In October, myself and Matthew Olden were both invited to Lab30 festival in Augsburg to make 2 live performances of Piano Migrations. The piece was also shown as an installation for one day. This performance and installation is consists of a recycled upright piano transformed it into an audio-visual instrument – where videos of birds are projected directly onto the piano strings, and where there is movement on the videos, a small device taps of strums the piano in that location. Here is a video from the Saturday night performance –
When showing this piece abroad, it usually means it is impractical to ship over my existing ‘converted piano’, so it is often possible to find an old, broken piano and give it a new purpose by transforming it for this installation. I went over to Augsburg for a couple of days prior to the festival and, with amazing help from Barbara and Peter, we stripped down an old piano in record time.. here is a much faster video of this!..
The soundtrack is an ultra-time-stretched section of Mozart I played on the piano just before dismantling it. I chose Mozart because Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang Mozart’s father) was born in Augsburg, and the young Mozart wrote many of his piano sonatas nearby in Munich. It’s always interesting to make this piece with different pianos, as they always sound different, and it’s great fun putting in the preparations to shape a whole new set of sounds for the birds to play… I’m getting better at documenting this and I hope to put a compilation together of the different migrated pianos… although I wish I had thought of recording a suitably site or history specific ‘last tune’ at the beginning of the project!
Lab30 festival was brilliant fun – and there was an impressive programme of work on show in their exhibition and some totally captivating performances – check out the 2012 programme here. Highlights include the totally stunning performance “frequencies (a)” by Nicholas Bernier – have a look here, a quirky and captivating installation by Stefan Doepner here and it was a pleasure to see more beautiful work by Diane Landry after meeting her at Almost Cinema festival in Ghent, 2011.