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ThemesSound and ImageMontage/Sampling/Morphing
On the Triad of Aesthetics/Technology/Politics
Diedrich Diederichsen

In the discourses concerning fine art and, above all, pop music in the 1990s, sampling was a catchword [1] that was copiously discussed and associated with all sorts of investments, and that appeared to sum up the issue of the forgery, arrogation and authorship of the quote in its various rhetorical contexts in order to place it on the apparently solid basis of a technically or technologically new situation: digitalization. However, problems were being discussed under the label of sampling that existed either manifestly or latently long before there was digitality—issues associated with the use of preexisting material in the arts, thus going back to the first generation of technically-aided arts at the turn of the twentieth century that no longer bore the mark of craftsmanship and manual labor. In the same way there was a pessimistic counter-term for the digital age—simulation—there were also various primarily pessimistic counter-concepts for the techno-optimistic precursor to sampling—the montage—amongst others the concept that technically-aided arts are first and foremost arts of reproduction—and thus of forgery.

However, in a rather obvious sense, the fact thatforgery can be regarded not only as a strategy of theft, but like any other theft as a productive act of appropriation, connects the techno-optimistic styles of speaking—the montage as well as sampling. For the moment I would like to talk about these hopes and investments in this category: of the idea of the appropriation—classically associated with montage and most recently associated with sampling—as a strategy under quite different conditions: as the socialization of exclusively civil property, as a strategy of subversion, and finally as a paradoxical strategy of selffulfillment.

Image: Montage and Modernity

In various meanings, montage was also one of modernism's magic words. It was intended to bring about a connection between, or a reconciliation of, artistic, social and technological progress. If the famous pejorative and pessimistic categories «culture industry» and «spectacle» stood for the irreconcilable difference between art and mass culture on the one hand, and between social and technological progress on the other hand, montage was the category meant to set an optimistic tone, above all in the first half of the twentieth century.

It is worth taking a closer look at the problems montage was actually supposed to solve. There were investments in the term at various different fronts, the most prominent of which was film—one associates in particular early Soviet filmmaking with montage. The term montage can be found notably in the sphere of Soviet art activism, but also in connection with other art forms, for instance graphic design, e.g. the design of posters and magazines. [2] With regard to magazine and poster design, the term montage also plays a crucial rolei [3] in other influential modernist movements of the 1920s beyond the so-called ‹fine arts,› or with those American photographers concerned with the presentation of their documentary photographs in books, in general with the relation between photography and context. [4] With László Moholy-Nagy, for instance, the photomontage appears as a process of constructivist design in a variety of different contexts (Bauhaus as well as his own work, film as well as the «typophoto» genre he established) and stages of cultivation. [5] Finally, montage is a process that occupies a central position in WalterBenjamin's reflections on new versions of artistic productivity—be it conceived of from a production-aesthetic perspective as a cinematographic process or one for the production of plate images, be it from a receptionaesthetic perspective in shock theory or more generally in the theory of the dialectic image, or going a step further as the epitome of a modern artistic process. [6] For Peter Bürger it stands for the constitution of works by the avant-garde, but—in a completely different sense—as a purely technical process or the integration of the «non-illusory debris of real life» into the artistic collage. [7] However, for Adorno, too, the montage is not only met with in this sense, but from a pessimistic viewpoint also as a characteristic typical of the culture industry.


The descriptive and normative uses of this term frequently become mixed up, as does its emphatic charging with its sobering return to the necessity for new artistic techniques. What is often interesting is the involuntary fusion—out of this necessity—of the technique that emerges in film and mounted works of art with a normative-aesthetic demand on all of the arts.

Bürger notes—and fittingly so—that in film (and everywhere else montage belongs to the constitutive practice for the genre) montage can do the preliminary work for the illusion. What is more, other inconsistencies stand out immediately: On the one hand, montage emerges as a factor of the irreconcilable, on the other hand as the communicating of differences with the aim of a dialectally synthetic closure by means of processing.


Montage as an enlightening practice: Disclosure of contexts of origin

If one nonetheless removes a substrate from these various uses of the term montage, certain ideas remain which prove to be particularly persistent. On the one hand, one observes that montage is a process that uses the new technologies and their associated processes for an enlightening and enlightened treatment of design media. In the montage, as are its seams, its contexts of origin are recognizable and thus the creative or artistic practice itself. All origins andsources have been exposed and no longer lay claim to a higher originality. Regardless of whether one uses the argument that in the montage interpreted in this way it is not the origin that counts, but rather that the combination or the montage is the true origin, or if one uses the argument that there are no different degrees of production. Both arguments cause categories of the primary in art to collapse.

