un|sounding the self — a portrait


un|sounding the self — a portrait
a film by Christoph Collenberg and Jakob Gengenbach
with Christopher Shultis and Craig Shepard
Gruen 196 | DVD (60 Min.) + Booklet (120 pages) [order]


Silent quest for sound, constant listening in the streets of Brooklyn, the Swiss Alps, the forests of Pennsylvania and the landscape of New Mexico. What if, after hours of walking, the mind finally clears, the ears open? Keep on walking, listening, giving space to resonances. Christopher Shultis, drummer and Professor Emeritus of the University of New Mexico and Craig Shepard, trombonist and member of the Wandelweiser collective, take Henry David Thoreau at his word and literally follow the idea of walking for at least four hours a day, sauntering silently. Out of this kind of contemplation, both have developed their own unique compositional practices: What composers usually do at their desk or at the piano, Shepard and Shultis do on the move, and their music is strongly influenced by the landscape from which it originated. Although very different in their artistic expression, their work is deeply rooted in the practice of walking in the spirit of H.D. Thoreau, in his writings and in the art of John Cage. Silent walking as a means of heightening the senses, inflowing sounds become the basis for compositions. Invited by their mutual friend Bernd Herzogenrath, Shultis and Shepard met for a week in the beautiful city of Olomouc in the Czech Republic. un|sounding the self—a portrait is about the becoming of these two artists—how music emerges when composers become silent first of all, whether by decision or by force, and then search for sound.













DVD (60′00″) + Booklet (120 pages), 500 copies



un|sounding the self — a portrait features a Field Manual with texts by the artists and the director. Bernd Herzogenrath contributed to and edited this collection. Preface by David Rothenberg. Artwork by Elisa Henriette Metz.


„There’s no one left to tell you what to do. Just watch this film but if it tries to give you advice, ignore it. After the end get up and listen around, see if the world sounds any different. No time with silence is wasted time. I salute these fine artists and their personal, converging trajectories. This film intertwines their ideas and walks with unparalleled elegance. We start to become them. We learn from others and engage with others, we may work alone, but we are never alone.
That’s what holds humanity and nature together.“
(David Rothenberg)


directed by Christoph Collenberg
camera operators | Jakob Gengenbach, Lauritz Baudisch, Christoph Collenberg
visual editing & color grading | Jakob Gengenbach
concept & audio editing | Christoph Collenberg
audio mix & mastering | Lauritz Baudisch
audio recording & audio mix (concert) | Maximilian Sauer
Field Manual edited by Bernd Herzogenrath
artwork | Elisa Henriette Metz


screened at
Darkroom Film Festival 2018
Sose International Film Festival 2018
Cinalfama Lisbon International Film Awards 2018
Ciudad del Este Independent Film Festival 2018
CineKasimanwa Western Visayas Film Festival 2018
Sjón International Anthropological Festival 2019


Soundscape Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2020 / Gruen 196 / LC 09488 / EAN 194491607760





CHRISTOPHER SHULTIS is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico where he taught percussion, composition and musicology. As artist and scholar he has worked with Lou Harrison, Konrad Boehmer, John Cage, Michael Colgrass, James Tenney and Christian Wolff and his academic work on John Cage is internationally recognized. As a composer in the experimental tradition he finds inspiration in long walks in nature; important pieces include Devisadero: Music from the New Mexico Wilderness and the opera Lost in the Woods, which premiered in October 2017.


CRAIG SHEPARD, composer and trombonist, lives and works in New York City. For his projects On Foot and On Foot: Brooklyn he composed during extensive walks in the Swiss Alps and Brooklyn and performed his pieces in public. Trumpet City, a piece written for a hundred trumpets, had its German premiere in autumn 2017. Craig Shepard is part of the Wandelweiser collective. 


BERND HERZOGENRATH is professor of American literature and culture at Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany. He is the author of An Art of Desire. Reading Paul Auster (Rodopi 2001), An American Body|Politic: A Deleuzian Approach (Dartmouth College Press 2010) and editor of two books on Tod Browning, two books on Edgar G. Ulmer, two books on Deleuze and Ecology, The Farthest Place: The Music of John Luther Adams (Northeastern UP 2012), Time and History in Deleuze and Serres (Continuum 2012), and, most recently, media|matter (Bloomsbury 2014). He is also (together with Patricia Pisters) the main editor of the media-philosophical book series thinking|media with Bloomsbury.


CHRISTOPH COLLENBERG lives in Frankfurt, Germany where he is working as a musician and producer of audiovisual art and sound-art pieces. His psychogeographic radio piece Routine has been nominated for the „ARD Pinball“ award in 2016 and was broadcast on SWR2; his short piece Heimatfunde – Hund und Katze has been broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur. His works often draw from sonic and written finds. 


ELISA METZ lives and works freelance in Cologne, Germany as interdisciplinary designer and artist. She was nominated for the “Kölner Design Preis” 2016 with her bachelor thesis Die Vermessung des Gesichts. This work was exhibited at the New Talent Biennale 2016. In 2019, she co-edited the first issue of grapefruits, a fanzine about female sound artists and composers.