Here are my fucktards of the week: A bunch of students in Aberystwyth got a piano from freecycle, then set fire to it. Then made a blog and wrote "we stand by our actions. This is art" (via Zanf)
Posted by Tom Whitwell.
My next art project is going to be kicking people who burn pianos in the groin.
So they're happy to use Freecycle to score themselves a new piano, but not willing to return it to that process? Fucktards is too kind a word for these...oh wait, they're 3rd year uni students, god knows the whole world just fucking revolves around them...
There is, to my knowledge, no shortage of old upright pianos. This one might have been nice enough to be worth something, but most old uprights aren't worth what it costs to have someone move them across town. The only reason why dumps aren't full of the things is that they're such buggers to shift (and, of course, that people are attached to them as furniture - but if you like your piano that much, you don't give it away).
The death of a piano is a shame in a kind of wistful abstract way, sure, but the ordinary everyday upright piano has nothing, objectively, to commend it over today's cheap digital alternatives. Most uprights don't sound particularly good and they're not especially pleasant to play, either. And if you want one, there are always a few in the small ads of your local newspaper going cheap - delivery definitely not included.
Would anybody be upset if these dudes had burned a typewriter?
Hey, Hendrix was also making SOUNDS with those burned guitar. He was doing this on SHOWS and RECORDED them. These guys give themselves a sort of justification concept ("Freecycle") to rapidly get rid of an instrument and kick themselves out for a beach party. After they settle the event on there Blog, they claim themselves "Genius" - Are you sure they deserve such glory?
not sure why y'all think this is so bad. often old uprights are not tunable anyway, especially if they have not been tuned in a long time or if they have damage to the frame or sound board. in that case this isn't a whole lot different than getting a bunch of free wood, nailing it together and setting it on fire. which is pretty much awesome every time we do it.
Can't believe the idiots didn't record it.. it would have sounded incredible.
Like someone mentioned Annea Lockwood has done amazing things with pianos, reocrding them on fire, hald submerged in water.. and in this video some bursts of quite stunning sound entirely from a prepared piano. http://www.thewire.co.uk/web/camera.php?gclid=CJ-RmOeczYYCFU9TQgodZinY-A
I guess the fact she is a pianist makes all the difference. Although I must admit I never imagined you to be such a philistine Tom ;)
I don't know why so many people assume that this piano was worthless. I would love to get a free piano and I'm sure there are dozens of people who are starting out wanting to play who would also love to get a piano for free. This would have been different if it had been their piano -it wasn't. It was a gift.
Also, there will never be a digital piano as good as a real piano -even a bad one.
I was talking to this old farmer from Newport. When radio first started getting popular in Wales in the '30s, he said there were piano smashing competitions. People thought they did not need their pianos any more now they had the radio. Pianos were seen as outdated and old fashioned and a part of the old pre war era.
I wonder how many pianos were destroyed at that time?
Certainly it's not the best use of a junk piano, or the least irritating and half-baked attempt at becoming 'internet legends', but I actually find it more depressing how UPSET ON THE INTERNETS >_< people are getting about this...
Plus, the old (ie solved in like the 1920s but noone was informed apparently?) 'but is it art' arguement is possibly the most tiresome subject for a blog comment arguement I could EVER imagine. :P
Anyway, they should have catapulted it like in Northern Exposure, and recorded it.
Actually, didn't Hendrix burn a guitar on two separate occasions?
Nevertheless - the difference here is that Frank Zappa won't be buying this piano and playing it onstage for years on end like he did with one of Jimi's torched Strats. Not to mention that Jimi was doing an amazing piece of (I hate to say it) performance art involving both fire AND noisy-as-hell feedback. Nobody else (at least nobody else that famous) was doing that at the time - THAT was genius.
This is roughly equivalent to people who get tweaked-up on meth and suddenly think that every bit of jibberish coming out of their mouth is incredible spoken-word-art. Or that stoner you know who tortures an $85 acoustic guitar after enough bong hits.
Sure I was bummed when I first read this, but then I started to see it from the Piano's point of view ie a mercy killing - if these kids think this is art, can you imagine the kind of tunes they were gouging out of that thing?
