Performance 4: family day (Sunday 4th August 2013)

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Time: Sunday 4th August 2013 at 13.47

Weather/light: bright, sunny, 22 degrees

Photographers/artists: audio recoding and video footage by Nathan Thomas, myself and Eva Bailey (4yrs old)

Vegetation/wildlife: the piano was totally obscured by rosebay willowherb and bracken, ferns have grown inside and in front of the piano

State of piano: most of the keys were jammed except for a few notes at the very top and bottom, most of the damper felts had expanded and stopped the strings vibrating even when the damper pedal was down

Unusual happenings/circumstances: this month’s performance was given by children

Each month when I leave my family to go and play piano in the woods I think how much they would enjoy it. This project feels like I am playing like a child and I wanted to share this with my daughter and her friends.

We had a picnic and invited four families. About twenty people came and there were four children who played the piano (Eva, Hugo, Elsa and Anais; all four years old). I had prepared the piano with three e-bows, a hand fan and a vibrator. The children lined up outside the thicket that enclosed the piano. The plan was for them to enter one by one and play the piano. Hugo was the first child to walk into the thicket but he stopped when he could hear the piano ‘glowing’. “It’s getting bigger” he said anxiously and asked for his mum to come in with him. Once the three girls saw this they asked to go in together rather than one by one. This resulted in boisterous thumping rather than the cautious wonder I had hoped for. But one of the reasons behind this performance was to get rid of my ‘artistic’ intentions so I think the kids helped me out here.

What I had not anticipated was how curious the adults were. After the children had played almost all of the adults made their way into the thicket to play the ‘glowing’ piano, sometimes waiting until no one else was watching…

There were no experienced photographers or film makers present for this performance but Nathan Thomas kindly videoed the children’s performance and my daughter Eva experimented with the video camera by filming herself playing football and licking the lens.

piano fixed shot aug 1stIMG_0619august degenerationIMG_0611IMG_0608IMG_0605

Neil Sloman 29th July 2013, a set on Flickr.

The piano is vanishing amongst the plants…

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