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Minus delta t

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minus delta t (−Δ t difference of two times with negative value) is a performance group and band which was founded by Karel Dudesek, Chrislo Haas and Mike Hentz in 1978, and started to work in Zurich, Switzerland, attracting attention with experimental performance art until the mid-1990s.[1] The group was a significant part of Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW/New German Wave)holding its ground in the experimental field and refusing commercialisation, and playing numerous groundbreaking concerts in Europe. The core idea was the obsolescence of stage and audience and the unique composition technique of their music, composing an atmospheric score based on emotions during the performance. In 1988, the group joined other professionals (Benjamin Heidersberger - low band society), shifted its interest into media art, renamed itself "Van Gogh TV" and "Ponton media art lab". It initiated temporary local pirate radio and TV stations in Germany. In 1992, it created the first worldwide interactive television project, using telephone systems and internet-like technologies in tandem with national broadcasting stations. In 1996, it invented a three-dimensional multi-user, multi-client/server system called “Worlds Within” running on the internet. Team members Martin Schmitz, Tim Becker and Ernst Pfannenschmidt were later to cooperate on a pilot project with AT&T, Bell labs and German Telecom. In 2012, minus delta t reformed to develop their Opera Work, exhibitions and installations, and resuming the transport of the stone to China.[1]


From 1978 on, the founding members of minus delta t performed in Germany, Austria, France and Italy. Yoshio Shirakawa and padellun also occasionally performed with the group. The performances of minus delta t were notable for creating tension between the audience and artists through provocative performances.[2][not in citation given]

minus delta t, Zurich left to right, Chrislo Haas, Mike Hentz, Karel Dudesek, 1st of August 1978
Stone arrives in Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, minus delta t European tour 1982
Minus delta t share, each share is for 1 km and 1 gram of the stone. 1st edition issued 1983 illustrated by Chris Scheuer, 2nd edition issued 2014

On that trip, they traveled to India through Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, the Lebanon, Pakistan, and Nepal. The trip concluded with the “Bangkok Festival” in 1984, which the group had helped conceive and organise. [3]

minus delta t, Europe tour, meeting in Nice, France, Bernhard Mueller and Ben Vautier, 1982
minus delta t during the European tour, meeting Pope John Paul II in Rome at the Vatican city, Italy.
minus delta t - record 3 LP's, Death Opera release 1987 by Ata tak, Duesseldorf Germany.
Karel Dudesek, Bruno Kreisky and Wolfgang Hoffman, meeting the Austrian chancellor in New Delhi, India. Presenting the vinyl of the project. 1986
Lifting the stone from the river banks of Ganges, where stone was for 4 years under water. 1990 Rishikesh, India.

In one of the group's first shows, at Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf in 1978, they spilled plaster over the floor in an event they titled “Cleaning Performance”, threw around animal carcasses, and let flies swarm out that had been specifically bred for this purpose. Moreover, they deliberately prevented the audience from consuming alcohol in the venue on that Friday night by placing Robert Görl with his drum set on top of the bar.[4][not in citation given]

At the “Shvantz! Festival“ in the Frankfurt Städelschule on 2. November 1979, an event organized by the artists of Walter E. Baumann’s Schvantz! Kunstmagazin (Schvantz! Art magazine), the group made its mark.[clarification needed][5][not in citation given]

At “Geräusche für die 80er“ (Noises for the Eighties) organized by Zickzack in the Markthalle Hamburg on 29 December 1979, they played back the sounds of police radio on the PA system to an audience waiting for rock music.[1] In 1980, Chrislo Haas left the line-up, and Wolfgang Georgsdorf, Gerard Couty, Bernhard Müller, and others, joined the group. [6]

In 1982, minus delta t instigated an event entitled “Bangkok Project”, transporting a bluestone rock (weighing 5.5 tons) from Europe (starting at the Preseli Mountains) to Asia (New Delhi , India) as from 1982. A “share” was issued for this action[7], with a graphic design conceived by the Austrian artist Chris Scheuer.[8] During the European tour the group met with Ben Vautier, Bruno Kreisky and Pope John Paul among others. [3][9]

In 1987, minus delta t showed up as “cultural police” on the premises of the documenta 8 and subjected clueless visitors to awkward interrogations.[10] Moreover, some members of the group ran a pirate TV channel in the frame of documenta’s performance programme, which was curated by Elisabeth Jappe, and invited other artists to produce their own contributions in a container studio, and, with “Computer Voodoo“, also included the emerging computer networks in the active flow of performance. [11]

