Intro

Imagine: You are seated in the cockpit of a fantastical, Rube Goldberg-like machine. All around you is a forest of strings, rods, levers and all manner of other movable elements. Using your hands, feet, body, and head, even the smallest gesture to set forth a visible chain reaction of producing the entire timbral range of the orchestra.

This - is Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester


Mauricio Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester (1971-1973), is a large-scale kinetic sound sculpture that utilizes orchestral instruments, household and found objects, connected through a network of levers and strings to encourage the viewer to imagine the hidden sound potential.

While Zwei Mann Orchester (Two Man Orchestra) is based on a notated score - complete with musical fragments, choreographic indications, and even sketches of sound machines - the actual machine is designed and built by the performers and sculptors. Every version is unique and exists as both a sculpture and a performance object.
Zwei Mann Orchester was originally premièred at the Donauseschingen Festival in 1973, and subsequently recreated at Documenta IX (1992) in Kassel and at Basel's Museum Tinguely in 2011. This edition marks the US premiere of the work and only the fourth version ever created.

While Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008) is most known as a composer he was also a filmmaker, a sculptor, and Neo-Dadaist conceptual artist. His originality reflects his status as an outsider. Born in Buenos Aires, he did not study music at a university or conservatory, but privately with several teachers-none for composition, incidentally- and he studied philosophy and literature at the University of Buenos Aires, where the poet and short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges was one of his lecturers. Kagel was also the editor of cinema and photography for the journal Nueva Visión. In 1957, he moved to Cologne and joined, and eventually surpassed Stockhausen as the “king” of the European avant garde music epicenter.

Kagel was a master at developing new vocal and instrumental techniques. By the late 1960s, Kagel had moved well beyond traditional instruments (Kagel’s Unter Strom (1969), for example, calls for a “guitar performed by a truck supercharger”), to fantastical and often absurd creations. This trajectory lead directly to the development of Zwei Mann Orchester.

Kagel’s dedication on the Zwei Mann Orchester’s title page read’s “to the memory of a dying institution, the orchestra.” The work is, in essence, Kagel’s characteristically absurdist reflection on the decay of tradition. It is an imagined future that blurs the distinction between instruments and everyday objects, questions the value we put on virtuosity, and elevates the role of the machines (and technology) to a point of absurdity, but in a way that restores the primacy and authenticity of the viewer’s experience.

Exhibition

Wilhelm Bruck performing 'Zwei-Mann-Orchester', Donaueschingen Edition 1973. Photo: Zoltan NagyWilhelm Bruck performing 'Zwei-Mann-Orchester', Donaueschingen Edition 1973. Photo: Zoltan Nagy

SOUND MACHINES

featuring Kagel's "Zwei Mann Orchester"

DATES:
May 3 to May 31, 2018

LOCATION:
Drexel University's Pearlstein Gallery
URBN Annex
3401 Filbert Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

GALLERY HOURS
Tuesday – Sunday; 11a.m.–6p.m.

Opening Reception: May 3, 5pm to 7pm

Admission to the exhibition is FREE. For performances, see ticket info below.

TICKET INFO
Sell tickets online with Ticketleap

Performances


There will be six performances of Kagel's "Zwei Mann Orchester":

Thursday, May 3, 7pm
Friday, May 4, 7pm
Sunday, May 13, 7pm
Thursday, May 17, 7pm
Sunday, May 20, 7pm
Thursday, May 24, 7pm
*** just added: Wednesday, May 30, 7pm


There are an *extremely* limited number of SEATED TICKETS available for each performance. Tickets for seats are $15 each and guarantee a place to sit and good sight lines of the performance.

FREE tickets are for standing room only.

The performance will last approximately 50 mins.

TICKET INFO



Workshops


Saturday, May 5
Saturday, May 19

BUILD-YOUR-OWN SOUND MACHINE
Invent, build and play your own Sound Machine.

with TinyWPA's Building Heroes

Get your hands dirty, learn how to use power tools and make some noise. Inspired by the sounds of Kagel's "Zwei Mann Orchester", participants will invent and build their own Sound Machines made by combining traditional instruments, household and found objects, and levers, hinges, strings, springs, and other mechanical devices. This fun, hands-on workshop allows you to directly explore the creative process behind developing the large scale "Zwei Mann Orchester on display at Drexel's Pearlstein Gallery from May 3rd to 31st.

Open to ages 13 and up. No previous building or tool experience necessary. All tools and equipment are provided.

Session 1: Saturday, May 5th, 1pm to 5pm
Session 2: Saturday, May 19th, 1pm to 5pm
(you can attend one or both)

at TinyWPA
4017 Lancaster Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Event is FREE but pre-registration is required.

RSVP (required)



Credits


Team

Andy Thierauf, co-creator, performer
Ashley Tini, co-creator, performer
Scott Kip, co-creator, sculptor
Neil Feather, co-creator, sculptor
Yona Davidson, co-creator, sculptor
Dustin Hurt, artistic director


Workshops: Alex Gillam and Emily Bunker, TinyWPA

Our Supporters


Major support for Sound Machines has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The William Penn Foundation.

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