To celebrate the centenary of our beautiful Domed Reading Room (aka. the LaTrobe Reading Room), the Library is kickstarting a full year of celebrations in 2013 this month with a rather remarkable work of conceptual/performance/musical/sculptural/physical art: Stop, Repair, Prepare: variations on ‘Ode to joy’ for a prepared piano by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Taking over the graceful space of the Cowen Gallery, this normally still and silent heart of the Library is transformed for a few weeks into a visual and aural happening; grand, provocative, mysterious, frustrating and fascinating. Just like the Library itself really!
Stop, Repair, Prepare may well be the most unusual gift that the Library will receive to mark the Dome’s glorious century. It is brought to us through the equally remarkable and adventurous work of Kaldor Public Art Projects, the brainchild of John Kaldor who has been behind some of the most innovative and important contemporary art events in Australia for over 40 years.
And towering over everything is Beethoven himself, and a symphony that seems to reinvent itself (or be reinvented by) each and every generation. As if proving that art, no matter how extreme, is all part of one grand continuum the Ninth Symphony has been adored, vilified, abused, adapted, quoted, canned, dismissed and distorted since its premiere in 1824, but ultimately it survives intact, influencing everything, mesmerising and adorable, ringing out loud and clear from the bowels of a piano with its innards removed. Remarkable!
So if you’re in the Library between 16th November and 6th December, just follow the music on the hour, every hour, and make up your own mind.