Jürgen Ploog (b.1935) lives in Frankfurt and Miami. He was a pilot for Lufthansa for 33 years. With Jörg Fauser and Carl Weissner he was co-founder of the legendary little-mag Gasolin 23. A friend and literary associate of William S. Burroughs, he is considered a father figure of the German-language literary underground. Recorded & edited by Jürgen Ploog on different flights between 1971 & 1976 on a portable tape-recorder. Final selection, montage & editing by Robert Schalinski.
Like his literary fellow traveler William S. Burroughs who made tape experiments a few years earlier, the German Beat writer Jürgen Ploog (born 1935) began experimenting with tape recorders in the 1970s. Due to his career as a transcontinental pilot Ploog was constantly on the go. “My life was a series of interruptions both geographically (outwardly) and psychologically (state of mind) with exposure to different countries and the constant effects of jet lag.” This 40-minute cut-up is the result of his experiments. Passages of Ploog’s spoken text get mixed with Indian television voices, while sounds of Buddhist rituals are heard through an open hotel window. Radiograms, birds, recordings of airport and street noises, people noise and that of machinery … assembled, superimposed … scraps pulled out/torn, shifted and copied … questioned and documented … an alchemical experiment, a journey of sounds …
“Cut-up as a drug that leads to a different relationship with language, just as a hallucinogen leads to an altered relation with the so-called reality. The result is a fundamental shift of meaning. ‘Shift linguals’ was the motto in a continuous process with an open end …” J.P.
“This tape is a recording of many voices simultaneously under the spell of the urban Moloch. They moan, marvel, murmur and curse in a mixture of sounds that would became independent and found its own cadence. A sound that could turn drunk, melt on the tongue, mingle with the juices of the body and eventually turn into sweat and piss. The traveler lived with it as with microbes sucked up and gulped with every swallow.”
“When I look back now at those years, I see that they were a ground-breaking departure for me, not towards other, newly rising ideologies but into an unspecified way of writing and perception —because reality is based on perspective and seeing, thus opening the possibilities of an enhanced imagination and a vision of life under conditions which are not determined and pre-recorded. It may be said that these were the accounts of only the first steps. That in my case this was related to traveling to far-off continents and may just have been a lucky coincidence. At the same time it is obvious that it was difficult for me to record the exoticism of travel as merely a fortunate occurrence that gave me the chance to slide into remote scenery. The whiskey on the rocks at the beach of a tropical island is after all only the Technicolor-version of the beer in the pub back home. The challenge was to navigate under limitless technical possibilities and across the open space of digital deserts that spread rapidly …” J.P.2014