Artwork: Greta Hoheisel & Norbert Lang

 

Bukarest | Bucuresti – fragmente | Greta Hoheisel & Norbert Lang

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Reviews

 

Bucharest – fragments is a journey through a metropolis in continuous flux. It is a hybrid of exhibition catalogue, book and compact disc; containing photos, texts and soundscapes – three obstinate elements that reciprocally comment on one another.

 

1. Singing doll. Train

While the vast plain of Wallachia is passing by, the compartment door opens. A woman in a jeans jacket reaches into her sports bag, pulling forth a small singing plastic doll. Without a word she  lays the toy on the artificial leather covering and moves on. As she reappears in the door a few minutes later the doll has fallen silent.

 
2. Turnstiles. Entrance to underground

Two levels beneath the city centre an underground train comes to halt with squeaking brakes. The roar of the people jostling  for the narrow moving stairs. In unison with the people rushing through, the turnstiles chatter at the exit.

 
3. Busker. Underground station

A busker and the roar of an anonymous mass of people that alternately swells and ebbs away. As the train races into the tunnel the musician briefly pauses without taking the instrument off his lips.

 
4. Teens. Suburbia

Teens in a courtyard facing the street. They pass a drum from hand to hand in good cheer. One of the boys sings to the sound of the drumbeats, disregarded by the passers-by. The playing is briefly interrupted when a police patrol passes by.

 

5. Booths and fairground rides. Funfair

MP3

 

6. Traffic policeman. Junction

Two crossing ordinates in the centre of the city. A man in uniform who brings the ceaseless flow of cars to a halt with his whistle.

 
7. Distorted Songs. Church

Two loudspeakers positioned between the decorated entrance columns of a church; too small for the sonorous male voices that sing inside and that are only distortedly being brought outside. In front of the church, the traffic forces its way through the city. Pedestrians walk by in speedy pace. Some prick up their ears and pause for a moment in order to make the sign of the cross. Others only indicate the cross, for a fleeting second, with trained hands. Only a few that hasten on.

MP3

 

8. Whisperers. Church

Hidden in the dark; two figures in front of a hymnbook. Subdued conversation, shy, delicate attempts to sing. „A bit more courage!“ admonishes a firm male voice.

 
9. Woman. Tramway

Stop in front of a church. A woman gets on the tram. After hesitating for an instant, she goes down on her knees and begins to speak – her face slightly downcast. A brown cardboard dangles from her left arm, unveiling her sufferings in black felt-tip.

 
10. Chiming bells. Street

Suddenly, unexpectedly: a cluster of singing people in a side street. Hammering on a piece of firewood, ringing of bells. A man sways the incense burner. Slowly the singers enter the atrium of the church.

 
11. Retail dealer. Tramway

While the rattling tramway drives by a row of tower blocks, one of the passengers raises his voice. He makes his way through the rows beckoning – holding in his left hand a couple of purses wrapped in plastic.

 
12. Practicing students.  Conservatoire

 

13. Children on swings. Playground

Holiday feeling in the city. On a playground in an overcrowded park, the squeaking of unoiled playground articles, frantic cries of the children.

 
14. Car drivers sounding the horn. Junction

Pouring rain on asummer evening in the city centre. In the middle of a narrow junction a stagnant tram, blocked up by cars sounding the horn.

 
15. Tradespeople. Europa Market

Goods piled up on wooden shelves, behind which Asian tradespeople are sitting on brown cardboard boxes.

Dogs are roaming through long passages, searching for something to eat in heaps of plastic waste.

 
16. Soundcheck sets off alarm systems. Plaza

On the stage located on an empty plaza; in the afternoon’s biting cold musicians prepare for their New Year’s Eve-performance. The sound of their music sets off the alarm systems of cars parked nearby.

 
17. Roaring heating system. Palace of Parliament

MP3

 

18. Roma women collecting iron. Side street

At a little distance from the city center, behind a row of tower blocks, in the narrow streets of a rural district.  Duet sung by two Roma women trailing handcarts filled with scrap iron.

