Tonspur 52: Cage Cut Up 8 channel installation. For this installation, I chose to confront these text fragments from Cage with another source: handwritten inventory cards from the archive collection of the Jewish Musem in Berlin. From these cards I selected texts which speak of the condition and readability of unnamed documents in that collection.
"As my own work has become increasingly text-based both in performance and in installation, I have been re-examining Cage's oevre in textual composition. My own interests in the visual and audio perception of fragmentary layers of textual content are mirrored in his extensive experimentation with printed text layout and vocal readings.
In 2011, I was invited by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin to create a work for the exhibition "A Room for Cage". In preparation for the work I created for this exhibition ("Writing Cage", 2011) I made use of texts from my copy of the 1967 paperback edition of "A Year from Monday, New Lectures and Writings by John Cage". The text fragments were randomly chosen from a prepared list of all sentences in which either the words "text", "writing" or "reading" occur. For this installation, I chose to confront these text fragments from Cage with another source: handwritten inventory cards from the archive collection of the Jewish Musem in Berlin. From these cards I selected texts which speak of the condition and readability of unnamed documents in that collection.
These two, seemingly disparate text lists were further fragmented and mixed digitally using a version of the "cut-up method" invented by the artist Brion Gysin and often utilitized by the writer William S. Burroughs: in which texts from unrelated sources "meet" each other and create new random associations. The cut-up process resulted in a final list of 329 individual text fragments, ranging from one to 15 words. Both lists were recorded in a studio at ORF and spoken by artists Sam Ashley and Ray Kass, both of whom are recent participants in the TONSPUR Project.
A specially written software sends randomly chosen voice recordings from a database to the various loudspeakers according to pre-determined rules but leaving much to chance. We experience a possible conversation, never repeating and creating unexpected meanings.
During the preparation period, I lived in a studio near to the TONSPUR_passage at the MQ in Vienna. I often marvelled at the diversity and density of the soundscape, in which the distant sounds of Sam Ashley's installation, "Freedom From Happiness", mingled with the sonorites of crowds of people passing under my four windows, and resonating in the plaza and in my living space. Over a weekend, I made numerous recordings of this situation over different times of day, and then edited a file which lies as a carpet under the voices, functioning as a kind of memory of this Passage from a recent, yet now lost time."
- Arnold Dreyblatt
Image: Arnold Dreyblatt und Sam Ashley bei Tonaufnahmen zu Cage Cut Up © 2012 Georg Weckwerth
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Opening: Saturday, May 6, h 17:00
Museumsplatz 1 Wien
TONSPUR passage, between MQ courtyard 7 and 8