In the early 1960s a young Indian student comes to Darmstadt to do a PhD in physics. Cold War era – atomic physics is popular. It’s the time of post-colonial aspirations for sovereignty. And what’s going on in Darmstadt? After the atrocities of National Socialism there is an effort to regain face internationally. Experimentation with New Music is happening using technical equipment to generate sounds. How does this new electronic music sound in the ears of the Indian physicist?
In The Sound of Misunderstanding – Dhvanivala‘s Sonic Explorations, composer, theatre maker and conductor, Sandeep Bhagwati, is in search of the traces of this student. These instantly lead to the contradictions of that epoch – a conflict-ridden time, oversaturated with repulsive structures and energies. The young man returns to India as a doctor of physics, but also as a sound tinkerer, inspired by his experience in Darmstadt. To be able to live this plural identity requires several names. For Bollywood his name is Dhvanivala, the Sound Supplier.
Dhvanivala as a radio art piece was realized in 2015 for Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
Decolonial Frequencies is a series of events throughout the season 2021 / 22. More than 20 artists*, Black perspectives, queer approaches, Asian-diasporic settings, post-migrant traditions and voices of color, create their own acoustic spaces for six months with numerous performances, lectures and concerts – with critical amplitude, in dancing inherent vibration, in uncontrollable interference.
Sandeep Bhagwati (composer, conductor, and musician)
Premiere: 19 September 2021.