Afterglow: performance art and photography

Slave Pianos is a collective of artists who have come together around a shared interest in forms of performance art that have musical or aural components. The symbolic heart of their practice is the piano, which they treat as a kinetic sculpture that can be used to re-animate the history of avant-garde music and sound art within gallery spaces.

Drawing on archival research, they create musical scores and recordings of performances that were originally improvised as one-off events. They also manufacture a range of pseudo ephemera that assists in the re-animation process. This includes staged photographs that appear to document historic moments in art history. Some of these staged photographs of pretend historic events can be seen in this exhibition.

Slave Pianos incorporate photographs in their work in other ways. Afterglow includes an installation of posters, archival material, chess boards and a piano that each allude to the chess games played by members of Fluxus. Fluxus emerged in the 1960s and was a trans-national art movement that celebrated experimental, event-based approaches to creativity.

A central figure in the history of Fluxus is George Maciunas, who named and organised the movement. For Fluxus, playing chess was performance art. In this installation, photographs of the original Fluxus chess games/performance events form part of the stage for another performance event that is waiting to occur.

Stephen Zagala. From Afterglow: performance art and photography. PDF