Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Stuff: All in the Family

This TV sitcom started in 1970 same time as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but somehow it went below my radar. Or maybe I wasn't allowed to see it. Wikepedia say^s:

"The show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, miscarriage, breast cancer, menopause and impotence."

If that isn't a recommendation...

Marcelle Bittar

New Stuff: Rowland S. Howard R.I.P.

It was only very late that I heard the news about Rowland S. Howards death in December last year, best known as the guitarist in Nick Cave's first band The Birthday Party. And just a few weeks ago, while visiting Prague, we heard the Italian band Three Blind Mice playing one of his songs as a homage. For this reason I ordered this cd which was now released posthumously.


Annelyse Schoenberger

ph: Ella Durst

New Stuff: Last Call. The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

The Prohibition has always been a great mystery to me, and I must admit that I don't know very much about its history besides the role it has played in numerous movies. The idea itself, prohibiting the consumption of beverages containing alcohol ('intoxicating beverages'), seems to me horrific and sacrilegious: wasn't it Christ himself who created wine out of water, declared it as his own blood and told his disciples to drink it regularly in his name?
In hindsight the age of Prohibtion in the United States appears to have been a dark and radically Protestant age and a precursor to our new cultural threats like political correctness or the universal smoking bans.
I think there are always forces within society that are unable to accept the diversity of its individuals, but rather see an advantage in leveling everyone down to one common demeanor. My idea of society is rather we all accept each other's differences...
I'm very much looking forward to reading this book.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Luigi Russolo: The Art of Noises

Dear Balilla Pratella, great Futurist composer,

In Rome, in the Costanzi Theatre, packed to capacity, while I was listening to the orchestral performance of your overwhelming Futurist music, with my Futurist friends, Marinetti, Boccioni, Carrà, Balla, Soffici, Papini and Cavacchioli, a new art came into my mind which only you can create, the Art of Noises, the logical consequence of your marvelous innovations.

Ancient life was all silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine, Noise was born. Today, Noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men. For many centuries life went by in silence, or at most in muted tones. The strongest noises which interrupted this silence were not intense or prolonged or varied. If we overlook such exceptional movements as earthquakes, hurricanes, storms, avalanches and waterfalls, nature is silent.

Amidst this dearth of noises, the first sounds that man drew from a pieced reed or streched string were regarded with amazement as new and marvelous things. Primitive races attributed sound to the gods; it was considered sacred and reserved for priests, who used it to enrich the mystery of their rites.

And so was born the concept of sound as a thing in itself, distinct and independent of life, and the result was music, a fantastic world superimposed on the real one, an inviolatable and sacred world. It is easy to understand how such a concept of music resulted inevitable in the hindering of its progress by comparison with the other arts. The Greeks themselves, with their musical theories calculated mathematically by Pythagoras and according to which only a few consonant intervals could be used, limited the field of music considerably, rendering harmony, of which they were unaware, impossible.

The Middle Ages, with the development and modification of the Greek tetrachordal system, with the Gregorian chant and popular songs, enriched the art of music, but continued to consider sound in its development in time, a restricted notion, but one which lasted many centuries, and which still can be found in the Flemish contrapuntalists’ most complicated polyphonies.

The chord did not exist, the development of the various parts was not subornated to the chord that these parts put together could produce; the conception of the parts was horizontal not vertical. The desire, search, and taste for a simultaneous union of different sounds, that is for the chord (complex sound), were gradually made manifest, passing from the consonant perfect chord with a few passing dissonances, to the complicated and persistent dissonances that characterize contemporary music.

At first the art of music sought purity, limpidity and sweetness of sound. Then different sounds were amalgamated, care being taken, however, to caress the ear with gentle harmonies. Today music, as it becomes continually more complicated, strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound.

This musical evolution is paralleled by the multipication of machines, which collaborate with man on every front. Not only in the roaring atmosphere of major cities, but in the country too, which until yesterday was totally silent, the machine today has created such a variety and rivalry of noises that pure sound, in its exiguity and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling.

To excite and exalt our sensibilities, music developed towards the most complex polyphony and the maximum variety, seeking the most complicated successions of dissonant chords and vaguely preparing the creation of musical noise. This evolution towards “noise sound” was not possible before now. The ear of an eighteenth-century man could never have endured the discordant intensity of certain chords produced by our orchestras (whose members have trebled in number since then). To our ears, on the other hand, they sound pleasant, since our hearing has already been educated by modern life, so teeming with variegated noises. But our ears are not satisfied merely with this, and demand an abundance of acoustic emotions.

