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What is a ritual, what is a ceremony? Does the garden have its own secret rituals that go by unobserved, that are beyond the capabilities of human sensory perception? And what about the energies that are constantly being used up in pursuits of work and play: Do we ever express our thanks to them?

Datscha Radio’s third iteration of NightGardening began with a lullaby by the artist Ela Spalding. Instead of singing or using words, Ela’s lullabies are softly hummed, minimalistic tunes in which the pauses are as important as the fragmented melodies. Ela Spalding is a member of the transdisciplinary group Archipel e.V, and although she was not present for the first moments of the broadcast, she had sent a selection of her “Sundown songs”. And so, from then on, our programme was interspersed with strangely soothing nonverbal sequences, which kept bridging the states of being awake, asleep, and dreaming… just as they bridged the transitions of our programme, traveling from sunset through to the depths of this autumn night.

14 hours of radio on cue

As for the weather, by the way, we were extremely lucky: Before sunset there was sun, and the temperatures stayed surprisingly mild. Also, plenty of food had been prepared by the painter Mathias Deutsch, who had tended the kitchen from the afternoon on.

Mr Deutsch being asked about the menu.

Our opening introduction was followed by a bit of sage magic: Niki Matita, still suffering from a bad cold, had to stay at home. The burning of a twig of sage, accompanied by an ancient cough spell helped, or so it was hoped by the radio team Kate Donovan, Helen Thein and Gabi Schaffner. Meanwhile the fire bin, thoroughly fed with some dead branches from the cherry tree, spat fire and sparks under the darkening sky.

Be it either because of or despite the omnipresence of magical thinking in our everyday lives, it becomes increasingly difficult to create new meaningful rituals, or, to view them from a non-human perspective. Kate Donovan’s ritual of gratitude for the energies necessary for many human endeavours made its point there, just as Helen Thein’s questions about the possible ritualistic behaviours among the plants of the garden did.

Ritual of Gratitude

Datscha Radio’s open call had sprouted a very fine selection of compositions by international artists, and we began with an excerpt of Julia Drouhin’s sound performance “Entretiens avec mes interieurs” (later on played in full) and Koho Jaripekka’s “Piano/FM Radio/Loop”.

Brane Zorman, Radio Cona

Then the artist and curator Brane Zorman stepped into the garden. He told us about his current compositional research for the Slovene Arts & Culture Residency in Berlin, and his work with Radio Cona in Ljubljana. Meanwhile, the “Blue Flower of Death“ resided on the table between us and awaited its turn to be introduced to our listening audience, and to Brane, who was eventually allowed to touch the plant with a rubber glove on.

This flower holds dark and deadly secrets

Aconitum napellus (here in the late-blooming form of the carmichaelii variant) is probably the most poisonous plant in Middle Europe. According to the myth, it grew from the spit of the hellhound Zerberus, and even in pre-Roman times the “Aconit” powder extracted from the root was used as a reliable poison for hunting and murder. It also helps to retransform werewolves, hence the name “Wolves Bane”. Nonetheless, its glorious blossom beautified the winter garden studio. As most of our talks were held in English, Helen took care of their German translations.

For this evening (and ensuring night), our listeners were indeed a mixed crowd. Datscha Radio’s Nightgardening date coincided with the World Day of Feminist Radio, which we consequently joined with our programme, and even from 7pm on, Sound Art Radio in Devon, UK, was following our programme in excerpts. (A complete list of re-broadcasting radio stations will follow at the end of this resume.)

Listening pumpkin

Niki Matita had pre-produced a sound walk, walking with Fiep the cat along the garden plots of a ship, so we played “Nachts im Garten der MS Sputnik”, which was followed by Joan Schuman’s superb piece “Ligature”, about two conjoined twins whispering themselves to sleep. Mariah Blue’s “Hypnagogia” followed, which dealt with the auditory hallucinations that occur while falling asleep.

