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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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(Übersetzung folgt) 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.

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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Datscha Radio is looking forward to welcome you on its second iteration of Night Gardening! As widely sorted as garden chores might be, depending on weather, the gardener’s mood, prevalent thriving plant species, surprise guests, and time of the day, our excursion into the world of “Frequencies and Fragrances” will follow no fixed time schedule. We’ll drift with the perfumes of the night.

Yet, as a general lead, here is some information about the artists of that night and their olfactory involvements (alphabetical order!).

Caroline McMillan: Aura:maton. Live performance.

Aura:maton is an internet-connected, olfactory wearable tech dress. In an age of vast desert landscape, endless concrete towers, tunnels and grime, memories exist without experience, data without an object. All data content is mediated through shiny, yet somewhat clunky technologies.
The dancer’s brainwave activity prompts a perfume accord, a de-extinction of lost rain released algorithmically in collaboration with AI for infinite variations of physical memory. Submerged in memories of petrichor, biological traces of the scent of rain after a long period of dry weather.”

McMillan’s research interests include artificial intelligence, soft robotics, bio-computation, technofeminism and haute couture textile techniques. Taking a philosophical approach, intuitive interactions with technology are derived from nature.

Christy Spackman: The Scent of Water. With Helen Thein.
A visit to the Datscha Garden features the probing of local waters. Please keep a sample of your local tap water at hand.  
Christy Spackman is currently Assistant Professor, Art/Science Nexus, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, @ASU. Studying the taste of water, how sensory science shapes consumer perception, and the creation of tastelessness. Fermenter of things.

 Gabi Schaffner: La Lichen Parfumée. With Julia Drouhin. A weird story and a weirder sound piece. Based on several failed experiments in the transposition of plant’s chemical ingredients into random melody, lost and found field recordings and the sound and scents of a waffle iron. (Lan: F)

Hans Kellett/Gabi Schaffner: 10 S|Cents Poems
Hand Kellet is an artist and poet from New Zealand, based in Berlin. In 2017 he was “Poet in Residence” at the Datscha Radio Festival “Plots and Prophecies.

Why not sing poems when the theme is the “translation” of scent waves  into sound waves? The title of the series is derived from a genre of street poetry where poets create verses on the fly for little money. The New Zealand poet and artist Hans Kellett rendered them ingeniously musical.

Jasmina Al-Qaisi and Helena Otto: To the Belly and Back

Jasmina Al-Qaisi with Helena Otto take synesthesia to the belly and back, inspecting different fragrances of the night garden by fabricating an imaginary of the darkness around plants and women working with plants. In between days, at night, two girls meet to tell each other secret mingling and mixing love for food with other bodily forms of love. Burning, from sweating to smoking, burning from erasure to the unforgettable is a starting point for a fair tales and giving noise to the nose. For NACHTGÄRTNERN [NIGHT GARDENING] at Datscha Radio, Al-Qaisi and Otto will burn, smell, murmur, rhyme and dine ON AIR.

Helen Thein: Coordination, Logistics, Culinary Support, Documentation, Press and Social Media. She’ll join Tina-Marie in her floral explorations.

Julia Drouhin: Lent her voice to “La Lichen Parfumée”. She is a radio artist from Tasmania, born in France.

Kate Donovan: Radio artist Kate Donovan will explore the human-generated electromagnetic frequencies in the garden, using various devices to make them audible.

Katt Hernandez: brings her violin to the garden
Katt Hernandez is a maverick violinist, composer and improviser. One of her compositions was also featured in our “Night of the Nightingales” on the 30th of April this year.

Michael Schwieger: Introduction of a sound piece by him. He makes sounds from air/dust/perfume sensors. He says:

“I think I’ll combine dust sensor and the airquality sensor.”

