On Alexanderplatz, in the centre of Berlin, stands the Haus der Statistik, a collection of concrete behemoths that used to house the Statistical Service of the GDR. After 10 years of vacancy, the total of approx. 110,000 m2 is now being redeveloped by a cooperative of city makers, cultural and social initiatives and the city administration, under the name ‘Modellproject Haus der Statistik’. Together with them and Tuned City Berlin, Soundtrackcity took the initiative to investigate how the sound of the city can be included in this urban redevelopement.
To make our research tangible and participatory, we converted Sonic West‘s listening object for Berlin and filled it with sound recordings of places around the Haus der Statistik. From 17 to 27 September, Michiel presented the object to the neighbourhood and various parties involved in urban planning. Under the name Sonic Aggregator, we kick-started our research with a programme of listening walks, presentations and discussions.
The highlight was undoubtedly 25 September when we presented the listening object in the middle of Alexanderplatz, while the Berlin Marathon for skaters passed by. For a short while, the square was free of cars and the serenity was only interrupted by the sound of hundreds of silicone wheels and clapping people. The ten-day presentation was a success; a total of approximately 520 people sat and listened in the Sonic Aggregator.