 

19. Roaring city, old song in the distance. Suburbia

A cool clear afternoon; a loudspeaker softly playing an old song.

MP3

 

20. Barking dogs. Suburbia

 

20 Tracks (47’19“)

CD (+Book) (500 copies)

 


 

The constant humming sound of the city, house walls that we pass by, the snatches of a conversation which we hear on the streets – fragments, that we are confronted with every day, but to which we nevertheless pay hardly any attention. It is not just the pompous and spectacular view on the city, that forms our relation to it, it is also the seemingly incidental and fragmentary occurence.

 
To seek for those fragments, the german photographer Greta Hoheisel and the sound-artist Norbert Lang stayed in the capital of the new EU country Romania, in Bucharest for almost one year. What they found was a complex urban realm between consumerism and tradition, between turbo-capitalism and religion. The outcome of their continuous striving through the sound- and cityscapes of Bucharest is a multimedia exhibition called »Bucharest – fragments in a box« and also »Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente«, a hybrid between foto-catalogue, sketchbook and audio-CD.

 
The basis for the book-CD are 20 fieldrecordings that tell about the life in the city: About sudden horn concerts during rush-hour as well as about the rural idyl in the backyards of the city. Each of the 20 chapters in the book is dedicated to one fieldrecording on the CD, consisting of a sketchy text and photographs, showing deserted places around the city. The combination of those three elements generates a city mosaic full of gaps, that needs the pre-text of the observer and listener to be put together. Thus »Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente« can be understood as a universal work about urban sound- and cityscapes in the 21st century.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Bucharest – fragments in a box / A wandering exhibition

Four wooden boxes, so called »peep boxes«, provided with headphones and loupe-like lenses are the media for the pictures, the field- and the soundrecordings, that they captured during this time. Thus, they take up the idea of an old media from the 18th and 19th Century: Boxes, that were wandering from fun fair to fun fair, to show the curious viewers pictures of near and foreign countries or mythological scenes. And like the demonstrators in the past used to comment on what was being shown, »Bucharest – fragments in a box« is provided with headphones, to listen to the every day soundscape of the city. Thus, sound and picture comment on each other and generate a sketchy Portrait of Bucharest, perceived with the ears and the eyes of two strangers. The date of the Opening in Atelier 35 will also be the release date for the publication »Bucuresti | Bukarest – fragmente«, a hybrid between Foto-book and Soundscape-CD, and also a second media in which the pictures and sounds will be linked together. The concentration on the everyday sounds of Bucharest and the sensitisation for the auditory environment will also be the topic of the workshop »Listen to: Bucharest«, that will be held in the course of the exhibition in Bucharest.

 

Bucharest - fragments in a box / A wandering exhibition

 

Bucharest - fragments in a box / A wandering exhibition

 

Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, Germany, Berlin-Mitte | 08.05.–28.06.2009

07.05.2009 Vernissage 19h

RKI Wien, Österreich | Austria 2009

Atelier 35, Bukarest | Bucharest, Romania 04.-18.07.2008

Stellwerk, Germany, Kassel | 03.-10.10.2008 | Vernissage 19h

MitOst Festival, Ukraine, Uschhorod | 16.-19.10.2008

Kulturama Festival, Germany, Hildesheim | 01.-02.11.2008

 


 

Concept: Greta Hoheisel, Norbert Lang

Photos: Greta Hoheisel

Sound recordings: Norbert Lang

Texts: Greta Hoheisel, Norbert Lang

Translation: Sorin Georgescu, Thomas Steinberger

Correction: Anke Lohmeyer, Horst Hoheisel, Raluca Doroftei, Anda Dumitru, Katrin Hoedemacker

graphic design concept: Nico Massow

 

