Sound Sarafi

Workshop, Intervention
Public Space, Berlin

- 2022

Sound Safari was first held in 2022 as a participatory public workshop on Martinstag, celebrated each year in Germany on 11th November. Traditionally, Martinstag is observed by creating homemade paper lanterns that house tealights and walking in procession through the neighbourhood at night. Though its historical context is Catholic, Martinstag for many Berliners is viewed in a more secular way and is often referred to as Laternenfest (Lantern Festival). It is a celebration of hope and generosity in hard times, represented by light in the darkness.

It is within this context - a context in which light is accepted as a metaphor for good - that we lent our ears and eyes to the city at night to become more aware of the presence and effects of urban street and commercial lighting. As a group, we explored the neighbourhood according to our desire to listen to and categorise different light sources. We learned about the effects of light pollution on human health, biodiversity, our urban environment, and changing climate, not to mention our ability to view the stars.

Though we, as humans, are sensitive to so much - spectrums of light perceived through the eye, sonic frequencies received by the eardrum, various forces felt and interpreted on the surface of the skin and throughout our fleshy bodies - there is also much of the natural and the digital that we cannot pick up on. There is so much information we cannot receive or translate. But by tuning our ears to subtle changes in sound that are imperceivable merely through sight, we can define and categorise light sonically. Instead of just seeing the light that brightens our cities at night, we can listen to it. In doing so, we are given the unique opportunity to become more aware of the presence of artificial light and the space that it occupies.

But as the hijackers of these invisible waves, we are also responsible for broadcasting the message.

So, what do you hear?

Photographer: Izzy Dempsey

This project has received funding from:
Neustart Kultur + Stiftung Kunstfonds

Thanks to:
Rob Atkinson
Nikolai Alber
Izzy Dempsey
Lukas Klee
Anette Krop-Benesch
Thomas Schielke
Karin Dörpmund
Etta Dannemann
Caius Reza & Noel Png