Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof is excited to host Chant du Nix, Michaela Melián’s concertante
spatial installation for a loudspeaker audience. Michaela Melián (born 1956, based in Hamburg
and Munich) combines visual art, music, and pop culture in her works, producing both for
classical exhibition spaces and for radio space as public space.
Via prepared public address loudspeakers typically used in places like railway stations, the
sounds and voices contained in her audio tracks wander through the (Kunstverein’s) space,
setting it and the loudspeaker audience in motion. The early days of radio in the Weimar Republic
and the resulting separation into serious and light music, the development of various signature
musical themes based on well-known original melodies, and the accompanying – and still
current – media debates form the basis for the installation-based listening and discursive space
developed by Melián in Chant du Nix.
The projection of a shell drawing traces the concrete space of the waiting room while at the same
time promising an opportunity to hear the world and the sensual experience of something not
visually perceptible. Repeatedly over the course of the roughly one-hour audio track, a voice
refers to the auspicious listening space that emerges when a shell is held to the ear.
The Bahnhof connects up with this narration. It is a public space with a diverse but not
necessarily focused audience; it promises contact with the world. Like radio – both being
comparatively old but still important technologies – its rhythm and structure allow us to
continue experiencing mechanization and the resulting modification of public space. They mark
the disembodiment of voice and hearing; the transportation from one context into another. The
“unbodied humming” that is likewise part of the soundtrack does not remain disembodied but
rather forms another body, shaped by (sonic) waves, movements, and anonymous collectivity.
How should radio handle this space and the bodies being addressed? Should it educate?
Entertain? What kinds of impacts develop in this public space in which everyone can participate?
These are questions that were posed by participants in an intense media debate from a century
ago and are still asked of us today.
“Chant du Nix” connects diverse space and time levels and creates a mechanized as well as
sensual structure. The performances with Elen Haruyunyan (Viola), Ruth My (Violin) and Michaela
Melián on 06 November at 7pm and 08 November 5pm the combinatory motion of waves of the
concertant spatial installation is changing once again. The experience of the concert and of the
speakers, the original melodies and their simplified adaptations within the signature themes on
the radio are changing, actualizing and forming a collective, cultural memory.
Performances (with Elen Harutyunyan, Ruth May and Michaela Melián)
Friday, 6 November / 7 pm
Sunday, 8 November / 5pm
Concept & Composition: Michaela Melián
Violin: Ruth May
Viola: Elen Harutyunyan
Music production: Felix Raeithel
Technical production: Jürgen Galli
„Chant du Nix“ was produced for Kölner Kongress by Deutschlandfunk and broadcasted live on 15
March 2019 from Kammermusiksaal.
Michaela Melián is a visual artist, musician and founding member of music band F.S.K. Since 2010 she is a professor of Time-based Media at HFBK Hamburg. Her work has been recently shown at Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, NS-Dokumentationszentrum, Munich, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Kunsthalle Mannheim and the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe. Her radio plays are being broadcasted by Bayrischer Rundfunk and Deutschlandfunk. In 2018 Melián was recipient of the prestigious Edwin-Scharff-Preis der Freien und Hansestadt Stadt Hamburg.