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Ornament & Verbrechen

From Unearthing The Music

Ornament & Verbrechen is a project that was created by two brothers, Ronald and Robert Lippok in East Berlin in 1983. Prior to this, Ronald Lippok had performed in more conventional punk groups. The name was supposed to encompass various kinds of artistic projects and make an ironic reference to the title of Adolf Loos' 1908 essay at the same time. It was also the basis for other ensembles of the Lippoks, such as Bleibeil, or Local Moon. Inspired by industrial groups like Throbbing Gristle, the Lippoks began constructing their own instruments from everyday objects and recorded their first audio tapes. One of their early recordings appeared on the famous compilation Live in Paradise (1985) that presented several new wave groups from the GDR. The artists never applied for an official permission to perform (until they made an exception for a theatre production shortly before the collapse of the system), and so therefore (almost) all their concerts were unauthorized. They also took part in several projects by other artists including a number of performances by Holger Stark, for instance ‘Pulling The Strings Behind The Scenes’ (1988) at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Dresden. Apart from strictly musical projects, Ronald Lippok also painted and created samizdats (in collaboration with Bert Papenfuß-Gorek, a poet associated with the Prenzlauer Berg scene). Meanwhile, his brother Robert created such installations as the ‘Schimmelmaschinen’ (Mould machines) shown at an exhibition at the Wohnmaschine Gallery in Berlin in 1989. Partly a laboratory and partly kinetic sculpture, it represented the decay and decline of a city. It was also a remarkable sound installation at the same time, featuring a mechanical music box producing the sound of flute in the background.

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