In Memoriam (11’)
When I was in Berlin for a week in 2009, I paid a visit to Spandau, a district in the former British controlled sector of the city.
Unlike the rest of Berlin, Spandau seemed to be almost behind the times, and catching up on the rest of the city- it was literally like stepping back into time.
It was also almost like this district was trying to hide its past. Spandau was home to some of the most notorious prisoners of the 20th century including member’s of the Nazi’s and Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer and the first commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp- who remained at the prison until he died in August 1987.
The field recording heard (transformed) at the start of the piece, fascinated me because Spandau, although it seemed so far behind the times, shared a lot in the way of old and new. Old cobble stones with meat and fish being wheeled across to the market and then the chiming of the new kirche, followed a few seconds after by the older, deeper bells of the alte Kirche.
One thing puzzled me about Spandau, and that was how despite the prison being demolished after Hess’s death (there’s a big shopping centre in its place now), nothing that the prison ever existed- there is not even a plaque commemorating the spot.
This piece therefore had two main objectives. The first explores whether a listener could be convinced that the sound objects that I use to imitate bells where actually sampled bells from Spandau. This is the acousmatic element of the piece.
The second objective of the piece is to try and give a sense of Spandau, and what it may have been like during the wars- especially the Cold War when it was under British occupation. I wanted to recreate the districts past being destroyed, and then gradually being built up again.