Blitzdorf, installation view, What if it Won't Stop Here, Archive Kabinet, Berlin, October 2018

An artistic-research project conducted at the Graduiertenschule of the Centre for Advanced Studies at Berlin‘s UdK (BAS) in collaboration with visual artists Ido Gordon and David Chaki. It dealt with memories of the war of 1948 in the territory of Israel- Palestine, by immersing ourselves with its suppressed geographies - namely the hundreds of villages which were depopulated during the war of ’48 and the establishment of Israel.

Asking whether a place could hold memory of the sounds it used to vibrate, we made extended field trips into some 20 deserted villages, sampled their architecture and conducted field-recordings on site. These are nowhere places, gaps in the land. They are not on the official maps, even though the neighbouring villages carry the Hebrew-ised versions of their names: Danial became Dani’el, Hadita-Hadid etc. The audio-visual materials which we collected were re-imagined in an 'elsewhere‘, namely the complementary-contrasting geography of contemporary Berlin. Feeling the acute gap between Europe and the Middle-East, we developed object-instruments which encapsulate in their materiality themes of militarised land and transportation-deportation, in order to deal with such complex relations without resorting to traditional European instruments, which carry so much historical baggage.

7 Walks in and around Blitzdorf, Zafraan Ensemble in Kabinett Books, Berlin, October 2018

In a series of site-specific installations and concerts, we opened up a sonic continuum in which the field recordings were composed and edited into tape pieces and were emitted through sound sculptures that served as ghost conductors for live musicians. The performers, taking musical cues from sounds they hear in the field recordings, were navigating and circulating a non-stage, as well as the hall. We called this concert ‘7 walks in and around Blitzdorf’. Blitzdorf is the name of a non-existing village that was emptied of its unknown inhabitants in a war. This place is heavily virtual, so dense that it manifests itself in reality as a sculptural-musical environment. Deterritorializing the sounds of absence from the villages across the Israeli territory, it is the result of the collision between the grand narratives of the historical moment of 1948 and our own estranged situatedness at the much-too-long after-shock of that formative event.

            Blitzdorf, installation and performance views, 'Close, never Closer'’ Hardenberg 33, Berlin, October 2017

This multi-layered surround happening is constantly on the move, ever walking. The sounds reflect and bounce and oscillate between the space you are listening from and this other place which is documented from within a sound-sculpture. The bucolic countryside scene is disturbed by militarised vehicles, the border is ever present and threats (real or imaginary) are always lurking. ‘7 Walks’ was an experiment in sharing the experience of this all too-marked of the place where we grew up. Of the violence that lies in its core and of the banality of what’s left of this violence. By carefully superimposing various sound sources, the sonic architecture destabilises, opening up a space to reconsider our relation to these intensely virtual places and histories. As such, its importance lies in helping us reimagine the (core)relations between the space and the sounding objects within it in light of decolonial memory.

  Photogramatic renderings from 'What if it wont’ stop here', publication, 2018

Concept and composition: Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari

In collaboration with Ido Gordon, David Chaki and Zafraan Enslemble

Vocals by Atalya Tirosh

This artistic research was conducted in Berlin center for Advanced Studies, with support from the Einstein Stiftung, INM Berlin and Rudolf Augstein Stiftung

© 2023 Bnaya Halperin-Kaddari. All rights reserved