Only dogs walk as if they knew where they’re going

Retracing an audio walk to the empty city centre of Braunschweig, Germany.
Af
28. Juni 2019

Abstract

In 2015, we were commissioned by the State Theatre of Braunschweig, Germany to realize a theatre piece. Instead, we proposed an audio walk through the city. Over the course of one year, we then examined the marginalized places hidden in the city centre: abandoned shopping arcades, dusty apartment rooms, anonymous stairways, characterless parking lots, underground store rooms, empty backyards. As a duo of theatre director and sound artist, we were looking for how the spaces would articulate themselves and how to enhance their own character. After long term sound recording, interviewing locals and spending a lot of aimless time on site, a ‘third entity’ of our reciprocal perception of the places emerged. It was embodied in a text performed by Kristof van Boven and recorded with a dummy head on site. We wanted to create an audio walk that neither constructs the psychology of a character, nor entraps the participants in biographical nostalgia, nor claims the documentary establishment of ‘truth’. Our aim was to open up a space where the participants could experience the dissolution of self-identity, an unbiased perception of spatial atmospheres and the appropriation of unoccupied or decaying territories through sound. In our audio paper, we retrace the process, results and responses of our audio walk with production notes, sound material, and verbal feedback from participants. Recomposed in this new form, we examine how an empty city centre may be staged as utopia of a non-place. For the Paragrana publication the ideas are presented in form of a conversation with Christiane Brosius.

Should be listened to in headphones. 

Audio paper