group picture

Liszt has a broken nose,
Schoenberg is black,
and Beethoven’s ears are deaf as a rock.
Since we’ve been waiting for so long, have spent many a concert evening here, observing the comings and goings, we’re brought out for a group picture. To be dusted off just for once and come down from the pedestal, to be carried through the halls. Many of us have never met in person, and some hate each other’s guts, while others invoke each other’s authority. We typically spend the concert nights in the hallway. No one’s given us tickets, we’d certainly be interested in a subscription, but we don’t have the money. Not that that’s unusual in the business. Maybe a modest orchestra standing-room ticket sometime soon …
“What do they call it today? Eu…?”
“Where’s Mr. Beethoven got to?”
He should be in the lobby. Probably hasn’t heard a thing about the photo op. We’ll leave room for him when we line up for the camera. Worst-case scenario, if he can’t come, they can photoshop him in. …
Summons to all musicians permanently present at the Vienna Konzerthaus:
A photograph is to be taken; the composers’ convention is scheduled for May 2018 in the Schubert Hall.

Project sketch:
The Vienna Konzerthaus’s corridors, auditoriums, and halls are stocked with a vast number of musicians’ busts, including Liszt, Schoenberg, Beethoven, and many others. These busts are manifestly the works of different sculptors and date from different periods. Their form, material, and size aside, the execution of the heads cannot be equated to the musicians’ oeuvres.
Summoning the musicians for a convention is a venture that—if one imagines a real-world meeting of these masters from different eras, setting aside the dimension of time—builds suspense through its singularity, like the event of a rare conjunction of the stars.
The silence that hangs over the photograph of their gathering lets the beholder sense some of the resonance and the dissonance that might be generated between those depicted in it if the image were not an image, if bronze could speak to stone.
The sculptures representing composers that are normally installed in different places throughout the Konzerthaus, at elevations that put them on an equal footing with real bodies, are collected for a group portrait and photographed in the Schubert Hall.