Answer: No one cries when you chop up a piano.
Apparently that's only the third worst piano joke of all time...
This weekend, as indeed every day of its month long tenure here, the piano will be played throughout the day. The pianist this weekend is Ariana Odermatt, who also performed when the exhibition was presented at the Venice Biennale.
But the nature of the collaboration between artist and performer is such that each player, from concert pianists to local school students, is free to bring their own musical choices to the instrument - you can come see it every day and you'll not have the same experience twice.
... and I can think of a long list of people who might get very upset if we even hinted we might scratch this piano. However, the point of the lame 'joke' is that last weekend I got a text from a friend who had just been to see our Parekowhai exhibition, where she'd been treated to Flavio's performance on He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river.
The gist her message was that she had found the whole experience so overwhelming that she'd had to remove herself from the room, lest her sobbing draw too much attention.
The funny thing is that I've now spoken to quite a few people who were moved to tears by the exhibition. Most of them don't readily admit to that sort of thing. But there is something in the combination of the physical and audible beauty of the object in relation to the starkness of its setting that makes a connection.
Michael Parekowhai: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
Michael Parekowhai's spectacular Venice Biennale installation returns home for its first post-Biennale showing in New Zealand.
New Zealand artist Laurence Aberhart is internationally regarded for his photographs of unpeopled landscapes and interiors. He photographs places redolent with the weight of time, which he captures with his century-old large-format camera and careful framing. But he’s always taken more spontaneous photographs of people too, particularly in the years he lived in Christchurch and Lyttelton (1975–83) when he photographed his young family, his friends and occasionally groups of strangers. ‘If I lived in a city again,’ he says, ‘I would photograph people. One of the issues is that I even find it difficult to ask people whether I can photograph a building, so to ask to photograph them – I’m very reticent. I also know that after a number of minutes of waiting for me to set cameras up and take exposure readings and so on, people can get rather annoyed. So it’s not a conscious thing, it’s more just an accident of the way I photograph.’
In early March we were lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Grayson Gilmour performing at the Gallery, supported by the equally talented Purple Pilgrims and New Dawn. I love these gigs, but there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes to make sure that, by the time the public walk in the door, the foyer is gig ready. The process normally feels like a long, slow marathon with a sprint at the final corner. So here’s a guide to how you too can get the NZI Foyer gig-ready in five (or six) easy steps.
J.G. Thirlwell is man of many monikers and even more projects: from the epic avant-garde electro-rock of his thirty-five-year Foetus act to scoring orchestral work; creating sound installations to writing cartoon soundtracks. Fellow sonic artist, Jo Burzynska caught up with the Melbourne-born but long-time New York-resident composer/producer/performer at the Gallery before the opening performance of his first ever New Zealand tour.
November sees the 30th anniversary of my favourite record label, Flying Nun Records.
The 2011 Christchurch Arts Festival has been full of highlights, from theatre to dance to the visual arts. However, it's been the music that has made the biggest impression on me.
Finally, the chance to listen to some loud rock music!