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Fifty years of revolution coming to Bloomington



Burning-piano-WEB

Jon Vickers, founding director of IU Cinema, stands next to the 1916 Henderson Piano that will be burnt Feb. 7 in Dunn Meadow. This performance will be free and open to the public.  Emma Knutson Buy Photos

A piano will burn for Wounded Galaxies: 1968 – Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach. 

Wounded Galaxies is a community festival running from Feb. 6 to 11 around Bloomington and IU campus. 

The event will include movie screenings, art, museum exhibits, panels and musical performances focused on the 50th anniversary of the political events of the year 1968. 

“Programs focus on the events that occurred in Paris, Chicago and Prague of ’68 and examine their relationship to, and resonance with, current struggles in the US and around the world,” according to the Wounded Galaxies webpage.

The festival is subtitled “sous les pavés, la plage!” which translates into, “beneath the paving stones, the beach,” a popular resistance phrase during the political strikes, institutional occupation and civil unrest of May 1968 in France.

The full itinerary of Wounded Galaxies events can be found on the Media School website.

The festival begins with the screening of “The Society of the Spectacle”on  Feb. 6 at the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive in room No. 048 of the Wells Library. 

The movie is based on the 1967 work of Marxist philosophy of the same name. 

The director of the film, Guy Debord, was a founder of Situationist International, a group of artists and political theorists who opposed capitalism.

Tiernan Mogan, producer of online forum Hyperallergic, and contributor Lauren Purje, said the movie takes the original book's ideas of commodity fetishization and alienation one step farther, according to Hyperallergic's website.

“Debord describes the spectacle as capitalism’s instrument for distracting and pacifying the masses,” Purje and Morgan said, according to Hyperallergic’s website. “The spectacle reduces reality to an endless supply of commodifiable fragments, while encouraging us to focus on appearances.”

The Lilly Library will have ongoing exhibits of materials from the Situationist. The Lilly Library will also have a private tour of the materials Wed. Feb. 7. This tour is free and open to the public.

A piano burning will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in Dunn Meadow. The event is labeled a performance with composer Annea Lockwood, according to the Wounded Galaxies website.

Instructions for methods of piano destruction from 1968, 1969 and 1982 exist on Lockwood’s website.

“Spill a little lighter fluid on a twist of paper and place inside, near the pedals,” the instructions for the 1968 piano burning state. “Light it. Play whatever pleases you for as long as you can.”

Some of the instructions include methods of destruction other than fire.

“Find a shallow pond,” according to the instructions for the 1972 piano destruction. “Slide upright piano into position vertically, just offshore. Take photographs and play it monthly, as it slowly sinks.”

Other events in the festival include panels titled International Culture Panel, Preserving the Guerilla Television Movement and Newsreel and the Spectacle of the Banal.

Events, such as the piano burning and Situationist exhibit, are free and open to the public. Other events, including panels and some movie screenings, registration.

Clark Gudas

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