NADA - an Experience in Sound

Westerkamp ( Hildegard Westerkamp )
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[ private ] 
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Mati Ghar, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Janpath, New Delhi, India
December 10-25, 1998

"Nada is a sound installation about listening. It wants to open our ears and provide a time and place to explore a most essential aspect of our lives - sound. It is a listening journey from noise to silence, from the external to the internal, from acoustic onslaught to acoustic subtlety, from worldly to sacred sound experiences. The installation challenges ingrained listening habits, numbed ears, hurried behaviour. As one moves through the installation certain questions become inevitable: What kind of listeners, what kind of soundmakers are we? How is it possible that our urban soundscapes assault our ears and bodies and intrude into our innermost space of silence. How could we let this happen?

Nada invites us to grapple with these questions. At the same time, it is a journey to discover listening itself, to allow our inner being to be touched through the act of listening. It is a safe place where all sounds can be invited into open ears, where ears can be curious, where they can search and discover.

The seed for this installation was planted in 1992 when I was invited by Max Mueller Bhavan (the German Goethe Institut) in Delhi to conduct a soundscape workshop. Two young architect students, Savinder Anand and Mona Madan, were among the 15 or so participants. Four years later - by this time they had established their own architecture business, had participated in a few more soundscape workshops, and had done much of their own reading and research - they decided that some action regarding soundscape activities in India was long overdue. They came up with the idea for Nada.I was invited to collaborate on the project as composer/sound designer. Veena Sharma, also a participant in the 1992 workshop, contributed to the installation with her deep knowledge about sound and the sacred. Financial support for the project came from Max Mueller Bhavan in Delhi, and the building - the Mati Ghar (the mud house) - was made available by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts..." 
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