My Father the piano

James’ new work My Father the Piano explores the artist’s relationship with their working-class family.

Through the recent shared act of deconstructing an old piano, an incidental type of sonic practice emerged from socioeconomic necessity.

Throughout the residency, the materials and documentation from this process will be reassembled into a text, video and sound installation.



16 Nov- 16 Dec, 2021


Norman Park Substation



“Recently, my parents had to urgently move out of their rental home and decaying student piano prevented this. My father suggested that we deconstruct the piano and dispose of it. 

On the surface, such a shared act posed dissonance: my occupation as a composer/artist within upper/middle-class dominated cultural spaces – but also my deep connection and relationship to my father, and his enmeshment within fragmented and precarious histories. 

Throughout this process, I heard my father’s groans and strains; the piano wood cracking; the deep, dark resonance of the strings reflecting these sounds back; a father-becoming-piano and piano-becoming-father.

Within this work, the materials and documentation from this process are reassembled into a three-part, text and sound installation. Central to this work is the notion of the “hammer” which strikes the strings of the piano, and the hammer my father used to “play” and “deconstruct” the piano – during our sort-of-duet; ultimately, mediating and working-through conceived and socially imposed differences and notions of social-class through sincerity, and humour.”


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