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Plots & Prophecies – Parzellenprognosen

Text: Gabi Schaffner

When we tilt our heads to gaze at the sky, we do so for various reasons: to count the stars, to let our eyes wander through the blue, to dream towards the clouds. Gardeners, however, like to check the weather. The dream of a reliably predictable future resonates with the actions and passions of weather forecasts. And why not? The world does consist of resonant frequencies.  And consequently of radio…

Under the title “Plots and Prophecies – Parzellenprognosen” Datscha Radio 17 broadcast 24/5 from the 25th – 29th August straight from an allotment garden and out into the world. The process of radio making – otherwise quite a hidden event – becomes transparent in the Datscha’s winter garden. Creative, interdisciplinary and open to everybody, Datscha Radio17 transformed the privacy of the garden into a public space for art and communication. Aligned with the length of the festival, the radio makers, artists and guests focused on five subject areas.

Our first day’s central point was the garden as a palladium of political and territorial relationships. The history of garden culture(s) and their associated metaphors of power and the body were re-established from the first minute on with the choir of the Hidden Stories Singers. Next to current issues about sustainable food production and ecological start-ups, naturally the “New Symbioses” of the second day were dedicated to outdoor-cooking and its hermaphroditic connection to the staged concerts and performances.

What will our living worlds look like in future perfect? “Biotopes in Future Perfect” combined science, performance and art into a “radio-active” kaleidoscope that continued to glow in subtle colours even long after sundown.

On the fourth day, artists, guests and the Datscha team addressed the theme of “Bees and Birds”,  – starting with current developments in Berlin urban gardening, to insider knowledge on cuckoos, and live music for the resident slug population.

The last day of the festival was reserved for dark matter: the soil, deceleration, the immersion into the unknown and with it, of course, the imaginary garden.

Just as radio waves spread simultaneously in all directions, Datscha Radio17’s spectrum resonated beyond conventional formats and forms. More than 40 international sound gardeners and radio makers responded to our open call and took part in the programme. Additionally, an “International Garden Radio Listening Club” invited the listeners to parallel listening parties.
And so the radio days grew organically by themselves; there were parallels and reflections, sequels and surprises, constants and mysteries. For instance, the New Zealand poet Hans Kellet continually held conversations in the neighbouring gardens and transformed them into poems.  What can be considered a real mystery though, were the “Greenhouse Emissions” – a plant language translation machine first introduced by Kate Donovan and Ryan McFadyen – that were broadcast on three days of the festival.

While we worked together in our greenhouse of plots and prophecies, the techné of radio increasingly transformed into organic communication. The future – doesn’t it rather lie in the resonating frequencies of the here and now and their materiality? In roaming the (radio) garden, day by day new perspectives began to open up. Rarely did they disclose a view of ‘the whole’, they led us rather onto selected paths and trails… just like this publication.

This post is also available in: German

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