piano archive- marta fernandez calvo and dorothee kreutzfeldt


piano no 13 (14 missing keys,made in germany, property of richmond high). temporarily installed in half-built RDP house on the edge of richmond. richmond, october 08.


‘AND it was all play, and no one could tell what it had lived and worked for. a striving, and a striving, and an ending in nothing.

(olive schreiner,  the story of an african farm.  first published 1883, under the psydonym ralph iron. olive schreiner (1855 – 1920) lived for an extensive part of her life in the karoo.

Letter From Richmond, Karoo, October 2008

tuesday: there are 3 flags on the hill above Richmond (British, SA, Republic). there are 2 roads to graaff-reinet. there’s a brickmaker with 3 donkeys and more than 5 dogs, the bricks take 3 weeks to burn.  there are 5 cemetaries, 3 in town, 2 on the edge, 1 on the other side of the hill. there is a museum for horses. there’s a public library, an empty swimming pool, a soccer pitch with 2 goals. 4 chairs on the veranda.  people walk on the roads, there is almost no traffic. at night – stray dogs.   there are 5 tortoises, 1 scrapyard, 1 truck workshop, 1 empty garage.  i saw a man on crutches, with skew legs, and a gunholster (silver). he greeted me, then looked surprised and away.

Day 4 ( a town with no dead ends.) there is a postman’s tavern in the ‘coloured location’. and kite-flyers. you walk down the hill to the ‘black location’. churches. you walk up the hill to the donkey’s church (attendants wear brown coats, ‘like donkeys’). you carry on walking up the next hill to the ‘mixed location’. somebody casting tombstones in cement. the postboxes look like small houses. behind the ‘black location’, the cemetery for the black. george says only ‘the blacks’ fuck the truck drivers for money. 30 minutes 9-10am, 12 trucks, 7 towards cape town. the rest direction JHB.

Wednesday. actually, there are deadends. i mean roads that end where the land begins. we went to the piano teacher’s house. i couldn’t breath in there. the daughter (20) kept bringing us her cd’s, her hands shaking , like St.Vitus dance. didn’t say anything.  we walk from the ‘coloured location’ to the ‘black location’. 3 kids follow us, stick to us. i think the pianos arrived with the churches, the schools and the music teachers from P.E.   the prison: ‘serious offences get moved’ to larger prisons elsewhere. in the old part of town, the water runs in small canals next to the road.

marta speaks about growing up in la rioja. on the second last day we drag piano 13 into the rdp house looking onto the landscape, towards the coast.  we count the missing keys of 13 pianos.





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