Iltakahvit with Niina

At around 9pm, the Finnish artist and performer Niina Lehtonen-Braun arrived, together with Ela Spalding herself and Niko de Paula Lefort, who carried a big suitcase with him.

“Iltakahvit with Niina Nokkonen“ proved to be a delightful on-the-fly lecture involving Finnish lullabies, mother’s and grandmother’s advice and sayings, nightly bedtime rituals, and of course the art of brewing coffee – with and without homemade brandy. From now on we’ll be sure never to go to bed without a handkerchief… and always to wear clean underwear and the most beautiful nightgown!

Measuring the coffee for Niina’s bedtime stories

Our programme continued with another performance recording, this time by Martyna Posnanska: “Requiem for a Fly”. And a new format was ceremonially introduced. In “Breaking Nuts“, the garden’s hazelnuts were cracked in order to find out if they contained stories. Most of them did!

Kate Donovan used a walkie-talkie for her reading performance outside the Datscha, which featured a text by Rikki Ducornet about nightwalking, looking, imagining… “Once when the moon’s full face illuminated the paths of sand I entertained this reverie: I imagined a planet where languages grow as spontaneously as crystals; I pretended that the fossils – so perfectly round – were the seeds of new moons.”

Ms Donovan reads Ducornet

Niko’s suitcase turned out to be a Eurorack modular synthesizer. He described his performance “Aurality“ as a live rehearsal; he has just started developing and practicing the compositions for this series, which will be played later in November in “Acud Macht Neu” in Berlin.

“Aurality” with Niko de Paula Lefort

From there, we went straight from one Archipel member to another: Ela Spalding joined us live on air. She introduced her work “Ocaso / Sundown”. Ela performed a special ‘bedtime routine’ with us, reading a story (about thinking of Berlin in a deep-time context) and singing a lullaby live.

At 11:30 pm, the artist and musician Ansgar Wilken unwrapped his percussion items from a towel and spread them on the floor. Among them were a dust pan, a metal ashtray, a silver chain, tiny gongs, marbles in a bowl, and several items made from wire, rubber or other things. His percussive concert led us into “The secret Rhythm of Tulpen und Narzissen“. At an incredible speed, the objects on the floor were drummed, strummed and stroked, plucked and picked, arranged and rearranged into ever-changing patterns that could be heard and seen. Our following talk dealt with morning rituals – from the unchanging sequence of drying the body after a shower, to the catastrophe of missing milk in morning coffee.

Too fast to get captured on film: Mr. Wilken

Outside, still more guests had arrived, and were enjoying food and drinks at the table. Podcaster Laura Lukitsch had come to record material for her next radio show. Artist Marold Langer-Philippsen held his recording gear in his hand, directing it towards the hissing flames of the fire bin in preparation for his upcoming performance in the wee morning hours.

Midnight had come. “The Beetles’ Harvest Supper“ saw the artist and scientist Kat Austen dealing with a bowl of flour, some milk, an egg, spoons filled with baking powder. Drawing on human harvest rituals to ensure a good harvest for the next year, Kat carried out the “Rite of Future Beetles”, to ensure an abundant ecosystem for insects next year. This involved baking beetle corn spirits, summoning the season’s remaining beetles with a bright vivid BANG!, and sharing the corn spirits with them at midnight.

Don’t forget the antenna, or the spell won’t work

Niki Matita had prepared two other pre-productions for us to play in her absence: “Knöpfrunde“, a short radio play by Hermann Bohlen, and “Mitternächtliche Klangreise” (Midnight sound journey), a performance by the Berlin musician, shaman and healer Zelda Panda. More compositions from the open call found their way onto the air waves, including two works by Chelidon Frame, one by Alex Head (curator of the Berlin radio project “Networked Independence”) and Ana Berkenhoff’s “Beastjetzt“. “After the moonrise“ and “Low rise“ framed Ms Schaffner’s presentation of “Singing Fires“, which was a compilation of archived field recording files recorded by the music anthropologist Sisukas Poronainen on the occasion of a ceremonial gathering at Pauanne, Kokkola, in West-Finland in 2004.

