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BINAURAL DRAMA. Germany/Austria - Memory Garden

Production Company: Deutschlandfunk/Österreichischer Rundfunk. Producers: Sabine Kuechler (DLF), Elisabeth Zimmermann (ORF). Authors: Merzouga (Janko Hanushevsky & Eva Poepplein), Ilse Helbich. Directors & Composition: Merzouga (Janko Hanushevsky & Eva Poepplein). Sound engineer: Eva Poepplein. Cast: Dörte Lyssewski, Dorrit Bauerecker.


„Memory for me means proving to myself that I have a past. It's a vain attempt to reconstruct something that no longer exists.”

Ilse Helbich was 80 years old when she published her first book. Today she is 97 and still lives by herself in a large house, surrounded by a garden vibrating with the song of birds. In her books Helbich maps the territory of her childhood-memory in lyrically condensed images. She evokes a world still influenced by the turn of the century that disappeared after World War II. She calls this poetically transposed Vienna of her childhood Vineta.

In Merzouga’s binaural soundcomposition/radio play-hybrid, fragments of Ilse Helbich's memories resonate in a radiophonic sound garden. Echoes of a vanishing world are combined with contemporary sounds that reach way beyond nostalgia. After all, remembering always takes place in the present. Ilse Helbich participated in the project in an interview she gave Merzouga. Her lyrically condensed memories are juxtaposed with her 97-year old self reflecting on her present life.

„A sea of silence arches over Vineta, one that’s not even interrupted by the striking of individual sounds – not the rolling of the heavy wagon wheels over the cobblestones, not the squealing of the brakes of the tramway as it stops at the station, not the sound of the carpet beater from here and there, not the jingle of the hurdy-gurdy man either, Roses from the South, every Thursday at four o'clock in the afternoon in front of the ice cream shop. Sound, reverberation, echo.”

English text (click)