On the other hand, musical sound is too limited in its qualitative variety of tones. The most complex orchestras boil down to four or five types of instrument, varying in timber: instruments played by bow or plucking, by blowing into metal or wood, and by percussion. And so modern music goes round in this small circle, struggling in vain to create new ranges of tones.

This limited circle of pure sounds must be broken, and the infinite variety of “noise-sound” conquered.

Besides, everyone will acknowledge that all musical sound carries with it a development of sensations that are already familiar and exhausted, and which predispose the listener to boredom in spite of the efforts of all the innovatory musicians. We Futurists have deeply loved and enjoyed the harmonies of the great masters. For many years Beethoven and Wagner shook our nerves and hearts. Now we are satiated and we find far more enjoyment in the combination of the noises of trams, backfiring motors, carriages and bawling crowds than in rehearsing, for example, the “Eroica” or the “Pastoral”.

We cannot see that enormous apparatus of force that the modern orchestra represents without feeling the most profound and total disillusion at the paltry acoustic results. Do you know of any sight more ridiculous than that of twenty men furiously bent on the redoubling the mewing of a violin? All this will naturally make the music-lovers scream, and will perhaps enliven the sleepy atmosphere of concert halls. Let us now, as Futurists, enter one of these hospitals for anaemic sounds. There: the first bar brings the boredom of familiarity to your ear and anticipates the boredom of the bar to follow. Let us relish, from bar to bar, two or three varieties of genuine boredom, waiting all the while for the extraordinary sensation that never comes.

Meanwhile a repugnant mixture is concocted from monotonous sensations and the idiotic religious emotion of listeners buddhistically drunk with repeating for the nth time their more or less snobbish or second-hand ecstasy.

Away! Let us break out since we cannot much longer restrain our desire to create finally a new musical reality, with a generous distribution of resonant slaps in the face, discarding violins, pianos, double-basses and plainitive organs. Let us break out!

It’s no good objecting that noises are exclusively loud and disagreeable to the ear.

It seems pointless to enumerate all the graceful and delicate noises that afford pleasant sensations.

To convince ourselves of the amazing variety of noises, it is enough to think of the rumble of thunder, the whistle of the wind, the roar of a waterfall, the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the clatter of a trotting horse as it draws into the distance, the lurching jolts of a cart on pavings, and of the generous, solemn, white breathing of a nocturnal city; of all the noises made by wild and domestic animals, and of all those that can be made by the mouth of man without resorting to speaking or singing.

Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes, and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling of noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animality, the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags. We enjoy creating mental orchestrations of the crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffling of crowds, the variety of din, from stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning wheels, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways.

Nor should the newest noises of modern war be forgotten. Recently, the poet Marinetti, in a letter from the trenches of Adrianopolis, described to me with marvelous free words the orchestra of a great battle:

“every 5 seconds siege cannons gutting space with a chord ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB mutiny of 500 echos smashing scattering it to infinity. In the center of this hateful ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB area 50square kilometers leaping bursts lacerations fists rapid fire batteries. Violence ferocity regularity this deep bass scanning the strange shrill frantic crowds of the battle Fury breathless ears eyes nostrils open! load! fire! what a joy to hear to smell completely taratatata of the machine guns screaming a breathless under the stings slaps traak-traak whips pic-pac-pum-tumb weirdness leaps 200 meters range Far far in back of the orchestra pools muddying huffing goaded oxen wagons pluff-plaff horse action flic flac zing zing shaaack laughing whinnies the tiiinkling jiiingling tramping 3 Bulgarian battalions marching croooc-craaac [slowly] Shumi Maritza or Karvavena ZANG-TUMB-TUUUMB toc-toc-toc-toc [fast] crooc-craac [slowly] crys of officers slamming about like brass plates pan here paak there BUUUM ching chaak [very fast] cha-cha-cha-cha-chaak down there up around high up look out your head beautiful! Flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing footlights of the forts down there behind that smoke Shukri Pasha communicates by phone with 27 forts in Turkish in German Allo! Ibrahim! Rudolf! allo! allo! actors parts echos of prompters scenery of smoke forests applause odor of hay mud dung I no longer feel my frozen feet odor of gunsmoke odor of rot Tympani flutes clarinets everywhere low high birds chirping blessed shadows cheep-cheep-cheep green breezes flocks don-dan-don-din-baaah Orchestra madmen pommel the performers they terribly beaten playing Great din not erasing clearing up cutting off slighter noises very small scraps of echos in the theater area 300 square kilometers Rivers Maritza Tungia stretched out Rodolpi Mountains rearing heights loges boxes 2000 shrapnels waving arms exploding very white handkerchiefs full of gold srrrr-TUMB-TUMB 2000 raised grenades tearing out bursts of very black hair ZANG-srrrr-TUMB-ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB the orchestra of the noises of war swelling under a held note of silence in the high sky round golden balloon that observes the firing...”

