Extracts from the Case against the Slave Piano





In the name of Queen Victoria & The Colony of New South Wales I arrest this Piano for crimes against the Humanities, for knowingly or unknowingly impairing the moral fibre of the colony and for actively or passively causing psychotic disturbance, cultural deviancy and wildness, drunkenness, punching and kissing among the Irish community. You shall now be transported to Building 142 on Cockatoo Island, for our purposes the High Court, for trial and sentence. I request that Lieutenant Steven Stanke, Officer in Charge, and the Military Band of the Royal Australian Navy, along with the here present convicts, Jury and audience, accompany you, the Piano, on what surely must be your last journey.

If found guilty you will be hung by the neck until dead.


“My Slave; the conditions under which I accept you as slave and tolerate you at my side are as follows: You shall renounce your will completely. You shall submit totally to my will. In my hands you are a blind instrument that carries out all my orders without discussion.”

Thus wrote the novelist Leopold von Sacher Masoch to his wife Wanda von Dunajew. This could easily be applied to the Piano here before us on trial today.

But is the Slave inherently innocent? Is the Piano Blind? Does the imposition of slavery excuse the Piano of guilt in the face of Crimes against the Humanities? Does the Piano have no will of its own? Does it Matter? If a Pink Seafaring vessel were to pilfer sundries from the Cosmetics department of Myers would the Vessel or Jessica Watson be responsible?

It is, in my opinion, regardless of its slavery, the Piano itself that is the criminal, by virtue of the fact that if the Piano did not exist the crime would not have been a possibility. The Piano is guilty, as the Pink Boat or an AK47 would be guilty.

We must therefore, whether it is compassionate or not, root out the root note of the aberration & snuff it out with alacrity and efficiency, and hence today the Slave Piano, enslaved by the Slave Piano Cult, is put to trial. And I recommend that the piano be thereafter executed in order to render the crimes unenactable.

(Evidence was then presented - much of it due to the research of Giovanni Intra. Examples:

Carol Irving’s persuasion of a piano to channel the cryptographic litanies of lie-detector test scores in New York.

Electronic Enslavement of the Piano by the Slave Pianos group.

“The pianola mechanism corrupted itself.”

Walter Marhn’s presentation of a grand piano on its side & upside down, suspended precariously over a small and helpless snail.

A piano covered in felt by Joseph Beuys.

A piano suspended upside down from wires in mid air by Rebecca Horn.

Dali’s skull sodomising a Grand Piano and, in “Un chieu Andalou”, two Grand Pianos being loaded with the carcasses of two donkeys - one of which presses the keyboard when it passes the camera!)

The Piano as slave? I think not - Rather the Piano, luxuriously attired, has assumed the role of all-powerful sexually alluring tyrant in control of man, snail and donkey.

A Scapegoat? Perhaps - but the scapegoat is a goat nonetheless and a goat is a wilful creature. As Final evidence I bring to the court’s attention La Monte Young’s “Piano Piece for David Tudor”, the written score for which was simply “Bring a Bale of hay & a bucket of water for the Piano to drink”.

Here ends the case for the prosecution.


You, Piano, Slave - but in the Court’s opinion a constructed wilful robot Kraken capable of leading men, women, animals and Irish Paddies vulnerable to the effects of strong drink into random acts of criminality, anarchy and psychosis - are hereby found guilty of crimes against the humanities.

You are, like the Kraken, made more lethal by your very passivity. You have succeeded in wiping out all other musical scales and have hoodwinked the colony into listening primarily to you, the instrument, not the music. Your time has come and this court has the power to snuff out your pianological candle. To quote the here present Michael Kieran Harvey, you are an instrument that has reached a dead end.

I firstly pronounce sentence on the Slave Pianos Cult as accessories to the crime: Neil Kelly: 20 lashes. Rohan Drape: 20 lashes. David Nelson: 20 lashes. The entire Kesminas family: 100 lashes to be shared out as they see fit. Michael Stevenson, in absentia: force feeding with Weisswurst and Schofferhoffer until gastrically impaired.

The Piano is hereby condemned to be hung by the neck until dead.

This Judgement Pronounced by Judge John Walpole Wallace, 16th May, 2010.

(RP, 2010)