Opus 10 and 25, the Fantaisie Impromptu Opus 66, one Nocturne Opus 27 Nr. 1, one Polonaise Opus 53, and the first movement of the Sonata, Opus 35.

In addition to the piano sounds vibrating in the wires, whenever the wind blows perpendicular to the piano strings, they vibrate with Aeolian tones, thus adding a spontaneous audio event manifested by natural forces. These Aeolian tones blend with the audio signals or they sometimes drown out the audio signals, which re-emerge once the wind dies down or changes direction.

Via Gordon Monahan

View of installation for Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto–Scarborough, March, 2011