INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION FOR ‘ART, POLITICS AND THE PAMPHLETEER’ EVENT
PEOPLES HISTORY MUSEUM, MANCHESTER
“I would like to propose a protest against the epidemic of illegal music downloads, and the consequence this has on the way we value music. The way we appreciate music has changed. Online activity dominates and dictates the music industry, and with the huge rise in illegal downloads, plus the free streaming sites such as Youtube, musicians must now face the reality of relinquishing any possible compensation, and live in hope that their art may spread far enough to acquire a reputably sized fan base in the process.
The UK is the second worst country in the world for illegal music downloads, with Manchester being the worst city in the UK (Telegraph Sept 2012).
It seems public opinion has devalued the concept of music production to an almost worthless act of creativity, in terms of monetary worth. Many of us see no moral or ethical issue with enjoying music for free, in fact, I believe a large majority of today’s society have evolved to actually consider it their cultural right to enjoy music for free.
Free download websites allow the user to pick and choose individual songs from a colossal database, which promotes the idea that we have a potentially infinite music library, and yet a distinct lack of commitment.
How much are we prepared to commit to a piece of music? How much time and money are we prepared to give?
The installation consists of a wooden box large enough for me to stand inside, with room for a mini keyboard/drum machine and mp3 player, All equipment will be connected to a speaker, positioned inside the box but visible through a cut-out in the front side. When a coin is inserted into a slot at the front, I will pull back a stage curtain – that until now has been hiding myself inside the box – and begin to play my instruments and sing along to a backing track, just for a few seconds, before pausing still again and shutting the curtain, until another coin is inserted. The process continues for the duration of the exhibition, and I will play music for longer or shorter bursts, depending on the value of the coin.
Asking for a monetary contribution to trigger the installation into life, is a plea to the audience to consider the value they place on music, and how much they are willing to commit. An exchange of money highlights the basic but muddied concept of compensating creativity – the process draws attention to the role of the individual, and our responsibility as the consumer to recompense the artist for the artwork which we continue to use and enjoy, again and again.”
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