Not singing but conversing: Kate and Kat in a fiery surrounding

Mainly sung by a fire, the ceremonial songs contained lyrics from the Kalevala, a cosmogonic myth in verses, compiled by Elias Lönnerot in 1835. Although recorded in the 21st century, the atmosphere of the songs and runos (magic spells) felt very ancient.

A new round of “Breaking Nuts“ with Helen Thein, Gabi Schaffner and Kate Donovan spelled out more wondrous stories, like the rather sad one about a pair of siblings housed in a walnut and getting eaten by us…
More hummed lullabies by Ela Spalding filled the air, as well as Leon Twardy’s “Excerpt of Nana“ and a long field recording of the Datscha fire.

A blue mask for “Maschkera”

„Maschkera“ by Marold Langer-Philippsen started at 3:30 at a meditative pace with sounds sampled from the fire outside, spoken word, interstellar telefax recordings from Marold’s 2019 project “Moon Bouncing”… One by one, sound loops connecting to more sound loops connecting to instrumental live instrumentation (bells, hand clapping, phone playbacks), “Maschkera” took up pace, with the artist breathing into a blue mask that has been soundwise modified to produce different tones emerging either from its left or right mouthpiece.

Re-sounding faxes from the moon

As morning encroached, our last guest, the artist and computer scientist Peggy Sylopp, arrived at 6:30 for a contemplative morning walk scheduled for 7 o’clock. In her hand she held a hand-manufactured device that would allow us to “Hear How You Like To Hear“. For unresolved technical reasons, though, we had to take our walk through the garden without the self-determined hearing aid that she had developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institut for people with and without hearing impairment.

How to hear what you like to hear

Left alone with our sleep-drowsy senses, we explored the plots, smelled the last remaining roses of the year, picked fallen apples and mused at the rosy glowing chem trail of an airplane that slowly dissolved into another last brilliant autumn day. Thank you for listening!

8:00: Time for breakfast, one last picture… and plans for a Datscha Radio in 2020.

Not quite awake but quite awake: The Datscha ladies

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Baked Beetles Recipe (A Rite for Future Beetles)

  • Around 500g of baking flour
  • One large egg
  • A teaspoon of baking powder
  • Milk 

Mix together the flour and baking powder thoroughly. Make a hollow and break in the egg. Add a splash of milk and begin to mix. Gradually add more milk until the mixture is stiff and before it becomes sticky. If you add too much milk, add a little flour to compensate. Spread flour on a baking tray. Take a ping pong ball sized portion of the mixture and form it into a beetle shape, then place it on the baking tray. You can use spaghetti or cloves for the antennae. Repeat until all the mixture is used. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees for 10 minutes. To summon the beetles you can try throwing copper chloride in the bonfire, but they only come on special harvest days….

NightGardening III was rebroadcast (in parts) by: World Day of Feminist Radio (Freirad Innsbruck, Freies Radio Neumünster, Free FM Ulm, SoundArt Radio, Freies Radio Berlin Brandenburg (colaboradio, frrapo Potsdam and Ohrfunk).

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The town of Palazzolo Acreide is situated 43 kilometres (27 mi) from the city of Syracuse in the Hyblean Mountains. Its cemetery is a city of stone for itself  and probably hosts more inhabitants than the town has living ones.