The discernible synthesized quality of art is now not only the result of a new use of new media, it is also a use that no longer conceals—as masterly, as natural, as a sheer reflection of reality. No, the producers' position and media are marked and displayed and for their part are up for discussion. Thus montage means using new technology for something desirable for social-ethical reasons (enlightenment, democratization) and for aesthetic-ethical reasons (disillusionment), that is for something that could have already have been formulated without technology but first appeared to be possible or at least greatly simplified through the use of new technology. What plays a large role in this is the dialectic relation between the illusionism coefficient heightened by film and photograph and the simultaneous disillusioning display and thus appropriation of the media necessary for the illusion.

On the other hand, one observes that by using new technology—photographs and film—art strays from the nineteenth century discourse of justification geared towards individual capabilities: the discourse of sensitivity, of rarity, of the decadent and sentimental, the skilled person and the master—and which art accepts, indeed celebrates as the greatest narcissistic insult to the civil individual and other known humanisms: the subordination to an objective. The objective here is rarely politics, politicization, or progress, but technology itself. Because one can still subjectively argue over the epitome of the objective—society— one chooses another term for the objective, in order to perhaps also creep up from behind on the socially objective: technological or scientific progress—a strategy, by the way, that even today is still widespread. The classic case for the in truth absolute vagueness and need for interpretation of this kind of subordination to, or justification by, such new technologies is futurism [see Luigi Russolo] orconstructivism [see Gustav Klucis]: discernible in the fact that both extreme right-wing as well as extreme left-wing versions were possible. But what is decisive about this second version is that one does not—with the aid of technology and justified by it—do what one anyway demanded, be it aesthetically or politically justified, but derived from the design of technology, progress no longer being oriented towards previously known criteria; rather on the contrary one rejects the previously known aesthetic and political aims and their humanism in favor of the objective arrival of technology. In the process, illusionism is not a problem. Rather one of the aims of the montage should be—as for instance in designs by Moholy-Nagy—to perfect the illusion—not in the sense of an intentional fraud of course, but as the augmentation of the wealth of artistic forms of representation, which however have no intention of breaking with the illusion.

In both of these versions of the montage there is still a very decisive traditional and, from that point of view, also falsifiable factor: that of building. Montage may build from new material, with new tools and with different and more precise, more illusionistic or more antiillusionistic references to the world and self, but it nevertheless builds, constructs. The artist possibly no longer regards himself as an artist—he has become an engineer, a foreman, an architect; the construction site functions on the basis of the division of labor. But its aim: the aims of the construction are a technically new, highly productive world or communism. Where montage is strategic, has an objective, of course it again falls victim to a logic of original and forgery, initial source and thief, etc., even if these do not necessarily have to refer to a logic of authorship, but rather—modernized—can also mean a form of production in film and architecture that is based on the division of labor.


Montage as a means of construction and concurrent destruction

In a third version of montage optimism, which one can assemble out of Walter Benjamin's more or less isolated observations about montage, [9] a further aspect is named that is perhaps more popularly associated with the art genre term ‹collage›: the dialectics of construction and destruction.

As an extension to the character of the montage conceived of as only anti-illusionistic or as a reinforcing illusion in the other designs, for Benjamin it is furthermore important that with each act of mounting, an act of demounting is performed; that everywhere a cut interrupts a continuum and is joined together with another one, a context, an image is also always lost—and rightly so: as a false idyll, false integrality. Montage would therefore not only put together two halves in a visible—and thus anti-illusionistic—way, but at the same time show that an old context must be destroyed for the new one.


Three montage terms

Thus we have three basic positions: (1) The marking of the cut in the spirit of anti-illusionistic aesthetics; (2) anti-humanistic futurism in the service of an improvement, however it is conceived, of the arts or their replacement, also entirely in the spirit of an improvement of the illusion; and finally (3) a marking of anti-illusionism plus the replacement and destruction of the old idyll, therefore actually the addition of Benjamin's Soviet-leftist and futurist-apolitical idea of the montage.

