Michael Maranda



two harpischords with soundtrack, drawings

statement .  .  .

This work deals, obliquely, with the contradiction in which the reception of my work puts me. The sculpture plays with the notion of authorship, intention, and, more importantly, cultural competency.

Using the same materials and techniques as period instrument builders, I built two Italian-style harpsichords. In the resonating chamber of each is a speaker connected to an external sound system. Playing on the speakers is a musical piece intimately tied with notions of ‘genius’ (the opening aria to Bach’s Goldberg Variations). The recording of this piece uses the tempo of Glenn Gould's second recording of this piece as a guide. The end result is a sculptural work consisting of the two harpsichords with the recorded aria being played quietly through the speakers.

In addition to the two harpsichords, the installation includes a set of headphones displayed on a heavy walnut shelf. The headphones are visibly not plugged into a sound source (although this does not stop viewers from ‘listening’ to them — an event that plays well with the piece). There are also small drawings of the score (from 2 to 54, depending on how they function within the room).

How this deals with notions of cultural competency can only be understood if I come clean and let you know that I am not that good of a wood-worker. In fact, the only thing that I am worse at than carpentry is playing keyboards (thus the reason for two harpsichords as I can only manage playing one hand at a time). From a distance, the piece appears to be two ‘fine’ instruments. The flaws inherent in my craftsmanship begin to be apparent at the same distance that the recording becomes audible.

exhibitions .  .  .


•  Solo. “Decoy,” YYZ Artists Outlet (Toronto ON)


•  Solo. “Decoy,” Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon SK)

reviews .  .  .


•  Ghaznavi, Corinna. “review,” Espace 69 (Fall 2004), p 44-45.

•  Lau, Yam. “review,” Parachute 115 (July 2004), p 8 in ParaPara 005 (encls.)

•  Goddard, Peter. “Daily Terror Gives Violence a Black Eye,” The Toronto Star (20 March 2004), p H9.


•  Robertson, Sheila. “Something Useful Salvaged,” Saskatoon Star Phoenix (23 Feb 2002), p E14.