Thanks: Sorin Georgescu, Lisa Schwabe, Malte Roloff, Anda Dumitru, Raluca Doroftei, Roxana Stoenescu, Nico Massow, Trixi Szabo, Michael Alvarez, Julia Ucsnay, Lasse-Marc Riek, Roland Etzin, Alberta Lohmeyer, Anke Lohmeyer, Horst Hoheisel, Juliane Hoheisel, Deborah Hoheisel, Britta Hoheisel, Katharina Lang, Kerstin Lang, Johann Lang, Ilona Lahner

 
Published by MitOst Editionen, Berlin and Gruenrekorder, Frankfurt 2008

12€ | 96 pages | gruen 068 | 2008 | LC 09488 | GEMA | ISBN: 978-3-9812411-1-2

info@inbukarest.com | www.inbukarest.com | www.mitost.de

 


 

 

Qwartz edition 6

The Gruenrekorder release „Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente“ by Greta Hoheisel & Norbert Lang is nominated in the Qwartz Artwork & Packaging category.

www.qwartz.org

 

 


 

Reviews

 

Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY

GRETA HOHEISEL & NORBERT LANG – BUKAREST FRAGMENTE (CD + Book by Gruenrekorder)

Its of course never easy to judge a release that deals with a city that one has never been too, in this the Romanian capital Bukarest. But the extensive and beautiful book (bound, bigger size than the average booklet) makes up for this omission. It contains photography of the places where the recordings were, with descriptive text in both German and Romanian. Many sounds of life on streets: cars passing, people trying to sell toys, the subway, street music (pan flutes of course), and sometimes the rumble mechanics. It makes all a fascinating trip while flipping through the book and looking at the pictures. Captivating stuff. Nothing is ‚processed‘ here, nor does it tell a ’story‘, it merely takes things as they are. Certainly a major project for Gruenrekorder, and one of their best releases to date. (FdW)

link

 

Jez riley French | ‘in-place’

Nicely presented project for a start ! – so, let me get the cynical comment out of the way first: I’m really interested in photography & indeed the ’snapshot‘ style of some field recording & so in terms of the images it’s fair to say that Greta’s style is one that i’m familiar with – it’s one that most creative photographers explore at some point – the focus on detail and the transformation of the everyday object or scene into a framed and revitalised image. Having said that it’s not something everyone can pull off & in terms of this project at least the images do work & do convey a creatively pleasing impression.

When it comes to the recordings it’s fair to say that they do fall into the ’snapshot‘ catagory & as they are well recorded then they do the job so to speak. I always hope to hear individual when I listen to recordings, something that reflects the interests of the recordist & with this approach that is both difficult to achieve & also not exactly the point. However I really believe that, like with the ‚eye‘ of an interesting photographer, it is the ‚ear‘ of the recordist that hopefully will come through. I think these recordings show something of that & certainly the collaboration between Norbert & Greta indicates a shared artistic searching.

I suppose if I had to say anything negative about the recordings it’s that I personally crave for simplicity in snapshot recordings. I get a bit tired of discs that try to capture various odd or ‚evocative‘ sounds – I feel that it can sometimes edge over into cliche. However, this is a personal viewpoint & no doubt has something to do with the sheer amount of recordings I listen to. I reckon most folks would find the recordings interesting & a fair portrait of certain elements Bucharest. There are plenty of the usual street scenes, snatches of music & prayer of course, giving a definate experience of the ‚fragments of Bucharest‘ project aim but also recordings of music students rehearsing at the university (track 12) which I for one would have liked to have been much longer.

Reading back my comments so far I realise that it sounds like i’m giving this release a negative review. which is not my intention. It’s another quality release from Gruenrekorder & is well worth the price. It certainly made me want to hear more of Norbert’s recordings & to hunt for more images from Greta.

‚Bucharest – fragments is a journey through a metropolis in continuous flux. It is a hybrid of exhibition catalogue, book and compact disc; containing photos, texts and soundscapes – three obstinate elements that reciprocally comment on one another.

