Towards a Non-Art state of Art DORIS MEETS DORIS - a video compilation 1981-89
Introduction by Harald Fricke
This is something you can pick out of the art context: retrospective video works, made by people who incidentally took part in the process. 1981, a stage somewhere in Europe - beautiful artists playing strange music from pre-recorded tapes, humming into microphones, banging drums, dancing half naked and having a good time. The Art of Non-Art. As in Fluxus, but with a difference - the idea of changing the world, be it symbolic or real, has vanished. What is left over are fragments: Käthe Kruse and Wolfgang Müller, former members of Die Tödliche Doris, dressed like dandies in early 20th century fashion, kneeling on the stage floor, teetering to a strange kind of love song and waving at the audience. The image lasts for thirty seconds, the performance is called "Braunes Langohr (Brown Rabbit)" - in allusion to the furry animals that eat carrots and enjoy their sex life a great deal.
Other parts in their stage work are far more tragic: You will find satyr-like seduction in the rhythms and gestures of "Schuld-Struktur (Guilt Structure)", whilst the title deals with the guiltiness in everyone's ordinary life. Or you can take "Ortsgespräch 1986 (Local Call, 1986)" as an example of the pros and cons of being post Art Rock popstars, like the Velvet Underground once were. Doris enter the stage with guitar cases and dark glasses. They shake their wrapped-up instruments, it sounds like a tornado rushing through trashcans. Cut to another scene: Doris actually play the guitar, it sounds much worse. Another cut, repetition of the first picture; repetitions following repetitions, but in the end there is only noise left, corresponding to the sequence of images.
Though it was only during a period of eight years, you might have the impression that Die Tödliche Doris was some sort of Queen of the Night in Berlin. Commencing in 1981 as a reaction to the Berlin painters subsumed as Neue Wilde, Doris developed their style as Geniale Dilettanten (Ingenious Dilettants - the spelling is intentional), which meant brute sounds, harsh vocals and bizarre, somehow dadaistic, stage act. In one section of "Weltkonferenz Hochalpen" you can see Wolfgang Möller and Nikolaus Utermöhlen with pharaonic costumes, not dissimilar to Hugo Ball's outfit in his legendary shamanic performance of 1915, walking up and down the stage against film projections of a map showing the Canadian lakeland district. These videos document the group's activities from their early awkward adolescent phase to the late mannerism of so-called underground heroes trying to remember where they came from. In "Nachdenken, Gedächtnis und Gesang (Reflection, Memory and Song)", Utermöhlen sums up his experiences, singing "was wir gehört haben, was wir ge- sehen haben, was wir gedacht haben (what we have heard, what we have seen and what we have thought)". The paroles are self-reflecting, leaving nothing and losing nothing in the momentary momentum of the voice. It's a career, but a fractured one.
Die Tödliche Doris "DORIS MEETS DORIS"
21 minutes, mono
Label: Die Tödliche Doris Schallplatten
Catalogue No. DORIS 015
VHS Video cassette (both PAL and NTSC copies available)
Price: 10 Euro
The video is no longer distributed by EFA in Europe. There are still both PAL and NTSC VHS (!!) copies still available. If you are interested, please mail here.