Einander zuhören – Stadt-(Ge)Schichten

Listening to each other - Layers of narratives

Einander zuhören – Stadt-(Ge)Schichten is a project that invites artists, researchers and students to examin the relation between city residents and their urban environment. The ongoing project is being developed together with Goethe-Institut Athens and Fonés in in the frame of a locative media project with noTours and a sound cartography of Athens, creating interactive and site specific sound-narratives for a series of sound walks in the city.

Home > Project Blog > Talking with residents in Dresden

Talking with residents in Dresden

A hill with many stories - about the Hellersiedlung area

Monday 17 February 2014, by Geert Vermeire

During the aural exploration of Dresden by WIT Urban Team, there was a certain place on the city map that always drew our attention: ’Hellersiedlung. This site is located in the north-west of the city of Dresden, easy accessible. It kept attracting our curiosity because it had an unmistakable, special relationship with the city of Dresden. It turned out to be a very large site with public gardens. A living remnant of the past of this historic city.

When visiting the place we walked there almost completely alone. It had the character of a ’ghost town’. Most of the houses and gardens were deserted at that time, only Eastern decorations were a remaining witness of recent family meetings. On the outskirts of this site was a hill terrain with high trees. We met someone, a German of Hungarian descent, and we learned that the high hill was created by dumping of the debris of the bombed Dresden on 13 and 14 February 1945 by the Allies. The historic city center was almost completely destroyed. The mountain was an illusion of nature, where the remains of culture and history (and its tragedy), was silently stored together. A place where now a green world had taken over its place and where the past was covered up.

This story was confirmed by two other residents we spoke to. According to one of them, the place of this large allotment had as well been a transition camp during the war, where Jews were brought and transported to Auschwitz. Later, after the bombardment, the inhabitants of Dresden lived there because the city became ruin. Afterwards the place passed into the hands of Russians and the DDR army. Recently it became a Volksgarten, a people´s garden area, where at the moment about a 800 people live.

The video performance of WIT Urban Team, ’Listening City (II)’, is a reference to the past, of listening to the urban environment and the natural world, to a place full of twittering birds with their lively, sing, almost with a healing sound, in an utter silence. At the same time it is ‘a standing still’ because of the echo from the past that still speaks strongly through the collective memory. The memory of the city that is carried by its residents.