The piece "Paradise lost" is about memories and their Utopian places. In the focus is the community of the Banat Swabians, an ethnic German group, which used to live in Romania close to the Hungarian border. The narrator tells about his childhood as a German in Romania during the Second World War. Although it is obvious, that this childhood has been lived in difficult circumstances, the very passionate way of speaking shows a kind of longing for this time, which is connected to infantile light-headedness and home. Paradise lost is a metaphor for childhood – a Utopia, which is positioned in the past. The audio installation is a composition of a fragmented interview, fieldrecordings, recitations of different poems (i.e. paradise lost by John Milton, read by Tom O’Bedlam) and alienated sequences of music. The audio is accompanied by a synchronized run of images and short video sequences. These pictures show different locations in today’s Romania, which complete the narrated content by visual associations.
25 years after the end of the Cold War, the political distance between Western Europe (e.g. Austria) and Eastern Europe (e.g. Romania) seems to be increasing again in many respects. But this distorts the fact that there is a lot of shared history, which already becomes evident when looking at the parallels between the cities of Vienna and Timisoara. For their piece "Utopia lives next door", the authors move through both cities, inspired by the situationist concept of psychogeographical examination of urban environments by means of "dérive" the deliberately drifting walk through a city. The starting point of the excursions are the quarters Innere Stadt and Josefstadt â€“ due to the shared history, both Vienna and Timisoara have districts with these names. From the field recordings thus collected, the authors compose the soundscape of a utopian city in which the difference between West and East has been erased. Woven into the composition are voice recordings from interviewees recalling instances of lived solidarity under difficult social and political circumstances in Vienna and Timisoara during different phases of the 20th century. Based on shared thematic motifs, the quotes are arranged into a quasi-dialogic relation to each other that offers a glimpse of the possibilities that were at hand, but were missed in the actual history of Austria and Romania. The speakers are Friederike Brenner (born in 1923 in Mödling near Vienna) and Johann Kassnel (born 1932 in Jahrmarkt near Timisoara).
Five young men, about 18 years old, escaped from violence and war to a place, where they hope to find their fortune. Now they are safe, but somehow they are lost children, longing for a place of identification and familiar warmth. This is a sound composition accompanied by a slide show. The basic materials are interviews with five refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gambia and Ethiopia, who talk about their dreams and longings.
This piece focuses on the issue of remembering as a narrative and emotional process. The person in the interview talks about a village, where he spent his childhood. In so doing a spatial connection between the present and the past is established. This is emotionally accessible. The synchronized run of the slideshow shows the remembered location in the present: a ghost-like place, which is only animated by the genuine voice.