Sunday, 21. Februar 2010, 23:03 - 23:45, Ö1



John Oswald


John Oswald on Plunderphonics

In his 1985 essay “Plunderphonics, or Audio Piracy as a Compositional Prerogative”, Canadian artist and composer John Oswald describes the cultural technique of creating a composition out of existing audio material by transforming it and yet keeping a link to the old recording of familiar music.

John Oswald on the Internet as a means of distributing art

As artist-in-residence of the organization Tonspur at the MuseumsQuartier Vienna, Oswald has created a new sound installation for a public passageway entitled “Ice Whispering”. On the occasion of its opening on Sunday, 21 February 2010, Kunstradio presents a radio play by John Oswald, which he produced in the 1990s for the Nederlandse Omroepprogramma Stichting.

“Brazilianaires” is Oswald’s account of a trip to Brazil and some unsettling encounters and experiences during this trip. On the authenticity of the story, Oswald notes that it was fictionalized in some points, like the change of names and a compression of time, but the events (which at that time had trouble believing that he wasn’t hallucinating) are told according to his experience.

John Oswald on the background of his radio play “Brazilinaires”

John Oswald’s piece for Tonspur is called “Ice Whispering”. It has associations with and allusions to ice skating, which the artist had been observing on the ice rink in front of Vienna’s Town Hall, however not by including the sounds of skating but rather a transformed version of the famous waltz Donauwalzer, slowed down to a hardly recognizable speed. The other element of the sound installation are whispered words of greeting and farewell in different languages.

Whispering is an acoustic phenomenon that John Oswald appreciates as a useful musical and communicative tool. It is, as he says, a sensuous sound and way of communicating since it involves being physically close to the one you whisper to in order to be understood.

 John Oswald on “Whispered Fields”

“Whispered Fields” is a sound piece which is part of an ongoing photographic/cinematic project by John Oswald. Over the last 10 years he has taken phots of ca. 1400 people, both in clothes and nude. Each is photographed individually, the photos are then arranged in groups. Some of the people were furthermore recorded describing themselves in whispering. Again, a variety of languages is included.

Link to „Brazilianaires“ script:

“Brazilianaires” credits:
Written, produced, engineered and directed by John Oswald (1994 & 1996) for Nederlandse Omroepprogramma Stichting
Executive producer (for NOS): Michael Fahres
recorded @ Mystery Laboratory, Toronto
John Oswald is played by Valerie Buhagiar
the Brazilians are played by Leon Kaplan
the Dutch are played by Barbara Noske
the Germans are played by David Halverscheid
transvestite & driver by Catherine Duncanson

recognizable musical sources (in order of appearance):
Girl From Ipanema by Tom Jobim (the Astrud Gilberto version)
slow Casa de Tauba (Wooden House) by Duda da Passira (Music for Maids & Taxi Drivers — Rounder CD5044)
Brazilian National Anthem is whistled by Maurio, & additionally played by the Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards (Denon Co-74501)
Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss in 24 orchestra version by John Oswald (1992)
Carmen Miranda singing South American Way
Brazeal (chik-chika-boom) by Philip Strong (1995, commisioned for Brasilians)
Herança by Ratos de Porao (Gra vado Eldorado CD 584.002 (1992))
documentation of the performance of Sennecade (1994) in Brasilia was co-ordinated by Michael Fahres
all other material by John Oswald