A shot from the New York Times of artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s “Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano” at the gallery Gladstone in Manhattan:
The performer is Mia Elezovic. The article, by Ken Johnson, explains:
Working with a piano specialist named Ben Stallman in Berlin, the artists reconfigured an early-20th-century Bechstein [piano] by removing a section of strings and cutting a hole through the center of the cabinet. They have asked musicians hired for the show to perform standing inside the hole, which means they have to play the keyboard upside down and backward. And while they play, they walk, propelling the instrument, set on casters, slowly through the gallery.
Six musicians rotate every hour on the hour, and they all play the same work: a piano transcription of the fourth and last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the choral finale, “Ode to Joy.” And this paean to universal brotherhood, well known and much loved, has a slippery political history.