Silent Music. George Brecht
Object from the exhibition "Silent Music. George Brecht"
80 Radio Plays
Sat, October 28, 2006 – Sun, December 03, 2006

In the time from 1983 to 1995, George Brecht realized three radio plays for West German Radio’s studio of acoustic art. They are a productive part of his intermedial, artistic output, his scientific research as well as a connection, that appears therein, to the thoughts and aesthetics of the Far East, to Taoism, and to Zen. »Silent music. Musik der Stille« is a poetic compendium about listening, music, and silence. »Supreme Music: Silence – Supreme Silence: Music« is a meditative voice game by George Brecht and John Cage of spoken reflections on their own texts as well as quotations of Chinese writings recited from two further voices. »Unterwegs notiert,« a third, short radio play, consists of ready-made observations and quotations. His radio play »Das Hsin-hsinming des Seng Ts'an« is based on a piece of writing left behind by the Chinese sage Seng Ts'an who died in 606. George Brecht translates this 73-verse text from Chinese into English for a publication that he arranged in four languages, including a French translation by Robert Filliou and a German translation by the poet Albrecht Fabri. For the radio play, each translator recited the text of their translation and another voice read the Chinese original. The recordings were layered together by chance. The constant noise from drops of water—a recollection of Brecht’s event »Drip Music« from the 1950s—accompanies this acoustic mobile of multilingual voices. These pieces will be presented as a non-stop performance in a specially designed listening booth. Also available for listening will be the »Beansequences« by the Fluxus artist Alison Knowles as well as the théâtre imaginaire of Dada and Zen, »An Alphabet« by John Cage, with George Brecht in the role of Marcel Duchamp. Additionally, a conversation »Über Fluxus und Zen« (on Fluxus and Zen) with George Brecht, inter-media artist Jackson MacLow, and Klaus Schöning, the former head of the »Studio of Acoustic Art« and co-director of these five radio plays. George Brecht, born in New York, has lived in Cologne since 1972. On 27 August 2006 he celebrated his eightieth birthday. Maintaining a buoyant reserve with regard to the Fluxus movement, he is one of its most fascinating personalities and is honored with this listening booth at the ZKM | Media Museum.

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie