the sequential silences of Dr Murkes' gesammeltes schweigen 2006
magnetic tape loop, tape machines, loud speakers, duration 4'51" looped
A distillation of the Heinrich Böll short story in its 1986 audiotape version released by Der Hor Verlag, as orated by Axel Corti, Henning Venske & Hilmar Thate. All sounds defined by the short story removed leaving all the foley and 'silence' left.
A single play transfer of the tape was released in 2007 as part of the 'signal' compilation by Finetuned
‘Doktor Murkes gesammeltes Schweigen is a satire on cultural activities in a broadcasting house, the narrative following not one single point of view, but moving from one episode to another, and allowing insight into the thoughts of a variety of characters.
In an institution where time and sound play the dominating role, Murke’s hobby is to collect “silence”-clippings of un-wanted pauses in tape-recordings which he takes home and measures; or to make recordings of his girl-friend as she sits indignantly speechless. These silences are his protest and his relaxation after work. Or he can look forward to a visit to the cinema in the evening; this too is a form of entertainment, which has been constructed on technical principles comparable to those of his own recordings. Meanwhile a technical assistant exchanges twelve of Bur-Malottke’s “Gods” for almost a whole minute of silences from a radio play.
Although time is short in the broadcasting house, Murke in particular lives in a world where repetition is inevitable, and can become obsessive; in order to recover from the thirty-five repetitions of Bur-Malottke’s “jenes hörere Wesen, das wir verehren” Murke relaxes in the canteen, only to be attacked there by the word “Kunst” on the lips of three free-lances after he has heard it 402 times from Bur-Malottke’s voice within the last two days, and to be summoned back to the studio by a four times repeated call by loudspeaker; the twelve questions of the atheist in the radio play are answered by twelve silences, which can be filled in by twelve of Bur-Malottke’s discarded clippings of “Gott”: the director is irritated by Krochy’s repeating everything that is said to him; Murke’s religious picture provokes the description “kitschig” in two different contexts. Words are taken up.’
Introduction to ‘Doktor Mukes Gesammeltes Schweigan’, Heinrich Boll, 1979, Haraap London Press.