COZA: Un piano fantasma (A phantom piano)
Curator: Agustin Jais. Matienschon, 2014
The center of the exhibition was the Phantom Piano, developed in 2012 and stored after its presentation until this exhibition. It is a post-piano on wheels: cut in halves and intervened with electro-mechanic devices that make it «a little stuttered». The hacked piano was joined by other piezoelectric instruments, DIY towers with speakers and a printing station.
A series of activities turned the exhibition into a live sound studio: guest performances by Horacio Lavandera, Santiago Leibson trío, Pablo Grinjot, Santiago Martínez, Nacho Sánchez + Soledad Asurey, Fantasías Mecánicas, OtroLaboratorio, among others, and a sound workshop by Santiago Rey.
What follows are some of the notes I took in my notebook during the destruction and construction of the phantom piano.
The end of bourgeois culture. (By bourgeois culture I mean the culture of the middle and upper middle mercantile and industrial class that fled itself in the 1970s and 80s towards neoliberalism in the 90s, which ended up destroying it; it is a culture that self-destructs, and we are its heirs … or those who continue on after that particular End of the World.)
We no longer know how to play the piano, at least with all the implications that playing the musical / social instrument of the 19th bourgeoisie had. Watchword of the best, finest young ladies, and of those who wanted to be that too [social crafts; social engineering would follow suit], the piano was what the daughters of a good family had to learn to play. The piano is a percussion instrument that harmonizes. Like sex. (…) But we hardly know what a piano is anymore. We understand [from afar] that it is a musical instrument [clients of internet pornography, we also don’t know what sex can be], but how do we make it sound? What sounds (probably already a-musical) can we possibly extract from it? What data mining can we put into practice here, in this almost archaeological site? I say «a-musical» because post-bourgeois music will necessarily be something else (it already is), a post-music. Or a post-western music, for those who prefer the geopolitics of human expression. And this post-music will turn out (for those nostalgic about the lost world, the West and its self-destructive bourgeoisie) something always more foolish, less skillful, less erudite, less cult (cult as belonging to the Culture, and Culture always being the bourgeois one).
One way of thinking about the end of that culture is that it no longer makes sense to think about reality in terms of the individual, at least not as the first and main reference, but in terms of connections, propagations, disseminations, self-organizations: information and its movements and constellations.
How, then, to connect our bodies and brains to this machine? And when we make any sound and not just noise (or even noise), what do we do with it? And the sound that we might come to produce here, will it be just loose information, chaos, noise, or will it come and then fade, and will it makes us self-organised in something more, in something with a sense?
– Roger Colom