Sonntag, 31. Juli 2011


Believe it or not, these videos are commercials for Austria's biggest shoe retailer, Humanic, from around 1970. Their advertising director Horst Gerhard Haberl invited artists and poets to make commercials, apparently without any boundaries (e.g. no shoes had to be in the picture). The slogans were reduced to "Humanic passt immer" ("Humanic always fits") and, more importantly, the name "Franz!" (with no particular reason) and often absurd/experimental poetry. The concept was kept alive until the 1990ies, creating an incredible series of clips full of absurdist humour.
The above clips are by artist Roland Goeschl and director Axel Corti who were both involved in the invention of "Franz". The voiceover in the third clip above evokes a dystopian future with environmental pollution and tells the people to gather at "the oxygen simulators our fathers called trees".
Three later examples:


With composer and poet Otto M. Zykan

"Berge brauchen keine Menschen" = "Mountains don't need people" (1994). I guess many Austrians hated this one...

I've learnt about these clips in an exhibition about experiments in television in Germany in the 1960s and 70s that I recently saw at the Kinemathek in Berlin. More posts inpired by that exhibition might follow.

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2011

The wonderful cosmos of die Welttraumforscher

Drawings from the "Ohm Olunde" LP (2005)

Liebe Lili (from "Binika", C-30 cassette, 1986)

Ein Abend in der Mandel (from "Folklore des Weltalls", LP 1989)

Kleines Mädchen (from "Sideria", CD 1995)

Die Welttraumforscher  is definitely one of the most interesting and interestingly weird idiosyncratic things originating from Switzerland.
"Die Welttraumforscher" is a German play on words that means both “the world dream researchers” and “the space/universe explorers” (Welt = world, traum = dream, Weltraum = space/universe). Christian Pfluger, the man behind the project, has been creating his own cosmology with songs, drawings and texts since 1981 often refering to the Welttraumforscher's music as Outer Space Folk (Folklore des Weltalls). He has released dozens of cassettes, CDs, and records, as well as books.
I had the honour to DJ at the 30th anniversary of die Welttraumforscher last week. It was also the release party for a lush vinyl reissue of his first cassette on the great A Tree In A Field label containing an amazing booklet with drawings. Listen to the whole record (and buy it) on their website. I have also released one of his EPs on my netlabel some time ago - get it here for free.

Montag, 4. Juli 2011

body jewellery

"To open a window is to change the air. Sometimes the air inside (particu-
larly in the mind) needs changing. There is excitement in fresh air. Can
you smell it? lt carries the scent of freedom, risk, discovery, and change.
I believe the pages of this book represent the opening of many mental
"windows." The subject of the book is body adornment, but the pulse of the
book has opened windows whenever they were closed.
Hiding behind each mental window lies a pair of eyes. Eyes are to see
with. They are visual recording instruments for the mind. Many people, how-
ever, use their eyes only to look. This book represents over fifty pairs of
eyes - eyes that have been trying to see.
Yes, open a window. What do you see?"
(From the foreword)

Donald J. Willcox, body jewellery, international perspectives, london 1974

Top to bottom: Nilda Getty, Marita Kulvik, Sonja Hahn-Ekberg, Rita Shumaker, Marcia Lewis, Gijs Bakker and Emmy van Leersum, Clifton Nicholson Jr., Marita Kulvik, Louise Todd, Yasuki Hiramatsu, Frank Taylor, Marita Kulvik, Frank Taylor