Tuesday, July 28, 2009

twelve-tone kitty

What does the world need? More videos of cats playing avant-garde 20th century music.

Cory Arcangel recently collected 170 YouTube videos of cats walking across, jumping onto, or otherwise eliciting sounds from pianos...and, with the help of online software, he sifted through, cut, sorted, and pasted that footage into an approximation of Arnold Schoenberg's 1909 op. 11 Drei Klavierst├╝cke--Pieces (3) for Piano.

Schoenberg, of course, dismayed his contemporaries and critics by developing atonal and twelve-tone music. For awhile, at least, he composed pieces that seemed not to follow any traditional models for structure or development--sounding to the uninitiated a bit like, say, cats walking across a piano.

You can see the YouTube videos of the results below, along with another clip featuring Glenn Gould playing piece number one. Compare for yourself. Anyway, this is exactly the sort of collision of contemporary junk culture and ephemera with serious, high-modern art ideas that just makes me smile and smile.

Via Rhizome, via the artist's own website.


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