A city of the dead
…with rows of fresh flowers

“Il Giorno dei Morti” had  been the day before yesterday, and we found the cemetery dotted with flowers. The air was saturated from the scent of lilies, with the herbal aroma of the chrysanthemums wavering in between. The after noon sun shone on granite and sandstone, there were impressive family vaults in the shape of small cathedrals, and graves so massively lidded with marble slabs that even on the day of resurrection the dead underneath would not be able to lift them …

The dead here do not rest in earth, or do they? By what means are these massive stones lifted then?
Many gravestones were adorned with finely chiseled rose garlands, quite in the style of softly rounded rococo roses (in contrast to rose reliefs on German cemeteries that usually show a tea-hybrid style rose). Maybe this was a specialty of the local stonemason at that time.

Stone roses
… and sunglasses (after dark)

All gravestones carried oval enamel or porcelain plates with a portrait of the deceased, the majority of them in black and white. Stern faces, many of them young. Some men were portrayed with their sunglasses on. Among the women there were many beauties that had died in their early 20s or 30s. No one was smiling (except for a lady on a 1980s colour photograph). Time and sunlight and rain had worked on the surface chemistry of the portraits: Silvery lines and spots obscured parts of the face, or partly changed their expression. It made them reminiscent of photographs of ghost séances –with the ectoplasma appearing as a silvery or white substance in the picture. But even without blemishes many faces spoke clearly of the hardships of Sicilian life: black eyes staring relentlessly back at the visitors, hairdos worn like invincible castles, and an unspoken sadness in the lines of the mouth of all of them.

Von Zeit zu Zeit
Amazing artwork

There were rose bushes too, growing by the side of the gravestones. By the size of their branches they must have been old. 50 years, 70 years and plus. I kept wondering why or who would plant a rose in between either two graves or just at the border of a stone. “These roses”, said Patti, “maybe just fell out off the bouquets or wreaths and took root.” “These are grafted roses”, I said, “I don’t believe so”.

Rosehips enjoying the sunlight
… despite the confinement

We passed dozens of bushes, each almost directly growing from under a grave. In my imagination all those roses had been there first. Maybe this place had been a former rose garden. Or, when the cemetery was founded, the graves were smaller and earth only with a small stone. Any rose bush planted at that time could continue to grow after having graciously endured the great marble immortality of the late 1940’s.

A different arrangement with melocactus
Dead and alive at the same time: an opuntia
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Trees, moon, fire. What else can you wish for when dealing with a 14 hour broadcast on Nightwalks, Rituals and Ceremonies”?

The files to listen to, of course – in case you missed it or had to go to bed. Datscha Radio’s first 6 parts are on mixclould with the rest of them to follow until AllSaintsDay.

Start here with HOUR 1.

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14 hours of nocturnal radio ceremonies from 5:57 pm on, temperatures between 13 and 8 degrees with a waning moon, and our artist list is just great!

It is also fitting that October the 21st is also the “Worldwide Day of Feminist Radio”. Datscha Radio’s online stream will be shared from about 11 pm by two radio stations, Freirad Innsbruck and Freies Radio Neumünster, until sunrise. From midnight on, we can also be heard in England on Sound Art Radio. From 2 o’clock in the morning you can listen to us on 88.4 and 90.7 in Berlin and Potsdam.

Again, our program is free floating and will follow the comings and goings of the guests, and drift along with the smoke from the fire bon and the night winds. The Datscha radio team Gabi Schaffner, Kate Donovan, Niki Matita and Helen Thein is looking forward to greet the performing artists from nightfall on. In alphabetical order these are:

  • Ansgar Wilken – “The Secret Rhythms of Tulpen and Narzissen”
  • Christina Kyriazidi “Trauerrituale der Elefanten”. Mit Niki Matita
  • Ela Spalding – “Sundown”
  • Jodi Rose – Free Style Conversation Rituals
  • Kat Austen – Molecular Midnight
  • Marold Langer-Philippsen – “Maschkara”
  • Monaí de Paula Antunes and Kate Donovan – Ein Gespräch über: ring – a performative information and embodiment system for time travel and other multidimensional perceptual experiences
  • Niina Lehtonen-Braun – Iltakahvit mit Niina Nokkonen
  • Niko de Paula Lefort – “Aurality”
  • Peggy Sylopp – “Soundwalk Datscha”
  • Sisukas Poronainen – “Singing Fires. The Pauanne Archives 2006”

