Milan Knizak (born 19 April 1940) is a Czech performance artist, sculptor, musician, installation artist, dissident, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.
Before everyone else – Christian Marclay, Philip Jeck, eRikm, Martin Tétreault, Otomo Yoshihide – there was Milan Knizak. In 1964, Milan Knizak, a member of Fluxus from behind the Iron Curtain, sat down on a sidewalk near the Charles Bridge in Prague, laid down a paper carpet right into the street, and starts tearing pages out of books and burning them… Around the same time, he began to create music from defective, worn, damaged or broken LP’s. These Broken Music compositions, his classic collages of noises created during performances and happenings, are widely regarded as important sound art documents on record.
‘In 1963-64 I used to play records both too slowly and too fast and thus changed the quality of the music, thereby creating new compositions. In 1965 I started to destroy records: scratch them, punch holes in them, break them. By playing them over and over again (which destroyed the needle and often the record player too) an entirely new music was created – unexpected, nerve-racking, aggressive and even humorous. Compositions lasting one second or almost infinitely long (as when the needle got stuck in a deep groove and played the same phrase over
and over). I developed this system further. I began sticking tape on top of records, painting over them, burning them, cutting them up and gluing different parts of records back together, etc. to achieve the widest possible variety of sounds’. Milan Knízak, Broken Music