Haus is two-part radio piece that began as an inquiry into Karen Werner’s family’s house on Novaragasse in Vienna’s second (Jewish) district. Three generations of her Jewish family lived in the house. Beginning in 1939, Nazis took over this house as a “Judenhaus,” (also known as “Sammelwohnungen”), forcibly moving other Jewish families into the apartments before sending them to concentration camps. 221 people were deported and killed from this building.
Karen’s surviving family members were prohibited from reclaiming or entering this home when they returned to Vienna post-war. While working on this sound piece, she unexpectedly gained access to the house and to her family’s actual apartment through a friend of a friend who lives in the building.
„HAUS“, Part I: „Covenant of the Tongue“ (18:00) weaves together responses to the question “What is a ghost?” with Karen chanting and permuting Hebrew letters from Sefer Yetzirah, an ancient Jewish mystical text about the power of the breath, letter and word to create the world.
„Haus, Teil 2: Zirkus“ (18:00 Uhr) refers to the house’s proximity to the circuses on nearby Zirkusgasse and in the Prater. Zirkus follows the performative structure of the old circuses, a sequence of spectacles and acts: an antenna “aerial” artist; a many-headed speaking choir; a telephone high wire act; a flea circus and a ghost castle. Artistic contributions from Reni Hofmuller, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Yuval Katz, Elisabeth Kelner, and Der Sprechchor led by Bruno Pisek.
„Strange Time (s)“ is an excerpt from Episode 5 of Strange Radio, a radio series about Holocaust postmemory in Vienna.
Time flows in many directions
Zen master Eihei Dogen; the touch of older skin.
Text comes from Dogen's "Uji: The Time-Being," translated by Dan Welch and Kazuaki Tanahashi.
Haus is part of Karen Werner’s seven-episode radio series called Strange Radio about Holocaust postmemory in Vienna.