fugue for salvaging drowned memories


at Woodford Folk Festival

Materials: two pianos, computer components and solenoids, wooden ‘fingers’, wooden ‘legs’, 32 violin bows, two violins, armchair, waterpump, windscreen wiper motors.

This installation/event  took place over the six days of the 2009 Woodford Folk Festival.

The haunting work hinted at the incongruousness of its context – one where the vestiges of Northern Hemisphere high culture (broken pianos and a string orchestra) emerged from an antipodean billabong in the midst of a rock festival. The two pianos (each of which had been designed in Germany and made in Melbourne) each had long ‘fingers’ that played certain keys, and 6 insect-like ‘legs’ with floatation feet. The pianos were programmed to play a little score  through small motors and the installation of simple computer components. The pianos appeared to float on the surface of the water.

During the course of the week,  thousands of tadpoles hatched around the violins and their semi-submerged bows like the ‘forgotten musical notes’ that had accumulated there from all the previous festivals. A jet of water cascaded through the middle of the installation from a semi-submerged conductor’s chair.

This haunting and moving piece used  the idea of the ‘fugue’ to not only refer to the slow, sad musical interpretation of the term,  but also to that psychological  state where an individual undergoes a temporary loss of memory as a result of having wandered beyond her usual haunts. For this installation event Hoffie collaborated with a number of  artists including Stefan Purcell, Dave Sawtell, Arryn Snowball, Eric Rossi and David Spooner.