Mari Matsuda Peace Orchestra
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I MADE AN orchestra

The Next Dada Utopian Peace Orchestra presents a reading of The Manifesto of Radical Intersubjective Collectivity and Imagined Possibility, with Bach 995 Sarabande, performed on instruments recovered from the waste stream. 

Reading and Instrument Maker: Mari Matsuda

Conductor: Charles R. Lawrence III


Beau Bassett, David Corbari, Pete Doktor, Ara Feducia, Peter Holland, Alison Loo, Bailey Matsuda, Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, Nicole Naone, Njoroge Njoroge, Hadley Nunes, Sharon Tasaka

Project Manager: Nicole Naone

Video director: Christopher Kahunahana

Artistic advisors: Charles Cohan, Peter Chamberlain, Rick Mills, Fred Roster, Shawn Spangler, Linda Yamamoto






You are a peace orchestra type if objects call to you from the waste stream, asking for rescue and transformation. Every instrument in this orchestra started out as someone else’s reject. We were quite selective: to make the cut, the object had to have instrinsic dignity, the ability to carry a tune, and collaborative tendencies.  Successful candidates included corrugated electrical tubing, an old copper-screened door, reclaimed wood from torn-down houses, grandfather clock innards, an industrial piston, a bellows, glass bottles and lampshades, scrap rebar, old tent poles, brass and silver thrift shop serving trays, a library card file drawer, a sewing machine, a typewriter, an antler a student culled on Molokai, a yard sale copper pot, a café chair found on the side of the road in Makiki.  Dead and dying actual instruments signed up: a broken Yuquin, a dull practice guitar.  Each finished instrument had to play at least one measure of Bach 995, with the ability to project across a room without amplification.  



If no object ever asked you to take it home and turn it into a sculpture, you might wonder why a law professor would spend a year in the scrapyards. The story is of a kid giving up on art, followed by regret, looming mortality, and reconnection.  Another second-career artist said to me “well, you stopped making art, but your eye never stopped.” Never stopped looking over three decades of writing about justice while my tools stayed in the toolbox.  Then I started making instruments out of discards, and realized that they were the manifestation of everything I believed about justice.  Don’t waste love, talent, or usable objects.  Find what matters and withhold judgment. Joy lives outside the market.  Smash all hierarchies and end all subordination. Make spaces that predict the future, then live in that prediction: everything is sacred – every person, every river, every stone.  Protected, adored, beheld with wonderment. Like the baby you once were, as safe as that, held in competent arms. We could be that baby, we could be the arms, we could remake this world. 

In my written work I explain and justify this conclusion.  In art, it just is.




peace orchestra gallery

Photography by Chris Rohrer