The whole notion of an orchestra strikes fear in my heart — it represents a scary order and hierarchy. I took this opportunity to disintegrate the monster and this notion of the perfect performance by quite literally separating out the musicians so they played their parts alone. I chose Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacht Musik because it would be recognisable when played out of synch.
Phil responds to the issue of urban regeneration and publicly funded art’s relationship to what is often a gentrification process. This has been an issue for quite a few of my projects, for example The Wedding Project and Visionhire. This time I wanted to say something about the way communities are defined from on high — usually created by drawing a catchment area on a map. How much a part does geography play?
By looking for people whose name had ‘phil’ in it on the electoral register the ‘participants’ were sought out in a random and ungeographical manner. We put flyers through ‘phil’ doors and rang the bells to ask them directly if they wanted to take part. A lot of people thought at first that it was a joke. The main thing we talked about was that a musician would perform for them in their home. Each player would perform their part separately and then the tapes would be reunited as this kind of orchestra of televisions with video players. When we were setting up in their houses we always had to rearrange their TV as the conductor had been videoed and the musician needed to watch him for the timing. There was this funny moment going into the corner of someone’s living room and unsettling the TV dust! The players reacted very differently to this solo situation, where normally they are ensconced within the orchestra. Sometimes I realised my own childhood terror of performing was being enacted. Others relished the situation. Each performance was filmed on two cameras, for wide and close-up shots .
Danielle Arnaud Gallery
- http://www.philphilphil.net/ (no longer live)
- local copy of philphilphil.net
London Philharmonic Orchestra musicians
Frances Bucknall, Dan Cornford, Martin Fenn, Emily Isaac, Rachel Ives, Geoffrey Lynn, Dominic Moore, Mila Mustakova, George Peniston, Robert Poole, Will Routledge, Rebecca Shorrock, Amanda Smith, Jo St. Leon, Sioni Williams
Ella Gibbs & Muxa