Sunday, 19. November 2006, 23:05. - 23:45, Ö1


Soundalook Slang / Feif 2005

by Jens Döring and Caroline Hofer


Soundalook Slang

music & production: Jens Döring
voice & text: Caroline Hofer

Basing on notes she has made about her own linguistic behaviour, and what theory has to say about communication, Charlotte Bauer, a character designed by Caroline Hofer, speaks messages onto her answering machine until there is no more memory space left. Doing this, she questions what communication actually means – or can mean, opposing traditional face-to-face communication to new, digital possibilities, and ponders on success and failure, on the sense and pointlessness of communication.

Charlotte confronts her own thoughts with doctrines that are supposed to support her assumptions: bits and pieces of knowledge and information from linguistic and communication theories rendered in an amateurish way that Charlotte has found in scientific papers, articles and books, as well as on the Internet. Among others, one can find technical terms used in linguistic theory; for instance, the title of the radio piece „soundalook slang“ is a variation of „soundalike slang“, a term used on the Net, that describes the minimal phonetical modification of a word, thus giving it a semantic turn that results in a reinterpretation of the word. Usually, these variations are puns and parodies of the original terms, e.g. „Windows“ is converted to windoof only by a slight modification of the final syllable.

However, her attempt to support and legitimate her amateurish knowledge by means of scientific texts and theories fails as it doesn’t help her to get rid of her principle doubts on communication.

Besides Charlotte’s incessant theoretical (self-)questioning, the act of talking, language, intonation, as well as the musical characteristics and possibilities of languages are subject to the messages left on answering machine. Recordings of phone calls via VoIP (Skype) to the landline are meant to intensify the authenticity of the plot. The sound of the messages on the answering machine is fortified by sounds from call centres.

Jens Döring picks up speech rhythm and intonation and transfers them to the musical score which Charlotte is listening to while she makes her calls. Now and then, the connection is truncated, and she has to start over and again.


Feif 2005

production: Jens Döring
text & voice: Caroline Hofer
voice: Max Czerwenka-Wenkstetten

"Feif" is the radiophonic result of a sound installation that, like the piece „3Mal5Minuten“ presented by Kunstradio in 2005, is based on a random game: Jens Döring conceived a programme that randomly mixes elements of language, ambient, atmospheric sounds, and structures forming a radio piece. For „Feif“, the „language“ folder contains German, French, and English sentences that are mainly based on the peculiar grammatics of the aged Jedi Master Yoda from „Star Wars“, also known as Yoda’s Speech which, alone due to Yoda’s extraordinary, somewhat twisted word order (object – subject – predicate) has become part of the collective memory of the generation which grew up in the seventies and eighties.