Part of the group exhibition Kollaborativ Denken und Handeln
Christine Katscher / Pirmin Hagen / Severin Hagen /Sandra Rau / Patrick Steffen
Haus zur Glocke, Steckborn CH (2020)
Åletanken (Danish: 'The Eel Tank') is a sound installation and performance whose core is three sound pieces playing from mobile sculptures in the shape of backpacks.
The piece is a web of translation acts based on a text written years ago in an attempt to encapsulate (and preserve) scattered childhood memories from encounters with a former milk tank used for keeping eels in Svaneborg's grandparent's barn. The text was fed into a 'text to speech reader' program upon entering "wrong" language settings, in order to subsequently learn to imitate the computer-generated and linguistically falsified audio pieces and finally re-record them.
The childhood memory – in itself distorted, incomplete, fragmentary, difficult to grasp – is linguistisized, then "translated" by means of a program - not by imitating the content, but only the form and tongue of the foreign language, to again be re-appropriated by the artist.
An exercise in staying in the middle of the translating act is orchestrated. In the space that exists while meaning is transferred from one expression or awareness to another - and exploring what happens here.
Telling stories about memories that change and are partly destroyed when we formulate them, at the same time as the language that is available to us is decisive for what we are able to think (and thus remember). About the loneliness of being alone with one's mother tongue and cultural references in a new homeland.
The three parts of the sound piece are heard together when the sculptures stand still. Åletanken captures a space between linguistic frequencies, pauses in the ghostly experience of not knowing which language to listen on, and giggles discretely over the collection of throat sounds to which we teach each other to attach meaning.
As a performance, the backpacks and the associated soundtracks move around the exhibition space / exhibition area, intertwine with the sounds of the audience and thereby add an extra dimension of mobility and polyphony to the work.