 

The constant humming sound of the city, house walls that we pass by, the snatches of a conversation which we hear on the streets – fragments, that we are confronted with every day, but to which we nevertheless pay hardly any attention. It is not just the pompous and spectacular view on the city, that forms our relation to it, it is also the seemingly incidental and fragmentary occurence.

 

To seek for those fragments, the german photographer Greta Hoheisel and the sound-artist Norbert Lang stayed in the capital of the new EU country Romania, in Bucharest for almost one year. What they found was a complex urban realm between consumerism and tradition, between turbo-capitalism and religion. The outcome of their continuous striving through the sound- and cityscapes of Bucharest is a multimedia exhibition called »Bucharest – fragments in a box« and also »Bukarest Bucure?ti – fragmente«, a hybrid between foto-catalogue, sketchbook and audio-CD.

 

The basis for the book-CD are 20 fieldrecordings that tell about the life in the city: About sudden horn concerts during rush-hour as well as about the rural idyl in the backyards of the city. Each of the 20 chapters in the book is dedicated to one fieldrecording on the CD, consisting of a sketchy text and photographs, showing deserted places around the city. The combination of those three elements generates a city mosaic full of gaps, that needs the pre-text of the observer and listener to be put together. Thus »Bukarest Bucure?ti – fragmente« can be understood as a universal work about urban sound- and cityscapes in the 21st century.‘

link

 

www.zeit.de

Bukarests Geheimnisse

Ein multimedialer Streifzug durch die rumänische Hauptstadt: Bilder, Kurzprosa und Audios aus der hervorragenden Ausstellung „Bukarest – Fragmente“. Eine Bildergalerie

Von Mitte der sechziger bis Ende der achtziger Jahre war Bukarest die Prunkstadt von Ceau?escus scheußlichem Stalinismus – eine Zeit, „in der die Luft nicht mehr zu atmen“ war, wie der Schriftsteller Mircea C?rt?rescu schrieb. Dann fiel das Regime, dann fielen die Blocks, Rumänien öffnete sich nach Westen und blieb doch vielen verschlossen.

Die Künstler Greta Hoheisel und Norbert Lang zeigen nun in einem eigensinnigen, hervorragenden Bildband die rumänische Hauptstadt. Bukarest / Bucure?ti – Fragmente ist eine Mischung aus Reisefotografien, Prosaminiaturen und Klangbeispielen, die auf einer CD beiliegen. Sie zeigen Straßenecken, Hinterhöfe, U-Bahnschächte, verlassene Orte. Sehen und hören Sie eine Auswahl ihrer Arbeiten in dieser Galerie.

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Tobias Bolt | quietnoise

Für ein Jahr begaben sich die Fotografin Greta Hoheisel und der Klangkünstler Norbert Lang nach Bukarest und hielten ihre Eindrücke von Rumäniens Hauptstadt in Bild und Ton fest. Die Ergebnisse dieser Stadtbeobachtungen werden nun einerseits in der aktuell laufenden Wanderausstellung Bucharest – fragments in a box vorgestellt wie auch mittels vorliegender Veröffentlichung, Buch plus CD, auf Gruenrekorder dokumentiert. In dieser verbinden sich, vielleicht als eine Art erweiterter Ausstellungskatalog zu verstehen, ausgewählte Fotografien und Field Recordings mit präzise kommentierender Kurzprosa zu einem vielschichtigen, freilich bewusst lückenhaft gehaltenen, Portrait einer Stadt im Wandel.

