Walter Ruttmann – Weekend (1930)
Weekend is a pioneering work from the early days of radio, commissioned in 1928 by Berlin Radio Hour. In a collage of words, music fragments and sounds, the film-maker and media artist Walter Ruttmann presented on 13 June 1930 a radically innovative radio piece: an acoustic picture of a Berlin weekend urban landscape.
Before making Weekend, Ruttmann had produced the experimental documentary Berlin-Symphony of a Great City (1927) as well as a number of short, experimental abstract animations. After his experience with his films, Ruttmann deliberately sought possibilities for producing an audio-film for radio. “Everything audible in the world becomes material,” he wrote in a manifesto in 1929, prefiguring Schaeffer, Varese, Cage and the other giants of the musical avant-garde.
Tones and sounds should exist in their own right. For Weekend they were recorded as arbitrary and intentional elements on the soundtrack of an optical sound film using the so-called Tri-Ergon process. For the first time an artistic radio production was created whose material could be assembled and designed according to rhythmic, musical principles.
The original of Weekend was long considered lost. A copy was only rediscovered in New York in 1978.