Oscillations. Cape Town – Berlin

  • Klangkunst / Sound Art
  • Installation / Ausstellung

Sonic Inquiries and Practices

Fri, 26.04.2024, 19:00 - Sun, 19.05.2024, 19:00 | Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg

Oscillations Workshop, CHR Capetown, September 2023, © Rui Assubuji
© Rui Assubuji, Oscillations Workshop, CHR Capetown, September 2023

Critical listening is the first step toward an ethics and aesthetics of care and freedom. Discarding listening habits and accepting new sound qualities afford access to other layers of history and experience. Artists from South Africa and Germany share their listening experiences in new sound works. They reveal fractures in South Africa’s post-apartheid society, offer modes of transformation and healing, and question the ownership of sound in a postcolonial transhemispheric frame of reference.

The title Oscillations refers, in the first instance, to the physical space in which vibrations develop, combine, and reverberate and in which we perceive them audibly. It also opens up a metaphorical space for translations, transmissions, vibrations and transformations as variations of a sonic engagement with the world, the environment and forms of cultural dialogue.

The project is driven by the desire to eliminate economic and cultural hegemonies and arrive at a deeper understanding of diversity without invoking stereotypical images. Sounds from familiar and unfamiliar environments are deconstructed and reconstructed, unfolding a wealth of meaning to listeners. Indigenous sound practices and spirituality are combined with the latest technologies and contemporary forms of artistic expression.

During a two-year process, the project partners – the Akademie der Künste, the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape and Deutschlandfunk Kultur – have created a space for exchange, artist residencies, collaboration, and the creation of new sound works. Seven artists were selected on the basis of an open call in southern Africa and, together with three “catalytic artists”, they form the project’s artistic team. Residencies in Berlin and Cape Town were set up to facilitate research, sound recordings and the development of project-specific technologies for the new works. Under the guidance of a steering committee drawn from the various institutions cooperating on the project, all the different components were calibrated and tuned to one another.

In September 2023, a four-day workshop – including presentations, performances, panels and lectures – was held at the newly opened Iyatsiba Lab, an artistic and scholarly laboratory in Cape Town’s Woodstock neighbourhood that forms part of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. The workshop was led and attended by the artists and researchers involved in the Oscillations project, participants from the university milieu and international guests, who came together to reflect on sound as movement and to listen to different acoustic practices. The project grew out of this intensive process of exchange.

The newly created sound works are now assembled in dialogue in the exhibition at the Akademie der Künste. In parallel, the research has given rise to radio productions broadcast on Deutschlandfunk Kultur. On the opening weekend, the installative works will be accompanied and augmented by performances, DJ sets, artist tours and talks.


    Muhammad Dawjee
    Garth Erasmus
    Zara Julius
    Nkosenathi Koela
    Christina Kubisch
    Mpho Molikeng
    Gabi Motuba
    Neo Muyanga
    Denise Onen
    Kirsten Reese


  • Fri, 26.04.2024, 19:00 - Sun, 19.05.2024, 19:00
  • Break:
  • Tue – Fri 2 – 7 pm
    Sat & Sun 11 am – 7 pm
    Free admission under 18 years, Tuesdays and every first Sunday of the month

Contact and funding

Oscillations ist ein Projekt der Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape (Kapstadt) und Deutschlandfunk Kultur / Klangkunst (Berlin)
Gefördert im Fonds TURN2 der Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.
Unterstützt durch DAAD Künste & Medien Programm, Kulturstiftung Schloss Wiepersdorf und National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)