How great would it be if some old boy on the internet saw these photos and was able to verifiably prove that their piano was extremely rare and valuable, and that it would have paid off all of their student loans and kept them in snakebite and rollups for the rest of their courses? Sometimes you have to suffer for your art!
Compare and contrast: Street Piano - a bunch of students with an old piano who, instead of burning it, installed it in their street with a notice inviting passers-by to play it. And, after a battle with the local council, it's still there, and they're encouraging others with unwanted uprights to do the same.
"Would anybody be upset if these dudes had burned a typewriter?" - daniel rutter.
This was taken from my blog over on em411.
Let me make very clear what I was incensed about [if you cant be arsed to read the full blog].
Im not adverse to burning a piano or destroying a musical instrument as long as I make audio/video recordings of the event and then utilise those in a later work and probably share the recordings with wider electronic community.
What these idiots did was get a free piano from Freecycle, keep it for 3 or 4 months and then one drunken night, decide to torch it, post it on the internet and declare themselves 'legends' and their act as 'art'. Like thats all it took.
its a damn piano. who gives a fuck. if they call it art then its art to them. if anyone else were to set something on fire, then everyone would be impressed. No one should get pissed off cause someone wanted to have a little fun and set something on fire. if they call it art, then it was becasue they have a verry talented, or messed up mind. deal with it.
ANYONE REMEMBER THE T.V. SHOW NORTHERN EXPOSURE? THEY HAD AN EPISODE WHERE THE GOOFY, BUT COOL, RADIO D.J. WAS GOING TO USE A TREBUCHET TO FLING A COW BUT OPTED FOR A PIANO INSTEAD. OR WAS IT A REFRIDGERATOR? I ALSO RECOMMEND WATCHING THE FAITH NO MORE VIDEO FOR THE SONG"EPIC", THEY BLOW ONE UP AT THE END. FAR MORE SATISFYING THAN MERE FLAME.
Or Burning Man about a decade ago when someone built a very nice structure out of something like 20 or 30 old pianos and eventually set fire to it. Actually, it was beautiful - folks came and played on the instruments (pluking, pounding, scraping) before they set fire to it. While the fire was raging, you could hear the strings popping, metal bending. It was beautiful. Very, very nice. Yeah...sure...art. Why not. Hey - that plastic bottle you just threw away - You could use that 30 more times. Or you could send it any of quite a number of spots in the world where it could be repurposed and used for who knows how many years.....
...I know these guys I go to uni with them, I offered to pick up this piano and pay them £500 cash if they would instead burn their definitive stash of Weezer bootlegs and put those pics on the internet. They refused.
Many of these humorless posts that treat any old piano as SACRED make me want to conduct a house-to-house search and seizure mission to build the largest upright piano bonfire yet. NO audio recording devices allowed. You can sit and sketch the inferno if you like, but you must wear earplugs.
Old western saloon pianists cry your hearts out- we will have no mercy.
Hey, Musicthing, normally I like your blog but it has been becoming increasingly bitter. Is everything ok? You have a flair for entertaining prose so resorting to calling some misguided students 'fucktards' is frankly beneath you. C'mon, get out of bed, have a shower and a shave, clean the place up a bit and you'll probably feel much better. Looking forward to some new, better quality posts.
The whole point - that many of you are missing - is that they abused the Freecycle service.
Actually it does say on their blog that they'd tried to give it away again (doesn;t specify whether on freecycle or just to people they know) and people expressed an interest but when it came down to it backed out. So at least they made some attempt.
Seems like there are a lot more outragous things going on in the world that people could get upset about.
if I post to Freecycle to get rid of something, I'm trying to get rid of it without throwing it away... period.
if someone takes whatever I'm getting rid of and sets fire to it, or sells it on eBay and pockets the cash, how does that affect me? I've solved my problem - the item in question is no longer in my posession, and I didn't throw it away.
It's not the end of the world, but there is an offense beyond the waste of an complex instrument.
The offense comes from the stated intent of the persons doing the art.
They could have quietly done this wasteful, moronic thing in the same manner that many millions of wasteful morons do every week: anonymously and without calling any particular attention to their lack of imagination, skill, craft, grace, respect or originality.
The offense comes in the form of the transparent lie they tell us all - that this act of waste was premeditated as art and is something to "stand by".
