Slave Pianos, Dissident Consonances, Press Release
DISSIDENT CONSONANCES synopsis derived from the article 2 x mini GIANTS, Nam June Paik, ARTFORUM, March 1991
The East European revolution produced a playwright-president in Czechoslovakia, but few people know that it also produced a Fluxus-president: Vytautas Landsbergis, the 1990 president of Lithuania. This bespectacled and stoop-shouldered music professor successfully defied the blockade of Soviet power and the “benevolent” advice of the Western press to go slow lest he destroy the superpower summit.
This David-and-Goliath situation is reminiscent of the audacious manner of Landsbergis’ friend, George Maciunas, founder of the “small” Fluxus Movement and the “enormous” SoHo glitz.
Landsbergis and Maciunas were both the sons of well-to-do architects, and were best friends at a grade school in Kaunas, Lithuania, in the last peaceful days of pre-war Europe. In 1965, as a native Marxist, Maciunas contacted the old friend he had left in Lithuania, who was alas a burning anti-Marxist. In response, Landsbergis sent Maciunas some subversive performance ideas.
Later, feeling betrayed by his comrades, George Maciunas, dictator and chairman of Fluxus, declared the movement dead and plunged himself into the SoHo housing project. In 1978, Maciunas died aged 47 in poverty. Soon a quiet renaissance of Fluxus began and behind the iron curtain the slow rebirth of Lithuania continued, led by the stubborn ex-Fluxus man Vytautas Landsbergis.
Could their relationship, correspondence and Fluxus activity have contributed to the thaw of the cold war and the demise of the Soviet Union? After all, Landsbergis ascended to become Lithuania’s first post-Soviet Head of State and in 2004 this Fluxus alumnus was elected to the European Parliament in Brussels.
Slave Pianos, Dissident Consonances, Invitation
SLAVE PIANOS & the ASTRA CHOIR present:
DISSIDENT CONSONANCES or:
THE IRON CURTAIN, THE FLUX-LABYRINTH* & LITHUANIAN HOUSE or:
Chairman George Maciunas & President Vytautas Landsbergis
5pm Saturday 26 / 5pm Sunday 27 May 2007
44 Errol Street, North Melbourne
DISSIDENT CONSONANCES (2007) first performance. Based on the correspondence of Fluxus founder George Maciunas and Lithuania’s first post-Soviet Head of State, Vytautas Landsbergis. A multi-spaced performance through the foyers and halls of Lithuanian House:
- portal intervention, choir & mechanized piano recital
- play with speech-chorus & projections
- chamber concert with organ, voices, dances & games
- film with choir, multiple keyboards, cello & narration
- vodka pipeline organ, vodka jelly & potato pancakes
music, art, non-art, theatre, diaries, letters, poetry, testimonies, political writings, manifestos, film, dance, food, drink and other objects by SLAVE PIANOS, George Maciunas, Vytautas Landsbergis, Jonas Mekas, Leokadija Maciunas, Claudio Monteverdi, Henry Purcell, Jean DeMaque, M.K.Ciurlionis, Anonymous (14th Century), Ottavio Rinuccini, Keith Humble, George Brecht, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, Larry Miller & Joe Jones
* “No morons, drunks, women (or men) wearing high heels, people with wooden legs – or those who don’t like elephants,” George Maciunas’ caution at the entrance to the FLUX-LABYRINTH, Berlin 1976
Danius Kesminas, Neil Kelly, Rohan Drape & Michael Stevenson
ASTRA CHOIR conducted by John McCaughey
actor: Richard Piper
narration: Alena Karazijiene OAM (Vytautas Landsbergis’ sister)
organ positive, organ portative, regal, harpsichord, celeste & pianos: Kim Bastin, Joan Pollock, Peter Dumsday & Elizabeth Anderson
cello: Caerwen Martin
dancing & games: Nerija Zemkalnis (Vytautas Landsbergis’ great-niece) & the MESSY ASPECT Folk Collage Theatre
vodka pipeline organ: Dave Nelson & Antanas Kesminas
vodka jelly & pancake chef: Dana Binkis & the Australian-Lithuanian Women’s Welfare Association
sound: Michael Hewes
production assistant: Angela Pamic manager: Bobbie Hodge
single ticket prices: FULL: $27 CONC: $15 (includes low income earners, seniors & Lithuanian Club members), STUDENT: $10. Arts workers charged double!** bookings: Tel: 03 9326 5424 or Email: email@example.com
DISSIDENT CONSONANCES is a sequel to SLAVE PIANOS’ oratorio-theatre work TWO LIVES IN FLUX – AND VICE VERSA performed in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2004
** “I always charge double to artists, that’s what artists deserve. They are all phonies, you know!” Jonas Mekas recounting George Maciunas’ management of the Fluxus cooperative studio buildings in SoHo, New York in the late 1960’s
SLAVE PIANOS is represented by DARREN KNIGHT GALLERY, Sydney