A Musical Life: Aaron Wirtz

Oct 4, 2013

Aaron Wirtz, whose stage name is Cutter J the Absurdist, performing what he calls "a living collage of music."
Credit Georgia Andersen / Courtesy photo

Wichita-native Aaron Wirtz is an electronic music and video performance artist whose stage persona, Cutter J the Absurdist, combines the phases of his life into a living collage of music, technology and dance. By combining traditional American folk arts such as tap dancing and spoons playing with an ever-evolving approach to DJing, turntablism, and interactive video art, he seeks to explore the emotional vocabulary of digitally influenced consciousness. Aaron is married to singer Reby Wirtz, recently graduated from Wichita State with his MFA in creative writing, works full time as a social media manager, and contributes to F5, Wichita’s weekly alternative newspaper.

My name is Aaron Wirtz and I perform under the stage name Cutter J The Absurdist.

I am an electronic music and video remixing performance artist.

I'm maybe more commonly known as the tap-dancing DJ.

How I like to think of that project is kind of like my entire life funneled into about 30 or 45 minutes.

I come from a performing arts background of music theatre, and classical ballet and other forms of dance. About 10 years ago, maybe 15 years ago, I developed and interest in making collage as well. I see collage, as a visual art form, kind of as a metaphor for what I do, as kind of a living collage.

I guess that that's the way I search for meaning on stage, is by putting together disparate elements. The art form of DJing has moved past just simply mixing two songs together, so how I like to think of it is almost as if emotions were records being mixed together. Or there are phases of my life being mixed together on stage to create new combinations.

I've never been good at following the book. I'm better at writing one.

This piece originally ran July 26, 2013.