These attitudes are still familiar to us today, in a time where the basic method of every montage has long since received the name of a popular function of any word processing program: copy and paste. The fundamental issues of aesthetic practice, which I have just sketched with the aid of the montage issue, have remained loyal to the twentieth century. Only that at the latest since Brecht, position number one—the critically enlightening marking of one's own process that has become a standard of civil culture—has also found its way into the culinary arts. The anti-humanistic improvement of the arts, the second position, no longer emerges manifesto-like as part of the avant-garde, but as the common overpowering aesthetic principle of the culture industry. At the time of the emerging montage discourse it was not foreseeable that such an industry would develop. However, even in the advanced civil culture there is a ritual interest in the narcissistic mortification of the artist subject, for instance when in the 1950s Enzensberger talks about the poet having to become an engineer, and the conservative avant-gardists Bennand Jünger want to make the idea of the artist's coldness with respect to his material—stemming from the conservative ethics of the 1930s—tempting to the post-war culture as "progressive."

The third position, too, which for the sake of simplicity is attributed to Benjamin, proves to be fairly constant and turns up again and again, in particular within the context of the revival of the avant-garde after World War II, for instance in Situationism (Guy Debord), the COBRA movement (Asger Jorn), or with Robert Rauschenberg, indeed even through the so-called De-Collage (see Wolf Vostell) in the unintentionally funny, literal interpretation by Benjamin, and disappears at best in Pop Art. Or it is lifted by another strategy in the process. If one wants to, in the 1960s one can understand the end of the montage in that essential elements of the third, the Benjaminian idea of the montage, disintegrates into two parts: On the one hand, Pop Art and later developments such as photorealism stand for the presentation of technologically reinforced realistic or indexicalist material from reality in the art context (no illusion intended)—without, however, mounting this to something other than the new context. On the other hand, one can describe the strategies of Concept Art so to speak as the clean cut, the pure display of the tool, pure marking—without anything specific having been cut or without it having been relevant that something was cut and mounted, or what it was. To conquer the method of montage as a promising undertaking, in whichever sense the methods were claimed and in part also developed by the culture industry, had arrived so to speak at a hypercriticism or a maximum of marking and self-enlightenment, where in view of their real powerlessness, artistic criticism and enlightenment—to exaggerate—had become fetishes of themselves.

Sound: Pop Music and Montage

Pop music has inherited the montage and the hopes placed in it in a completely different sense. While for the classic montage it was central to produce coherence between the methodical cut and the mounting insertion or pasting into the artistic work (this is also the reason for the techno-euphoric interest in and fixation on media in classic modernity),for pop music strategies it was a matter of mounting oneself into the world from the start. It has been characteristic for pop music from the very beginning—and in this it represents a radicalization of avant-garde ideas as well as, interestingly enough, of strategies by the culture industry— that the work of art, the performance, the song, the votive image of the star are taken into the world and leave the sphere of the protected space of art. This strategy by popular arts, the beginnings of which have perhaps always existed, was industrialized and professionalized in the post-war era, enabling the triumph of a second culture industry after the film industry, but at the same time also creating the condition that was pinned to pop music hopes for countercultures.

The role of the producers and authors of pop music was only partially substantial in this. Their responsibility rarely went very far, and the success of the model of the pop music montage of artificial and worldly material was closely connected with the unawareness, even the passiveness and the laissez-faire attitude of the participants. The creation of coherence in pop music had something of the post-humanistic or anti-humanistic conception of futurist models about it—only without the enthusiasm for technology or its being at a systematically decisively place. In its internal self-images and its self-comprehension, at first pop music still operated with classic notions of genius, expression and artistry, of self-identical and selfresponsible great individuals who drew out of themselves—it was not a problem, or at best a problem ritually processed in the form of exclusions and sacrifices, that this selfcomprehension was essentially a self-miscomprehension. It was not until the 1970s and the 1980s, when concept-artistic and secondary work also became apparent within the discourses on self-comprehension in pop music, that one deviated from this model. One now openly spoke of the quotation and prefabrication qualities of pop music elements—without exactly knowing how to treat them stylistically.

