The Młyn dzięków / Klangmühle / Sound Mill concert was the culmination of a two-year project called Ortsgespräche by the Goethe Institut in Warsaw for which Knut was the artistic director. Five German sound artists (including newly-naturalised Sarah) had been working throughout 2018 and 2019 in five medium sized Polish cities with Polish counterparts to produce workshops, events, concerts, talks and interventions in public space. These proceedings are documented and contextualised on a dedicated website and Facebook page.
For the final event of this project all the artists were brought together to inhabit a giant former industrial flour mill turned museum in the town of Dzierżoniów (where Sarah´s project in collaboration with Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Krytycznej had already taken place). The short video documentation above gives a glimpse of the varied mini-concerts which the audience encountered in various locations around the building. Due to the unusual cultural offer, brilliant organisation by the Goethe Institut team, and the previous project in the mill, a buzz developed around the event. We had to add a second run of the performance due to a stipulated maximum of 80 audience members per show, and both were sold out. Health and safety rules meant that everybody had to wear a hard hat, and the surprise final course of each show consisted of a buffet of sausages, pierogi, compote and beer. Needless to say everyone went home delighted, unfazed by the strange and at times hilarious music.
With the help of Udo Noll’s Radio Aporee the event was broadcast live on Resonance Extra in London, Soundart Radio in Dartington and WGXC in New York, reaching audiences around the globe. Below you can hear a recording of the first show in its entirety, and the edited individual performances from the second show.
Our contribution, besides being responsible for the overall dramaturgy of the whole show, was an atmospheric 10-minute live Hörspiel featuring childhood memories of Dzierżoniów resident – and leading light of the local pensioners club who had taken part in Sarah´s earlier project – Barbara Kuźmińska. This was profoundly moving for the audience as the stories ranged from listening in live with her father to Russian space mission communications on a domestic radio set, through to his role in aiding Jews fleeing the Nazis. She also read out parts of a poem sent to him in the 1920s, a precious document which she brought along.