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Night Gardening

Night Gardening I-III

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.


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


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)


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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Fragrant was the night… and permeated with the sounds and reverberations of the numerous radio guests that materialised in the garden in the South of Berlin. This garden offered many paths (carefully tended by their owners Tiger Stangl, Valie Djordevic and Jochen Liedtke), and just as many approaches were taken in Datscha Radio’s quest for a ‘translation’ of scent into sound. The weather was very fine that evening, with the heat of the day still lingering in some formerly sunny spots, and the dusk that arrived after the station’s set-up was accomplished, steeped the garden and its plants in iridescent shades of continually fading blues.

Daylight fades, radio starts

 “…That’s what the peony said in three puffs of perfume”: The show’s kick-off was one of the ten flower scent poems written especially for this occasion and played intermittently through the night, rather like a scented station id. Written by Gabi Schaffner, they were spoken, sung, whispered and hissed ingeniously by the New Zealand poet Hans Kellett.

Kate had brought her hydrophones, which Niki Matita played whilst Kate read a brief overview of Datscha Radio’s theme for the second ‘Nightgardening’ session:

Smell comes in waves, with a breeze, it rides on the air. Just like radio.

Smell is a fleeting sensation, it lives in time, it connects directly to our memories and emotions. Just like radio.

Smells, odours, fragrances, perfumes, they are all around us. Just like radio.

An introductory walk through the garden followed. Tina-Marie Friedrich (allgirls Berlin international) and Helen Thein explored our location (dragging a long, long mic cable behind), conversing about selected plants, the perfumes of their leaves and flowers, our human sensitivities and culturally imprinted scent perception.

Scent walk with Helen Thein and Tina-Marie Friedrich

All the while more guests arrived, among them Monika Glaser, chairwoman of the gardener’s association and her husband Jürgen. The radio artist Jasmina  Al-Qaisi accompanied by artist Helena Otto, and the ‘maverick violinist’ Katt Hernandez as a last minute guest and previous Datscha Radio artist. Tina talked about her research into the finer details and cultural differences of smell perception, which led on to the introduction of some of Datscha Radio’s open call artists, among them a piece about the scent of rain by Ian Stenhouse. One of Niki Matita’s thematic DJ Mixes followed.

“How is your nose”?

Looking from the outside into the window of this Treptower Datscha, we could now see Caroline McMillan, together with programmer Isabelle Wei and dancer Lena Kilchitskaya, preparing the wearable tech dress that Caroline had designed for their olfactory and experimental dance performance “Aura:Maton”.

Meanwhile, the long table in front of the terrace was decorated under supervision of the Mobile Radio duo Knut Aufermann and Sarah Washington. Wine glasses, six especially selected bottles of Moselwine, and still more guests appeared, among them Winona Lin and friends as well as the radio researcher Golo Föllmer and Kai Knörr, president of the “Studienkreis Rundfunk und Geschichte”.

“Aura:Maton” proved to be quite an otherworldly experience. Dressed in a white dress, adorned with a head band (a surreptitious brain wave detector), and wearing a mysterious ‘harness-minilab’, consisting of LED lights, wires and an assortment of vials on her belly, Lena appeared. Her face serene, she danced among the guests, graciously, stepping forward, resting, bending, stretching out her arms. From time to time a blue light flashed from her belly-lab and waves of scent were set free.  

            In her talk, Caroline explained that dancing has an impact on the dancer’s brain waves, which, in this case, then get stored and transformed into electronic signals which in turn activate the scent machine the next time she dances. In the garden, Lena was dancing to and with the scents of a dance memory. Data and scents. McMillan says that for her, the main common traits between them lie in the fact that both leave behind trails…

Kate Donovan and Katt Hernandez

Just a little bit later, Kate Donovan and Katt Hernandez joined forces to play with frequencies. Kate had brought a SOMA Ether (a so-called ‘sniffer’, which turns electromagnetic frequencies into sound), in order to listen to the inaudible frequencies generated by the outdoor radio studio. And Katt had brought her violin – her trusty old friend by the name of Maude. Together they made and played with frequencies in and of the garden.

