WINNIPEG – We’ve seen a lot of bizarre and unique things from our newsroom on the 30th floor of 201 Portage Ave., high above Portage and Main, but never this: A piano floating down the Red River.
“I was like, what is this?” laughs Gordon Cartwright, owner of Splash Dash Tour Boats, “I’ve seen a lot of things in the Red River and the Assiniboine but that is my first piano going down the river.”
Wednesday night, it caught us by surprise too, so we had to see what was behind this musical mystery.
We tracked down Matt Walker and Thea Jones, art students from Toronto and Hamilton practicing at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art.
“I came up to Matt and said ‘I want to float something and chase it down the river, what do you think?’ the next day he came up to me and was like a piano and I was like, good luck,” said Jones.
So they got the piano for free from KIJIJI and went to work.
“We removed the harp and sound board, the heavy stuff of the piano and reconstructed the back of it,” said Walker.
They filled it with foam and used weights to balance it in the water, a tricky task.
Once in the water, they snapped pictures and video for a future film project as it floated down the Assiniboine and then the Red River.
“I think we’ve actually learned a lot about Winnipeg and geography through the process,” said Walker.
The duo says it was bizarre but says while Winnipeggers watching from on the shoreline stared and had many questions, they didn’t judge.
“People asked us why were were moving,” laughed Walker.
“Yeah, they thought we were literally transporting a piano to our home or office or something,” laughed Jones.
Now that the mystery is solved, these artists hope this will remain a piece of art because who can forget about the floating piano.
“I have to say I’ve never done something like this before,” said Jones.
The Artists return home in a few days but say this will be one art project they won’t soon forget.