About Hannah Weinberger, somewhere on the internet, it says:
"mmmhmm, jaahh, brrrr, au au
The capitalization has been adopted, the punctuation as well, but that doesn't really matter. Sounds are happening here. It's not about writing.
This text from the Internet sums it up quite well. First of all, the work of Hannah Weinberger, and second, the difficulty of conveying this work to a wider audience. Especially to convey it in writing. Weinberger makes art with sounds; not music in the conventional sense, but sound installations.
How do you write about something you can only hear?
Of course, you can write about secondary sensations, the visible structure of an installation, the idea behind it, the intention (if there is one) or the "message" (art with a "message" is difficult, by the way, but so is art without one). But even less than with painting, sculptures or installations, does de-scribing do justice to the sounds, noises and whole "sound-worlds" (a bad word) it tries to grasp.
"mmmhmm, jaahh, brrrr, au au
Once Weinberger played the big organ in a church in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. A machine was lying on the keys, there is a video of it on the Internet, and this machine then pressed the keys according to a pattern that an artificial intelligence continuously thought up. The idea behind it: Weinberger countered the sometimes somewhat automated-sounding mechanics of hymns with actual automation, a machine intelligence. To emphasize, with a paradoxical intervention, the human element of music.
(Is that how you get out of it? Is that enough of a description? What is left to say: space and sound always belong together in her work. Two parts of a whole. // One would really have liked to hear it in this church in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. Or in the courtyard of the museum in Lyon).
There, at the Biennale, Weinberger installed loudspeakers in the courtyard of the historical museum, on which current radio programs from all the former colonies of France randomly played. The director of the museum wasn't really happy with the installation, she says. All those groups of tourists being inundated with noise and the not-so-subtle connection with France's colonial past.
Sounds can also be unsettling.
Is that political? Yes and no. She doesn't seek out the political, but she doesn't hide from it either. She explains it this way: preserving one's integrity is in itself a political act. She wouldn't participate in something like Desert X, a huge art exhibition in Saudi Arabia, for example. "How is that going to work if underpaid women in hijabs have to set up my installation?"
Of course, she says, it's a constant negotiation, a moral gauging. It helps that she is financially independent. Weinberger teaches at the Basel School of Art and Design. The steady income (earned, it should be noted, in her core field) gives her "extreme freedom" in her artistic decisions.
She does what she likes. What she feels like. What comes to her mind. She works an insane amount. She used to do 30 exhibitions a year. Just try to imagine that!
Today they are fewer with projects chosen more carefully. And now and again she still makes huge resonating bodies out of stones, an idea from earlier times, extremely fascinating in its description. She hollows out huge boulders, wires them up to an HD recorder and then: they start to resound!
Brrrrr. Uuuuuu. Mmmmmm.
One can try to imagine it. Can you?