Songs from Me to You (2022)

“The task of listening presents itself also as an ethical orientation, towards knowledge as relationality.” - Rolando Vázquez

“Songs from Me to You” is a 40 minute experimental performance by Coila-Leah Enderstein. Through encounters with historical figures and with the help of particular instruments, the piece situates acoustic knowledge production within the frame of coloniality/modernity. With a focus on Germany’s imperial period from 1871 - 1918, the performance playfully works as something between a song cycle and a lecture, incorporating decolonial approaches to sound, listening and knowledge.

The piece focuses on Hermann von Helmholtz and Carl Stumpf, who were both based in Berlin for most of their careers. The performance brings the two scientists’ work about acoustic phenomena into relation with pianos situated in sites of epistemic and cultural significance in Berlin, and with a fateful event epitomising European imperialism in the late 19th century: the so-called “Berlin Conference.”

The performance premiered on 26 and 27 May 2022 as part of the UdK Sound Studies and Sonic Arts Master Exhibition at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. In 2023 it was presented at the Bowed Electrons Symposium (University of Cape Town) and Oscillations Workshop (University of the Western Cape Centre for Humanities Research in collaboration with Akademie der Künste). Reflective text available on request.