Memory Space experiments with sounds we find in our daily lives.
Reinterpreting sounds that are characteristic of city life—from loud street vendors to church bells, in both Berlin and Chennai—is the musical project, Memory Space. Producer and director Thomas Bruns, who is at the Goethe Institut for rehearsals before the world premiere of the act, explains the inspiration behind the project, which is a collaboration between western traditional music and South Indian classical tunes. “I have been looking for a piece or a concept that is based on how to listen and about perception as well,” Bruns begins. When the artistes were in India last November, they were taken in by the different sounds of the city, specially during the rainy season. He says the name and concept was inspired by American installation artist and sound researcher, Alvin Lucier, and his work by the same title. Following what Lucier had written, they listened carefully to ambient sounds in Berlin and Chennai, recorded them, and then “we went back to our rehearsal spaces and tried to find a reinterpretation on our instruments, Indian as well as western.”
City-based artiste Ramesh Vinayakam, the only Indian composer on the team, provided help in mixing the two styles with his new notation system—which lets people not familiar with Indian classical music play raagas. In fact, this will be a separate segment in the performance, called the Gamaka Box.
Today, at Kalakshetra, from 5.30 pm.
The first part of the performance will include audio massages, a service offered to those who come early. Bruns says that an audience member can walk up to a performer and ask for one. He will then get to hear soothing sounds from nature. “It’s a service like something you’d get at the hairdresser’s. It is meant to cleanse the ears a bit and to open them to surrounding sounds,” he concludes.