Between sounds and tones, acoustics and language

At Montagscafé, we look for the different sounds of Dresdner Nachbarschaften.

Text: Falk Goernert · Photos: Yvonn Spauschus

earing or a school of listening

Polish sound, interaction and performance artist Zorka Wollny takes us to a room on the upper floor of the Kleines Haus. In one week her solo exhibition will open at the Städtisches Kunsthaus. As a small training session, she now invites us participants on an acoustic, imaginary journey of exploration – stante pedes and with a good portion of benevolent curiosity. In the coming hour we will experience a game of imagination and connections. The much described “disenchantment of the (modern) world” seems to be suspended.

Unexpectedly, we find ourselves in acoustic freefall: our mouths bulge outward. Sometimes they are funnel-shaped forward or open and close at irregular intervals… Our eyes are thereby closed and the cinema for the ears can begin. Zorka chooses the thicket of a forest and the depths of the ocean as the locations of the performance. Sitting in a circle, we begin to sound and listen in loops. Crescendo sounds fill the space.

Schhhhhhhhhhhhh   schschschschsch       ahahahahah fffffffffffffhhhhhhhhhh     ssssssssss­            hhhhhhhhhhhhhhsssssssss krrrrrrrrrrr     chhhhhhhhhhh         quähhhhhhhhhh            schhhhbbbbhhhhhhhbbububbubububububub    ah       ahah   ahahffffhhhhh         syss

The sound itself is invisible. We do not see it and thus enter the space of imagination. The non-visible stimulates our imagination and precisely therein lies its permeable space of almost unlimited (associative) possibilities. First we hear, then follows a listening and finally an eavesdropping as something flowing, wafting. The sound becomes something searching, an (acoustic) groping; more a hunch than a firmly delineated entity. And these (sound) waves of ours resonate with each other; and with them a relationship is created among us participants; acoustic pairings and question and answer situations arise. This is how it can be, the experience of resonance.

it sounds like

What does language (still) tell us when it sounds? What happens when we hear it; when we look into the face from which it emanates?

Like an atrium, Kleines Haus again creates an open-air lounge – Montagscafé open. Our workshop tent flirts with the early summer sun and again and again we follow the shade. Right next to us, vegan bolognese is cooked on the mobile kitchen, drinks can be grabbed and the various ensembles at tables and chairs become islands of encounter and exchange. Tuba and Yüksel sit down with us. In their home country Turkey they worked as primary school teachers and now they have been in Dresden together with their families for about 10 months. For the next few hours our table will be transformed into a lively media word-explanation-search-association laboratory for eyes and ears.

The German language behaves very concretely towards the things it names – the Bollerwagen bollert (G.-A. Goldschmidt) – and (consequently) many words sound similarly solid as what they claim to denote. Tuba and Yüksel now bring the Turkish Ş and Ç into our conversation and together we begin to taste words (in terms of sound and meaning). We examine the German “Sch-” and “Tsch-” sounds in their acoustics and ask ourselves about the music we hear. Ad hoc vocal improvisations to our first names sound across the table. The German children’s song “Laurentia, dear Laurentia mine” is sung, combined with the question of how a language can be learned … And then it’s back to the (sober) architecture of language: And “where are the verbs”? … So the headline could also be: Lived architecture this Monday or The Atrium-Montagscafé as a multifunctional space for contact.

More information

Montagscafé · Staatsschauspiel Dresden
Galcisstraße 28 · 01099 Dresden
Contact: Wanja Saatkamp & Maike von Harten
· Phone: 0351 4913 617

Montagscafé - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © Y. Spauschus

Dresdner Nachbarschaften – sichtbar, vernetzt, engagiert!

Neighbourhoods are everywhere – we are right in the middle of it. With district walks, conversations in the green, creative workshops, exhibitions and much more.

Supported by

The project is funded by the State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament within the framework of the state programme Integrative Maßnahmen.