Robert Schwarz

zum irrenhaus hiNüber, A Suicidal CIRCUS ON Beton, 2012 • TONSPUR 53

“zum irrenhaus hiNüber, A Suicidal CIRCUS ON Beton” is a realisation of the verbal score “, _ CIRCUS ON _” (1979) by John Cage based on Thomas Bernhard’s novel “Beton” (1982). Following the complex instructions, the text is condensed, spoken, recorded and supplemented by recordings of the places and sounds mentioned in the novel, and relevant music.

___, CIRCUS ON __
(title of composition) (article) (adjective) (title of book)

means for translating any book into a performance without actors, a performance which is both literary and musical or one or the other.
for Klaus Schöning
John Cage, Edinburgh, September 1979

Short version of the instructions (In: John Cage; CIRCUS ON; 1979 by Henmar Press Inc., Edition Peters 66816)
1) Choose a book. (…)
2) Condense the text according to an algorithmic procedure (mesostichon). (In this realisation, 84 five-line verses were created, each containing the word concrete in a vertical row of letters). The finished text is spoken or sung or a combination of these and recorded.
3) Make a list of places mentioned in the book.
4) Make a list of the sounds mentioned in the book.
5) Collect as many stereo recordings as possible of the places mentioned (3) and the sounds mentioned (4). Random operations determine a) the stereo position, b) the duration, c) the transient, d) the volume and e) the decay of each sound. The sounds are arranged according to their temporal occurrence in the original text at the condensed text.
6) Relevant music is arranged randomly. Each track has at least twice as much silence as playing time.
7) Create a multi-track tape of the collected material. Playback in stereo or more elaborate, so that the different layers (2, 3, 4, 6) can be heard in any combination. 2) and 6) can also be played live.
Robert Schwarz, August 2012

Robert Schwarz, born 1978 in Vienna, lives and works in Vienna.

Opening: Sun 05.08.12, 13.30h
Introductory words:
Georg Weckwerth [Artistic Director TONSPUR].
Reading CIRCUS ON by John Cage:
Thomas Wochnik [Artist] –read + listen


  • Robert Schwarz [A]*
  • zum irrenhaus hiNüber,
  • A Suicidal CIRCUS ON Beton, 2012
  • 8-channel loudspeaker version of the installation
  • BETON - A Suicidal CIRCUS ON
  • Concrete
  • Length 18 min
  • Voices: Paul Kraker, Tanja Petrovsky,
  • Alja Neuner
  • Thanks to Radio Österreich 1
  • *Part of the worldwide programmes for the 100th birthday of John Cage
  • 06.08.12-22.09.12
  • Schloßplatz Berlin/Mitte
  • Bench line between Berlin Cathedral and
  • Hanns Eisler Academy of Music
  • [near the Humboldt Box].
  • Daily 08-22h