In the MEMOIRAMA project, grau& wants to try its hand at the sonic cultivation of memories that shape the present. Orah, Kupi and Achternkamp will each present 3 artifacts from childhood at an empathy research workshop and approach this archival material (image, object, video, etc.) associatively through joint discussion. Different musical practices, inspired by Southeast Asian and European pagan and shamanistic sound rituals and based on text-generative composition, as well as forms of sound production, including organismic synthesis and field recording, will be shared and a common musical expression will be developed in improvisation. The goal of the project is the publication of a concept album with 9 pieces inspired by the artifacts as well as a sound sculpture, which will make both the musical work and the archival material accessible and tangible for the public.
Memory culture often remains trapped in the visual-haptic: MEMOIRAMA aims to create an auditory approach to memory, de-privatizing and collectivizing it. The community-building element of memory has great potential, and artistic engagement with subjective pasts can help to process personal and collective traumas, explore identities, and thereby create more openness, understanding, and social tolerance for subjective worlds of experience.
Memoirama project made possible by the support from Musikfonds e.V
grau& MEMOIRAMA debut
installation and performance
Ana Conda am Ufer in Uferstudios
Uferstraße 23 Berlin
My contribution to MEMOIRAMA reflects on my Danube Swabian roots. My parents left their home, a small village in the Romanian Banat, in the 1980s to come to Germany. About 250 years earlier, our ancestors made their way from Germany across the Danube to Romania. The direction was opposite, the motivation the same: the hope for a better future. Traditions, customs, as well as the dialect have been preserved over the centuries. This also applies to the Kirchweihfest, which is now celebrated once a year with brass band music and a traditional costume parade in what has become the Swabian home village of my parents. From an early age I was participating as a "Kirchweihbub"; and I still am today. The festival is an important anchor point for me to become aware of my origins and the history associated with it. I believe that this is where values that are very important to me such as adaptability, openness to new things and a constant search for a "better future" have their origin.
As musical source material I decided on a recording of the "Ulmbacher Kirchweihländler" played by the village's own brass band. It is the traditional opening piece, to which the Kirchweih couples dance around a decorated tree in the middle of the festival hall. I took the first three notes of the melody and arranged them in a slower tempo and lower pitch as constantly shifting phrases. Random excerpts from the entire piece are played on top of it–in reference to the ironic migration history of the Banater Swabians–sometimes forward, sometimes backward. The random source for the selection of the excerpts is the sequence of letters of the following poem which was placed at the entrance of the cemetery of the Romanian home village of my family during the time of their (re-)emigration:
to our ancestors
leaving you behind
as you have once left
as once the grain
from your hands
to search for
what you found here
Is the first year implied when we grau& started the “Memoirama” project. This year in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, experienced a darkest period as well as a period of enlightenment when the people finally succeeded in forcing President Suharto to step down from the throne he had been under for more than 30 years.May 1998, it was one year since our family moved to the capital city of Jakarta. The political chaos, which has been heating up since April, peaked in early and mid-May. I still remember vividly the terror news that we see on television every day about thousands of students demonstrating at the MPR building, as well as the brutal looting, burning of buildings, and even rape that occurred especially to the Chinese-Indonesians community.The words “indigenous” were strewn across houses and buildings around the complex where we lived at that time in Tebet, South Jakarta. Because the conditions were very tense, our family decided to flee back to our hometown Bandung until the conditions in Jakarta began to subside.
In 1998 I was 15 years old. Adolescence as its peak, full of a thirst for curiosities and life experimentation. Despite the socio-political background that occurred earlier, in the late 90s, Indonesia, especially Jakarta were being bombarded (again) by western popular culture. The two media that sticks out the most for me are the presence of MTV in Indonesia and the excitement of the film “Trainspotting” when it was first released in pirated VCD format.MTV brought an “alternative” culture and continuously played a lot of content from the grunge and british pop scenes that were at their peak at the time. Meanwhile the film Trainspotting had a strong influence by introducing electronic music as well as new types of drugs such as ecstasy and heroin (these two drugs were also very popular in Jakarta in the late 1990s). Music became a new obsession that I experienced in this period with the strong influences of the media. I made every effort to be "western" and my obsession with being "white" from starting to study English desperately so that I could sing and compose lyrics in English, and start preening myself with the fashion styles that I saw from the media.
For the sonic memory that I tried to apply to the sonic contribution in this project, I was reminded of the prayers "Our Father" and "Santa Maria" that I heard and had to recite this prayer every day at the Catholic school where I studied at that time. I still memorize the doctrine of this prayer sound to this day, which is the same with other memories resonance that occurred in 1998.
For MEMOIRAMA I decided to focus on an episode of my early childhood that I spent in a baroque castle in the Franconian village Obernzenn close to Nuremberg in the north of Bavaria.
My parents are both art restorers, and they were invited to move to that castle and live there for some time, in order to restore the huge collection of paintings and sculptures of the aristocratic family von Seckendorff-Aberdar who owns the Blue Castle of Obernzenn.
I have vivid memories of this castle: its long drafty hallways which scared me in the dark, its pompous saloons with baroque interiors, the garden with sculptures and a beautiful fountain, the old lord who was the last descendant of the noble family of Seckendorff and his greyhound that I played with… the hall of mirrors with a grand piano that I sometimes secretly played on when the lord was not home…
This baroque castle is built in 1692, so I researched Franconian composers from that era and found Johann Pachelbel who was born and raised in Nuremberg.
I picked his piece Fantasia in D minor, P. 124 which was first played in public in 1692 and deconstructed this composition, focusing on its skeletal structure, slowing it down a lot, playing it backwards and working with harmonic changes and overtones.