Wood, aluminum, steel, drum pedal, drum head, cable
4’ x 30” x 4’
The Stairdrum was influenced by the South American instrument, the cajón, and a conductor’s podium. In an early conversation with Sparr, he talked about how, historically, conductors would authoritatively pound their staff (an early precursor to the baton) on the ground to start a concert and to keep time. My research led to a humorous and grotesque story about Jean-Baptiste Lully, a 17th century composer, who stabbed himself in the foot with his staff. The wound got infected, and Lully died of gangreen. I was particularly interested in combining these two objects together for their disparate differences in hierarchy. In part to bring the elitism of the conductor down a notch or two, while uplifting the grassroots drum, historically associated with slaves of West and Central Africa, primarily in Peru. The cajóns were often disguised as stools to avoid the Spanish colonial ban on slave music. In this case, the drum is disguised as a conductor’s podium which is able to be unassembled and assembled during the performance.