what the hell is goin on?

What the hell is going on? This is a question you will ask if
you see Heiner Goebbels' Stifter's Dinge. I did. And now
I'm trapped between a crazed hope that my friends will go
see it too, and my total inability to describe what it is.
Okay let's say it's an installation. Don't stop reading! Don't
stop reading! Pianos sit among leafless trees (uprights,
grands, some tipped on their sides). They play themselves
via mysterious mechanical arms. Other sounds come from
giant metal sheets, speakers playing Papua New Guinean
call-and-response songs, and plastic post-packs whumping
on the ends of drain pipes. Filled gradually from huge
bottles, three large pools of water sit between the
audience and the piano/forest. The voice of Bill Paterson
reads a story by (imaginary?) romantic writer Adalbert
Okay then what? Oh, it just rains. (IT RAINS! In the
pools!) Projected at close-range appears a transcribed
interview with ethnographer Claude Levi-Strauss. Malcolm
X shouts from a tinny radio in the distance. The piano
choir plonks and plinks and starts rolling of its own accord
- looming freakishly over at you just as you've reached a
totally Zen state about 50 minutes in. Um, the pools of
water start smoking and bubbling like the primordial ooze
returning and you think, well, Stifter might not be here,
but his things are totally. Freaking. Me. Out.
Listen, I've given up the internet now to focus on my
tangible contribution to humanity, but call me, I'll buy you
a fucking ticket.

Penny Modra
Three Thousand (AU), 10 October 2010