Antje Vowinckel – Tuning Butterflies


CD – Errant Bodies

For this sound project, Antje Vowinckel has carefully recorded many monologues and dialogues. These vocal expressions were partially reproduced by the author along with two experimental musicians, Marc Sabat and Serge Baghdassarians. The selected audio recordings immediately seem unique; the focus is narrations with unusual vocalizations in remote areas of Europe and United States, some dialectal expressions typical of the spaces they come from. The work investigates the unique and poetical characteristics of the voice. The approach is similar to the class of “design and relief” in architectural school, where the simple act of copying can produce a form of knowledge of the formal structures of the object of study. It’s not an accident that Vowinckel’s background deals with audio experimentation in the medium of radio. The attention the Berlin-based artist shows in his treatment of the voice gestures to his uncommon skill in capturing and replicating some undertones, where all the elements set up together to create little magics, moments of suspension and reprises, slight chains of sense, small textual and musical short circuits. The whole of the research is condensed into one track, around 30 minutes long, where the linguistic elements overlap with the musical ones, despite their relationship being very tight. The melodic nature of conversation is the center of the author’s investigation, a process of thought that automatically finds its expression in spoken language, as if to remind us that if language is a virus, it might have many trends and forms of diffusion. On the folded paper – an elegant salmon-pink paperboard with the rectangular form typical of Errant Bodies – Vowinckel writes: “yes, in our village we say butterfly, but in the next village, they say something else”. Vowinckel also underlines how “the melodies are only memories” and the listener might be in need of a precise context to fully activate their perception. And if “we only remember the eagle head, the drapery, the column, the song, the catchy tune”, the composer stands up there to indulge us, with no need of being meticulous.