Song Of The Germans - Lied der Deutschen

5 Channel Sound-Installation

Speakers, surround sound system, microphone stands




Exhibition view ZK/U, Berlin


Sound example Turkish
Sound example French
Sound example Chinese
Sound example Spanish
Sound example Polish


The music consists of the German national anthem, which, however, has been translated into the ten foreign languages most in use within Germany and sung by native speakers. The musical accompaniment is the constant.

Anthems serve as vehicles for allowing people within a locality to express their common identity. The singing of a national anthem in a foreign language is a symbolic political act. The absurdity of translating a national anthem breaks through the anthem’s innate mechanisms of exclusion.

Loudspeakers are mounted on microphone stands and arranged within the space. Each loudspeaker represents a recorded version of the anthem. While the playback is synchronized, the volume is kept so low that a simultaneous aural perception of all songs is impossible. The visitor has to pace across the room in order to be able to listen to the discrete vocal lines. The experience thereby evokes associations with the reception of foreign dignitaries by military honor guards. Passing from loudspeaker to loudspeaker, the various fragments that are heard fuse into a collective rendition of the German anthem.

Languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Russian, Greek, Chinese


Thanks to: Daphne, Dario, Deren, Martin, Mia, Tian, Viktor