Roberta Busechian / Christoph Szalay

Was von uns geblieben ist…eine helle stelle?
8′:22” – 2015


How did you start working with sound, and what are your references and inspirations?

I’ve started working with sound 6 years ago, during my BA at IUAV University in Venice. At the time we have had some seminars about architecture and about history of music. I was particulary interested in some experimental music pieces, like compositions by Luigi Nono, Karlienz Stockhausen and Berio that were strong in relation with the space where they are presented. The idea of a space that is manipulating and changing written music was a process that I wanted to experiment by myself.  I was never a musician, i rather prefer to use my manuality to work with  spatial installations. But at that time I was even more interested in research of sound (recorded sound an voice), because I’ve started to think about the acustic material as sculptural mass, walking in the city by night and recording all the aural microspaces sedimented in the everyday reality. The performative action of walking and recording comes also from my fascination for the idea of walking by Henry Thoreau, walking as a distance to the society but at the same time a look on it with a distanced eye. Later, I’ve organized a concert of experimental music with students from the Music Accademy in Venice (Conservatorio). They were playing  an experimental partiture, and at the same time non musical sounds were in the space, produced by performers. When I listened to the recording of the concert I understood that the sound file was speaking more as the entire (performative)situation I’ve created. From that time I’m creating situations to present a sound research or audiotrack, and leave the sound in the space, to be alive

In what contexts would you situate your artistic research, and in what situations do you present your works?

I’m presenting myself as a sound and visual artist, I’m not working with image and sound together but I have two different approaches. The visual work is more related to maps and grafical presentation of the reality.  I’m working with recorded sound, that I take from a situation, and I literally use it to speak and present another situation, another theme. It’s like playng with the listening activities in the space (public and private), and than, through acustic elements of the sound installation  I activate feelings and thoughts related to history, tradition or everyday situations. I have to say that my collaboration with a music therapist was very important to understand some subconscious effects of determinate sounds.
I’m also doing some research in the area of sound art, that means that I’m developing a theory about the evolution of the sound art practice, and developing a teaching unit about sound installation practice through workshops and conferences. For me is a kind of artistic research about “sound art archeology”
My works are presented in different ways, sometimes it is a publication, like an artist book (as Bunker in den Dolomiten: Ihre Reaktivierung als Partitur, a visual partiture that presents the history of a Bunker of the II WW), sometimes it is a sound installation, sometimes it is a radio-piece. I care more to present the works in the right situation, at the right time, to be sure that the message will be recognisable.

Could you say something about Was von uns geblieben ist…eine helle stelle? (2015), the work you realized in collaboration with Christoph Szalay that you will present during Helicotrema 2016?

Was von uns geblieben ist…eine helle stelle? is an experimental sound poetry and soundscape project. Both the two elements, written word and soundscape impressions were changing each other: the poet (Christoph Szalay)was listening to the composed field recordings and at the same time writing the text he found in the city of Venice  (on the walls, along the streets, on the posters, between the inhabitants) producing a poetry. The final audiotrack analyses empty places leaved by people in the urban sphere and it is a mixture between soundscape and words generated and recorded in the city.  All this empty spaces were collected as memories, and at the same time they are an analysis about the origins of the poetry language. This work is also a research about the meaning of the place and it’s texts, following the ideas of Michel Butor in “Die Stadt als Text” (The city as a text), Michel Butor: Die Stadt als Text. Graz, Wien: Droschl 1992,  where the city could be readed as a text, with it’s forms and rules.


The work was presented in Berlin, at “Literaturwerkstatt” and in Weimar at the Gallery “Iconotop”.