alif::split in the wall

a musical exhibition space

Chiharu Shiota, Installation view „Concerto of Life“, part of the exhibition „Letters of Thanks” 2013, Museum of Art Kochi, Japan © Norihito Matsumoto

The concert “alif::split in the wall” was a musical experiment. The production featured a viewer-accessible performance space, a kind of living, musical organism, which incorporated the audience members. The performance itself was a combination of a concert, experiment music theatre production, art performance and club night. The project has used existing music composed by Samir Odeh-Tamimi and Stefan Goldmann, but also featured several new works specially composed for this production. Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s musical style is very distinctive and draws from a combination of West European avant-garde and Arabic musical tradition. Stefan Goldmann develops conceptual music based on forms and techniques used in house and techno music. The performances were based on a “musical matrix” developed by Jeremias Schwarzer, Samir Odeh-Tamimi and Stefan Goldmann. The matrix was comprised of structured time intervals, Arabic harmonics and rhythmic transformations. Compositions and improvisations were interwoven so that they mutually influenced one other. Where opposites clash – where continuum meets scandal, techno meets Western avant-garde, exhibition meets concert, and attention is directed within and without. The Zafraan Ensemble and the singer-performer Salome Kammer had created a several-hour-long performance which resided between these poles of perception. Stefan Goldmann was responsible for the live electronics, while concert designer Folkert Uhde was supervising the visuals and live camera direction. The title of the project refers to an ancient Sufi parable about a student who transcribes the letter Alif, the first letter of the alphabet, over and over again. The repetition of this familiar symbol cracks the wall, creating an opening into an alternate reality. The fabric of familiarity is torn and something completely different is allowed to gain unfettered access. The concerts have been performed at Radialsystem in Berlin, at the Hamburger Kunsthalle and other venues in selected cities throughout Europe.

Composition: Stefan Goldmann, Samir Odeh-Tamimi (premieres)
Vocals: Salome Kammer
Live electronics: Stefan Goldmann
Recorders, conductor: Jeremias Schwarzer
Zafraan Ensemble: Liam Mallett (flute), Miguel Pérez Iñesta (clarinet), Martin Posegga (saxophone), Florian Juncker (trombone), Anna Viechtl (harp), Daniel Eichholz (percussion), Clemens Hund-Göschel (piano), Emmanuelle Bernard (violin), Josa Gerhard (viola), Martin Smith (violoncello), Beltane Ruiz Molina (double bass)

Idea, artistic director: Jeremias Schwarzer
Concert idea, camera director: Folkert Uhde
Concert design, dramaturge: Ilka Seifert
Sound director: Daniel Weingarten
Lighting: Karel de Wit
Films: Andreas Höfer
Sound engineer: Carlo Grippa
Technical director: Carsten Stark
Production: Zafraan Ensemble, bastille musique / Sebastian Solte

A production by the Zafraan Ensemble in co-production with Radialsystem V, Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik – Festival für Zeitfragen and ION – Musica Sacra.


Zafraan Ensemble e.V.

Gustav-Adolf-Straße 146a
13086 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)