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Christophe Bruno (FR)
Erik Bünger (SE)
William S. Burroughs & Antony Balch (US)
Aslı Çavuşoğlu (TR)
Dortmunder Sprechchor (DE)
Jakup Ferri (KOS)
Jochen Gerz (DE)
Richard Grayson (UK)
Asta Gröting (DE)
Daniel Hofer (DE)
Anette Hoffmann / Andrea Bellu / Matei Bellu / Regina Sarreiter (DE)
International Institute of Political Murder (CH)
Ignas Krunglevicius (LT/NO)
Bruce Nauman (US)
Stefan Panhans (DE)
Julius Popp (DE)
Laure Prouvost (FR/UK)
Kathrin Resetarits (AT)
Peter Rose (US)
Manuel Saiz (ES)
Anri Sala (AL)
Richard Serra with Nancy Holt (US)
Katarina Zdjelar (SR/NL)
Artur Zmijewski (PL)

and others

Exhibition guide

Radio Broadcast

In the framework of the exhibition a radio broadcast will be produced (entitled „On the inauthenticity and uncanniness of Speaking“ by Inke Arns and Ingo Kottkamp) in cooperation with the feature department of Deutschlandradio Kultur (date of broadcast: May 15th, 2013).
Gestaltung: www.laborb.de // Foto © Daniel Hofer

HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language

Dortmunder U | 3rd Floor | 03/23/2013 - 07/28/2013

HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language is an exhibition on the performativity of voice and language, the inauthenticity and uncanniness of speaking, voice as a political speech act, and language as performative utterance.

We are acting through language – but how does language act through us? The exhibition HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language addresses the uncanny, irritating or comical moments produced by the human voice and language. This selection of performances, videos and web projects lets spectators experience the emotional, social and political potential of the voice. How is the voice connected to the body and identity of the individual? What happens when the spoken word detaches itself from the speaker, the text from its meaning, the sound from the image? What if the voice no longer belongs to the body from which it emanates? The artists in this exhibition listen to ventriloquists and voice-over artists as well as propagandists and preachers. They explore and re-enact historic and contemporary speech acts, probing the emotional and spiritual effect of the vocal power and word games, and playing with shifts of meaning and identity. While doing so, they also experiment with the various media used to record, reproduce or silence the voice.

Additional materials (books, film extracts, videos, quotations, etc.) addressing and commenting upon the notion of the performativity of the voice, speech and language will be shown alongside with the 28 works in the exhibition. These additional materials will be presented in six display cabinets.

On the occasion of the exhibition a German/English catalogue will be published dealing with the performativity of voice and language. With contributions by Inke Arns, Florian Cramer, Bojana Kunst, Liesbeth de Mol, Katarina Zdjelar and Fabian Saavedra-Lara, including a documentation of the works in the exhibition and the performances, as well as the additional display cabinet materials contextualising and commenting upon the topic of the exhibition. Design: Labor B.

Curated by Inke Arns

Opening: Friday 22 March 2013, 7 pm

Welcome addresses:
- Kurt Eichler, executive director of Kulturbetriebe der Stadt Dortmund and acting director of Dortmunder U
- Dr. Barbara Könches, director of the Department of Visual Arts, Kunststiftung NRW
- Dr. Inke Arns, exhibition curator and artistic director of HMKV

Generously supported by Kunststiftung NRW

Main funders of HMKV: Kulturbüro Stadt Dortmund, Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes NRW

Kindly supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pro Helvetia, Swiss Cultural Foundation, the Office for Visual Arts/Institut français in collaboration with the French Ministry for Culture and Communication/DGCA, and Deutschlandradio Kultur.

Media partners: ARTE Creative, de:bug, Ruhrgestalten

Read and hear what critics say about the show

Marie Lechner, "Dortmund, voix royale", LIBÉRATION, Paris, 13. Juni 2013, pp. 22-23

Markus Weckesser, "Der politische Sprechakt", in: taz, Berlin, 18 April 2013

Dorothea Breit, "Von Stimme und Sprache", in: WDR 3, Mosaik (radio), 28 March 2013

Peter Backof, "Emanzipation von Stimme und Sprache. Die Ausstellung His Master's Voice' im Dortmunder U", in: Deutschlandfunk Corso (radio), 26 March 2013


For press handouts and photos please visit our press section.

March 2013

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July 2013

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Exhibitions overview




Erik Bünger: The Empire Never Ended & The Third Man from Hartware MedienKunstVerein on Vimeo.

HMKV EVENTS // Erik Bünger: The Empire Never Ended & The Third Man

The Empire Never Ended is a transcription of a man speaking in tongues on a recording* from 1948. He is believed to be in a state of trance and his vocalizations haven't been recognized as belonging to any known human language. We know nothing about the mother tongue of the speaker, nor do we know anything about his particular faith. In a live performance the musician Jan-Filip Ťupa follows the voice as closely as possible. The piece operates at the intersection where complete control and complete lack of control coincide. The musician will have to summon all his precision and concentration. At the same time he will have to put these very same abilities in the hands of a power beyond any human control.

The Ensemble Never Ended was originally written for Ensemble Modern and commissioned by the BHF-Bank-Stiftung for Frankfurter Positionen 2013.

* The piece is based on the recording ‘Banta Trance Speech’ found on the CD release: “Occult Voices – Paranormal Music, Recordings of unseen Intelligences 1905-2007“ published by Thomas Knoefel und Andreas Fischer, Köln, 2007

Erik Bünger takes listeners on a journey through the world of film scores, during which the artist explores the ghost-like and infectious nature of film music and its influence on contemporary popular culture and the cultural psyche. The starting point is a childhood memory of his father playing the Harry Lime theme from The Third Man. After describing the scene, Bünger examines the influence of film music as evidenced in countless references in the history of film and popular culture. The scope of examples ranges from the music in George Romero's zombie classic Dawn of the Dead to the performance of the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music.
Videoproduction by Aischa Butt, David Figura (kulturfilm.eu)


HMKV VIDEO // His Master´s Voice

Picture Gallery