From the archive
In may 1965 an article in Morgunbla, Reykjavik’s most widely-read newspaper, announcing a Musica Nova concert with composer and pianist Nam June Paik and the American cellist Charlotte Moorman. The article notes Moorman’s credentials as a distinguished Julliard graduate and a photographs shows her playing in a white dress with Paik seated thoughtfully at a grand piano. While the text notes that the pair will be assisted by Robot 456 and promises “new and curious music” there was nothing to prepare readers for the all-out Fluxus performance that Paik and Moorman had prepared in Lindarbaer, a small hall in Reykjavik. Composer Atli Heimir Sveinsson and Dieter Roth had influenced Musica Nove to invite them.
After the concert, another article appeared entitled “Clownish Antics in Lindarbaer”. The text, however, is remarkable restrained: “The Korean played the piano with a pacifier in his mouth, smeared himself in foam, splashed around in a washtub full of water and drank water from his shoe … The woman played the cello and then climbed up into an barrel and disappeared into it. A while later she came out of the barrel, soaking wet, and started playing the piano again. At that point the Korean dropped his pants on stage, sat down on a chair and turned slowly in circles while music ws played from a tape. Many had left before it came to this part in the programme but as the nude scene began, more rushed to the door.” Accompanying photographs show Moorman climbing into the barrel and Paik, fully clothed, with Robot 345. The article concludes simply: “Entrance to this unusual show cost fifty kronur.”