Cemetery of Melodies Alive
steirischer herbst 21.09 – 15.10.2023
sound installation / sound piece
Anton Kats’s newly commissioned sound installation meditates on early memories entwined with politics and music. The soundtrackʼs associative, poetic narrative draws on past-life recollections of war and music heard during childhood in Kherson, in a neighbourhood inundated after the Kakhovka Dam was blown up by Russian troops and threatened by possible sabotage of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant not far upwind.
Kats’s central musical reference is Weather Report’s “Palladium,” a piece with cult status in the USSR, eponymous with the physical element that one day might make cold fusion possible.
Threading geo-political and historical coordinates through music and semi-fictional post-mortem narrative purposefully collapses linear understanding of time. Critically embracing transmigration as an operational mode, the Cemetery of Melodies Alive establishes a sonic memorial, moaning the consequences of war in Ukraine. The work alerts the listener of the imminent danger of the destruction of the ninth-largest nuclear power plant in the world and the largest one in Europe.
The three-channel sound installation explores the acoustic properties of the Doppler effect, revolving frequencies, waves, narratives and silences around the audience. An imaginative playground for ghosts and auditory hallucinations, the Cemetery of Melodies Alive prompts the audience to engage in critical practice after the breaking point.
The resilience of ghosts reminds the listener to re-silence towards certain music devoid of fixed meanings and solutions, with many melodies as means of breathing life into an ever-evolving political present.
Susanne Sachsee – Voice
Byron Kalomamas – Structural Design, 3D printing, visual rendering
Viktor Kurando – Mixing and Mastering
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ʼ23