Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate in performance and lecture by Kristen Loree and Jack Ox

Loree and Ox are prepared to deliver both a performance of the Ursonate that includes a vocal presentation, and a projected visualization of Kurt Schwitters' historical and still timely compostion–– Ursonate, and a lecture on the Ursonate and both artists' development of the material. The actual performance is 35 minutes long, and the lecture can be 10 to 30 minutes long.

If Kurt Schwitters were a young, happening artist today, he would be a re-mix artist. Schwitters collaged trash, such as old train tickets, which he literally picked up off the street. For his world-class sound poem masterpiece, Ursonate, he used German phonemes that he found as a kind of linguistic readymade. The Ursonate is a classical example of the phenonmenon described by the Fluxus artist and theorist, Dick Higgins   (Something Else Newsletter, #1 1966) as intermedia. This means that structural elements from two or more different media are blended into one medium.

Schwitters created the Ursonate during a 10-year period between the world wars, 1922-32. At the same time, he was also building the Merzbau in his Hannover home. Schwitters created both from found objects, also known as objet trouvée. The sound poem is constructivist in format, using a 19th C. sonata structure, but performances were often in the style of DADA. The fates of the two artworks were very different; the bombing of Hannover in WWII completely destroyed the Merzbau, but the Ursonate lives on, performed with passion by each succeeding generation. (Peter Bisseger made two reconstructions of the Merzbau, one for traveling and one for the Sprengel Museum in Hannover.

(c) 2015 Andreas Bartels, rehearsal at klingt gut! Sound Sympoisium, HAW, Hamburg