5 Dec – 8 Dec 2018, London College of Communication, UAL
Stairway was an installation and durational performance. Stairway utilised an expanded spatialisation of an electric guitar’s output and explored the articulation of space and music made possible through this. It worked in, and with, a space generally viewed as a transitional, rather than performance or exhibition, space – namely a stairwell. The customised six-string electric guitar was fitted with a hexaphonic pickup providing individualised outputs for each string. Six guitar amps were distributed vertically within the installation each taking a feed from a different string. These amplified the playing of a series of solo instrumentalists recruited by the artist. These performers were on the lowest level, set away from the ‘playback’ space of the staircase. The musical content of the work was the first 16 bars of Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven. This was played over and over as required to fill the 15 minute duration of each soloists hourly ‘slot’.
The work reflected on questions of authorship and the act and symbolism of performance, on an on-going interest in the materiality of sound and on ways of working with non-conventional spaces. Stairway and my concurrent research explored notions of sound, architecture, the musical instrument and performance itself as “prosthetic”.
Related: Stairway first steps