Stephan von Huene | Extended Schwitters
The complete work of Stephan von Huene: kinetic and sound sculptures, sculptures, assemblages, drawings
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Extended Schwitters

Extended Schwitters 1987
Extended Schwitters 1987

photos: Estate Stephan von Huene, ZKM, Karlsruhe

Extended Schwitters

Erweiterter Schwitters


S 1987–1

wood, mechanical parts, compressor, computer ,
speakers, sensor, sound material for about 1 hour

(3 min each cycle, 1 min pause;
without visitors every 3 min a cycle of 10 sec.)

Ca. 200 x 120 x 120 cm

Sprengel Museum, Hannover

Hamburger Kunsthalle 2003,

Jan-Peter Gehrckens (© NDR 2003)

1:16 min

Extended Schwitters, motion phases
Extended Schwitters, motion phases

“Sometimes artists anticipate future developments. In his ‘Ursonate’ Kurt Schwitters created a poem just using phonemes. The phonemes he used were seemingly arbitrary: for instance making word-like sounds out of proofs for print type or pronouncing the abbreviated signs used along the railroad tracks. Schwitters arranged this tone-material in the form of a sonata.

I think that in his ‘Ursonate’ he anticipates possibilities offered by a present day electronic phoneme-generator sometimes called ‘talking chips’. Although the intended purpose of these chips is to imitate speech, they also offer the user something one could compare to a word-sound-palette.

In my work Extended Schwitters I translate the tone-material of the ‘Ursonate’ into electronic generated phonemes. Each time the work is played, different from Kurt Schwitters, the tone-material is randomly selected and then placed in the sonata-scheme of Kurt Schwitter’s ‘Ursonate’.”

(S. v. H., Notes on Extended Schwitters, undated typescript, Sprengel Museum, Hannover)

„I wanted to separate the speech experience out of Kurt Schwitters’ ‘Ursonate’ so as to bring the phoneme sounds more specifically to the border where timbre and what might have been a speech sound, now divorced from meaning, meet.”

(S. v. H., Erweiterter Schwitters. A Study in Experimental Reality, in: exhib. cat. Stephan von Huene: Tune the World. Die Retrospektive, Ostfildern 2002, p. 239)

Getty Talk, Schwitters 1991
Getty Talk, Schwitters 1991

photo: Elke Walford