De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK

see also Geiger Pianos

AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENT accompanies the John Cage exhibition, Every Day is a Good Day, April-June 2011. It is situated on the North Staircase, can be heard throughout the building and lit by two profile spots with blue lighting gels. An accompanying text is fixed to the wall.

The installation features a MIDI-controlled grand piano, which is triggered ‘live’ by cosmic ray particles to play a never-ending sequence of notes. The keys of the Yamaha DISKLAVIER piano move in a ghostly, magical way to produce sound each time a radioactive ‘stardust’ particle hits the Geiger counter (visible near the strings of the piano), MIDI controller and laptop connected to its USB input. The sequence generates an on-going series of notes and harmonies which play randomly within set tonal perameters, to create silences, then flurries of activity in a mysterious and intriguing way.

Although the piece is intended as a ‘stand-alone’ installation, I feel the concepts inherent to it have a particular affinity to Cage`s work and his general philosophy regarding chance and belief systems. The notion of stars, cosmic rays and the universe allude to our own mortality and unpredictability, so that the idea of the somewhat ghostly installation accompanying this particular dead artist`s work has, I believe, a specific poignancy.

The DISKLAVIER MIDI-controlled piano was kindly provided through discussion with Yamaha, with sequencing controls designed by Wayne Adams in collaboration with the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. The University of Brighton have helped provide facilities to develop AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENT, and an on-going exhibition of work by MA Fine Art and BA Sculpture students from U-o-B accompanies the exhibition.

AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENT plays continually. Its text reads:

Galactic cosmic rays are particles of energy emitted from our sun and every other star in the sky – stardust. Like invisible sparks, they are continually flying through you, this building and through the earth, to emerge from the surface and continue their invisible journey across the universe.

Each note played by this keyboard is triggered by a cosmic ray particle as it travels through the piano on its immense flight across space, into this building and out of you – taking a tiny memory of you with it as it continues its path towards infinity.

Charlie Hooker 2011


website:Wil Baldwin