SHORT ESSAY ON THE MASTER SOUNDS

by the Bauhaus Modulators, Weimar 2009.

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“Modernism has been read and looked at in detail but rarely heard. The historiographic interruption of the sound is due in part to technical difficulties. Sound inhabits its own time and dissipates quickly.” * However since aurality has been shifted through time since the development of technology, soundscape can be captured and transferred, becoming another medium to manipulate as any other material. Sound in domestic environment comes from everyday gestures on objects that are the result of living.

…the organism of a house evolves from the course of events that have predated it. In a house it is the functions of living, sleeping, bathing, cooking, eating that inevitably give the whole design of the house its form… the design is not there for its own sake, it arises alone from the nature of the building, from the function it should fulfil.

– Walter Gropius, 1930

The Masters of the Bauhaus wanted their achievements and the quality of life that they struggled to design to become the everyday. Their ideals became a constant and succeeded to prevail as a new approach in production and ways of living, however these original products played against their will and became luxurious objects and inaccessible to broader public as well as their own houses did.

Entering the Houses of the Professors of the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, we experience the household environment as a museum. The uniqueness of these houses comes from the notion that we have about the grandeur of their owners and therefore all the objects within them acquire the same flair. But as soon as one interacts with the environment, the door handles, the light switches, the windows etc. it is clear that this place still is a home and that the sounds within it are unchanged in time. The sonic routine of the everyday we do not usually notice, defines the identity of the house. Repetition in household actions produces sounds that create a particular song with specific sound colourswhich signifies that certain space including the habits of its inhabitants. The sounds here is the space and the inhabitants. People tend to worship other human being at a point that it becomes abstract and absurd. Footsteps, clicks, birds, water running down the drain, bits and pieces from the everyday life of these grand painters take up sacred characteristics and become isolated fragments for worshiping and relating to. The soundtrack with the samples from the Master Houses is a sonic proof of their standards of living.

Master Sounds is a cd release that includes 15 samples from the four houses of Kandinsky, Feininger, Muche, Schlemmer and a two minute and 38 seconds field recording of the ruins of Moholy Nagy ‘s house. All these sounds, while they are being recorded, they are naturally amplified by the emptiness of the rooms. The room becomes the resonator or a sound box. Therefore the container of this compilation, the case of this cd is a room where the cd could be fixed on a wall. The cd was produced in 50 copies from the Bauhaus Modulators, a collaboration between Grace Bayer and Thalia Raftopoulou.

*Khan, Douglas, Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999)


BACK TO THE TALKING

BACK TO PROJECTS

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