Lieutenant Murnau


Lieutenant Murnau was invented as the name of a “ghost musical group” by the Italian neoist artist Vittore Baroni. It was started in 1980 and ended in 1984. The image the group used came from a photograph of film director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau while serving as a lieutenant in the German army. This photograph was taken and reproduced on to posters, leaflets, fanzines, badges and all other memorabilia of pop mythology to create an interest in something that did not exist.

Lt. Murnau managed to produce various records and cassettes without Baroni playing a single note, simply releasing mixages of recorded music. The "Meet Lieutenant Murnau" tape, for example, was a deliberate confusion of The Beatles and The Residents records. He also used soundtracks of F.W. Murnau's films and music provided by other groups in hommage to Murnau. To mess up things even more, he had some of these tapes and records released in different countries by different people.

Lt. Murnau also appeared on stage, masked, mixing different records and crucifying a Beatles LP. Hundreds of life-size Lt. Murnau-cardboard masks were printed which people could wear. Anybody could make Lt. Murnau music and become Lt. Murnau, and a few people did it. The whole project was focussed on a very limited idea, that of underground music, and did not have the broader implications of the Monty Cantsin or Luther Blissett multiple user name philosophy.

Aliases:A086, Abstemious Youth, Kibbo Kift, Unit 02 (2), Vittore Baroni
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