Silent Homage to the Pianola by Darmin Cameron

Silent Homage to the Pianola

Silent Homage to the Pianola by Darmin Cameron

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Sculpture: Found Objects, LED, Lights, Paper and Metal
Size: 86.6 H x 15.7 W x 15.7 in
Silent Homage to the Pianola Music, how we play it, how we listen to it has gone through many revolutions in the last 130 years, from Edison’s Wax Cylinder, to the I-Pod to Spotify. One of the first commercially mass- produced ways for playing music mechanically was, the Pianola, a piano that could play itself. Pre-dating vinyl it allowed non-musicians to pedal a piano and produce a tune. This was done by punching holes in a roll of paper then un-rolling the paper through a mechanical device that operated the keys of the piano, striking the right note at the right time, instant music, instant fun! The Pianola was a hit, thousands found there way into pubs, saloons, living rooms and dance halls all over the world. The Pianola Roll paper was strong and the pattern of the music was punched/”recorded “on to it by a punching machine, with an accomplished musician playing the original music. The Pianola has now gone the way of the 8-track, the cassette player, records and soon Compact Discs will be almost extinct, commerce and invention finding new ways to play and market music. Motivation I wanted to do an Art piece that was a homage to this once great darling of the dance halls. I found a weather-beaten piano standing outside in the sun and the rain, this represented the discarded nature of this instrument. I took photographs of it and printed the images onto original authentic Pianola paper using a wax -impression method and an Ink-jet printer. I wanted a way for the viewer to see inside the piano and view the flowing, aesthetically pleasing patterns of the Pianola paper rolls. I devised a triangular 2.2 metre high tower, with 3 faces of printed images of the decaying piano and the Pianola paper rolls and to highlight the ‘intricately patterned holes’, LED lights inside. I wrapped the printed Pianola paper around the outside of the 2.2 metre high aluminium frame. In the dark, at night, the warm tones of the pictures of that ‘old piano’ are subtlety illuminated, brighter, are the punched pianola music shapes flowing up and through the sculpture creating a Silent Homage to a Pianola. This light sculpture garnered popular and critical attention when exhibited at the 2013 Nimbin Spring Arts and the 2013 Ocean Shores Art Expo- for its striking subtle beauty, rendering without sound, a musical instrument, the Pianola. This robust paper and aluminium sculpture is dismantles for transport and by following instructions is easily assembled and disassembled. It is free-standing on a wooden 5kg base, with LED lights inside. See the composite "Silent Homage to the Pianpla #2 for more details.
Keywords: piano, romance, sculpture, striking, unique, Darmin, LED lights, illuminated, large, music, original