Childhood memories mapping of Weimar

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Sound Installation
in situ
Childhood memories mapping of Weimar is a project that glides to be constituted by some interviews to the inhabitants of the city of Weimar, in order to compile the recollections of the infancy and create a ”cartography“ of childhood memory.

The main focus of the project is to create a sonorous memory file only of the infancy period: It is  also a work and a model that shows how a mapping of memories can look.


° My name is ... and I am 46 years old and grew up in Weimar. The loud, aggressive mumble of the Soviet attack helicopter is actually the most dominant sound of my childhood in Weimar. We lived near the approach flight path of the Nora’s airport, the largest Soviet helicopter squadron that was stationed in the GDR. Nohra is a few minutes' flight from the former inner-German border therefore it was so loud. The noise of the helicopter ́s rotors was so loud that talks had to be aborted and the windows clinked in the flats. The television was no longer possible and also you could not hear the radio. The Russians were flying on Sundays and holidays during the night. They often came unexpectedly and abruptly, and just when nobody expects them, then they came flying. Due to the low altitude, the volume was unbearable. Especially our parents and grandparents were reminded of the war. The noise was overwhelming and threatening. It always made us very angry, because it impaired quality of our lives greatly. For us, this was a demonstration of power and strength, and was shown that the Germans lost the war. We were helpless and we could do nothing about it. We had to actually endure it. 


° My name is ... I am 46 years old and was born in Weimar. I remember, like many people who have grown up in the GDR, sirens howled every Wednesday at 13:00.
That was a sharp loud noise, a high-pitched and annoying. I think it lasted about half a minute. It was silent at first, became stronger, calmer and then again, louder. Sometimes, I was on my way home from school. Sometimes, I was still in school. It depended on how long I had school every day. This tone, this siren had the task to warn people of a danger. Today they are also used by the volunteer fire department in smaller towns and villages. Every Wednesday, the sirens were turned on in order to confirm if they were working. They wanted to know, they work technically flawless. I think these sirens also had a psychological ideological task. The population, the people in the East and in the West (in the west, there were also those sirens) to inform you that we live in a time of the Cold War. In the 80s, the nuclear missiles were stationed first in the west, the "Pershing" in the East were adapted by nuclear Soviet missiles and for the Germans, certainly this was a problem. Their land was equipped with the most dangerous weapons that exist in general, and of course there was a hand of government interest, the people is prepare for this upgrade, this deployment to take part or at least tacitly accepted what was happening around them.
These are my memories of a special sound from my childhood. I think there could be many other more telling about it. Especially the people who were tasked to check these sirens maybe and of course the war generation, who had many memories of sirens, because every time air raid was when the Allies came with their aircraft, the population was indeed warned. Today I still remember that sound, because you can hear it on the land or in smaller cities, as I have already said still. Every time when the members of the volunteer fire department be called to duty. Always when an accident happened on the road or when there is a fire somewhere.
*Pershing: medium-range ballistic missil


° I am 41 years old. My childhood memories of Weimar's been next to a church. I distinctly remember the bell of the church., As one of my recollection and the cooing of pigeons. There were many pigeons around on the street and in the attic. I have lived in the attic and another childhood noise is the old Trabant in the former GDR, but the noise is gone, yes.

° 44 years old, Weimar. The noise that I can remember, I heard every Wednesday 13:00 ó clock to 13:00 ó clock, because at this time the City fire fighters tested the siren, should be available in the event of the fire alarm and all in our age or in that time lived in the city in this land did know that, because the Nationwide was always Wednesdays 13:00 ó clock, once, and perhaps it could be heard one minute.

° My name is ... I am 50 years old and grew up in Weimar. I remember very well my childhood. Which was very nice. I grew up in a southern part of Weimar. Between the houses were many large gardens and our school was quite long. It went up to Upper Weimar and the home of our garden, where many dogs lived. So, I remember the sound of the dogs, balls, particular things, and many bird voices, lots of birds screeching all the way from home to the school. Well, that was about 20 minutes every day, which we had to walk, and you have so few cars or traffic heard, if not more experience nature. That is at least my memory that way.

° My name is ... I am 49 years old. The sound I've often heard as a child and I like to remember is the violin lessons and the auditions of violin playing at the Belvedere Castle. In my childhood in the 70s has there establish the music school. So, at that time a music school where children from all over the GDR learned an instrument, and when I walked there (I grew up in a village nearby, walked into Vollersroda and we are often on weekends there) I've always thought as a child, how nice it must be , if you can take violin lessons and can learn at this school. Later, as a teacher in 1988 I have also applied for a job as a teacher. Unfortunately the place had just occupied. The tone I remember, I still like it.

The work started with the drawing of the map on an area of 2,35 x 2.18 meters. The map shows almost the entire area of Weimar, and with the use of different colours, it is possible to identify the places where the owners of the sonic-memories located them.
Until now the map shows seven different colours, meaning that the map represents seven different memories. From each of one colours hangs headphones, where it is possible to hear the owner of each memory describe it in German.

Next to the map is a pedestal where people can find transcriptions of the memories in English, to make the audio accessible to a larger audience.

The last layer of the map shows a series of cables that represent the associations between memories. In order to visualize it, I used a tool development for the Turkish artist Burak Arikan, especially created for mapping relations. The results is a kind of spider web that is possible to see on-line:

Once that I made this web, I translated it to the physical map. That is why the cables travel in and out of each area of color.