A long table, six bottles and many tastes

Trails and tastes of a different kind were explored in Mobile Radio’s expedition into “the extremes of Moselwine”. Mobile Radio’s wine tasting involved six interviews with winegrowers from the region, each stemming from a question concerning smell during the process of wine-making. In between the interviews, one wine after another was slowly decanted into the glasses and everybody was invited to spontaneously describe the scent and taste. Each wine attracted its own peculiar vocabulary, from “like my grandmother” to “cheesy” to “stale” to “woody”, “pearly” or “calvados-like”. The performance took its course, lasting for an hour and a half, and as such allowing ample time for Jasmina Al-Qaisi and her performance partner Helena Otto to build a fire in preparation for their upcoming show.

“To the Belly and Back” featured delightful scenes, musical interludes, and dialogues about food and eating and smells. It was grounded in a very serious question: Can I trust you and how do I know if I can trust you? Jasmina and Helena explored the answer by feeding each other with eyes closed, food and non-food from the grill and further afield, wrapped in foil or paper or plastic or nothing. Their trustful exchange culminated in offering each other old (but clean!) socks to smell, which they’d secretly filled with fragrant contents from the garden.

Studio view from the window…

Time for more coffee, one or two scent poems, for some guests to make their way home, for open call compositions, and for “The Scent of Water”, a preproduction initiated by Helen Thein, based on a (local) water degustation with the American scientist Christy Spackman. By now we had reached 3 am in the morning.

“Olfactophobia” is the irrational fear of smells that can go so far that some people can’t even bear to think of certain smells without suffering actual panic attacks. Niki Matita presented a radio piece of that same name, that probed deeply into this special psychic condition.

Kate Donovan on the garden path

Armed with a walkie-talkie, Kate Donovan then disappeared down the main path to the end of the garden. From under the colourful garden lights she read an excerpt from the novel “The Fountains of Neptune” by Rikki Ducornet, taking listeners into the mind of the protagonist, who had also disappeared into a strange and dreamy world of garden, meditation, and mastication… “I could not help but think that if time had a smell it would be like this.”

Sarah Washington: Under influence

We still had a lot on our plate to present to our listeners: Niki Matita’s interview with Nicolle Schatborn of Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier in Amsterdam about the “Smell of Dead Bodies”, more open call contributions, and a fantasy sound tale in French about a scented lichen in Paris, read by Julia Drouhin. Sarah and Kate agreed to read the English translation together before the French piece was played, and the way they rendered the story had a deep impact on all the present listeners.

The sun is rising

By 5am the skies were slowly lightening up in fluffy greys. At a quarter past, the time for our morning garden walk had come. Gabi, Tina and Kate went down the garden path, slightly tipsy from lack of sleep but happy to lean towards the garden plants again, to inhale their morning scents and the fragrance of a fresh day, and to greet the first rays of the sun that came forth behind the neighbour’s apple trees. Thanks to Udo Noll who provided for our streaming on his server.

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Hey hey, the pink peony has something to tell – but what? Totally new and in the editing process are now ten poems about flower scents, sung the day before yesterday by the New Zealand artist Hans Kellett.
Voice and scent, breathing out and breathing in… Doesn’t it make sense to put words about fragrances into song? So, the (snap) dragon as/pirates in melody and modulation, and the opium poppy turns to whispered powder coloured in F sharp and treble B.

That day, still more sounds were added to my little scent recording box: percussion improvs by the Hamburg troubador Felix Schröder, who had freshly arrived from Finland and brought out his flute and tambourine.
What will emerge from this we’ll hear on August 8th too.

All 10 |S|Cent Poems were created in the Datscha garden ( – the pun is owed to a tradition of street poetry where poets create poems for passers-by on the fly for little money).

Parallel to Hans Kellett’s song pieces there will also be a woman’s voice: the Romanian radio artist Jasmina Al-Qaisi is arready all set to sniff at the papers.

