October 1, 2019, excited, well prepared, or not.
Meeting something new with an open mind and ears, the task.
Discovering things and letting them affect you.
An unknown culture with different rules and customs.
30 degrees Celsius, long clothes, the headscarf changes your hearing and behaviour.
The tap water is not drinkable.
Sunrise, it’s quiet, the streets are empty, we drive towards the city.
Almost idyllic, when does it start?
Arrived in the city, first walk.
It is loud, dusty and smoggy.
The streets are busy, at least during the day.
A constant rumbling envelops the city.
The traffic, especially motorcycles.
A small family can find space on one.
Father, mother, child, child, child, maybe one more.
Symbols instead of familiar letters.
The language, sounds without connection.
The bazaar is a labyrinth of goods, screaming and the clatter of the transport wagon wheels.
Countless small shops and stalls.
One street offers wood, the other, metal, the next, household goods.
Merchants in the streets scream, they loudly announce their special offers,
the masses are interested.
People who speak to themselves walk the streets, are they crazy? No, they talk about their product range, hoping to find customers.
From time to time, you can hear the muezzin singing from horn loudspeakers.
Pretty indifferently, the singing gets lost in the street noise.
Cats, cats everywhere. They scream terribly, especially at night.
Next to it, the soft hissing of the regulators.
In the mountains.
Dogs, they howl on our hike, accompanied by the crunch of the gravel under the hikers’ shoes. Individual acoustic irradiation by the excursionists’ portable loudspeakers. Wow.
Thursday, today will be full. The city dwellers want to go out into nature.
Some musicians earn a little money at the edge of the hiking trail.
The desert, non-reflective, wide, quiet.
From afar, a shepherd and his goats. You can hear their bells.
The camels, quiet and uninterested, at least in us.
A rumble approaches, trucks carrying raw materials from the desert.
Now and then, a lonely bird chirps by.
The Caspian Sea, actually a lake.
At our backs, something like the Iranian rain forest.
Engine noises everywhere. Quads, moto-cross, boats, merry-go-rounds.
On the promenade, on the beach. Here one likes to amuse oneself in a motorized fashion.
At night, small campfires on the beach. Holiday, we have a party in the headlights of the car.
Just a few impressions!
Nirumand – Under Construction
Interaction with a site-specific sound object
Paddlewheel, tablets, mallets, wood
Tehran commands an expanded system of water channels all over the city. Most of them had ran dry by the time we arrived, but some conduct water all year long. A few are even quite powerful. Roaming our neighbourhood, I fortunately found one of them at a street called Nirumand, which actually means “powerful” in Farsi. That’s the origin of my sound object.
Inspired by these small water channels next to the streets, I felt the urge to connect with this human-made but also natural energy source. During my working process, it turned out that I wanted to use a paddle wheel to harness the energy of the water. After a bit of thinking and imagining some ideas, I found some interesting materials during my [re]search at bazaars. I decided to take these big cheap metal trays, which are very common here, and use them as a kind of chime. To play them, I wanted to build an automatic and analogue object. So, basically, the artwork is a self-playing instrument, which is constructed in the following manner. The paddle wheel is connected to a set of gears by a rod. Those gears are linked to another higher situated set of gears via two fan belts. This set of gears drives the self-made mallets, which strike the gongs during their circular movement.
A very interesting point of this project was certainly the procurement of the materials with my German background. For instance, to handle the completely different way that Iranian stores are organised. You are forced to run a half-marathon in order to get stuff from different commercial districts, and doing that means you end up spending a lot of time in the busy streets of Tehran.
For the presentation, I dressed myself in workers’ clothing to perform at the street. In my interaction with the object, I tuned it to create different qualities of sound. With the interaction at the spot, I attracted a lot of interested passers-by and was able to let them come into contact with my project.
Sound installation, Deegar Studio
Field recordings and megaphone
In connection with the excessive use of horn speakers in Tehran, for example at the mosque, from the cars of the junk dealers, at the bazaar and even in restaurants, I was recording a lot of these announcements.The mostly melodious impression attracted me, as well as the exotic sound of the shouts and the strange custom itself. All of these announcements are like loops, because the criers shout the same sentences or words over and over again. So somehow it starts to give one the impression of a mantra.
In the most cases these criers are male, but in the mountains of Darakeh there were a female voice that called out the order code. In terms of tonal design, they used a delay effect on the voice to make it more melodious. Hearing this was a special event and gave me the idea to select these recordings in order to create a digital mantra out of them.
For the presentation at the open studio, I placed the megaphone on the rooftop. Thus, the sound filled the courtyard of the gallery space.
Collection of items
Due to my passion for collecting instruments or household items with a tonal quality, I expanded my performance equipment in Tehran. For this purpose, I made my way through the bazaars to find new objects with an interesting sound.
Metal kettle, metal pitch pipes
A tea-kettle was transformed by small interventions into a sound object, which makes the six pitch pipes sound through the air pressure of the boiling water.
Composition with field recordings
Tehran Tour is a listening piece for the passengers of a bus trip through this noisy city, which is included in the exhibition of the sonic explorers project. In general, the piece is an arrangement of different sounds I collected here in Teheran. In my working process I mixed different recordings together to create a fictitious soundscape. By taking them out of their original context and putting them together in another configuration, I try to conceive new coherences.