“Breaking Nuts” and Specials

This autumn, the hazelnut trees of the Datscha garden gave us an unusual harvest: in their shells they each host a secret story (or its continuations) that will be “hand-picked” by the radio makers. We will also broadcast a number of specials, such as Martyna Posnanska’s “Requiem for a Fly”, a lecture about killing methods involving “The Blue Flower of Death“, a reading on mushroom ceremonies as well es a short radio play by Hermann Bohlen.

Open Call

Many thanks to all the artists who submitted their works to dach Radios Open Call! Please understand that we can not give an exact date of their broadcastAna Berkenhoff, Boris Chassagne/60 Secondes Radio (Ausschnitte), Chelidon Frame, Joan Schuman, Julia Drouhin (Ausschnitte), Koho Jaripekka, Leon Twardy, Maria Blue.

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We’ll broadcast directly from the Datscha-Garten from sunset to sunrise on October 21, 5:57 pm to 7:45 am on October 22, 2019.
online on datscharadio.de
on aporee.org: http://radio.aporee.org:8000/datscha
via your own player: http://radio.aporee.org:8000/datscha.m3u
There might be takeovers by other radio stations. As soon as we know we’ll tell you.

(Translation in due time, sorry) Unebener Boden, eingeschränkte Sicht, im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes unvorhergesehene Hindernisse: Das Spazierengehen bei Dunkelheit verlangt unseren Sinnen und unserem Körper andere Fähigkeiten und Sensibilität ab als das Flanieren bei Tage. Dies zu erforschen ist Teil von Datscha Radios vorläufig letzter Radionacht in 2019.
Ein weiterer Schwerpunkt wird auf die Nacht als Ort nocturner Zeremonien gelegt. Eine Vielzahl von Ritualen und Zeremonien werden weltumspannend in den Zeitraum der Nacht gelegt… doch weshalb?  Unzweifelhaft liegt es an der Nachbarschaft von Schlaf und Traum, die die Menschen seit jeher mit Ehrfurcht und Respekt erfüllt hat. Auch in der modernen Alltagswelt sind die Übergänge von Wachen zu Schlafen und umgekehrt geprägt von kleinen, aber für das Individuum wichtigen Ritualen.

Das Team fragt sich derweil, ob die Decken reichen werden. So unvorhersehbar wie die Temperaturen in dieser Nacht vom 21. auf den 22. Oktober ist auch unser Programm zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt. Einige der KünstlerInnen sind jedoch bereits bekannt, darunter:

Ela Spalding, Peggy Sylopp (Hear how you like to hear):Soundwalk Datscha, Niina Lehtonen, Marold Langer-Phillipsen, Zelda Panda/ Roberta Panda Perzolla und Christina Kyriazidi (Story in Berlin/ Food for Story) Die (Trauer)rituale der Elefanten – ein Gespräch mit Niki Matita.

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Uneven ground, restricted vision, and quite literally ‘unforeseen’ obstacles: Walking in the dark activates different sensing abilities. Bodily boundaries shift and expand, and with them, thinking and imagination find new ways.
The night is also a ceremonial space. A multitude of rituals and ceremonies are performed all over the world during the night… but why? It is undoubtedly due to the neighbourhood of sleep, death and dream, which has always filled people with reverence and respect. Also in the modern everyday world, the transition from being awake to asleep, and vice versa, are marked by unobtrusive – yet important to the individual – rituals.

With “Night Gardening III” Datscha Radio wants to explore the ambience of night walks and rituals.

From sunset to sunrise, 5:57 pm on the 21st of October, until 7:45 am on the 22nd of October, 2019, we will be broadcasting straight from an allotment garden in Berlin.

