Arnold Dreyblatt

Cage Cut Up, 2012 • TONSPUR 52


Chosen texts from “A Year from Monday, New Lectures and Writings by John Cage” (1967) which were randomly chosen from a prepared list of all sentences in which either the words ‘text’, ‘writing’ or ‘reading’ occur have been combined with another source: handwritten inventory cards from the archive collection of the Jewish Musem in Berlin. From these cards I selected texts which speak of the condition and readability of unnamed documents in that collection.
These two, seemingly disparate text lists were further fragmented using a version of the ‘cut-up method’ invented by Brion Gysin and often utilitized by William S. Burroughs: in which texts from unrelated sources ‘meet’ each other and create new random associations. This process resulted in a final list of 329 text items, ranging from 1 to 15 words. The list was recorded and spoken by both Sam Ashley and Ray Kass, who were recent participants in the TONSPUR project. A specially written software sends randomly chosen voice recordings from a database to the various loudspeakers according to pre-determined rules but leaving much to chance. We experience a possible conversation, never repeating and creating unexpected meanings.
During the preparation period, I lived in a studio near to this TONSPUR_passage. I often marvelled at the diversity and density of the soundscape, in which the distant sounds of Sam Ashley’s installation, “Freedom From Happiness”, mingled with the sonorites of crowds of people passing under my four windows, and resonating in the plaza and in my living space. Over a weekend, I made numerous recordings of this situation over different times of day, and then created a carpet which lies under the voices, functioning as a kind of memory of this site from a recent, yet now lost time.
Arnold Dreyblatt, May 2012

Photo: Ray Kass

Arnold Dreyblatt – read

Arnold Dreyblatt, born in New York City in 1953, lives and works in Berlin.

Opening: Su 06.05.12, 5pm
Opening words:
Georg Weckwerth [artistic director TONSPUR]
Sabine Sanio [musicologist, publicist] – read


  • Arnold Dreyblatt [USA]*
  • Cage Cut Up, 2012
  • 8-channel sound installation
  • Length endless
  • Voices: Sam Ashley, Ray Kass
  • Sound engineers: Christian Gorz,
  • Robert Pavlecka
  • Installation set up: Peter Szely
  • Programing: Norbert Math
  • Thanks to Elisabeth Zimmermann
  • [ORF Kunstradio]
  • *39. TONSPUR-Artist-in-Residence
  • im quartier21/MQ
  • 07.05.12–01.09.12
  • MuseumsQuartier Wien
  • TONSPUR_passage
  • [between MQ court 7 and 8]
  • Daily 10am to 8pm