Die Tödliche Doris

The first virtual-disc experiment—a rebuff to copyright laws

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Berlin
DE Germany
Web http://www.die-toedliche-doris.de/
Maturity

Concept

About the project Edit

Die Tödliche Dori, a German art/performance group active in the 1980s, released a unique musical experiment in the mid-80s in West Germany: a virtual LP.

The concept was to counter the consumerist and capitalist diktat of the day by releasing two complimentary albums that, when played together, create a third virtual album.

The first record titled Unser Debut was released in 1985. The second, titled Sechs, was released a year later. These two records were produced so that they could create a third, complete album, when the same side of each record are played simultaneously on two separate turntables. Every corresponding song on each of the two albums is exactly the same length; the styles are complimentary and come together to create a third melody that becomes a virtual artifact—a literally, dematerialized work. The music thus becomes 3D.

When a radio station simultaneously played two songs from these records (one on the right channel and one on the left channel), the artists were credited with double the royalties. This corresponds to royalties paid for twice the length of the song played. Upholders of copyright law were baffled thanks to a particularly creative record—the invisible LP.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The experiment that began with the release of Unser Debut in 1985 and continued with the 1986 release of the follow-up Sechs, marked the innovation of the independent and dematerialized album, in defiance of the rigid copyright industry. It was possible to play Unser Debut in Europe, “cross” or “splice” it with Sechs, being played simultaneously in North America, and create an invisible LP broadcast somewhere in Asia! Thus, a product that is not directly commercialized or commercializable, independent of distributors and dealers is created and consumed by users without every putting a price on intellectual property. Tödliche Doris therefore appears to be a singular active metaphor, unique to the history of music, for the free distribution of artistic and cultural works.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

“These two LPs, if played simultaneously, create a third [translation].” This text, which appears in the two-disc Japanese release, has an important cultural value since it brings into question the concepts of intellectual property and artistic autonomy in the context of the music industry.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The Berlin group’s concept is relatively unique to the history of vinyl music production; today, it lives on with peer-to-peer file sharing. It no longer has the same physical significance in the present era of dematerialized music content but it can still be applied to the virtual world by inspiring new symbolic experimentation in digital art, whether through audio, video or text.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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