 

Zu diesem Zweck sind, bis auf wenige Ausnahmen, jedem der zwanzig Tracks ein oder mehrere Bilder zugeordnet, die das Gehörte aber weniger illustrieren, sondern lieber um weitere Blickwinkel vertiefen. Ganz allgemein agieren die Fotografien als Bühnen, indem sie Räume bereitstellen, Möglichkeiten schaffen. Oft wirken sie dabei auf den ersten Blick unscheinbar, rücken alltägliche Details in den Mittelpunkt: Werbeplakate, ein Ringelspiel, Graffiti; düster patinierte U-Bahn Stationen und Kircheninnenräume sind zu sehen, grauer Vorstadtbeton, ein Jahrmarkt. Allen Bildern gemeinsam ist die vollständige Abwesenheit von Menschen. Die Tondokumente wiederum sind stets lebendig, fast immer hört man Musik, verweilt an den Rhythmen der Stadt: ratternde Drehkreuze, Straßenmusiker in der U-Bahn, übersteuernde Kirchenlautsprecher, Hupkonzerte, betende Frauen, Musikschüler beim Üben.

 
Die beiden Künstler finden spannende, eigensinnige Zugänge und schaffen, ohne sich krampfhaft unkonventionell zu gerieren, ein fragmentarisches, aber auch im besten Sinne lebendiges Portrait einer fluktuierenden Stadt. Auf diese Weise entstehen, in einer sehr speziellen Grundstimmung, offene Szenarios, die sich durch wechselnde Kombinationen von Bild, Ton und Text immer wieder neu gestalten und vom Rezipienten, zu einer konkreten Begebenheit erweitert, quasi mit erfunden werden können. Das macht das Ganze zu einer wirklich spannenden Angelegenheit, rundum empfehlenswert – eine der schönsten Veröffentlichungen auf Gruenrekorder in diesem Jahr.

link

 

DIE TAGESZEITUNG (TAZ) | 29./30. NOVEMBER 2008

bilder, texte, töne

Greta Hoheisel, NorbertLang: „Bukarest – Fragmente“. MitOst Editionen, Berlin/ Gruenrekorder, Frankfurt 2008, 96 Seiten, 50 Farbabb., 12 Euro

Man glaubt es kaum, was in diesem kleinen, quadratischen Büchlein alles drinsteckt. Nicht nur Bilder und Texte, auch Töne. Gut, die sind eine Beigabe auf CD. Aber hört man sie, während man durch die Bildstrecken blättert und sich da und dort in einer der nebenstehenden Notizen festliest, fällt es leicht, sich in Bukarest zu imaginieren, sei’s im Zentrum der Stadt in mitten des ausufernden Hupkonzerts während der Rushhour, sei’s in der Vorstadt, deren Ruhe nur das Gebell der Hunde stört.

Ein Jahr lang haben die Fotografin Greta Hoheisel und der Klangkünstler Norbert Lang, jeder auf seine Weise, mit dem Fotoapparat und dem Tonband,das Leben in der Hauptstadt des neuen EU-Mitgliedslandes Rumänien dokumentiert. 20 raffinierte Klangaufnahmen fügen sich im Buch zu 20 Kapiteln, in denen je eine kleine literarische Skizze die melancholischen Farbfotografien einer menschenleeren Stadt begleitet.

Dass man diese elegischen Ansichten von Osteuropa, die man schon zur Genüge zukennenglaubt, trotzdem gut leiden mag, liegt daran, dass Hoheisels Bilder nicht von Stilwillen handeln. Sie reflektieren die strukturelle mediale Situation der Fotografie, die die Menschen in den Bildern und ihre Gewese sonst leicht vergessen machen: Wie im Foto das Leben grundsätzlich stumm- und still gestellt ist.

link

 

Stephen Fruitman | sonomu.net

A three-pronged guided tour – music, text, image – of Bucharest, a „metropolis in constant flux“, according to the introduction. Bucharest has indeed historically been one of the important capitals of central Europe, but long fell under the shadow of the dictator Ceaucescu, who vampirian effect on the people, culture, and even architecture remains felt today.

 

The photographs by Greta Hoheisel are superbly lit and framed, and all take as their subject abandoned places of activity – playgrounds, subway stations, railroad cars, staircases, bridges, soccer fields, fairground midways, blocks of apartment buildings.

