“Spoken language has always been a battlefield of ideologies and social interests. With the invention of electronic media spoken langugage started to be distributed in a mass media way and therefore became more efficient and more easily manipulable. The propaganda-broadcasts of the NAZI regime were early examples of a conscious manipulation and design of language aimed at very specific goals. Since then, methods and intentions have been constantly developed, refined and in a certain sense privatised. Communications-trainers as well as advertising agencies are, as a matter of course, dealing with and in conscious manipulation of and by language.
With this radio-piece I intend to reflect on these influences and their effects on the spoken language.
Hugo Ball, the dadaist, tried to recapture language which he found to be beleaguered by journalism, and thus to secure a “last holy district” to poetry. Referring to this, my piece attempts at a “re-poeticising” and a reclaiming of the media-environment. Using Ball's method of reducing language via the means of sound-poetry I try to lay bare the innermost sounding of recordings of advertisments, of news, of media-statements by managers, politicians, mediastars.
Other than dadaist and post-dadaist sound-poets, I exclusively use “appropriated” language-material. I have two reasons for this strategy: on the one hand I try to question the illusion of the unique author/genius: in a society in which even car-sounds are designed and popular music blends into the sonic environment, it seems only natural to refer to the language of media as the material of poetry – a development which is everyday practice in music: the artist/poet as a recycler and processor.
On the other hand this strategy offers me a way to connect social critique with innovative form. By processing the linguistic material its semantically suggestive connection is broken up and the pure gesture of language becomes perceivable. Words and sounds - liberated from their meaning - by emphasising the surface and stressing its superficiality seem to express in a much more effective way, what the speaker really might have intended to say. An additional commentary is superfluous, the speakers are revealing themselves.
The smashing up of language into fragments of words and particles of sounds liberates the material and thus enables its reassembling and a “new way of speaking”, a relearning of speaking.
” To again. learn. to speak“ consists exclusively of language extracted from electronic media. The radio-piece reassembles sounds and montages them. As a support to the acoustic level, an on-line supplement titled “televisions” recombines secondary texts to the electronic TV medium by montaging short print- descriptions of individual TV programs as they are featured in TV magazines into new descriptions: thus an aleatoric and constantly changing computer-generated subtext to the radio-program is unfolding. length: 46:31