The commencement of transmediale.10
will be announced by the resounding sound of pealing bells, rung by the pioneering musician Charlemagne Palestine. This extraordinary concert takes place at the Tiergarten carillon, next to the House of World Cultures. The Tiergarten carillon is one of the world's largest and most distinctive carillons, comprising 68 bells weighing a total of 48 tonnes. It is a striking modernist element of contemporary Berlin, and a unique auditory quirk in time, space and history.
The concert launches transmediale's exploration of futurity in a location inherently bound to the concept of time. Bell towers were, in the past, important tools to communicate events within daily life which marked the passing of time. Before the invention of the mechanic clock, it was the bells of church towers which manifested a concept of shared, public time, specifically the canonic time of the church, which varied by region and season. When the first mechanic clocks were invented, they were built into the towers of churches and town halls. In combination with the automatic chime, the mechanical clock and the bell tower became the heralds of a new conception of an invariable precise and linear time. This invention in many ways has to be seen as the starting point for the following acceleration in science, commerce and technology leading to industrialization and global communication. Thus there seems no better place to begin a festival examining futurity as a condition of contemporary technologised life, than a bell tower, that traditional demarcator of time.
Charlemagne Palestine was born in 1945 in New York and studied at New York University, Columbia University, Mannes College of Music and at the California Institute of the Arts. He is a professional cantor and one of the world's few contemporary carillonists. In the 1960s he worked as a bell ringer in St. Thomas' Church in New York, which is why his earliest compositions were created specifically for bells. "I lived near the bells, played them right next to my body. The sound became physical, visceral, each crack of the clapper was like a small earthquake", says Palestine.
The concert is the beginning of this year's series of concerts and performances, jointly programmed by transmediale and CTM > read more.
> See also > SPECTRAL CONTINUUM BERLIN 2010