We want to attune and regulate this tremendous variety of noises harmonically and rhythmically.

To attune noises does not mean to detract from all their irregular movements and vibrations in time and intensity, but rather to give gradation and tone to the most strongly predominant of these vibrations.

Noise in fact can be differentiated from sound only in so far as the vibrations which produce it are confused and irregular, both in time and intensity.

Every noise has a tone, and sometimes also a harmony that predominates over the body of its irregular vibrations.

Now, it is from this dominating characteristic tone that a practical possibility can be derived for attuning it, that is to give a certain noise not merely one tone, but a variety of tones, without losing its characteristic tone, by which I mean the one which distinguishes it. In this way any noise obtained by a rotating movement can offer an entire ascending or descending chromatic scale, if the speed of the movement is increased or decreased.

Every manifestation of our life is accompanied by noise. The noise, therefore, is familiar to our ear, and has the power to conjure up life itself. Sound, alien to our life, always musical and a thing unto itself, an occasional but unnecessary element, has become to our ears what an overfamiliar face is to our eyes. Noise, however, reaching us in a confused and irregular way from the irregular confusion of our life, never entirely reveals itself to us, and keeps innumerable surprises in reserve. We are therefore certain that by selecting, coordinating and dominating all noises we will enrich men with a new and unexpected sensual pleasure.

Although it is characteristic of noise to recall us brutally to real life, the art of noise must not limit itself to imitative reproduction. It will achieve its most emotive power in the acoustic enjoyment, in its own right, that the artist’s inspiration will extract from combined noises.

Here are the 6 families of noises of the Futurist orchestra which we will soon set in motion mechanically:

1 2 3 4 5 6
Booms Whistles
Snorts Whispers
Gurgles Screeches
Scrapes Noises obtained by percussion on metal, wood, skin, stone, tarracotta, etc. Voices of animals and men:

In this inventory we have encapsulated the most characteristic of the fundamental noises; the others are merely the associations and combinations of these. The rhythmic movements of a noise are infinite: just as with tone there is always a predominant rhythm, but around this numerous other secondary rhythms can be felt.

1. Futurist musicians must continually enlarge and enrich the field of sounds. This corresponds to a need in our sensibility. We note, in fact, in the composers of genius, a tendency towards the most complicated dissonances. As these move further and further away from pure sound, they almost achieve noise-sound. This need and this tendency cannot be satisfied except by the adding and the substitution of noises for sounds.

2. Futurist musicians must substitute for the limited variety of tones posessed by orchestral instruments today the infinite variety of tones of noises, reproduced with appropriate mechanisms.

3. The musician’s sensibility, liberated from facile and traditional Rhythm, must find in noises the means of extension and renewal, given that every noise offers the union of the most diverse rhythms apart from the predominant one.

4. Since every noise contains a predominant general tone in its irregular vibrations it will be easy to obtain in the construction of instruments which imitate them a sufficiently extended variety of tones, semitones, and quarter-tones. This variety of tones will not remove the characteristic tone from each noise, but will amplify only its texture or extension.

5. The practical difficulties in constructing these instruments are not serious. Once the mechanical principle which produces the noise has been found, its tone can be changed by following the same general laws of acoustics. If the instrument is to have a rotating movement, for instance, we will increase or decrease the speed, whereas if it is to not have rotating movement the noise-producing parts will vary in size and tautness.

6. The new orchestra will achieve the most complex and novel aural emotions not by incorporating a succession of life-imitating noises but by manipulating fantastic juxtapositions of these varied tones and rhythms. Therefore an instrument will have to offer the possibility of tone changes and varying degrees of amplification.

7. The variety of noises is infinite. If today, when we have perhaps a thousand different machines, we can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination.

