Sa, 24.7.21

Overflowing Environments: Invisible Voices (Field Trip)


Artists  Katharina Wittmann & Félix Blume

Time  15:00

Curated by  Nanna Heidenreich & Marcus Held

The field trip is part of the pro­ject Overflowing Environments

This is an invi­ta­ti­on to walk, to wan­der off, to mean­der, to unlearn the fix­a­ti­on on a wag­ging fin­ger, and to learn how to rela­te to “natu­re out the­re” wit­hout hier­ar­chies and wit­hout lear­ning objec­ti­ves. Field trips allow us to expe­ri­ence and under­stand on mul­ti­ple levels; we will use this approach for asking ques­ti­ons in our envi­ron­ment and of our envi­ron­ment. In two dif­fe­rent are­as, we will make con­nec­tions bet­ween peo­p­le, films, the­ses and approa­ches that we hope hold the poten­ti­al for expe­ri­en­cing and reflec­ting on the rela­ti­onships bet­ween humans and natu­re, bet­ween natu­re and cul­tu­re, and bet­ween non-humans and humans.

In doing so, we will also con­sider our move­ments, our appro­pria­ti­ons, and our gaze and ter­mi­no­lo­gi­cal regimes. Artists, theo­re­ti­ci­ans, envi­ron­men­tal and natu­ral his­to­ri­ans will bear us com­pa­ny, help to shape the field trips and set the pace. Our paths will lead us from the phy­si­cal to the cine­ma­tic world and vice versa.

Invisible Voices

Our capa­ci­ty for per­cep­ti­on deter­mi­nes how the world con­sti­tu­tes its­elf for us. In order to rai­se our awa­re­ness of this rela­ti­onship, we will turn to what is nor­mal­ly blan­ked out. Bats and aqua­tic insects seem far away, silent, and invi­si­ble; pre­cis­e­ly for this reason they will be our com­pa­n­ions for this field trip. They will help us to expe­ri­ence the ori­gi­nal mea­ning of “environment”—“Umwelt”, as coin­ed by Jakob von Uexküll in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry: the world that sur­rounds us. Bats’ and insects’ envi­ron­ments are very dif­fe­rent from the human envi­ron­ment, even though we share the same sur­roun­dings. We will visit bats on the site of the for­mer Plagwitz goods sta­ti­on and the under­wa­ter envi­ron­ments of Karl Heine Canal. For being able to obser­ve in the­se envi­ron­ments, we will need pro­s­the­ses, or “hacks”, that enhan­ce our sen­ses: ultra­sound detec­tors and hydro­pho­nes that will allow us to lis­ten to the inaudible.

Curupira (2018), 35 min

Deep in the Amazon rain­fo­rest, peo­p­le from the Tauary com­mu­ni­ty invi­te us to lis­ten to the sounds of the woods, the ani­mal voices, the birds’ cries. But the­re are other, stran­gers sounds, too: some­thing is rum­ma­ging among the trees. Many have heard it, hard­ly anyo­ne has seen it; tho­se who­se paths it crossed never retur­ned. It charms, it bewit­ches, it con­fu­ses the mind, it mis­gui­des peo­p­le or car­ri­es them away. Each one tells a dif­fe­rent sto­ry about it, try­ing to make sen­se of its calls. Curupira. Creature of the Woods is a quest for this crea­tu­re: a reflec­tion on the myth and its place in our pre­sent. A lis­tening pie­ce from the depths of the jungle.

Echo (2020), 12 min, expe­ri­men­tal documentary

A grea­ter hor­se­shoe bat’s call—emitted through its nose—takes six mil­li­se­conds to return as an echo from an object at a distance of one meter. The bats use the prin­ci­ple of “visu­al hea­ring” to pro­cess infor­ma­ti­on about their sur­roun­dings and pro­du­ce a pic­tu­re or map of them.

Echo tells the sto­ry of my family’s aban­do­ned house in Hohenburg (Upper Palatinate/Bavaria), whe­re the only colo­ny of grea­ter hor­se­shoe bats in Germany has been recor­ded. Echo looks into the fact that this rare bat sur­vi­ves the­re becau­se next to the fami­ly farm­stead a mili­ta­ry trai­ning area was estab­lished. Military trai­ning are­as turn out to be ama­zing habi­tats for many, espe­ci­al­ly rare or old plant and ani­mal spe­ci­es. There is an envi­ron­men­tal depart­ment at the Hohenfels mili­ta­ry trai­ning area that tri­es to har­mo­ni­ze mili­ta­ry training—the US army prac­ti­cing urban warfare—with natu­re. My fami­ly had to lea­ve their house in 1939 becau­se of World War II. They lost their land when the Wehrmacht took over the grounds, and short­ly after my grand­fa­ther, still a teen­ager, was sent to the front lines in Russia. (Katharina Wittmann)

Meeting point: Karl-Heine-Strasse, König-Albert-Brücke (King Albert Bridge)
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15:00—16:30 Karl-Heine-Kanal (acou­stic expe­ri­ments in under­wa­ter invironments)
break/time for wal­king to the cinema
17:00—19:00 LURU cinema
Film scree­ning: Félix Blume: Curupira (35 min)
Film scree­ning + talk: Katharina Wittmann: Echo (12 min)
21:00—open-end: impul­se by IG Fledermausschutz Leipzig (Leipzig Bat Group), was­te­land near the for­mer Plagwitzer goods sta­ti­on (lis­tening in bat environments)


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