Country:   Germany
7 nodes
Walter Ruttmann was born in Frankfurt in 1887 and died in Berlin in 1941. With a background as a painter, filmaker, a cellist and violinist he made Weekend in 1928. The work was commissioned by Hans Flesch, director of the Berlin Radio Hour. Flesch also commissioned Friderich Walther Bischoff to create the sound symphony Hello! You're Tuned to Radio Earth, that was broadcasted the same year. Both artists used the Tri-Ergon process; implying recording and editing on film, enabeling them to cut and mix their material in a smooth and elegant way. And what characterize both works is this concern with exploiting the aesthetic and technical opportunities of time baced media. The year before making Weekend Walter Ruttmann had produced the experimental documentary Berlin-Symphony of a Great City where he also utilized an exquisite use of montage. His experience with painting and animated films had made him sensitive to the importance of visual rythm in the plastic arts. Already in 1921 Ruttmanns abstract animated film Lightplay opus 1 was shown accompanied with a live, synchronos musical score, composed especially for the film. This is thought to be the very first screening of its kind. In his article The Filmed Symphony, published in Berliner Tagblatt in 1921, Leonhard Adelt describes Lightplay opus 1 as a sound painting where the tone color seemed litterary to fulfill the meaning, content and character of the musical piece(...). Ruttmann's painterly paraphrases of the score, full of imagination and on the wings of his fantasy, conjures up musical associations, thus communication, his experience in a painterly as well as musical way, just like the dance, whose two-dimmentional companion-piece the music-film is . Ruttmann was in a mileau of painters, poets and musicians who saw in the new media a possibility to expand the limits of their occupation. To them the obstacle to a direct presentation was that fine arts remain closely tied to frozen form and that music, as a rhytmical sequence of sound, is movement, seemingly making these two media mutually exclusive. Through the moving picture this antithesis was no bridged. They described their abstract films as visual music, seeking to achieve a similar physical experience in visuals as in music. The overall idea of their works was also linked to the consept of the absolute film; the idea of a universial language of abstaract images. In one way these visual moves could be seen as showing the structure of music. Perhaps in line with Kandinskis thoughts of the synthesis between color, form and sound as revealed in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art, first published in 1911, or in the search of universiality in the new language ZAUM. This text is based on the books: Walter Ruttmann, p. 40-42. Experimental Animation, R. Russett and C. Starr, Da Capo Press1976 Soundplay-the Polyphonus Tradition of German Radio Art, p. 340-342, Mark E. Cory.Wireless Imagination, MIT-Press 1994. Accessed 05.01.2008 from
15 Selected Statements
      Worktype Info Year Country Admin
Olympia Propaganda Film - Germany Edit
Lichtspiel: Opus I Short, experimental animation He created a number of these 1921 Germany Edit
Sieger, Der Short, experimental animation - 1921 Germany Edit
Wunder, Das Short, experimental animation - 1922 Germany Edit
Lichtspiel: Opus II Short, experimental animation - 1923 Germany Edit
Lichtspiel: Opus III Short, experimental animation - 1924 Germany Edit
Lichtspiel: Opus IV Short, experimental animation - 1925 Germany Edit
Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Gro▀stadt experimental documentary film - 1927 Germany Edit
Melodie der Welt Documentary Film - 1929 Germany Edit
Weekend Sound Montage commissioned in 1928 by Berlin Radio Hour 1930 Germany Edit
Triumph of the Will Propaganda Film - 1934 Germany Edit
Altgermanische Bauernkultur Propaganda Film - 1934 Germany Edit
Henkel, ein deutsches Werk in seiner Arbeit Propaganda Film - 1938 Germany Edit
Waffenkammern Deutschlands Propaganda Film - 1940 Germany Edit
Deutsche Panzer Propaganda Film - 1940 Germany Edit