8. We therefore invite young musicians of talent to conduct a sustained observation of all noises, in order to understand the various rhythms of which they are composed, their principal and secondary tones. By comparing the various tones of noises with those of sounds, they will be convinced of the extent to which the former exceed the latter. This will afford not only an understanding, but also a taste and passion for noises. After being conquered by Futurist eyes our multiplied sensibilities will at last hear with Futurist ears. In this way the motors and machines of our industrial cities will one day be consciously attuned, so that every factory will be transformed into an intoxicating orchestra of noises.

Dear Pratella, I submit these statements to your Futurist genius, inviting your discussion. I am not a musician, I have therefore no acoustical predilictions, nor any works to defend. I am a Futurist painter using a much loved art to project my determination to renew everything. And so, bolder than a professional musician could be, unconcerned by my apparent incompetence and convinced that all rights and possibilities open up to daring, I have been able to initiate the great renewal of music by means of the Art of Noises.

My Life: the 70s

1971 we emigrated to Germany, don't ask me why, it's still one of the mysteries in my life, but it was definitely my mother's decision. My dad flew over 6 months before the rest of the family (Mama, my sister Andrea and myself). We went to New York City (I remember seeing the WTC under construction), stayed with friends and then we took the ship over the Atlantic. Here it is, the TS Bremen:

So, in July 1971 we arrived in Regensburg in Bavaria, and I've been living here ever since.

There's so much to tell. I was still a child when we emigrated, but by the end of the 70s I was nearly an adult. One thing I can say about this whole decade is that I was horribly homesick for the States all those years. That only changed when I finally became an adult.

This was not immediately the case: at first it was thrilling to enter a whole new (well, at least different) world and to get to know my German grandparents better, who I loved very much. I did already speak German, but the first say 2 years I needed to get it perfect and, which was more difficult, to deal with the Bavarian dialect, which is quite different. Today, Bavarian is more or less the tongue I speak most of the time.

Unfortunately, I don't have too many older pics scanned (and our scanner isn't working at the moment), but I'll try to include pics where possible.

The rest of my childhood consisted of school and living with my German grandparents. The German school system is divided into several kinds of schools with different education levels. My mother wanted to me to attend the 'High' German school (called 'gymnasium'). You can only go there, if you pass a test in elementary school in the 4th grade, so it was decided that I restart with 3rd grade, although I already was so far in the States. Here's a picture of my elementary school, St. Konrad school:

Well, I managed the test, and from the 5th grade on I went to the Werner-von-Siemens-Gymnasium which was downtown and quite a ways from where my grandparents lived, so I needed to take the bus. 5th grade starts with your first foreign language which was English, in my case, so that was real easy for me. In the 7th grade I got Latin which was OK, I think I would never have managed French (which was the other option) with my newly learnt Bavarian accent.

The Gymnasium goes till the 13th grade and the last years are equivalent to what you call undergraduate college. So I went to school till 1982.

As long as my German grandmother (called Oma, grandfather is Opa) lived - she died in 1974 of cancer, age 62 - I was fully in the choke-hold of a strict Catholic upbringing. Oma was extremely pious, going to mass (and communion) every morning at 8am and attending all other services which we had to join, too. So more often than not we'd be called in from playing with the neighbours' kids and forced to go to church for the Rosemary and similar stuff. For a kid like me it was like hell, and as soon as I was of age with 18 I declared to quit Catholic lessons at school, too.

My Oma was beyond that incredibly superstitious and believed in nearly anything 'otherworldy': stigmata occasions, ghosts, flying saucers, alien abductions, natural catastrophes as God's punishment, etc. The horrible Managua earthquake in 1972 was due to the people's sins there to her, and she was tireless in describing those sins to us. She also knew everything about the stigmatized Therese of Konnersreuth (near Regensburg) and had a book full of gory pics of her bloodletting.

You can imagine that it was complicated to get an impression of the real world amongst such a raising, but then I must say that my Opa was quite the opposite to his wife. He was a devout Catholic, but with ratio: he'd never believe in anything unreasonable and was much more tolerant to worldy things. He once told me he found an 'oh-so-holy' prayer book among Oma's things, he took it to Church the next Sunday and deliberately 'forgot' it there telling me "so that some other old holy witch can find it".

What you might not know, the 70s in Germany were a pretty dark age, and I was very early confronted with the reality in contrast to the supernatural world my Oma lived in. To this day I really don't know how she coped with what really happened in the outside world. Only 3 years after we arrived in Germany my Oma died of cancer at the age of 62.

