Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Different Tune

by Drew MartinInteresting things happen when you take objects apart. For example, you see how they are engineered and constructed. But when components are separated, never to be in union again, the paths they take may be entirely divergent: not unlike old schoolmates, detached siblings and other untangled relationships that were once bound and contained.

I had a upright piano at home a few years ago, which I got for free on the condition that I move it out of the previous owner's house...quite a feat for three not particularly strong men. Though I played a little on the ill-tuned thing I started not enjoying it because the first thing people did when they came over was bang on it. The idea of moving it again was too daunting so I decided to transform it. I wanted to make it silent and cut it down to one gem. For days I hacked at it and cut it up with a circular saw, using wood and metal cutting blades. I even caught it on fire by accident when sparks from the harp lit the sounding board. All that is left now is part of the harp, which I painted black and hung on the wall..all 400+ lbs of it. It is a beautiful piece for me because it has a very playful feel to it, like a child's plastic stencil and yet it is massive and quite dangerous.

What also came out of the piano was a completely different piece. I threaded and hung all the keys from a tree in the backyard but this sculpture quickly disintegrated. The "ivory" white veneer of the keys curled and the wood rotted. The pleasant surprise of the work was that the wind made the keys sway and when they did you imagined/even heard music in your head. M
ost interestingly, the music you heard changed accordingly to the weather: how cold or how sunny it was outside as well as what time of day it was. More often than not I heard Chopin.