Mobile Radio (Knut Aufermann & Sarah Washington): Flur-Funk: eine olfaktorische Reise durch die Extreme des Moselweins.
Mobile Radio was established as a travelling project to build upon our work across Europe in the fields of radio and sound art which had arisen during the three years that we helped to establish the London art radio station Resonance 104.4FM.
For this night, six bottles of finest Mosel wines will challenge our sensual and vocabulary – interspersed with short interviews  with the viniculturists themselves.

Niki Matita will present two pieces as well as a hand-picked selection of songs about olfactory sensations.

Smelling A Dead Body
Ein Interview von Niki Matita mit Nicolle Schatborn von der “Küche des Unerwünschten Tieres” entstand in ihrer Küche auf dem Gelände der Ateliersiedlung Nieuw en Meer in Amsterdam während sie eine Brandgans ausnahm.

Ein assoziatives Hörstück von Niki Matita über die unangenehmen Seiten des Riechens zur Komposition “Mes Odeurs Préférées“ der kanadischen Komponisting Joane Hétu (mit freundlicher Genehmigung)

Tiger Stangl and Tina-Marie Friedrich (allgirls international berlin art)
Greatest thanks is owed to Tiger Stangl who is hosting Datscha Radio in her garden. Apart from being a 200 percent gardener and a graphic artist, she has been curating together with Ms Friedrich the allgirls gallery since 1992.

Tina-Marie will act as the garden’s smell explorer, probing the nocturnal scents and vibes of plants and place and render her sensations to our willing audience.

Open Call Artists: “Garden Scents”

Ana Berkenhoff
Gabriela & Cristian Fierbinteanu
Gayil Nalls
Hakan Lidbo
Ian Stenhouse
Sjoerd Martens
Sylvain Souklaye

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Wir freuen uns, die Künstler*innen für “Frequenzen & Düfte” präsentieren zu können: Caroline McMillan, Christy Spackman, Gabi Schaffner, Hans Kellett, Jasmina Al-Qaisi and Helena Otto, Julia Drouhin, Kate Donovan, Max Joy, Mobile Radio (Knut Aufermann & Sarah Washington), Niki Matita, Tiger Stangl, Tina-Marie Friedrich (allgirls international berlin art)

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Wir freuen uns sehr, dass sowohl Soundart Radio wie auch Resonance Extra Nachtgärtnern II von Sonnenuntergang am 8. August bis zum Sonnenaufgang am 9. August übernehmen wird.

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Hey, hey, the pink peony has something to tell – aber was? Da gibt es nun zehn Gedichte über Blumendüfte, seit vorgestern eingesungen von dem neuseeländischen Künstler Hans Kellett.
Stimme und Nase, atmen und klingen lassen… liegt es nicht nahe, Worte über Düfte in Gesang zu fassen?
Also haucht und faucht der Drache (Snapdragon=Löwenmaul), und ein Schlafmohn zerfällt zu geflüstertem Puder in Fis und dreigestrichenem B.

Überraschend ebenfalls eingesammelt ins Recording-Duftdöschen: Schlagwerkimprovisationen des Hamburger Troubadors Felix Schröder, der frisch aus Finnland kommend, Flöte und Tamburin hervor holte.
Was nun daraus entstehen wird, zeigt sich nachtgärtnenderweise am 8. August.

Die 10 |S|Cent Poems entstanden allesamt im Datscha-Garten… und das kleine Wortspiel verdankt sich der Tradition der Straßenpoesie, bei der Dichter*innen aus dem Stand und für wenig Geld Poeme für Passanten verfassen.

Parallel zu Hans Kelletts Singstücken wird es auch eine weibliche Umsetzung der Texte geben: die rumänische Radiokünstlerin Jasmina Al-Qaisi beschnuppert schon mal das Papier.

10 |S|Cent Poems
Gedichte: Gabi Schaffner
Gesang: Hans Kellett / Jasmina Al-Qaisi

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(Übersetzung folgt) What is the scent of water like? Fresh? Or sweet? Is its (mostly) clear visual appearance tricking us into believing 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 psychograms 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.
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 water) 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

(Übersetzung folgt) 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 seriesof “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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