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«Ornament and Crime» functioned as an open, group project: we worked with many other people, had lengthy discussions, and even all the excessive drinking had a special value. Everything was a lesson for future use. You developed a sensibility and came to know with whom you could work, and you learned to work quickly. Contrary to today’s approach, «Ornament and Crime» was never oriented toward a product, but rather toward the present moment. There were phases that sometimes lasted one or one and a half years, when we had nothing to say to each other. But after that we came together again, worked in twos, or welcomed others into the group. Stylistically speaking, the music was always different. After a while, what began with drums and radio was transformed into a small, Big Band constellation, with a banjo and two drummers. It depended on the situation.
DD: But «Ornament and Crime» never gave multimedia performances, and focused only on making music.
RL: That’s true. In relation to «to rococo rot,» I even think of that as being enough. Of course, you have counterexamples like «Pan sonic,» or Carsten
Nicolai, who really brought things to their conclusion and gave impressive concerts with music and images. But we weren’t interested in going that route – also because we found that images terminate music and hold it in place. You see this happen when you watch the video of your favorite music piece on MTV: the image becomes welded to the music forever. I found that disturbing for both our music and the concert situation.
DD: In other words, all of you see the visual and the music as remaining separated yet parallel. In the gallery setting, though, you make a decisive visual mark, and the adjoining sound refers to that space. The music isn’t necessarily linked to the image – yet it occurred to me, for example, you created a stage design for a Wagner performance. A universal artwork (german: "Gesamtkunstwerk") , so to speak.
RL: There it is again! The universal artwork…
DD: Okay. But Wagner wanted his music supported by forceful images. So how should we imagine you creating a stage design for Wagner, with such minimalist works?
RL: It only looks highly minimal – and alongside all