deutsche wohnen (what do divas sing) is a film opera about displacement, examining tensions between modernity and investment, Stalinallee and Hansaviertel, homelessness and the question of how we want to live.
"Every house is a diva!", claimed a brochure about the Hansaviertel published by the Berlin Senate in 1957. The district was built as West Berlin’s response to East Berlin’s Stalinallee - the present Karl-Marx-Allee - which was constructed after the war. Both of these urban planning concepts are characterized by the notion of "tabula rasa", the experience of destruction in the Second World War and the hope for a new beginning, the so-called zero hour. For Ulf Aminde and Christoph Grund there is no such thing as zero hour "1945", rather, the caesura was the deportation of the Jewish population from the neighborhoods. In their work, they focus on both the Hansaviertel and the Stalinallee, investigating and condensing the story, thereby drawing a line to the present day. In this manner, they link current discussions and debates about nationalism, racism and remembrance of Jewish life with the struggles for affordable rents on Karl-Marx-Allee and the question of expropriation of the housing company Deutsche Wohnen.
What can be heard when we listen to the sound of built, enlivened, dreamed and remembered spaces? This question was the starting point of Ulf Aminde’s and Christoph Grund’s collaboration with countless residents of the two districts. Which types of spatial production and use have been and will be implemented in the respective quarter and how can they be captured musically as well as performatively with their inhabitants, using a recording device and a camera? Texts were written based on interviews with residents and participants, that were later turned into librettos, chants and arias.
deutsche wohnen (what do divas sing) premièred as a musical and cinematic piece on September 14, 2019, in collaboration with groups and individuals from the Hansaviertel and the Karl-Marx-Allee. It was staged in the open-air inner courtyard of the shopping center at Hansaplatz. Projections onto the Baldessarigebäude as well as onto the walls in the courtyard were accompanied by a choir and musicians. In the performance, the different rhythms, temporalities and contexts were superimposed with real people, noises and actions on location. They updated the projections edited in the cutting room, and the music composed in the studio: the divas of the Hansaviertel began to sing.
from and with: Birthe Bendixen, Miriam Schickler, Marlies Pallenberg, Jonas Westergaard, Henry Grund, Sebastian Weise, the Resonanz Chor and many residents
with friendly support of the Studios für elektroakustische Musik / Akademie der Künste, Berlin