The radiophonic constellation mediates between transmitter and receiver not only across space but also through time. The possibility of archiving sound, noise, voice, and music allows the growing reservoirs of listening knowledge to be sought out and the findings to be put in relation to others. What can sound archives tell us? How do social and radiophonic constellations relate to each other? The question of what is archived and accessible, which voices get heard, and whose ears are permitted to hear, is always a political issue.
The artists Gilles Aubry and Nathalie Anguezemo Mba Bikoro listen to anti-colonial struggles in radiophonic space. Marie Guérin lets early recordings from the sound archive of the Humboldt University of Berlin enter into a dialog with contemporary voices. Musician and philosopher Zoran Terzić investigates the idea and ideology of musical rendering. The artist group ARK invites its guests to analyze the postcolonial geographies that to this day organize the interfaces of drum machines.
Gilles Aubry & Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro: Black A(n)thena (Kosmos)
In their performance, Gilles Aubry and Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro explore the practices of listening and radio as a means to decolonize and untrain the ear from hegemonic listening knowledge. Drawing on material from pirate radio stations, they unravel the entangled histories of German settlements and anti-colonial struggles in Gabon and elsewhere. They follow the multiple traces of writer and botanist Adelbert von Chamisso, who reappears on a banana plantation in Gabon as the goddess “Camissonae,” while nature transmits testimonies and warnings to the plantation laborers. Black A(n)thena draws on the role of the scientific perpetrator rather than the native as subject, and counter-reacts to the technologies of sound recordings and transmissions used in the early twentieth century.
Marie Guérin: Recorded Songs Don’t Ever Die – Side A
In 1915, linguist Wilhelm Doegen recorded Prisoners of War in Germany singing in their native tongues. These songs in English, Algerian, Tunisian, Ukrainian, Breton, and many other languages are some of the earliest sound recordings. While intended as material for linguistic studies, they also tell of migration and exile. In her musical performance, Marie Guérin explores the echoes of these “migra-sounds” by combining them with contemporary voices and sounds talking both from and on radiophonic space. The performance thus invokes recording and radio technology as a means to create a diasporic heterotopia, where voices separated by both time and space come to join one another.
Zoran Terzić: Musical Settings
In which contexts does music take place in the sense of the musical setting of an idea, information, ideology, or work of art? To what extent do such musical settings determine auditory and mental space? And what role does the medium of a musical setting play in its effect? On the one hand, the human voice can be interpreted already as thought set to music; on the other hand, it is exposed to the mechanisms of invocations of political power, which in turn are the “musical settings” of power relations. Is my voice, which is existential, political, and acoustic, only my own voice when it sets itself to music as the subject of a response? Zoran Terzić uses a Wurlitzer electric piano to explore the places where the phenomenology of the medium meets political economy.
ARK: Unboxing Cultural Spaces. A Speculative Feature about Rhythm Machines
What kind of auditory memory do drum machines store? Invented to replace the heavy and bulky instruments of analogue drumming, the drum machine seems to be a subservient part of the colonial and imperial reification process. The history of drum machines is one of pirated copies, clones, and simulations. Their switchboards, with designations such as “Latin,” “American,” or “Traditional,” can be read like postcolonial atlases. The artist group ARK invites its guests to analyze a selection of drum machines in their materiality and visuality as artifacts of our auditory memory and its underlying politics.
Part of Der Ohrenmensch