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VINYL, the exhibition
Took place: July 3rd, 2004   [ Photos ]

VINYL is a series of collaborations in the context of a "nightclub" that calls into question the synchronicity of sound and image.

Artists Kulwinder Bajar, Ellen Cantor, Shezad Dawood, Mark Dean, FLAG, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Lee Holden, Claire Hooper, Marc Hulson, Jacob Dahl Jürgensen, Wolfe Lenkiewicz, Melanie Manchot, Steven Micalef, Derek Ogbourne, Paul O'Neill, Douglas Park, Esther Planas, Riviera F. and Mark Aerial Waller.

Press Release 
VINYL:
The happy end of the needle /
at the end of the world

In 1929 Kurt Weill and Bertholt Brecht present Happy End, their fourth collaboration, a 'play with music' to a Berlin audience. The third and last act climaxes in political scorn and blasphemy, causing a minor riot and police intervention. Not so much a happy ending, but a strategic one. It is inevitably reviled by the critics and withdrawn. Brecht himself never presents Happy End again. In 1956 Lotte Lenya records three of its songs. In 1958 it makes a reappearance in Munich. 15 years later a record is cut. [1] In 2004, as 'vinyl', it is stacked with hundreds of thousands of other consumed divertissements consigned to the garbage tip of musical history.

Happy End may not be such a great work but it's still of use. Of use to whom? The music is not an integral part of the dramatic structure, or essential to the development of the play. This is the disinterested quality of Weill's score. The melancholy of the music, enriched by a harmonic vocabulary of counter - melodies, emerges from new kinds of suspensions over an ending. In Brecht's libretto, Die Ballade von der Höllenlilli, a question is asked. "What will happen (to us) tomorrow?" "Tomorrow is nothing to worry about. Tomorrow doesn't interest me, And tomorrow you can…"



In 1997, Tokyo, Pizzicato Five release Happy End of the World as an 'unexpressive' counterpoint to the expressive register of Weill / Brecht's Happy End: all decay's sweetness, with a bitter taste. The fragrance that emanates from the sound is suspended in the poisonous mix of dread with affiliation, when "...the world is spinning at 45 rpm." [2]

What is the collection of vinyl, in the managed future of products from the generation of Sony Wega and Beast Wars, but a sheer obsolescence? [3] Is not vinyl the most belated of all happy endings? It wants to die but cannot. The Luddite's suspicion is swept into dank corners of nightclubs across the globe, yet vinyl still compels DJs and their audiences to work out of the 'thing'; its resistant surface; to wrestle the Angel from its decaying aura.

"Oh Johnny", the singer sighs in Happy End, "Mein Gott, Johnny, Ich liebe dich so! Johnny..."