About | Calendar | Artists | Credits | Video | Deutsch




Martin J. Pichler: schwitter's revenge


I learned through the Internet (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursonate) that the publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch as the holder of the rights on Kurt Schwitter's sued the German concept artist Wolfgang Müller. Müller previously found out that starlings in Schwitter's environment - skilled imitators of sound-events - used to "recite" passages from the Ursonate. Müller released these starlings's sounds on CD and this was the reason why Kiepenheuer & Witsch filed a lawsuit.

The Dada-artist and editor of the magazine "MERZ" Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), composed and performed the Ursonate as Dadaistic spoken word-opera consisting entirely of "Urlaute" ["primeval sounds"]. Noteworthy is that all formal criteria of the sonata-form are fulfilled.

My concept plays with this quaint situation. It is so to say Schwitter's revenge against the birds that stole his most famous work. I use only altered and alienated sounds of the original recording of the Ursonate (recited by Kurt Schwitters himself); this also to question the concept of the "art work".

Another point of interest is the principle of imitation. I will incorporate it in my sound installation according to the starlings' ability to mimic their environmental sounds like ring-tones of cell-phones a.o. I send samples of all kind camouflaged with "bird glasses" out of the speakers, hoping that the birds will continue to process them.