2022 | sound installation on 8 speakers mixing with forest sounds | created during the artist residency Schiesslhaus AiR for the exhibition Baierway in Kollnburg, Bavaria.

I encountered the term “Heimat” almost daily in the Bavarian Forest. In the supermarket on packaging, on the bus, while hiking and, last but not least, at the numerous Heimat festivals in the region.
Homeland, according to my impression, means for the people here a feeling of connection with the place where they were born or grew up, the keeping alive of local traditions and a feeling of pride about how beautiful and how good we have it here.

The concept reaches its limits when it comes to defining who belongs to this homeland and who does not.
What criteria must be fulfilled for someone to call something “Heimat” and, conversely, for it to be perceived as such from the outside? The coincidence of birth? Long residence in this place? The appearance? The language?

For Rhapsody, I invited people from Kollnburg and the surrounding area, who explicitly do not fit into the local idea of Heimat, to perform melodies that are connected to their personal concept of Heimat. Not sung, but whistled. Incognito, one could say. The marker „language“ as an identification feature of a certain homeland is excluded. Instead, the whistling of the people blends into the sound tapestry of the Bavarian Forest. People and birds now whistle together. They form a sonic image of homeland, which is one big whole, but still has different voices.

No Nations! No borders!

The melodies were whistled by Faysal Bougherara, Zsuzsa Gyetvai, Sophie Innmann, Anas Kahal, Joe Krasean, Vojtěch Novák, Swiatoslaw Palamartschuk and Laetitia Striffling.

Foto & video: Vojtěch Novák