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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

The Piano Graveyard

The+Piano+Graveyard

INSTALLATION PIECE ON WOFFORD’S CAMPUS OFFERS UNIQUE ART AND SOUND EXPERIENCE —

One man’s trash is the key piece to another man’s next great art installation. Instead of letting three un- tunable, unusable pianos decompose in some landfill, Kris Neely, associate professor and coordinator of studio arts, together with the 2013-2014 campus artist- in-residence Peter B. Kay, decided to let the pianos decompose in the Montgomery Music Building courtyard for the sake of art. The pianos have been de- constructed and scattered throughout the courtyard in unconventional compositions that give new life to old musical instruments.

After working through different variations and lo- cation changes, Neely and Kay decided to create an installation art piece that would have the participant surrounded by two forms of art mediums, music and sculpture.“Circumpliance: The Decomposition of the Piano” combines visual and auditory art to create an experience designed to change over time, giving the viewer a different experience every time they visit. Left out- doors, unprotected in the courtyard to weather the elements, the three salvaged pianos have been deconstructed and used to create the sculptural elements of the piece, while Kay’s original musical composition, Circumpliance plays to provide the auditory aspect.The 88 tracks of electro- acoustical music were “designed to play continuously (day and night) for the full duration of the 6-month installation,” says Kay.Because the pianos have been left outside to decompose, the intent is for the piece to change and offer a new experience every time someone visits the courtyard. The changing nature of the piece is compounded by the randomized order in which the tracks from “Circumpliance” are played. The decomposition changes the pianos physically while the random tracks provide a different auditory experience each time a visitor returns to the courtyard. Neely ex- presses his hope that visitors return more than once, saying, “Over time with decomposition of the piano wood, the movement of the music is intended to cycle in ways that change the experience every time you visit.”

Senior Sarah Baldwin shares her thoughts on the piece, saying “I’ve grown up playing the piano, so it’s an instrument that has sentimental value to me. Professor Neely has reinvented my perception of the piano through this installation, so much that even an ordinary piano has a sculptural appearance to me now. It’s always exciting when an artist can transform the perception of a common object by altering its recognizable appearance.”

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“Circumpliance: The Decomposition of the Piano” will be installed in the Montgomery Building Courtyard through the end of October, when it will move to the Hub-Bub in downtown Spartanburg where it will be on display for the month of November. There will be a presentation about the work tomorrow, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. in the Montgomery Building.

— Leah Hunter

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