So I grew up in a new strange world, terribly homesick for the States, the death of both my grandmothers (my American grandmother died of Alzheimer in a very slow and horrifying downward spiral of losing her mind) and the terror that occurred in Germany.

The first event that knocked me onto my feet was the massacre at the Munich Olympics, this happend just 80 miles from here where I live. All Germany was enthusiastically celebrating the Olympic games (just like the football championship), and all of a sudden it was destroyed by the hostage taking of the Israeli players and then the catastrophe in the attempt to free them. I was 10 years old, but from that day on I started reading the newspaper on a daily basis.

In my childhood innocence I would never have imagined that so much malice was ever possible. And neither my grandparents nor my parents were able to explain it to me.

Munich was just the beginning of my long quest for enlightment. Reading the news and digging a bit into history it didn't take long to find out that I'm living in a country that just a few decades before committed some of the most hideous crimes in the history of mankind, and the German state at that time was not too keen on being remembered about the Third Reich and its repercussions into present day Germany.

The 70s was also the time of hippies and political radicalism, especially here in Germany, because of its recent history. Starting in the 60s mostly students became very radical founding what they called an 'extra-parliamentary oppostion' (the German abbreviation APO) culminating in demonstrations, rallies and later on in violent acts. You've all heard of the Baader-Meinhof gang and the German RAF who very much dominated the political atmosphere in Germany of the 70s and early 80s.

Of course it was terrorism, but it didn't start out that way. There were justified causes for protest (especially former Nazis in high positions in the state), but the government ('establishment') and many of the older citizens did not accept the protest and stroke back violently in the process provoking the radicalization, too. In the 70s there was a cutting down on civil rights, legitimized police brutality with new laws to enable their activities and a witchhunt against anyone who said something 'critical' (or had long hair, for that matter). You were very quickly labeled as a "sympathisant" of the terrorists, one of the most-used words in the German 70s. This political conflict culminated in the kidnapping and murder of Hans-Martin Schleyer and the subsequent (supposed) suicides of the RAF leaders in jail.

As we were recently discussing teenage rebellion elsewhere I'd say about myself that my only rebellion with my elders was a political (and religious) one, otherwise I was a 'good boy'.

In those years I became a Marxist, read all the relevant philosophers and theoreticians and participated in diverse political organizations, events and projects, nothing really special, though, but I was to be labeled as 'sympathisant', too.

I'm just mentioning this, because - among other things still to be told - it very well defined what kind of plans I'd have for the future in my life, and I still see a straight line from there to me now.

Woodstock was my real introduction to rock music. In the early 70s we had an Armenian friend, a fugitive from Lebanon who joined the American army to speed up his naturalization as an American and was immediately accepted and stationed to Regensburg. His name was Krisdapor, we had a lot of fun together and he gave me 2 cassette copies of the Woodstock album.

Till then I didn't know much more about rock music other than the Beatles and the 50s/60s/70s major hits and evergreens and was already sick of the local German top 40 music which is probably the worst of all mankind. But the music on "Woodstock" immediately made me homesick for the States, at that time Regensburg was way behind the times, and there were no hippies until later in the 70s. Yep, they kind of appeared here when punk started and punk arrived even faster, say about 5 years too late. "Woodstock" got me addicted to 'old' rock music and kind of spoilt me for Punk and New Wave, too, which I hated at first hearing.

Needless to say that I built onto this introduction. I was immediately a Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young fan, and I started buying and reading books and magazines on rock music systematically collecting the essential albums of that era. In fact I became quite a serious collector, founding my own mail order and organizing local record collector's conventions. In the 90s I even was co-owner of a store selling cds.

If I don't count my childhood Beatles addiction Frank Zappa was the first artist I really did become a fan of, and very literally so.

This was something that was way beyond my small teenage world, a music that I had no grasp of. The music was deliberately cacophonous, the lyrics and jokes obscene and appeared completely desultorily. It took me a few weeks, before I found some kind of understanding. I became a fan and also an admirer of Penderecki and other modern composers in the bargain.

Of course, as a fan, I loved nearly all of Zappa's work, managed to get my friends to become fans as well. And in our days organizing record collectors' conventions and gatherings we did get a reputation for being those weirdo Zappa aficiandos. To this day some people still ask me about him. In reality my enthusiasm simmered down by the mid-80s, since Zappa started repeating himself too much, and I had already found much more unusual music out there. Still, it is very sad that he died so early.

