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Achim Lengerer, Public Rehearsals for a Soundtrack


In his artistic practice, Achim Lengerer explores the various mechanisms and effects of language and text. In addition to performances, installations and publications, his modes of expression also include workshops, performative lectures and public events. He runs Scriptings, a publishing house and exhibition space in Berlin, and is currently working on a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London on the format of the collective rehearsal as an artistic and political model for potential spaces of social negotiation.

Lengerer’s engagement with the French social worker, writer and filmmaker Fernand Deligny (1913–96) forms the starting point for the project, which is a coproduction between Kolumba (Cologne), the Westdeutscher Rundfunk music studio and FLACC. In the 1940s Deligny began working with children as a social worker. From the very beginning, his work was complemented by his writing: “Le moindre geste a une histoire” / “The smallest gesture has a story,” he wrote in the first sentence of his November 1966 article Journal d’un éducateur / Diary of an Educator. In the course of the 1960s, Deligny increasingly withdrew from institutional contexts. Together with a group of young adults he founded a community in the south of France in order to live with children labeled by psychiatrists as “autistic”. In his work as a pedagogue, he aimed not to educate or heal the children entrusted to his care, but rather to enable them to create an environment and an arena for their own unique ways of utilizing space and time. Over the decades, a number of documentary films with accompanying texts were produced (such as Le Moindre Geste, 1962–71, and Ce gamin, là, 1975, dir. Renaud Victor) as well as writings on the cinematographic image (Camérer, 1983, and Ce qui ne se voit pas, 1990). His ideas about film emerge in the way the sound track is employed in Ce gamin, là. Deligny uses the film’s voice-over as a literary narrative voice cautiously placed in a parallel relationship with the filmic image: a sound track which is laid “alongside” the picture track, and which expresses itself in a fragile balance with the children’s NOT SPEAKING. Achim Lengerer’s approach to Fernand Deligny’s thinking takes place “inside and outside language.”

Using motifs and elements from the archive of Deligny, Lengerer organizes a number of workshops in collaboration with FLACC in which Deligny's "hors langage" thinking (outside of language) is explored. The workshops function as a laboratory for social relations: artistic action and negotiation strategies are integrated into a contemporary socio-therapeutic practice. The exhibition at Kolumba, the workshops and the radio play with the WDR culminate in a publication. This project is realized in collaboration with Autisme Limburg and Bethanïe.

Achim Lengerer

Public Rehearsals for a Soundtrack

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