Over eight consecutive nights, MoMA presents a chronological exploration of the sonic and visual experiments of Kraftwerk with a live presentation of their complete repertoire in the Museum’s Marron Atrium. Each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albumsAutobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003)in the order of their release. Kraftwerk will follow each evenings album performance with additional compositions from their catalog, all adapted specifically for this exhibition. This reinterpretation showcases Kraftwerks historical contributions to and contemporary influence on global sound and image culture. Read more
Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1970, setting up the pioneering Kling Klang studio, where all of Kraftwerk’s albums were conceived and composed. By the mid-1970s the group had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electro “sound paintings” and their musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. Their compositions, which feature distant melodies, multilingual vocals, robotic rhythms, and custom-made vocoders and computer-speech technology, almost single-handedly created the soundtrack for our digital future. Kraftwerk anticipated the impact of technology on art and everyday life, creating sounds and visuals that capture the human condition in the age of mobility and telecommunication. Their innovative looping techniques and computerized rhythms, which had a major influence on the early development of hip-hop and electronic dance music, remain among the most commonly sampled sounds across a wide range of music genres. Furthermore, the use of robotics and other technical innovations in their live performances illustrates Kraftwerks belief in the respective contributions of both people and machines in creating art.
In recent years, starting with their performance at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Kraftwerk has been invited into the visual arts context, festivals, and museums, most recently performing at Lenbachhaus Kunstbau in Munich. In contrast to all former presentations, where Kraftwerk videos, visuals, or the robots were presented in a museum context but performances were staged as concerts, MoMA is realizing a groundbreaking new display: the first synthetic retrospective to present, simultaneously and in one location, Kraftwerk’s complex layers of music, sound, videos, sets, and performance as a total work of art.
A presentation of Kraftwerks historical audio and visual material is on view at MoMA PS1, April 10May 14, 2012.
Purchase Tickets Here
Here are a couple of our favorite Kraftwerk songs: