Joseph Beuys: Beuys Laughing
Published by Steidl/Edition Staeck, Heidelberg.
Edited by Klaus Staeck, Gerhard Steidl. Text by Monte Packham.
Twenty minutes of edited hilarity: a long-lost Beuys audio piece, now available on vinyl
In early 1974 Joseph Beuys (1921–86), Klaus Staeck and Gerhard Steidl sat aboard a Boeing 747 from New York to Düsseldorf, returning home after Beuys’ American tour. The trip had been a controversial success, carefully documented by Staeck and Steidl in videos, photographs and audio. To relieve the boredom of the flight, the three listened to some of the recordings and Beuys noticed just how much he laughed: why not edit this laughter into a single, surreal track?
Steidl gave the tapes to the sound engineer Siegfried Schäfer, who created a final edit of 20 minutes. Steidl played this master to a delighted Beuys, who decided to issue it as an audiotape edition. The master tape was then sadly lost for a period of 46 years, only to resurface in 2020. Now, remastered and digitized by Schäfer and Pauler Acoustics, it is finally available to the public, in this vinyl EP, in an edition of 2,000 copies.