The montage dichotomy of the 1970s: Electronics vs. punk

A clear dichotomy, however, already became apparent during the 1970s: an electronic discoursethat operated on a futuristic-posthuman level versus an "angry" pre- to post-punk continuum that used quotes and montage. At first, electronic futurism stood between an admiration of the machine as access to higher—even spiritually higher—spheres in the hippie and drug tradition on the one hand (e.g. the Kosmische Kuriere [10] ), and the affirmation of electronic machines as a sign of progress in terms of civilization, of modernity and technically resolved, formerly social conflicts on the other hand (e.g.Kraftwerk). However, both of these were clearly integral and not montagelike. On the contrary: It seemed to be precisely a sign of the new electronic culture in the 1970s and even still of the synthipop of the early 1980s [e.g. Tangerine Dream] that the fiddled-with and amateur-like quality that had characterized pop music for so long would be left behind in favor of an integral and atmospherically well-rounded sound. This is precisely the reason why for a very long time, the use of the synthesizer in pop music had the reputation of not only not being exactly the politically progressive side of pop music, but also as, so the speak, the rock bottom of montage and also the transfer of an originally ambivalent futurist constellation into the sheer reactionary.

However, in the course of punk and new wave, the electronic disposition also became a part of the first, and in a broad sense self-reflexive, pop music. It was during this period that that fundamental break between the relation between material and method, object and processing, which became known as the digital revolution, became apparent. This was the moment at which the electronic generation of sound was suddenly subject to a different paradigm. The issue was no longer new and extended sounds such as in the classic talk about the endless variety of the wealth of sound that originally characterized the discourse on the justification of a large part of electronic music and in particular electronic pop music. Rather, the issue was the promise of generating sound digitally and electronically to be a perfect imitation of that produced by non-electronic instruments.

With this, the development of electronic pop music into something aesthetically reactionary was now in a dual sense also further intensified by an illusionisticaspect. If the synthesizer-oriented pop music of the 1970s was already illusionistic in that it produced continua and made cuts invisible—but still in a discernibly electronically artificial, postinstrumental sense, it was now the case that the illusion was to be perfected, that one should now hear historically earlier, non-electronic sound generation media. The first interfaces that the digital production dispositive of sampling were to make available promoted themselves by claiming they were capable of reproducing the sounds of natural instruments in a remarkably authentic way. This was due to the fact that what was referred to as sampling was nothing more than a digital recording process, and that as far as the term sampling goes, it was used in even more generally in a physical sense—in general a process of collecting as many data of a continuum as possible that require as little memory space as possible, and yet making the continuum appear as remarkably true to life as possible to the human senses or other receptors. To achieve this, a sampling rate was defined that laid down the number of the required accesses per time unit, to be valid for a particular industrial standard.

Sound: Sampling and Postmodernism

With the musician who samples individual saxophone sounds and then creates a saxophone solo per emulation on a keyboard interface we have arrived, so to speak, at the nadir of montage: at an illusionism that uses the lethargy of the senses and now not only hides its cuts, but also attempts to simulate a historically earlier stage of production and technology. From the very beginning, however, the counterposition in pop music—the belief, as it were, in a genuinely constructive tool: the electric guitar and the ideology of direct expression that accompanies it—was neither in a position to understand the genuinely intermedial character of pop music, nor was its use—which now indeed displayed the production dimension and invited appropriation—in punk culture in a position to actually reappropriate means of production and processes other than only symbolically and in the short-term. Interestingly enough, at most this was somewhat successful on an economic level through the emergence of so-called independent labels. However, critical pop music, which in the Marxist paradigmconcentrated solely on the economic means of production, overlooked the fact that with respect to media and technology, the moderately appropriated area was never really the developmental focus of pop music. Above all there was the problem of the guitar—to which not without good reason one had already attached phallocracy, authenticism and all other possible ideologies—namely that it was only a fetishized ersatz, compressed to a single tool, for what really stood at the center of all pop music: the staging of a media reality within reality, a continuous montage of role and person, referent and sign, and not the montage of two signs as we have in the cinema.

Sampling as (again) anti-illusionistic electroquote machine

Interestingly enough, of all places it was at the rock bottom of montage that one discovered the bleak simulation tool of sampling. One could not only use the sampler to create simulations, it was particularly ideal for the electroquoting, cutting and mounting in of someone else's and one's own material, which one could—illusionistically—extract from somewhere else without a loss of quality. This connection—improvement of the illusionistic dimension on the one hand, and improvement of the cut-and-paste possibilities on the other hand—was almost like a revival of the techno-political-aesthetic constellation of the initial montage euphoria. And here, too, the disempowerment of a long-dominant breed of artist was linked with the empowerment with new access to a very specific possibility of intervening at a low-threshold level. As is the case with montage, with sampling there is always the two-part situation that a new tool of the culture industry, a new technology makes an old generation of artists obsolete; at the same time, however, the promise emerges that a new generation of artists now not only has historically adequate access—with respect to the older generation— but also direct access, circumventing and counter to the culture industry. This dual construction is also present in the Soviet technology and montage euphoria of the 1920s. We have the equipment and are therefore on the one hand new, and on the other hand independent of the owners of the means of production. Here we again have thetrinity of aesthetic, technological and political progress.

