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Field note 2: A voyage into oral field/work

ByAlan Dein

Audio documentary feature-makers like myself are indebted, whether they know it or

not, to a remarkable pioneering sound feature called Weekend. It was the work of

Walter Ruttmann, perhaps best known as a film-maker for his beautiful abstract study

Berlin: Symphony of a Big City in 1927. Three years later, Ruttmann had returned to

the same subject, but crucially this time, captured the noises and snatched conversa-

tions of the metropolis in sound only. Recorded directly onto the soundtrack of optical

film, Ruttmann championed Weekend as ‘a completely new acoustic art – new in its

means and in its effect’.