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Warhol’s Surfaces


"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface:
of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."
Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and the Interviews

Talking talking talking, that's always been with him. From the word go, pop involved an element of gossip, and everybody knows you can't do that without talking.
Art as conversation, as dialogue - that's how most of Andy Warhol's works came about, always the outcome of a conversation. "The aim is to get people to talk, because sooner or later someone says something that gives me a new idea." Warhol was a meticulous collector of everything around him; discussions, conversations, even small talk, were the non plus ultra. As early as 1964 he bought his first tape recorder to collect conversations and he called it "my wife". But initially the recordings he made served no particular purpose. Later they became the books "Andy Warhol's Index (Book)" (1967), "a. A novel" (1968), a draft novel made up of unbroken conversations in the Factory collective, and "THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol" (1975) as well as "The Andy Warhol Diaries" (1989) edited by Pat Hackett. His stage play "Pork" (1971), which enjoyed off-off-Broadway success at the La Mama Theater, contained written-down phone conversations Warhol conducted with the Chelsea girl Brigid Berlin.

"Tape recorders opened up fantastic possibilities for interviews with a wide variety of celebrities." Given such an appreciation of conversation, it was clear that Andy Warhol would professionalize his love of dialogue. In 1969 he founded the magazine "inter/View", whose title changed after only a few months, first to "Interview" and then to the more commercially effective "Andy Warhol's Interview". Each issue contained interviews with VIPs, sometimes conducted by Andy Warhol himself, which of course he brought to the editorial offices in the form of tape recordings.
Soon Warhol himself was a hotly sought-after interviewee in all the media. The German writer Helmut Heißenbüttel found in 1971 that the interviews Warhol gave were "half absurd, half banal dialogues ", indicating that "Warhol is famous, Warhol is an idol, Warhol is an artist, Warhol is eccentric./.../Is he the great destroyer? Does he corrupt the young? Is he immoral? Will you find it easier to imagine what he's like if you listen to the music he has inspired? If you listen to the interviews he disseminated?"

Yes, you will. The composition by the London sound artist Scanner takes interview material with Andy Warhol from the early 70s as the starting point for a soundtrack which attempts to make something extraordinary from something very ordinary. Warhol answered a series of simple questions. Scanner has dug around in the material and brings out unusual acoustic moments, expressed in Warhol's choice of words, his breathing, his way of pausing. Warhol's voice is edited, broken down into layers, structures. The words dissolve. In the transformation of sounds, in loops, there emerges, despite all the bustle, all the eloquence and the omnipresence, the idea of boredom surrounding the pop artist.

Barbara Schäfer, May 2003
(translated by Alan Miles)

Written & produced by Robin Rimbaud
Scannerdot Publishing, administered by Bug Music

edited by Herbert Kapfer
Bayerischer Rundfunk / Hörspiel und Medienkunst
D-80300 Munich, Germany

Produced by BR Hörspiel und Medienkunst
Producer: Barbara Schäfer
Design: Daniel Kluge

intermedium rec. 017
ISBN 978-3-939444-18-3
CD out of stock


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