What are these rituals and walks, introducing us to the absence of the sun? Datscha Radio wants to find out – and calls for your radiophonic input. Send us your darkest, funniest, weirdest private/stolen/hitherto unheard compositions and acoustic celebrations of the night!

Night Walks, Rituals and Ceremonies

  • Please provide two or three lines each about the piece and yourself including a website, if possible.
  • Please put “Night Walks, Rituals & Ceremonies” as a subject line.

Deadline

Please submit your audio piece by the 15th of October, 2019.

Schedule

Our Datscha Radio program will grow with the flow of the events that night. There will be no fixed time schedule. You’ll find a list of all participating artists on our website in due time.

Datscha Radio can be heard on

●      datscharadio.de

●      narrowcast in the garden itself

●      in collaboration with other radio stations and projects (if interested, please let us know)

About

Datscha Radio’s 2019 series “Night Gardening” explores the sensual and auditory spheres of the night. Our first episode dealt with the nightingale, while our second dealt with the transposition of smell into sound. We broadcast online via datscharadio.de and via micro FM in the garden(s).

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On the evening of the award ceremony, Datscha Radio will release three radiophonic loops at Humboldthain Club, that can be captured on site with radio receivers.
“Radio Seed Bombs” is an acoustic cross-pollination and self-fertilization in one, conceived by radio artists Kate Donovan, Niki Matita and Gabi Schaffner.

“In “Seed Dispersal”, Kate Donovan explores the sounds and stories of various seeds on their journeys through water, air, and bodies: a cosmos of dispersal, told in radio snippets and sent upon a breeze. With sounds and voices from Pablo Juanes; Molly, Hunter & Scout.

Niki Matita presents “Babosa”: Eine Erkundung der Welt jener ungeliebten Gartenbewohnerinnen, die in vielen Menschen Ekel und Unmut hervorrufen. Niki Matita untersucht, ob, und wenn ja wozu, Nacktschnecken nützlich sein können, welche kulturelle und spirituelle Bedeutung ihnen zukommt und welche Abhilfe es gegen sie gibt.

With “Gymnospermia”, Gabi Schaffner will broadcast an illustrious potpourri of Sicilian fruit descriptions, seed sounds, lawnmower microsymphonies, and tiny garden soundscapes in fourteen miniature compositions. With the voices of: Paolo Cavarro, Hans Kellet, Dirk Heiden, Kate Donovan and Margarita (courtesy Romila Casile)

This radio art intervention can be experienced via personal radios, and perhaps the visitors will stumble upon a radio seedling sprouting in the near. “Radio Seed Bombs” can also be heard from the 14th – 15th of September on www.datscharadio.de.

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1st of September: On invitation of „Le Jardin de Recherche Musicales“, Paris, Datscha Radio had the honor (and pleasure) to contribute a 30 min radio show to the line-up. Hosted by the artists Dinah Bird, Jean-Phillipe Renoult and Dr. No, and streamed via p-node.org an afternoon of radiophonic activities unfolded at Les Jardins du Ruisseau close to Porte de Clignancourt.

What is the sound of a plum dropping? In preparation of the „plum tale broadcast“ the trees in the Datscha Garden were energetically shaken, and dozens and dozens of fruits dropped onto the lawn. After removing the pits they were taken to the stove, where a pot already waited. A kitchen is not exactly the place you’d expect to set-up the gear for a radio broadcast, but well… Ms Thein shared her mike with the bubbling pot, stirring the jam-to-be with greatest attention. Ms Schaffner kept arranging the hot water cooker, the sugar and the glasses. And between the two of us we shared an ancient Japanese folk tale about a gardener and his beloved spirited plum tree. It was also a story about the uneven balance between true love and care-taking and the greed for beauty, embodied through the figure of a too ambitious samurai…

All went well and seven glasses of 2019 plum jam were filled. Thank you, Dinah, Philippe and Dr. No!

Shaking of plum tree
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