10 |S|Cent Poems
Poems: Gabi Schaffner
Voice: Hans Kellett

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What is the scent of water like? Fresh? Or sweet? Is its (mostly) clear visual appearance tricking us into believing that there cannot be such a thing as a distinctive smell to it? Christy Spackman was our guest at the Datscha and we spent a delightful afternoon with different probes of water, a cake and organic fertilizer… which certainly is also a kind of water.

Ms Thein and Ms Spackman looking forward to the tests

Christy Spackman is studying the taste of water, how sensory science shapes consumer perception, and the creation of tastelessness. She is a professor at the Arizona State University and came to Berlin this summer to do research at the ZZF (Leibniz Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung, Potsdam). Since she’s leaving by the end of July, we decided to prepone our talk

All comments were noted…

Did you know that – quite like wine tasting – water also developes a “head space” if covered for some time with a lid? Or have you ever thought about the sensual qualities of “safe” water.

Lifting the lid…
Different waters in different glasses, or?

Our undaunted self-test took us as far as sipping organic fertilizer, one of the strongest (evil) smelling liquids you can fabricate in a garden. Today’s sample was made from comfrey and horsetail… it stank like hell, but the taste? – I won’t tell you know. Wait until the 8th of August: We’ll broadcast “The Scent of Water” on Datscha Radio’s second iteration of Night Gardening with its focus on “Frequencies and Fragrances”, starting at sunset, 8:47 pm.

Only with your nose closed: Organic fertilizer surprise

Please have your glasses of water samples (tap water, mineral waters, healing waters) ready by then, and don’t forget to put a lid on the glass.

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Open Call “Night Gardening II”: Frequencies & Fragrances

Sound and scent, both travel the air. Medium and message in one, they inform the senses and invoke responses: signals, reactions, memories and anticipations. At night, our senses of smell and hearing intensify, and our communication with the world becomes less object-centred. With “Night Gardening II: Frequencies & Fragrances” Datscha Radio wants explore the transposition of smell into sound.

From sunset to sunrise, 8:46 pm on the 8th of August, until 5:39 am on the 9th of August, 2019, we will be broadcasting directly from a Berlin allotment garden.
What is this sound, soft as perfume, permeating the frequencies of our presence? Datscha Radio wants to find out – and calls for your radiophonic input.

Fragrances and Frequencies

How can we ‘translate’ olfactory perceptions into sound? How do we relate to the scents that tap into our imagination? Is there something like a ‘foul smelling’ sound? A sound, for example, that resembles the fragrance of the earth after summer rain?
Datscha Radio asks you to focus on the scents of the garden and their possible metamorphoses into sound and music:  freshly dug earth, a dead mouse, compost, a bunch of lilies, cut grass, insect repellent, apple cake… you name it.

Please send your files via wetransfer to info@datscharadio.de
Please provide two or three lines each about the piece and yourself including a website, if possible. Please put “Garden Scents” as a subject line.


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


Our Datscha Radio program will grow with the flow of the events that night. There is 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)


Datscha Radio’s 2019 series of “Night Gardening” explores the sensual and auditory spheres of the night. Our first episode dealt with the songs and themes connected to the nightingale, while our third and final iteration will deal with nocturnal ceremonies and audio walks. We broadcast online via datscharadio.de and via micro FM in the garden(s).

What can Datscha Radio offer?

Datscha Radio works on a voluntary basis. Therefore we can neither pay for any costs, nor disburse any production fees.

What we have to offer is:

  • – a platform and experimental site for acoustic bouquets
  • – the broadcast of your contributions, locally via FM and globally via stream
  • – lasting sustainability: the documentation of “Nightgardening I – III” will be archived on Mixcloud, for you to enjoy and share.


Datscha Radio is a non-commercial art and culture project. The copyright for submitted files remains with the artists. The legal model that we are considering is the Creative Commons License (see http://creativecommons.org/learn/licenses).



