Quivering Stillness is an ongoing exploration of sites affected by military conflicts, political unrest and ruination, performed
through the means of sound and video recording.
Even though we can not hear them in a literal sense, the present is always to some degree infused with and infected by
the echoes of the past. In the places affected by tragic events, these echoes seem somewhat much more
detectable. What is presently aural therein seems not so much representative of the current, but rather misrepresentative
of the gone and absent. Even though sounds such as human laughters and bird chirping refurnish the atmosphere, the
places seem to resist this enforcement of a new identity; they reject the condition of today and instead remain stubbornly
suspended somewhere between the gone and the present [...]
Quivering Stillness takes different forms including performative lectures and sound performances (e.g. closing event of the Living Archives research project, April 2018, Malmö Museum).
The project will soon be presented in an essay (Soundsites. Experiments in Sound and Place, Public Art Dialogs, Spring 2019), and an experimental digital archive, currently under
development. Below are some of the audio-visual excerpts from the already completed explorations.
In March 1941, two years after the invasion of Krakow, Nazi Germans established a ghetto for the Jewish community.
The ghetto was set up in Podgórze, a small district at the southern bank of the river. It comprised approximately
300 buildings which meant about 2m² of a living area per person. Barbed wire, initially fencing the ghetto area, was soon replaced with a brick wall. Shaped as Jewish tombstones, the panels of the wall indicated the ultimate fate of the Jews systematically deported and exterminated in the following years.
Before the liberation of Krakow, Nazis took down the wall. However, fragments remained in two locations until this very day. One of them is at the back of a primary school, and the site right next to the wall is used today as a local playground. A steep cliff which at the time created a natural continuation of the wall and an unbreakable barrier is used today for climbing and bouldering.
Flak towers (Flaktürme) in Vienna were constructed by Nazis in the 1940's. Similar structures were erected in Berlin and Hamburg. Serving as platforms for batteries of anti-aircraft guns
their function was to defend the cities from the allied raids. Over time, the towers
have deteriorated. Today, overlooking the Vienna's Arenbergpark, they are home to birds which
nest on every available opening and platform. Despite their enormous size,
the towers seem ephemeral, almost transparent, especially for those who live in the local neighbourhood.
Right at the towers'cold feet and in their lifeless shadows, local inhabitants gather to enjoy their free time.
On May 18, 1978, the 80th session of the International Olympic Committee in Athens
chose Sarajevo as a host city for the XIV Winter Olympics in 1984.
The Olympic Games attracted worldwide attention to Sarajevo, then often referred to as
the Jerusalem of Europe.
In less than a decade, the same city would again draw much attention; this time,
however, not because of its multiethnic fabric and Olympic harmony,
but due to the horror and devastation caused by military conflict.
Only a few years after the Olympic Games, the infrastructure built for that occasion
would begin to collapse, prophesying Yugoslavia's dissolution.
During the war and the siege of Sarajevo, the bobsleigh track, among other Olympic
facilties on the surrounding hills, was used as an artillery position
by Bosnian Serb forces. Today the only attention it receives
comes from graffiti painters, local skateboarders and dark tourism enthusiasts.
With the construction of the new Jewish graveyard in Kraków-Płaszów,
a need arose for a new funeral home. Both were opened in the Spring of 1932.
However, in the fall of 1942 German Nazis turned this terrain into a forced labour camp
and subsequently a concentration camp. Before the funeral home was eventually blown up in 1944, it
was appropriated by the occupants to serve as a stable and pigsty. Its ruins have remained
until this very day. In recent years new housing emerged around. The field and ruins, despite
having a status of a commemoration site, are used occasionally by local inhabitants as
a meeting point for an outdoor alcohol consumption.
The bunkers situated at Turó de la Rovira in Barcelona
were built in 1938 as an anti-aircraft system during
the Civil War. Gradually decomposed into ruins,
today the fortification functions as a vantage point
and historical site. The site's particular soundscape
was captured via binaural microphones in the vicinity
of the telecommunication aerials on top of the hill
in August 28, 2016.
Berlin is well known for a number of places with unclear histories and unspecified identities.
One of them is Teufelsberg - the devil's mountain - and the former American listening station hosted on its top.
Its multi-strata organization and ambiguous functionalities reveal the devil's mountain as yet another poly-representational symbol,
so characteristic to the geo-political tension of war, post-war and cold-war eras. Initially, this place, which is located
in Grunewald - a big green area in west Berlin, used to host the never finished Nazi military school. After World War II,
the decision was made to bury this awkward inheritance by dumping on its top the rubble of Berlin that remained after
its partial destruction. Unintentionally, the hill became the highest point in Berlin offering a full panoramic view of the city.
In the late fifties, the US National Security Service decided to erect a listening station that would allow them to infiltrate
the radio-wave zones and eavesdrop on military actions of East Germany and the Soviet Union. After the Berlin Wall collapsed,
the zone came into private hands and several ideas for the future use of the listening headquarters were suggested (a hotel, museum, etc.)
So far, none of the projects turned into reality and instead, for many years now, the listening tower has been decaying.
Even though the area is fenced in and supposedly guarded, the territory where at the time the 'big ear'
of the West was located receives a big number of curious visitors. Almost every square meter of the architecture
has been covered with graffiti, suggesting a constant circulation of urban subverters and scavengers.
The spontaneous composition is a result of walking in circles and forming audible patterns by interacting with whatever
my feet were to encounter on a barely visible floor. Working within the given constraints brought an interesting result
- a raw, space-specific composition commemorating the ultimate fate of the listening station, once erected on the rubble,
yet now inevitably and audibly turning back into it as if completing its life cycle.