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Australian art

Contemporary art

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A diagnosis



Slave Pianos (Michael Stevenson, New Zealand/Germany b.1964; Danius Kesminas, Australia b.1966)


Stevenson and Kesminas are the two visual artists that initiated Slave Pianos, but Neil Kelly and Rohan Drape, two Melbourne musicians, are also integral to this project. Slave Pianos grew out of the artists' common interest in the history and practice of visual artists' music works. Stevenson and Kesminias have collected original recordings of music by artists as diverse as Hany Armanious and Joseph Beuys, which have been recomposed, arranged and transcribed as musical scores for piano. These are performed by the Slave Pianos itself - a computer controlled mechanical piano reproducing the arrangements of the artists' music. The Slave Pianos becomes a visual personification of the original artists' performance. Kelly and Drape transcribe the music and Stevenson and Kesminias are responsible for the artwork and publication of the scores and for other visual accompaniments.

'A diagnosis' 1998-2001: Audio recordings, documents, texts and scores edited by Christoph Keller; essays by Robert Adlington, Giovanni Intra and Mark von Schegell; liner notes by John MacDonald.




Media categories

Ephemera , Time-based art

Materials used

limited edition boxed set of audio recordings, documents, texts and music scores


32.0 x 32.0 cm box

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Darren Knight 2002


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Slave Pianos (Michael Stevenson, New Zealand/Germany b.1964; Danius Kesminas, Australia b.1966)

Works in the collection


Referenced in 2 publications


Terry Ingram, The Australian financial review, 'Get ready for a big boom in sonic art', Sydney, 17 Jun 2000-18 Jun 2000, (illus.).

Jeff Pressing, Age, 'A long tale with many notes', Melbourne, Jul 2000.