They deny that what they did is no more than a dim moment better left to let pass into the personal histories of average or below-average caliber white college kids. That is the most offensive thing.
In this way, these nobodies attempt to elevate themselves, using the internet and your attention, into something more than what they are: banal, unremarkable consumers. These consumers consumed a piano.
This story resonates with the "real" worlds of art and music more than you might think.
Just imagine that you're moving to Siberia and have to donate your dog. You find a lovely person who takes it with great promises of care. Days after the person sends you pictures of you dog being beaten and burned. Meanwhile, a kid somewhere wishes he/she had a pooch, but not money to buy one.
It's not the fact that the burned an old upright, it's the fact that they called it art. That's not art. Nobody sacrificed of themselves to create a burning piano. Nobody infused that burning wood with pieces of their soul they know they'll never get back. Nobody suffered and strove and worked hard to make that piano burn. Nobody took a risk being vulnerable.
Burning a piano and calling it art is just pretension.
This is the reason I refuse to sell or giveaway anything. Especially things I particularly liked. With the way music programs in public schools are suffering from lack of funding, this is purely wasteful. If they wanted to make art, why not paint it and give it to a school?
I don't think its worth getting too up about the piano, but this kind of crap art is annoying. A really cool use of busted up pianos is to remove the stringboard and play it like a harp, or use it like a reverb unit. But you would probably need a chainsaw, not matches.
There's a few comments in this thread that say something to the effect that the failure of these guys was to record it. Recording something does not valdidate something, whether you think this is art or not. There's value in a moment that will never be repeated again. If I got to stand on a baeach and watch (and listen to) a piano burn, I'd appreciate that moment, and it's not my responsibility or obligation to record it.
I asked Annea Lockwood where she got the pianos that she burned and drowned and otherwise harmed for her pieces. She told me that there was a piano dump for unplayable pianos which she got them from. Her pianos were not functioning musical instruments.
Some friends of mine were trying to organize a piano fire, but it's hard to find a place where you can just set things on fire. stupid regulations.
ust imagine that you're moving to Siberia and have to donate your dog. You find a lovely person who takes it with great promises of care. Days after the person sends you pictures of you dog being beaten and burned. Meanwhile, a kid somewhere wishes he/she had a pooch, but not money to buy one.
well, that's how you abuse Freecycle.
that's awesome! I think the only points you missed were "think of the children!" and a reference to Hitler and/or Nazis.
Everyone that is going apeshit over burning this piano needs to get over themselves. Just this last fall, I burned a piano. It was given to me for free because it was absolutely untuneable, and was worth $-60, as it would have cost the owner sixty dollars to have it removed from her house. After playing/banging around on it for a few months an making a few throwaway recordings, my roommates and I decided that it was indeed worthless as an instrument, so we burned it in our backyard. It wasn't art; it was just a bunch of friends having fun. I saved three octaves of keys for my DIY synth, and the lid is now my coffee table. It isn't gross disrespect for an instrument, it was effective disposal of trash. If these kids got the piano for free, it was probably worthless anyway.
"the ordinary everyday upright piano has nothing, objectively, to commend it over today's cheap digital alternatives. Most uprights don't sound particularly good and they're not especially pleasant to play, either. And if you want one, there are always a few in the small ads of your local newspaper going cheap - delivery definitely not included."
Yes, the ordinary everyday upright piano does have something to commend it over today's cheap digital alternatives! Actually, it is the digital alternative that has nothing to commend over the upright. You are obviously not a piano player. There are so many reasons. Firstly, the touch (according to you, it is them not being especially pleasant to play). A digital piano can never replicate the kind of touch a piano has. Secondly, the tonal quality. Digital pianos, of which the sound is recorded, will not sound as nice and as beautiful as a piano. Thirdly, the smell. If you open the cover of the piano, peer in and smell it, you will understand. There is so much in its woody goodness that you can appreciate. Pianos are made as a platform for people to practice and express themselves, NOT TO BE BURNT. OR ABUSED IN ANY WAY. They are beautiful objects that do nothing to you. Why do you hurt them? The sound coming from each individual piano is different, just like how each human has a different voice. This individuality cannot be found in a single digital piano.