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Sprich zu mir in Seuchensprache/Speak to me in plague language (Vanadium-i-ching 1983): An analysis of Einstrzende Neubauten as Artaudian artists

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This article brings into focus an aspect of Artaud's seminal influence on experimental music which, although ranging from David Tudor to Japanese noise artists, has yet to be fully explored in comparison with available literature on Artaud and theatre. Sprich zu mir in Seuchensprache contributes to this discussion by arguing that the Berlin-based music collective Einstrzende Neubauten are one of the most effective working examples of Artaudian artists. The evidence given is in the musicians' philosophy of music as apocalypse and utopia; in their risk-filled (but disciplined) physicality with their industrial playgrounds and their work with dance troupes; their investigation into, and use of, found sound and unusually constructed instrumentation; their expanded gestural vocalization and their use of the scream. Neubauten's lyrics also support Artaudian concerns in their avoidance of personal shopping and shagging for cosmic, scientific, biological and mythical themes and in the structuring from dreams, lists and chance games. Finally Neubauten pursue the desire to create an artistrecipient shared transforming cruelty that reaches beyond the ears and eyes.

Keywords: Artaud; Einstrzende Neubauten; experimental music; performance strategies

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.30.3.323_1

Affiliations: Chester University.

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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