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Day 4: Birds and Bees

Text: Niki Matita

The fourth of those beautiful days in August was as sweet as honey. Early birds and busy bees buzzed, hummed, chirped and warbled on the airwaves. We dedicated ourselves to the fauna, especially to bees and birds that also seem to be the prototypical garden sound sources for many of those who responded to the open call. Snails and other creatures were treated to sounds, spirits were conjured up and forgotten eccentrics introduced.

City air makes you free” as the Town Musicians of Bremen already knew, and also seems to apply to the wild animals who are fleeing from the fields and woods to the cities more and more. Undisturbed by agricultural engines and pesticides, they can breed, nest and mate in rows of houses and allotment gardens and find plenty of, mostly species-inappropriate, nourishment.

Birds of a feather flock together//And so will pigs and swine//Rats and mice will have their choice//And so will I have mine//

Blackbirds, starlings, sparrows and crows are our next-door neighbours, who also occupy the Datscha garden’s complimentary breeding burrows and nest boxes. Antje Vowinckel, an author of radio plays, brought along a piece called “Cuckoo’s Chance” featuring the aforementioned brood parasites, and also pays tribute to hobby ornithologist and manic egg collector, Edgar “Cuckoo” Chance and his work.

South-american artist Suetszu is deeply enchanted by the chanting of birds, and devoted her turntable performance “Flightmaster’s Whistle” to ornitho-acoustic field recordings, weaving them musically into a featherlight twittering soundtrack. Musician and shamanic healer Zelda Panda established contact with animal spirits in the Datscha garden, faced a falcon and unfortunately became sorely afflicted by obtrusive mosquitos that were especially attracted to her.
Some may say, it is non-voluntary and therefore an act of prey and hatch killing; others put their own delight in the product above the exploitation of the creature, and regale their palates with honeycomb gold. Dominik Jentzsch and Caroline Schaminet introduced their project “Berlin buzzes”, which awards prizes to bee-friendly gardens and allotments and informs about the apinae. They focus not only on bee-keeping and yield, but also on wild bees, bumble bees and hornets, which are equally essential for pollination and therefore secure the mere existence of all our vegetal nutrition. As Inox Kapell aptly points out: “The labour of insects is worth millions!”

Snail, Slug, slimy bugs//Eat their supper when the moon is up//

Sound artist Marek Brandt went into prone position to reach out to his slow audience: “Music for Slugs” is the latest part of his ongoing series of compositions “Music for Animals”. Discovering the hearing abilities and the musical taste of the species to be treated to sounds, he creates specific works for special locations. The addressees of his composition joyously turned up, ready to party on the subwoofers.

The live concert by Hamburg band “Junge Haut” offered a far more conventional set-up. Guitar and voice formed the perfect musical accompaniment to the Indonesian Gado Gado, which was served at the long table to the joys of the Datscha team and our guests, strengthening us for the last night of the festival.

(Proof-reading by Cesca Bondy)



This post is also available in: German