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Fragrances and frequencies, sounds and scents, particles and perfumes: Datscha Radio will take one step further in its radio-sensory exploration of the nightly garden. How may scents translate into radio?

Fragrances and frequencies both travel the air. They are medium and message in one, they reach out to our senses and they invoke reactions, signals, encounters. They permeate the presence as much as they are a fleeting experience. In this night by the end of July, Datscha Radio will investigate the ephemeral and perceptive nature of scents but also their function as communication agents between the worlds of the human and non-human.

At this point in time we are just starting to prepare:

  • the date is set but not yet fully confirmed
  • – an Open Call might come up to invite artists to share their scent-based composition with us
  • – or come to the Datscha garden to perform live
  • stay tuned to learn more!

Broadcasting time: From sunset to sunrise.

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There was still some light in the evening sky when we began broadcasting. Earlier, while setting up, the sun shone onto the veranda’s railing, where a little stove had been placed, and bottles of wine, and cheese, and ladybugs and beetles made out of chocolate. Leonie Roessler had arrived, all the way from Den Haag, carrying her sampler and other gear with her. We chatted… and then, at precisely 20:32, with the sun setting and dusk sneaking out of the darker corners of the garden onto the lawns, the moment came to go on air.

Leonie Roessler setting up

Our opening piece was a 16th century madrigal by the composer Thomas Weelkes, sung by the Berlin choir “Singlust” and adequately titled “The Nightingale”. Written for soprano, alto and baritone, the three strands of melody hovered and danced in the evening air, carrying the tune, along with the scent of the blooming lilacs, over the garden fences and beyond, into the neighbouring allotment gardens of the garden colony “Britzer Wiesen”. Because each of Datscha Radio’s “Night gardening” iterations are set to take place in different Berlin gardens, and Kate Donovan’s ‘Datscha’ location in the South of Berlin was already known for its abundant nightingale population (and as a site for outdoor broadcasting).

…with the sun still shining.

From that moment on, nine hours of joyous radio making evolved. During and in between the performances we sipped champagne (in celebration of the recently won prize for the project) and hot tea, and shared what we knew about this famous bird, starting with an introduction by Kate about one of the first outdoor radio broadcasts, from a garden in Surrey, England, in 1924, in which cellist Beatrice Harrison played a duet with a nightingale.

Leonie’s contribution was a soundscape exclusively composed for this evening. “Copper and Song” was based on her visit to Isfahan in Iran, where she visited the bazar of the copper smiths and found that almost all of them had a cage with a nightingale to accompany their hammering. In our talk afterwards, we wondered why, as it might not be nice at all for the birds to live with so much noise, and we mused about the accidental content found in field recordings destined to serve an originally very different purpose.

Artists and Guests

Meanwhile, curious garden neighbours visited us, Kasia Justka and Peggy Sylopp surfaced as surprise guests, Rosanna Lovell arrived at the garden with her clarinet, and Walter Schulze appeared with two very impressive looking boxes that revealed their mesmerising, blinking contents shortly after.

JD Zazie and Matt Pogo

JD Zazie and Matt Pogo materialised out of the dark and began to set up their gear. Their piece, “Domestic Nightingale”, was based on samples of nightingale songs played and recorded in their home, that became modified, remixed, accelerated and decelerated. Patterns appeared and disappeared like vortexes in a fast flowing brook: A superb performance!

In it a nightingale is hiding.

Secret-en-plein-aire by Walter Schulze and Niki Matita proved to be a two-part performance. Schulze’s synthesizers kept wildly blinking while processing a set of Berlin nightingale field recordings. As explained by Niki Matita, he used the signal of the envelope curves to modulate the tones… and the machine warbled and twittered and sang, assisted by Niki’s comments and experimental button pressing. For her text “Die Nachtigall vs. der Nachtigall”, she had prepared her own vocal nest, including a soprano nightingale interpretation from the 1930s.

