A review of 'Headache Hotel' by Karen Cheung

Aesthetica - 1 February 2006

Ever wonder why you have a certain song in your head? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve mind-sang my way through entire albums during work shifts – but the wondering is over. Karen Cheung has the answer: a small black-and-white bird crawls through your earlobe, checks into a cheap hotel in your brain, bashes away at its piano and you hum away.

But this amusing 2-minute animation is also artistically pleasing, as well as psychologically pondering. The sheets of music that seep from the piano aptly fade into the rooms of Mind Hotel – and we can see the protesting heckles of the other ‘guests’ – a barking dog, a banana-drumming monkey and two chirping birds – who are simply adding backing sounds to the tune played by the bird.

Unfortunately, the bird is booted out of the hotel and thus from the ear of its human host. “I’ve just ‘ad this awful tune in my ‘ead,” the man says.