Ian Baxter
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Installations - Music for Accountants - May 2010

In May 2010 Bank Street Arts organised a group show called 'over to you' which was a response to the Art Sheffield festival. As part of the initial meetings the public accounts and the various expenditure on artist fees, advertising etc were discussed. I decided to use these accounting documents as the basis for a piece.

"Music for Accountants is a piece of music composed by reading part of the public accounts for Sheffield Contemporary Arts Forum as a musical score. This is inspired by John Cage, who created several ‘chance' or ‘indeterminate' pieces by deriving the musical parameters from non-musical sources. He turned flecks in a piece of paper into noteheads, or over laid star charts on to a musical stave. For this piece I've developed a set of rules which convert the expenditure categories and their monetary values into musical information. In making such a work the composer surrenders to the music produced from specific details of the document, rather than their own musical taste. The listener is invited to scrutinise the accounting statements from an unusual standpoint and to consider that, if the accounts were different, the music would be too"

The work was installed in a pillar box with two pairs of headphones, allowing it to move around the group show and allow listeners a private listening experience.