tLukatoyboy’s 7″ bird vinyl collection

Lukatoyboy came on the spontaneous invitation of Ms Matita, and brought a portable turntable and two walkie-talkies with him. As a true surprise guest he was not in the least surprised about the night’s theme and pulled at least a dozen 7″ bird sound and song singles out of his bag. His performance was very versatile: The records were scratched and played while a little dictaphone served as a loop machine. Such adventurous sequences were created – with bird songs and the interspersed voices of naturalists and birdwatchers. After that, Niki Matita took on the role of expedition leader on walkie talkie, directing Lukatoyboy (other walkie talkie) and JD Zazie (mic on a long cable) out into the garden and beyond to following the sounds of the nightingales, and chasing the sounds of the nightly garden colony.

Rosanna Lovell

As temperatures dropped close to 12 degrees (but felt even less) we all kept pulling on layer after layer of warm clothes: Tights, jumpers, vests, hats and hoodies. Radio adrenaline kept us going. Rosanna Lovell was the last artist to perform, and she brought along with her an exquisitely researched selection of Oliver Messiaen’s compositions which were derived from bird song. The theme of Rosanna’s presentation was “Bird Song and Notation”, which was followed by a clarinet interpretation of a nightingale score that I had conceived for a Datscha Radio 14 event (the instrument had to get warmed up by being tucked under her jacket before playing…).
After having listened to so many diverse, field recording based and electronically processed/transformed, nightingale song iterations, we found it remarkable how the ‘essence’ of the bird’s melodic trills, pauses and whistles remained all through those different interpretations.

Leonie and JD Zazie

Midnight now long past, we turned to talks and compositions that Kate and I had managed to assemble: The interview with the artist David Rothenberg was framed by two of his works in which he played along to Berlin Nightingales in different parks, and followed by a composition by Felicity Morgan who is scheduled to join him in one of his upcoming presentations from May 8 to May 16 (May 16 with Felicity at the Zabriskie Bookstore in Berlin). Udo Noll had contributed an ‘eclectic mix’ of nightingale field recordings drawn from his aporee.org archives, that formed part of an extensive listening session to still other field recordings – one of them recorded in despair for want of sleep by a Charlottenburg resident artist.

Herr Schulze and Lukatoyboy

The wee hours of the morning had come, a light rain had settled in and outside in a flowerpot rested a microphone under an umbrella to pick up the surrounding sounds of the Britzer Wiesen garden night. When we turned up the volume, near and distant bird calls mingled with the sound of even more distant traffic and mysterious mumbling noises accompanied by the resonant bouncing of rain drops on the umbrella. The garden had gone quiet, the artists had left, our press lady Helen had withdrawn to a bed inside. It was time for telling stories… and reading poems… and another take from the nightingale choir and more musings on the bird’s music. Whoever was still awake then had a chance to listen to Keats’ “Ode to a nightingale” (bilingual), the terrible story of Philomela by Ovid, the “Rose and the Nightingale” by Oscar Wilde, to name just a few.

Umbrella at 4:30 with microphone

Around 4:30 the garden started to wake up again: the song of the nightingales mixed with the good morning croaks of a flock of crows and the cooing of wood pigeons and the clouds’ grey became lighter. At 5 am we noticed our voices and minds had become really slow… a good idea to take refuge in one of Niki Matita’s nightingale song collections, of which she had prepared several. Jazzy tunes, bird tangos and classical interpretations portioned to present another range of lusciana songs in popular (and not so popular) music.

At 5:27 we noticed we’d almost made it! There was just enough time for a quick preview on Datscha Radio’s second iteration of “Night Gardening” – about the “Perfumes of the Night” and another take of Thomas Weelkes amazing piece sung by the Singlust choir… Snap, crackle and gone was the “Night of the Nightingales”!

Just then, a nightingale landed on a bush next to the veranda and started to warble with all of its voice strength… and we continued to listen…

Kate Donovan happily enjoying her coffee

Just then, a nightingale landed on a bush next to the veranda and started to warble with all of its voice strength… and we listened on…

(a gallery with more pics will follow, bear with me)

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