 

If by chance you think you just saw someone, it turns out to be a model on a billboard or a clutch of tailor´s dummies in wedding gowns. And aside from some murky shots from inside a church, everything is more than a little run-down, scuffed up, cracked, overgrown, rusty.

 

As the u-bahn trundles into the heart of the city and the turnstiles thunk one body after another through, Norbert Lang guides us aurally through a major population centre both old and decrepit, historical and grappling to recover from most of that history.

 

Lang´s audio documentation of the city seems to revolve around a trinity of themes – movement, prayer and song. So whereas the photography is devoid of human presence, the audiography consists of nothing but, birdsong notwithstanding.

 

Crowds jostle, a street musician plays the execrable pan flute (made internationally execrable by native son Zamfir), teenagers try to agree on a beat to play on their handdrums, church prayers spew distortedly out of shoddy speakers, vocal excercises out of open windows. Peddlars hawking their wares sound just as devotional as churchsong, a symphony of honking horns spontaneously amasses, kids play on a rusty swingset, ladies are caught in conversation, and a Latin band rehearses „Guantanemera“ while being assailed by a car alarm and barking dogs.

 

These are snapshots, not an interwoven tapestry. Each moment is distinct and unadulturated. The visual and audio images compelement one another so perfectly, there is almost no need for the textual commentary by Hoheiseland Lang running in German and Romanian through the book.

 

A beautiful object for viewing, hearing and even touching.

link

 

Tobias Fischer | Tokafi

Beauty #3: „Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente“

The way you present yourself visually as an artist is becoming ever more important. As Steven Wilson of Bass Communion and Porcupine Tree put it in a recent interview with us: „When you’re an artist, then your creativity does not stop at the point you’ve created the music. It continues through to the way you present your website, to the way you present your live shows and professional photographs.“ In this continuous series, we are taking a look at how labels and musicians around the world are accepting this challenge to come up with stimulating, provoking, endearing or simply stunningly beautiful designs. Part three: Norbert Lang and Greta Hoheisel’s Book/CD/Exhibition Catalogue for their „Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente“ presentation.

 
Capable of conveying moods much more clearly than visuals ever could, sound may be a better documentarian than most people are inclined to believe. And yet, it is, by default, only part of the story. We are, after all, still beings who take in their surroundings through many different senses. Greta Hoheisel & Norbert Lang have taken this into account for „Bukarest | Bucure?ti – fragmente“. Originally a „peep-box-exhibit“, visitors would gaze into four wooden boxes containing pictures and impressions of the Romanian capital through „loup-like lenses“. At the same time, they would listen to audio recordings realised by Hoheisel and Lang in Bucharest on headphones. The result was both surreal and intense, a micro-snapshot of a „metropolis in constant flux“.

 

All those who missed out on the exhibition can now recreate the experience at home. „Fragmente“ is not just a CD wrapped in a gorgeous book. Even though that is certainly part of its appeal. Rather, the package furthermore contains a slew of photographs and scetches complementing the audio section as well as short notes on the acoustic fragments contained on the album. Most of them deal with quotidian scenes and with short, seemingly irrelevant moments caught on tape. Some of these instances can be described in one or two sentences at most: „A man in a uniform trying to slow down the incessant stream of cars with his whistle“, one reads, for example. Another one has a Haiku-like quality to it: „In the darkness, two shapes in front of a prayer book. Muted conversations and shy, tender attempts at singing“.

 

Admittedly, these field notes are in German and Romanian only. But the accompanying pictures and the focused purity of the recordings are enough to get the message across nonetheless. Besides, it is not so much „special occurences“ the artists are after here. Rather, „fragmente“ reveals itself by flicking through the book from beginning to end, observing the images and allowing the stream of concrete sound, opaque noises, radio babble, street talk and distant chants to pass you by and carry you along to the heart of town. The result is the same kind of virtual city guide the original installation provided – and an impression of Romania almost as vivid as visiting it for real.

link