Time to Listen
The Ecological Crisis in Sound and Music

Festival with an exhibition, concerts, workshops for children and teenagers, open-space symposium, presentations and a community day in Moabit

18 August – 3 September 2023

Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg


The “Time to Listen” festival brings together international artists who use music to respond to the urgent issues engendered by climate change and the environmental crisis. The sounds they create prompt us to contemplate our relationship with the environment, technology, Indigenous knowledge and climate justice and to reflect upon our patterns of consumption in the Anthropocene Age. Taking a global perspective and spelling out worldwide concerns, the projects invite us to listen to the last refuges of rainforest biodiversity, the sounds of glaciers melting or rivers drying out and the desertification processes in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, we are confronted with the disregard for human life evident in global waste management, livestock farming, overfishing and soil sealing. The participating artists offer us an experience of the environmental changes that are taking place. Their work poses ethical questions and indicates ways of dealing with these issues emotionally and the kinds of action we can take to address them. Scenarios are delineated in which humans and natural ecosystems revive their symbiotic relationship – Indigenous concepts of nature shine through as an option for transforming this relationship, and climate-neutral technologies are used to produce sound.

The festival presented by the Akademie der Künste’s Music Section includes sound installations, sound walks, an open-space symposium, concerts, guided tours, readings, talks, discussions, workshops for children and teenagers and participative actions in public space, opening up a dialogue between artists, researchers and members of the audience. It’s time to listen!

With: Peter Ablinger, Acoustic Ecology Lab (Judith Egger, Fernando Domínguez, Tania Rubio, Sabine Vogel), Carola Bauckholt, Berliner Frauen-Vokalensemble / Lothar Knappe, Paul Brody, Ann Cotten, Andrei Cucu, Ulrike Draesner, Nina Dragičević, Arnold Dreyblatt, ensemble mosaik, Christian Falsnaes, FrauVonDa Kollektiv, Dani Gal, Malte Giesen, Claudia González Godoy, Rama Gottfried, Hanna Hartman, Andrea Heilrath, Karin Hellqvist, Anna Hetzer, Moana Holenstein, Susie Ibarra, Francisca Sofia Echeverria Ibieta, Jacob Kirkegaard, Georg Klein, Käte Kruse, Eric Lanz, Rebecca Lau, Liza Lim, Loré Lixenberg, Marcus Maeder, Bjørn Melhus, Nanne Meyer, Ari Benjamin Meyers, David Monacchi, Sarah Nemtsov/Shmuel Hoffman & Anton von Heiseler, Marcel Odenbach, Germaine Png, Jovana Popić, Karen Power /, Matthias Rillig, Winfried Ritsch, Daniel Rothman, Kathrin Röggla, Stefan Römer, Karin Sander, Iris ter Schiphorst, Chiyoko Szlavnics, Kristine Tjøgersen, Manos Tsangaris, Timm Ulrichs, Michaela Vieser, Cécile Wajsbrot, Ute Wassermann, Steffi Weismann, Jan St. Werner, Dorothee von Windheim, Isaac Yuen and many more

A festival presented by the Music Section of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Content development: Peter Ablinger, Carola Bauckholt, Annesley Black, Julia Gerlach, Daniel Ott, Kirsten Reese, Iris ter Schiphorst, Manos Tsangaris

Artistic direction: Carola Bauckholt, Julia Gerlach

Sustainability in Festival Planning and Implementation

For the “Time to Listen” festival, the Akademie der Künste presents artworks and discussions focused on ways of dealing with the environmental crisis and different approaches to the issue of sustainability. It also reassessed possible forms of action, experimenting with new methods and testing the limits of the institutional framework. This primary emphasis has been on issues of mobility, communication and production.

Mobility is an important issue in the realm of arts and culture. How, as an organiser, do you deal with air travel? Do you invite artists who will have to take a long flight to get to you? There are no simple answers to these questions, which involve a number of different dimensions. These were taken into consideration in the decision-making process, including the idea of climate justice. By and large, the artists have travelled within Germany and Europe – from Zurich, Graz, Paris and the UK – by train, and, in certain individual cases where it was justified, by e-car or plane. The few artists who had to travel a long way have come to Berlin for a longer stay and are involved in several events. The artists taking part in the festival from Chile, Mexico and Morocco come from regions that are responsible for a smaller share of global CO2 emissions. In dealing with climate issues, it is particularly important to focus on global injustices and entanglements.

In our public relations work, care was taken to ensure that the few print materials that were created to promote the festival were produced in an environmentally friendly way. Old flags have been repainted for the front of the Akademie building on Hanseatenweg, while the festival title has been written on the glass panelling with buttermilk. Instead of printed programme booklets, a wall newspaper located in the centre of the foyer maps all the different events and activities. QR codes allow you to download the entire programme booklet and all the work texts onto your smartphone.

Different strategies were deployed for the productions in advance of the festival: not everything is new. Many works are being revived, reworked, or recontextualised; some works are world premieres and address important topical issues. Two of the installations are powered by energy generated on-site. All the exhibition architecture comprises reused material, the furniture is all from existing stock and the air conditioning is mostly turned off. The project “Kill the Light – a house without electricity” by Arnold Dreyblatt explores how art is also possible without electricity and invites visitors to join tours of the Akademie building on Hanseatenweg (27 August 2023, from 7 pm). The Sustainability Booth (2 & 3 September 2023) was also designed to be sustainable. The material has been recycled or is to be reused. The performances in and around the booth also run without electricity. The built-in mini-stage for the piece GIANT by Manos Tsangaris explores how it can be lit using natural light. It will remain in the OTTO playground in Moabit where it can be used for other artistic purposes. The playground is hosting the “Time to Listen” programme on the final weekend of the festival (2 & 3 September 2023), which features readings, talks and performances as part of Moabit’s “Ortstermin” arts festival. The European Alliance of Academies invites visitors to attend the Climate Café there. Over the final weekend, there will be free admission to the Akademie der Künste’s programme of events at the Hanseatenweg site, which includes presentations from the workshops with teenagers relating to the festival’s thematic focus.

For “Time to Listen”, the Akademie’s food service Kulturcatering is offering vegetarian and vegan meals only; it is an essential part of the “Querfeld” campaign, which combats food waste. Free water dispensers are being set up for the festival.

Field notes / Initiative Neue Musik, one of the Music Section’s key partners, is co-hosting a symposium on sustainability for the second time. The workshops are a forum in which ideas are practically implemented in the contemporary music scene.

The Akademie der Künste’s programme is integral to its sense of mission, providing intellectual stimulus and education on the theme of sustainability. The festival “Time to Listen: The Ecological Crisis in Sound and Music” is part of an ongoing series of events devoted to climate change and the environmental crisis and ushers in a programme focused on this theme in autumn 2023. The Akademie’s own institutional reality is also under scrutiny here. The festival is a key element in this process.