2013, Thu, Oct 24 — 2013, Sun, Oct 27


Acoustically and visually striking dances of the Mafia and the musical quintessence of evil are presented here. The public is invited to experience for itself how music can be used as a weapon, punishment, and means of enforcing order.


Documentation by Anke Eckardt (2013)

The effect of ultrasonic loudspeakers in public space is documented using a collection of YouTube videos, with a smaller, lower-power model being deployed at HKW. The technology behind the hypersonic speakers was originally developed by the American military for purposes of psychological warfare. The Washington Times quotes a police officer as saying, “It is designed to get people to do what police want.”


Sound installation by Anke Eckardt (2013)

“What was it? A meteorite? A visitation from outer space? We sent in troops. None returned...” (from “Stalker” by Andrei Tarkovsky). In a dramatic parallel to the film, the Chernobyl disaster led to the depopulation of its entire surrounding area, the “Zone of Alienation.” Here at HKW, a sonic beam wandering through the space creates an alien auditory “zone” that invites exploration. At once “old school” and science fiction, a parabolic dish reminiscent of a radar unit is transformed from a “listening ear” to a reflector, to a voice.

V FOR VILLAINS by Branded To Kill

An audiovisual staging of the cinematic rogue logos

Villains, scoundrels, and killers don’t draw attention only by their looks, but also by killer tonal motifs that grab the ear. Catchy, recognizable, unforgettable, and usually too cool for the good guys – they’re the audible essence of evil. Branded to Kill includes: Georg Spehr, independent sound director and sound designer, associate professor in the master’s degree program in Sound Studies at Berlin University of the Arts; and Max Schneider, sound designer and artist, head of the sound art section of the audiovisual lab at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig.

The Culture of Violence

Works on the ’Ndrangheta by Francesco Sbano

Francesco Sbano’s multimedia documentary works investigate the Mafia as a social phenomenon. They show the baptism of the fiori, the newest members of the Honorable Society; the latitanti hiding in the mountains; general meetings of the ’Ndrangheta; the annual procession to honor the Madonna of Polsi, where the leadership presumably also meets to consult; and the tarantella dance, commanded by the local Mafia capi.

Music as Punishment

Sound installations

Playlists aren’t always put together with benign intentions. To find out how it feels when common genres like rock, pop, and classical music are used to punish or even torture, step into the three cells and experience these authentic historical, hostile musical sequences.

Cell 1 - Scenario: Panama City, December 1989/January 1990

After the invasion by US troops, Panamanian governor Manuel Noriega, suspected of involvement in organized crime, sought refuge at the Papal Nunciature. For days, US marines subjected him to rock music. He surrendered on January 3, 1990.

Cell 2 - Scenario: Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Camp Delta, sometime between 2002 and today

Prisoners are subjected to American rock and pop music, which is intended to inflict pain and/or humiliation through its content or high volume.

Cell 3 - Scenario: Hamburg, Main Railway Station, sometime between 2000 and today

Since 2000, classical music has been played at Hamburg’s central station, ostensibly with the effect of driving away drug addicts, homeless people, and petty criminals.