My affection for 60s American rock music very much ruined me for the punk era, I really hated the 3-chord stuff. But very early I did find out about the more unusual and innovative bands, such as Pere Ubu, the Residents and the re-founded Red Crayola. That got me started on finding ever more music outside of the mainstream and to this day I'm still at it.

Walter Harteis R.I.P.

Walter Harteis died of a genetic disease on May 19th, 2010; he was 44 years old.

I first met Walter as a participant of the 'How to Read a Film' lectures I was giving at the local film club in the mid 1980s. We very quickly became friends due to our love for cinema, and I was able to introduce him to the film club and he soon became an active member.

Walter was not a core member of Lyssa humana, since he did not agree with some our more artistic intentions, he prefered the cinematic approach, but he was there from the start, contributed very actively on his own terms and - after a long hiatus - returned till the end of the special movie events in 2001.

Our friendship did have its ups and downs, but when it was up we were very close, and Walter helped initiate my regular dinner parties and was the main cook at these events. He also worked at my cinema on a regular basis.

Walter was a student of Catholic theology and for a long time was thinking of joining a monastery. Besides his love for cinema his enthusiasm for Italy, its history and culture had no bounds, he spoke the language fluently. Therefore his cinematic mainstay were giallos, Italian horror movies and spaghetti westerns.

We had lost contact in the new century, but his death has come as a shock. We did share a lot of our time and experiences, and he's fondly remembered by all who knew him.

What is Lyssa humana?

Here's the official description I just translated a few minutes ago:

Lyssa humana is an independent art group that works with film, writing, object art and sound. From the beginning on it was also active as an organizer. Many of the performances were presented together with Delir Noir. Hand-made mini series are disguised as audio media, but are conceived as gesamtkunstwerk. Content and packaging are melded to a unity. (record made of hard plaster)

Lyssa humana initially emerged out of the 'Nachtkino' (night cinema). In the mid 1980s Nachtkino was a small group within the local film club AKF that organized the cinema in the city gallery, Kino im Leeren Beutel, now called Filmgalerie. This night cinema was a special program showing b-pictures, underground movies, music clips, genre movies, etc. The program became extremely successful with the audience and soon found many regulars who didn't want to miss an evening. Tilo Ettl, the recently deceased Walter Harteis and William Kretschmer were responsible for the Nachtkino.
During this time they also published a little periodical and named it: 'Lyssa humana. Magazine for the cultural rearmament'. The topics of the magazine went beyond the concern for cinema and its history and absorbed all realms of creative culture. Edmund Bachmeier and Walter Heilmeier contributed to the magazine and also made suggestions for the program at the cinema.

The film club had allowed Nachtkino to exist for a limited span of time only, but its success made it possible to go on now using the name Lyssa humana.

By then the group had already decided to operate culturally beyond the mere projection of movies, and a founding manifest was signed which defined Lyssa humana as a loose organisation without any binding rules. In the years thereafter a multitude of publications were produced, most often pamphlets, flyers with no advertising intentions. And from 1989 to 2000 there were at least 90 special movie events.

In August 1988 Lyssa humana performed for the first time as a musical group at the cinema event called 'Dada For Now', later it performed quite often in tandem with Delir Noir. Many of the impressive print and object mini-series were produced for these occasions. The movie events, however, were always at the core of all activity and later moved from the city gallery's cinema to the privately owned Stali cinema until the year 2000.

Lyssa humana's well-founded knowledge of art history and subculture made it possible to meld diverse styles and techniques which they called 'apocalypse culture'. 1989 they held a 10-part seminar at the city's adult education center VHS and added 4 movie events at the cinema to accompany the course.

Lyssa humana was less a loose group with strict rules, but rather a close-knit community with a decidedly open perception of what culture is about. Disappointed and downright appalled by the petit-bourgeois mentality even within the left-wing scene Lyssa humana was first of all a protestion against the censorship from the bourgeois established culture authorities and against the self-censorship of the autonomous opinion leaders. The intention was to revisit, renew and rethink the initial impetus of the early modern, especially Dada, therefore using the term 'cultural rearmament'. Such culture is 'apocalyptic', since it had to fight off the hostility of contemporary culture coming from all sides. Lyssa humana is musically 'industrial', since it's the intersection where Luigi Russolo's futurist noise manifest, John Cage's aesthetics of aleatoric sound production, Kraftwerk's electronic pop music and the punk rebellion's D.I.Y. principles meet together.

