Hotel Morphila Orchester

active between 1978 and 1982; Comeback 2011

Biography

Hotel Morphila Orchester

In 1978, Peter Weibel (vocals, lyrics) and Loys Egg (composition, guitar) founded Hotel Morphila Orchester, as one of the first fine artists bands in Vienna. The other band members were Paul Braunsteiner, painter and lead guitarist of the well-known Austrian rock group Novaks Kapelle, Günther Dinold, bassist of the Worried Men Skiffle Group, and Reinhard Blank, advertising designer and self-taught drummer, and later Franz Machek (bass), Wolfgang Stelzer (drums) and Franz Dorfner (bass). The band’s name, which alludes to the largely defunct tradition of hotel orchestras, is intended to arouse sick, morbid associations:

»The hotel name, hinting at notions like morbid, morphine, Morpheus (god of dreams and sleep), Mephistopheles, morph (figure), Godzilla etc., points to the hotel’s character, guests and music: monster rock from energy machines, hot hammer-and-phase melodies floating like gas-filled zeppelins, music of heavy water, primary rock, music of the metropolis, ’crazy crash music’, neon rock, code breakers, hospital music for patients of all kinds« (Peter Weibel, 1979).

The band initially survived until 1982 and had a comeback from 2011 on, playing a number of concerts and also performing at Vienna’s Museum of the 21st Century in 2015 on the occasion of Weibel’s solo show.

Peter Weibel

1944 born in Odessa, lives in Vienna and Karlsruhe

Studied French literature, film and comparative literature, medicine and later mathematics with a focus on logic

From 1976 taught inter alia at the College (now University) of Applied Arts Vienna, the College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, and Kassel Polytechnic (Gesamthochschule).

Since 1984 Professor of Visual Media Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

1984–1989 Associate Professor for Video and Digital Arts at the Department for Media Study, State University of New York in Buffalo, N. Y., where he set up the Digital Arts Laboratory

1989–1994 Established and headed the Institute for New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main

1999–2019 Director of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

2017 Foundation of the Peter Weibel Research Institute for Digital Cultures at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, to which Weibel has donated his archive

Loys Egg

1947 born in Bern

Studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

1972–1984 Taught at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

1989 Withdrew from the art market, work as graphic artist

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Peter Weibel’s work includes texts, drawings, photography, performance and media art (experimental film, video and computer works), sculptural, installation-based pieces and music, generally adopting a conceptual approach. Taking semiotic and linguistic considerations as his point of departure, he explores the role of language and media in the construction of reality.

In the second half of the 1960s Weibel was close to the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group) and the Viennese Actionists. In 1966 he began to work with VALIE EXPORT, Ernst Schmidt Jr. and Hans Scheugl on an »expanded cinema« that revealed the ideological and technical preconditions of filmic representation. In his teleaktionen, broadcast by the Austrian television channel ORF in 1972 as part of the Impulse show, he transcended the boundaries of gallery space. In the mid-1980s, he explored the possibilities of computer-assisted video processing. His first interactive computer-based installations date from the early 1990s.

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In his numerous lectures and articles, Weibel addresses contemporary art, media history, media theory, film, video art and philosophy. As a theorist and curator, he advocates art and art historiography that takes account of the history of technology and science.


Loys Egg is a sculptor, painter and graphic artist and mainly creates abstract, relief-like objects, which he combines to form large ensembles filling entire walls or rooms ( Raumzeichnungen / Room Drawings).

Author: Eva Badura-Triska

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Music

Music

From the mid-1960s, Peter Weibel created conceptual sound objects and environments that reflect his general critique of language and media. »everything that is sound is also language at the same time. […] expanding the sound world also means expanding communication. […] the connection between the sound world and the social world is created by electronic equipment.« (Weibel, 1966)

Weibel’s critical, sarcastic songs color the musical practice of Hotel Morphila Orchester, which was founded by Weibel with Loys Egg in 1978: performed in Sprechgesang mode, midway between speaking and singing, these songs also draw on found text material:

In Sex in der Stadt (Sex in the City; released as a single and music video in 1983), Weibel read personal ads from a newspaper; during a performance of the work at the performances 79 festival at Lenbachhaus, Munich, his discussion with sex workers on client’s unusual wishes was broadcast live via a highly amplified telephone: »It was apparent to all of us back then that music had to grow out of language« (Weibel, 2014).

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In 1982 Loys Egg and the poet Joe Berger formed the band Orphila, named after Hotel Orfila in Paris, where August Strindberg resided.

In 1983/1984, Weibel with an entirely new line-up established the group Noa Noa, named after the eponymous book by artist Paul Gauguin.

Der künstliche Wille (The Artificial Will), the first of Peter Weibel’s five media operas, was performed at the 1984 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz’s Brucknerhaus.

Author: Eva Badura-Triska

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In the Exhibition

In the Exhibition

Hotel Morphila Orchester

Dead in the Head, 1978

ORF television broadcast Austro-Pop, recorded in the Café Central Vienna, 10. 2. 1980, with Paul Braunsteiner (guit.), Loys Egg (guit.), Franz Machek (bass guit.), Wolfgang Stelzer (dr.), Peter Weibel (voc.), 4:33 min

Dead in the Head, composed in 1978 and released as a single in 1982, is the title of a Hotel Morphila Orchester song that the band performed in 1980 on the ORF show Austro Pop. It begins with Weibel tapping out the beat on his forehead with the microphone so energetically that it leaves red marks there, then singing »I am dead in the head and sick in the dick.«

Author:

Eva Badura-Triska