Sampling and postmodernism

The historical sampling euphoria, which took place from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, was also accompanied by an idea of the adequacy of the cultural epoch and the technological tool: The sampler, which would soon be viewed and used as an electroquote machine, was regarded as a technology typical of postmodernism, as an ideal tool for the administration of inactualities. Here one can also recognize a parallel to the futuristic as well as the Soviet enthusiasm for the montage, where there was also a feeling for a close and genuine relationship between the historical project of communism (or fascism or World War I and its mechanized militarism) and the new artistic technologies. As was also the case to a certain degree with sampling, this feeling of course was based on the suggestive force of the effectiveness of technological interfaces and their supposed objectivity, which then always confirmed something cultural as historically true, as inevitable, or as justified.

On closer inspection, however, in the case of the montage those were not only highly different historical processes that at best only remotely had to do with the specific use of montage art technology, sampling also used the electroquote machine in very different directions. Thus amongst those players who regarded themselves as subversive, for instance Tangerine Dream or KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front) and later in the course of so-called plunderphonics, [11] there was a practice of working with samples as full, recognizable electroquotes that were placed into new contexts through their recognizable and displayed cut—for the most part in order to critically expose the contexttransferred sound object, but also to attack the illusionist currents of the music's continuity through the displayed cut. Thus two classic goals of montage, whose aesthetic and communicative mechanism has not been changed one bit by digitalization. At most one can say that as digitalizations they are easier to manage.

In the 1990s, hip-hop DJs laid sampling open to the most prominent methodical innovation in pop music in1990s, cut and mix, which was now available without having any particular skills. In addition, if one wanted to one could modify the display of the cuts and the synthesized quality. However, in its implementation and its intention, the way of using the electroquote and the mounted cut in hip-hop were exactly counter to the way they were used in the left-wing montage—be it Benjaminian, be it Soviet—without, however, resembling any of the other goals of the historical montage of the avant-garde. Because in hip-hop, at least in the beginning, it was not about attacking the false constant or the decontextualization of hegemonial sound objects, rather it was about reconstructing interrupted continuities of Afro- American history as musical history and about the recontextualization of the musical traces of this history in the most recent Afro-American music. This goal was primarily evident in a wealth of aesthetic procedures between 1987 and about 1995, and it was also occasionally formulated. This of course particularly applied in the case of the frequent use of raggae and historical funk and jazz samples. [12] This is more of a minor practice today, however, it is still done in underground hip-hop. We do not need to talk about the special cases such as drum and bass or the new digital, electronic music. In all of these cases sampling may play a large role as far as technology is concerned, and this is occasionally thematicized in the musical objects by artists who represent a self-reflexive or media-reflexive practice. However, it is only at a very general level that they are connected with the historical euphoria associated with the term sampling in the 1980s—similar to that associated with montage in the 1910s and 1920s—an artistic strategy as historical because it was technologically justified.

Image + Sound: Montage and Sampling

From an aesthetic, technological and historical point of view, each element must now also actually exist for this triad. It is undisputed that we are dealing with a new technology, at least with a new interface, and we also cannot deny that in each case there was a new art, new players, new practices—this is debatable, however, in the case of sampling. What was the historical development that sampling made reference to like montage to communism—or in the rare case tofascism and militarism? I have already said that the postmodern, or postmodernism, could regard itself as thoroughly technologically objectified, but there was not necessarily a historical development such as communism or fascism; it was more of a cultural one that still required external justification.