The Big News

Lyssa humana is back on the tracks! Yeah, there will soon be a Delir Noir/Lyssa humana retrospective here in Regensburg at the Kunstverein Graz. You'll find updates in here and at the blog Zwischen Abscheu und Ekstase which is also the name of the exhibition. The blog will soon be updated with an English text.

I'll also be performing on July 3rd as Lyssa humana and hope it will be well attended. And since I'm so excited it inspired me to some additional activity. I've put up a Lyssa humana Myspace page here:

and a brand new bulletin board which I hope to get a bunch of friends together from all the different places that I'm active with online. It is here:

You'll need to register with, but it's free and you can invent a name for yourself. If you're reluctant: it's not just about Lyssa humana and industrial culture, it's open to anything you'd want to contribute. I'd love to see some activity there, so you're all invited!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From the Lyssa humana image archive

Karen Nuemberg

My Life: The 60s

[Recently some friends had asked me to tell them about myself, so I'm workung on a cursory 'autobiography' divided by the decades, here's part one]

I was born in Munich in 1961. My Dad was stationed as American soldier here in Regensburg, got to know and fell in love with my mother (who is German) and married her a half year later. Since the next army hospital was hours away in Munich, my mother was brought there (through a heavy snow storm, it was December). We moved back to my Dad's hometown Kirkwood, Missouri the next year. This is where we lived till 1971.

I have very fond memories of my childhood in the States, I even think it was the perfect place to grow up. What you might not know yet, both my parents always had jobs, so I spent most of my childhood with my grandparents, first in America, then here in Germany. I guess that influenced me a lot, and I can say that all my grandparents were very good people (and strict Catholics). I only saw my parents in the mornings and evenings, for supper and my mother reading us bedtime stories.

I could tell so many things, but I'll have to be cursory:

I loved the hot summers (couldn't stand them now anymore, though), our house with a large garden and those animals to be found everywhere: turtles, snakes, rabbits squirrels, etc. Collecting lightning bugs in a jar and using them to secretly read in bed under the blanket.

In school (3 grades in the States, school run by nuns) I was the class' bad boy: constantly being sent to the corner, having to stay after school. Once the teacher glued my mouth shut with tape, cause I was always talking back to her...

My Grandpa's basement stock full of wondrous things, a child's, MY paradise: books, magazines (hundreds of National Geographics even from the 1800s), stuffed animals and animal skulls, a pool table, a large bar and party space. I spent a lot of my time there.

American TV: Amazing. Now if that wasn't formative! I saw hundreds of monster movies and ALL the 60s TV series. I'll always have a love for B pictures. Furthermore my Dad took me to the movies very often, so I saw a lot there, too: most memorably 2001 - A Space Odyssey right when it was released. My theory is to watch this one as a kid, it'll have so much more of an impact. It opened up a whole new world to me.

The music: another formative part of my childhood. My Dad had a large singles collection of 50s music, you know, Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee (my favourite at the time), and so many others I forgot the names of. Although it was the 60s I was listening to this older stuff all the time until my Dad got The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's and Magical Mystery Tour which I played thousands of times. This music had so much in it, you could discover something every time you played it. And of course the everyday American top 40 music in the radio. That's where my love for music comes from.

Here's me (in the foreground) 1966 during a visit at my German grandparents' house, the 2 other kids were the neighbours' kids I played with:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Katja Borghuis

From my vaults: Adele Astaire


Caroline Demarqui

ph: Vital Agibalow

New York

via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,
There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats

Talytha Pugliesi

First Lines: Frank McCourt - Angela's Ashes

My father and mother should have stayed in New York where they met and married and where I was born.

Who's That Girl?

Illustrator: Sarah Knotz

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jamie Gunns

From my vaults: Sanae Asoh

Arizona Muse

Katharina Hessen

ph: Nick Dorey

New York

First Lines: Richard Matheson - I Am Legend

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

Damaris Lewis

Kate Moss irrégulière

Who's That Girl?

Illustrator: Walmor Corrêa

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Magdalena Fiolka

ph: Lukasz Pukowiec

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

After the Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan planet of Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a truce, the Federation soon find out the Romulans are planning an attack on Earth.

Another moderately interesting entry to the series with the only special novelty of having one of the major characters killed.

Who's That Girl?

Illustrator: Colwyn Thomas

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