The Language of the Body and its Scream: Artaudian Concepts Interwoven within Einsturzende Neubauten’s Sound and Performances
Elaborating on the German group Einsturzende Neubauten takes considerable admiration, for it not only defined the boundaries of what is now considered and coined as “industrial music” but also defined the body and the voice’s importance in the performances and how sounds affected their audience. They interpreted their music through the lens of Germany’s pain of the past; expressing themes of historical ‘Germany’s sub-conscious wish to eradicate its traumatic past once and for all’[footnoteRef:1]. This created a pure ‘moment of origin that was not contaminated by the counties past history’[footnoteRef:2], thus making E.N. define its own future under their generic umbrella – with something never seen before in music of the early Eighties. [1: Jennifer Shryane, “Sprich zu mir in Seuchensprache/Speak to me in plague language (Vanadium-i-ching 1983): An analysis of Einstürzende Neubauten as Artaudian artists”. Studies in Theatre and Performance, 30:3, (2010): 325.] [2: Ibid.]
In relation to the pain of one’s conscious past, humans relegated this pain through vocalizing their intrinsic emotions, creating a sense of decency. This also related to the self-assessment of one’s body; how it moved to something and how it reacted to noise, pain and cruelty. Similarly to pain and its relative expressions, Antonin Artaud, a French-born theatrical theorist and a key founder of the avant-garde outlook, took a very unique approach in dissecting, writing and laying out his foundational beliefs around the faculties of theatre, poetry and directing with special interest in human responses and tendencies. He explored the mysteries of the early twentieth century in regards to expressionism – through the body and the voice – which is very comparable to how the music and live performances of Einsturzende Neubauten was expressed.
Seemingly so, both Artaud and Neubauten have underlying ties to each other. Since Artaud came first, the direct correlation his ideologies have on E.N. is astounding and thus requires further speculation. This paper looks at the German group’s expressive nature of sounds and body, which were interlacing factions in Artaud’s beliefs of the same liking.
Artaud dismissed some of Germany’s most prominent driving forces: Capitalism and Marxism, deeming them both not fit for a ‘revolution based on fire, magic and anatomical transformation’,[footnoteRef:3] and in being the attractive idealist he was, created the “Theatre and its Double”. Arising from the “Theater and Its Double” (1938) were the myriad of ‘philosophical ideas for the artistic reinvention’[footnoteRef:4] of later generations, while his other works such as “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (“to have done with the judgment of god”) made in 1947, gave musicians a solid ‘model for new instrumental and vo...