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hörraum projekt

march 2021 - ongoing

initiated by Laura Sophie Meyer, Matteo Zoccolo

hörraum is a collective and a space. The need for a common space in which to meet and communicate came from an imposed lockdown in Austria during winter 2021. We soon realized this space needed to be physical, and despite the strict regulations regarding the possibility of gathering in groups, we decided – yet always taking care of our and other people's health – to open our living room in Waltherstraße and start to organize small events such as jam sessions, dinners and parties. The room is arranged with a big cozy carpet, pillows, plants and a low warm light. Technical equipment was provided and freely accessible by everyone during the meetings – mixer, microphones, recorders, various musical instruments, a small FM radio transmitter, typewriters, DIA projectors, etc.
While new guests would come and leave the space every time, a rather stable group of 6 artists decided to meet every Friday night to talk about sound and listening, experiment with clay vessels, microphones, radio waves interferences, Deep Listening exercises and so on. The group also developed a practice of collective silence sessions, or kollektives Stimmversagen – consisting in sitting on the ground in a circle, agreeing on a time and staying in silence for that duration. Afterwards, papers and pens would be distributed giving the opportunity to write down or draw some thoughts, which are then randomly distributed and interpreted one after the other, speaking to a recorder / transmitting live on radio. This practice was experimented a number of times in groups up to 26 people.

the exploration dealt with:
contact microphones / bodies
electromagnetic exploration / electricity sources & cell phones global streaming Reveil 24+1 Hour Broadcast 2021
interaction / silent jamming with each other and the space
experimental exploration of the voice / ‘soundcarpet’
silent sessions and writings / drawings of individual perceptions & arising thoughts
pirate radio streaming performance
synchronicities / morning ritual

The core group is now meeting to write a new manifesto and continuing exploring listening practices. While the initial idea was to reject productivity, we are now deciding to engage in some initiatives in the direction of collaborative sound art. hörraum is also organizing an open archive and a performance / installation in the context of Acoustic Ecology theme week at Kunstuniversität Linz, in Fall 2021. Some of the current questions and interests are:
how to use artistic practices to get close to each other?
how to use sound and active listening to get to know each other?
what intimacy can sound transfer?
awareness of sound emitting in surroundings / making invisible visible / transcendence
are there possibilities of authentic reenactment and presentation? sound and text – ephemeral and permanent
synchronicities and similarities emerging and crossing in thoughts and drawings / action and ritual – where does it cross on mental / energetic / physical levels? (thoughts, feelings, actions, habits, memories, repetitions, metaphors and quantities in word, awareness)

manifesto [in progress]:
as a reaction to the separation / objectification / exploitation produced by the neoliberal capitalistic system and considering the current social discourses and global political situation, we now find energy and hope to participate with small but meaningful actions in a potential shift towards a culture of empathy. especially now, we realize the impossibility to sort out solutions and positive narratives as individuals, in a way that could have been possible during the years b.c. (before corona) – relations around us are our strength. starting from a critical position towards the art system and the glorification of creative individuals, we feel part of a growing voice speaking up for solidarity and practices of caring – with the wish of going towards more collective efforts and encouraging some sort of social healing. we are eager to leave behind concepts of authorship, artistic expression, recognition, evaluation, artistic masturbation and maybe art in general.

initial questions:
how can listening be used as a methodology / tool ?
how to work with people, and not work using people / because you need people / changing people / extracting from people / on behalf of people / for people?
are geometries of power really bad? or avoidable?
where is the border between questioning and changing, art and activism?
why do we still call it artwork if it just looks like people doing stuff together, and the artist is invisible?
how to counteract the commodification of participation?
how to create spaces for reflection? are those spaces physical? is the reflection mutual?
how can a space form an experience of togetherness?
do we really need a common aim and mutual learning?
how to cultivate collective rhythms and mutual learning?
how do we share responsibility in a group?
how to be inclusive without losing the feeling of common responsibility within a group?
how to transform and shift our paradigms in a group?
which words to use?
how to build a shared vocabulary?
how to be more together without feeling exhausted?
what do we want to be for each other? companions / members (of what?) / participants / encounter-parts / friends / …
how to realize if you are resonating with the other?
how to define an encounter?