In 1987, minus delta t staged its avant-garde dramatization Opera Death in Berlin. The opera was released on 3 LP records by the independent label Ata Tak in the same year.[12][13]

In the following years, experimental combinations of Internet and television were further developed by minus delta t for several projects commissioned by Ars Electronica, Linz, and through the frame of the group Van Gogh TV and Ponton European Media art lab, which was based in Hamburg, Germany.[14] They reappeared as “Piazza Virtuale“ at the documenta IX 1992, 100 days the first interactive television project, commissioned by Jan Hoet, broadcasting all over Europe, north Africa, Russia, with video links to USA and Japan. [15]

Since 1994 the founders Mike Hentz and Karel Dudesek embarked on separate avenues, with their artistic works, holding temporary teaching positions in China, USA and holding Professorships in Germany, Austria and United Kingdom.[16][17]

In 2013 Suezan Studio in Japan re-released the minus delta t record on CD.[18] In 2014 first space based audio installation at the Heidelberg Kunstverein, Germany about minus delta t. [19] In 2015 the group started to plan the continuation of the "Bangkok Project" by transporting the stone from New Delhi, India to Shanghai, China, and to develop its archive.[20]

Minus delta t share 2nd edition 2014 in Heidelberg Germany. LED print superimposed image.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Teipel, Jürgen (2001). Verschwende deine Jugend: Ein Doku-Roman uber den deutschen Punk und New Wave. Frankfurt: Suhrkam. p. 17. ISBN 978-3-518-46318-5. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Hayton, Jeff (2014). "The Revolution Is Over—and We Have Won!: Alfred Hilsberg, West German Punk, and the Sixties". In Brown, Timothy Scott; Lison, Andrew. The Global Sixties in Sound and Vision. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 135–150. ISBN 978-1137375223. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Minus Delta t Plus (1982). Das Bangkok Projekt. Berlin: Merve. ISBN 9783883960265. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Twickel, Christoph (15 September 2010). "Punk-Kneipe Ratinger Hof: Legendäres Drecksloch". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  5. Schlaegel, Andreas. "Shvantz 1979 – Frankfurts Kunstszene". Goethe Institut. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  6. Esch, Rüdiger (2014). Electri_City: Elektronische Musik aus Düsseldorf. Berlin: Suhrkamp. ISBN 978-3518464649. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. Tarasiewivz, Matthias (2011-07-14). "Coded Cultures Between New Media Arts and Production Cultures". In Rusegger, Georg; Tarasiewicz, Matthias; Wlodkowski, Michal. Coded Cultures: New Creative Practices out of Diversity. New York: Springer. p. 200. ISBN 978-3-7091-0457-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. Hofman, Wolfgang; Dudesek, Karel; Hentz, Mike; Couty, Gerard (1986). LIV, ed. Ars Electronica 1986 (Catalogue ed.). Linz: Linzer Veranstaltungsgesellschaft. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  9. Druckrey, Timothy (1999). Ars Electronica: Facing the Future: A Survey of Two Decades. 1999: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262041768. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  10. "Gesamt-Ohrwerk" (44). Der Spiegel. 1987. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  11. Metken, Günter (1987). Documenta 8: Fuhrer durch die Ausstellung. Kassel: Weber und Weidemeyer. ISBN 978-3925272127. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  12. "Minus Delta t". Discogs.com.
  13. Hentz, Mike (1998). "Die philosophische Datenbank von Minus Delta T". Die Hackerbibel Chaos Computer Club (1). Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  14. Plattner, Cornelia (1 March 1990). "Kunst aus dem Fernsehapparat". Hamburger Abendblatt. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  15. Medosch, Armin (2016). "Shockwaves in the New World Order of Information". In Paul, Christiane. A Companion to Digital Art. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwekk. p. 369. ISBN 978-1118475201. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  16. "Karel Dudesek: Curriculum Vitae". c3.hu.
  17. "Karel Dudesek". V2_, Institute for the unstable media.
  18. "Releases". Suezan Studio.
  19. "Jahresgaben". Heidelberger Kunstverein.
  20. Cufer, Eda; Hentz, Mike. "Eda ˇCufer in conversation with Mike Hentz". On-Curating.org. 12 (14): 52.

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