For this reason, my suggestion would be another one: We have said that a central idea of the montage euphoria was precisely that one builds the world on a small and cultural scale like the Soviet Union was built on a large scale and traditional Europe was destroyed on the battlefields of World War I. By using a technically new tool, because it was less a new tool than a fundamentally different relation to material, montage conceived a new distance in a principally constructive and promising relation to the entire world, in a relation in which those who were not permitted to shape the world—something that the critique of contemporary culture wanted to have recognized in fact—that that which had once been the opposite of legitimate worldly possessions—appropriation, theft, the work of others—was now gradually being justified by technology through sampling and montage. According to the technooptimist, however, technology builds the world. The world as a whole seemed to be under construction. By using montage we could actively participate in building the world instead of having it built or rebuilt.

In contrast, with sampling such an illusion is more limited, limited to struggles for cultural hegemony in the spirit of Gramsci. None of the cultural players seriously imagined himself in a political reference of power to the world, not even symbolically. Instead, the paradigm valid at the time was still one of countercultures, subcultures, or one counter to the general public—and as we have seen, this is in fact what the two completely opposing conceptualizations of sampling have in common: they operated out of a subcultural and subculturalistic position. They were less, or not only, concerned with the players' relation to the world, rather only at the price of or to the degree to which it also produced a relation to their peer group, scene or minority.

However, this course of action is closer to a particular variation of aimless fiddling with thingsLevi-Strauss described as bricolage than to the ‹sovereign› distance of the montage. It is not about a building designed for a particular purpose, but about a continued activity that can be interrupted and then taken up again at any time; in this it corresponds to the relation between a continuous, dramaturgically undefined evening of dance and a concert, or simply the relation between track and song.

What is more, there is still a further crucial difference: Per definition, one is more closely connected to the material; it has a totem-like meaning for the imaginary or the real community one is speaking on behalf of. They are not examples of external referents, rather they are internal documents. In this respect sampling—if one now considers not only the practice but also the aura of the term—is in some respects also still very close to receptive practices, which is not very surprising in view of its origin in putting records on the turntable. The boundary between producing sampling and mounting and zapping or other so-called interpassive practices at home in front of the television is often fluid. From a social point of view, sampling may often, but not always, stand for an extended but not really publicly accessible media campfire, which McLuhan discovered in the television set.

Image: Morphing

In conclusion I would like to mention a third term, which to me describes precisely this current relation between de facto changed cultural production, the new technology used to effect it, and the world of ideas, the euphoria and the ideology belonging to it. The term is morphing. Morphing is a conglomerate of new technology and new aesthetics—which has similarly left its mark on technically advanced cinema, the music clip, and the commercial— with an ideological content that can be interpreted in various ways. Like montage, morphing is more universal and hegemonial and thus belongs to a different pole of power than subcultural sampling.

On the other hand, morphing is even more closely linked to particular contents than montage and sampling are, at least at first glance. From Michael Jackson's ethnomorphing (»Black or white« from 1991) to the Dalmatian in the commercial who transforms intoa nominally good-looking woman for a Duplo chocolate bar to the morphing monsters out of the terminator films of this world: it is about effects that have always known an idiom, an ideological figure, a prejudice, a popular point. The character of morphed sequences is always more similar to an effect than to a construction, i.e. it is always a matter of something invariably known and unexpectedly brought about. It is not a matter of something new that has been comprehensibly inferred.

These invariably known images, however, are also present in the early period of montage, at least in the photomontage. Parallel to the attempt to dialectically produce something new or familiarly unknown in the relations in the montage through constructive combination, which the Soviet montage artists claimed for themselves, there were the American advertisers who worked with very flat jokes by e.g. having someone actually hold his nose to a grindstone, thus making use of a stock phrase and presenting it to the public for recognition. Or there were the dwarfs in the shaver commercial who populated a man's chin and checked it for nicks or overlooked hairs. Morphing is located at precisely this level. On the other hand, however, morphing is also the cheap show effect we are familiar with from the pre-cinematographic era and, in Eisenstein's variation, especially in the way it must be an essential part of the great discontinuous aesthetics of montage arts. As is generally known, as Meyerhold's assistant Sergej Eisenstein developed his enthusiasm for fairground and circus effects in the theater; using these intentional interruptions and level changes he developed his modernist montage theory. Morphing belongs at precisely this kind of digital fairground, whose being kissed awake for artistic self-reflexive confusion is still outstanding. However, it remains questionable whether the arrival of such a second morphing phase is only dependent on the right artist, who takes on this theme. Or whether it depends on someone somewhere wanting to build another Soviet Union, which at the moment is not really on the agenda.


Translation: Rebecca van Dyck

© Media Art Net 2004