The seven sound installations feature how international artists perceive the ecological crisis. An acoustic expression of environmental destruction and climate change, their work creates spaces of memory and allows them to take a stance. The artists translate the language of science into sounds that can be experienced through the senses, thereby creating arenas of knowledge in which we can expand our awareness and broaden our options for taking action.
The crisis has long since become a global emergency, as we can glean from the installation by Susie Ibarra, who, together with a group of young women in southern Morocco – an area under threat of desertification – recorded the sounds of Integrated Water Resource Management and compressed them into a composition. Chilean sound artist Claudia González’s narrative web is woven together from a variety of media and materials. It informs us from a feminist perspective about a region that has been turned into a desert by the construction of a huge dam – with dramatic consequences for the lives of the people there – alerting us to how memories make it possible for us to imagine ways of living together in the future. The FrauVonDa group has brought together scientists and artists from different countries around the Baltic to investigate autonomous life forms of algae, plankton, at the sensory perceptions of sturgeon, shoals of herring in the sea and the waters of the Oder to reflect on colonial structures and create a knowledge environment in which we can learn from one another. Jacob Kirkegaard reproduces the acoustic rhythms of livestock farming and solid waste management in his two haunting audio works. Two of the installations run on sustainable energy. Winfried Ritsch’s “sound flowers”, which he builds with a group of teenagers as part of a workshop, use solar energy to produce sound and imbue the Akademie’s ornamental reed garden with subtle tones. Visitors to Daniel Rothman’s installation have to sit on a bicycle themselves to power the sound system, which plunges them into a bioacoustic refuge in California, with the pitch of the sound modulated by the speed at which they pedal. In Peter Ablinger’s Deus Cantando, Adolfo Perez Esquivel and the 14th Dalai Lama’s 2009 declaration calling for an International Environmental Criminal Court is spoken by a schoolboy – his voice transferred to an automatically controlled piano: their call for action is encoded as sound.
The seven sound installations form part of the Akademie der Künste’s Time to Listen festival, from 18 August to 3 September. The idea of the festival is to prompt audiences to contemplate our relationship with the environment, technology, Indigenous knowledge and climate justice and to reflect upon our patterns of consumption in the Anthropocene and the possibilities of social transformation.
Peter Ablinger: DEUS CANTANDO (God, singing) (2009) for computer-controlled piano and text (Declaration of the International Environmental Criminal Court), Hall 1
Claudia González Godoy: Hidroscopia/Maule (2021), multimedia installation, Hall 3
Susie Ibarra: Stories of the Desert in a Changing Climate (2022–23, premiere), audiovisual installation, multichannel composition, Hall 1
With Halim Sbai and girls from the Joudour Sahara Music Program
Jacob Kirkegaard: LANDET (2022, German premiere), TESTIMONIUM (2017), eight-channel short versions for Time to Listen, Hall 2
FrauVonDa: Baltic Multiverse (2023, premiere), multimedia installation
Concept and artistic direction: Claudia van Hasselt & Nicolas Wiese
With works by: Casper Lindroos (sound art), Johan Karrento (film), Nicolas Wiese (video/animation, sound art), Claudia van Hasselt (video/voice, sound art), Ferdinand Breil (sound art), Michaela Vieser & Isaac Yuen (nature writing), Roman Schöne (object)
Scientific support: Tony Cederberg (Biologisk Station Husö, Åland), Jörn Gessner (Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei Berlin), Hall 2
Production: FrauVonDa, supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Kurverwaltung Ahrenshoop, Künstlerhaus Lukas und Neues Kunsthaus, Finnland Institut in Deutschland, Aue Stiftung, Field Notes Programm
Further information: frauvonda.de
Winfried Ritsch: Der Gesang des Powerflower Netzwerks. A DIY workshop exploring a networked cluster of robotic flowers; Power Flowers (PF), in the form of autonomous sound machines are installed in the ornamental Reed Garden and on the forecourt at the entrance to the Akademie der Künste
With teens from the Summer Academy at the MiK Jugendkunstschule, Berlin-Mitte
Daniel Rothman: Listening to Ballona in the Natural History Museum of the Future (2023, premiere), installation, Andrea Heilrath: development and design of the technical setup, Beech Garden
Cooperation with Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House, supported by Schering Stiftung