Wou d'Uelzecht - Esch // Soundwalk Esch/Alzette
Wou d’Uelzecht is an in-situ, psychogeographic, immersive sonic walk: in which participants explore the city centre of Esch-Alzette and its hidden river. It is created by Catherine Kontz and Sarah Grange in partnership with the CNA, United Instruments of Lucilin and the Administration de l’Eau, and with a specially commissioned map by local artist Ben Carter. This is a work in which the audience become active participants in the rediscovery of lost and hidden aspects of Esch and its surroundings. Following the course of the Alzette River (approx. 3km), a free, downloadable, 360˚ binaural audio experience transforms the route into a living theatrical backdrop for pre-recorded music and sound collages, as well as gentle invitations to participate in small performances which bring the landscape and history to life. Through these, participants (re)-discover local history, geography and infrastructure - finding traces of the river in the curves of streets, the names of roads and discover it flowing beneath their feet - having a new kind of conversation with Esch and each other. Audio material will consist of a combination of: newly composed music; new poetry and text; field recordings/found sound; material from the CNA archive recordings; conversations/interviews with locals; material co-created in workshops with local communities (Italian, Portuguese as well as working with a group of migrants and newer residents). Participants will follow a specially designed digital map as a guide and use their own mp3 player, smartphone or tablet to listen to the material with headphones at 15 designated places we call listening stations. Free and suitable for all, the duration of the sonic walk is approximately 1hr30 for 3km including 30-40 minutes of audio material for the 15 listening stations, 2 of which will be on the French side of the border. We will make sure the route is step-free and friendly for those using buggies or wheelchairs. The route also includes a short, free train ride from Audun-Le-Tiche to Esch-Alzette. The actual source of the Alzette is located at the Etang de l’Alzette, about 5 km from the nearest station, Audun-le-Tiche. While we feel that it would make the main walk too long and laborious for the general public, we want to include the spring in what will be 'Station 0' - an adventurous extension of the walk so that intrepid participants can walk the actual length of the river. Like an expansion pack to the primary walk, this optional extra will involve a 10 km round trip from Audun-Le-Tiche station to the Etang de l’Alzette with a substantial Bonus Track (to be played at the source) as well as a map extension, extra activities and other material. It would prolong the experience by about 2 hours on foot and 1 hour by bike (including the activities) for those who are up for it. Wou d’Uelzecht… asks participants to walk in the footsteps of others, to step back in time, to reminisce and remember, to create memories and form new connections in a treasure hunt that uncovers the area’s hidden stories and histories. Participants are actively engaged by following a map and instructions on where to walk and when to listen, as well as performing simple, interactive tasks that enhance the experience of learning through doing. We believe these ideas of shared space and experience, and of listening to the experiences of others, are at the heart of the European cultural community. Valuing what we have in common, as well as our diversity, and being present with - and for - one another.
Text provided by the project partner