CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Performance and temporary sound installation
Zeughausareal Zurich (Kasernenareal)
4 pm: performance / 11 am – 5 pm: sound installation

Changing of the Guard     
[to change: to pass from one state or form into another]
[guard: a group of people, who protect somebody/something]

OTO SOUND MUSEUM presents the first performative intervention at the Zeughausareal, one of the largest military areas built on Swiss territory in the second half of the 19th century, now awaiting re-functionalisation. Acting in the longitudinal space of the barracks lawn (Kasernenwiese) is the artist Rahel Kraft through the intervention Changing of the Guard, realised for the first time in direct relationship with the architecture and its history.
Changing of the Guard reflects themes of transformation, protection and care in the context of the historical elements of the barracks area in Zurich. Over the decades, hundreds of young men have passed through the armouries to become soldiers for a neutral state. The work takes as a point of departure a few intimate photographs taken in 1960 by the Zurich photographer Heinz Baumann, who captured the process of dressing up, and thus the transition to another function. These images reveal something caring, quite un-military, which did not take place in rank and file, but in the wood-panelled upper floors of the Arsenal.
This attitude of care, which is at odds with both the strict marching and drill routine, as well as the rigid, symmetrical architecture of the armoury, inspired the process of creating a site-reflective piece for two runners/drummers. The performative work combines physical intensity with rhythmic precision, training and sound to create a hyperactive physical drumbeat. At the same time, Changing of the Guard attempts to interrogate the dialectic played out between the search for and loss of control. Embodied physically and metaphorically in the corporal movement, this relationship of control raises a specific question about the future: What social changes of guard do we need today?
The sound installation accompanying the performance consists of two original guardhouses probably belonging to the previous century, found by the artist in an inaccessible part of the barracks during her research time in the area. These are temporarily and exceptionally transported outside and installed to resonate like bodies from 11 am to 5 pm on the day of the performance.

The intervention is curated by Zaira Oram [Francesca Ceccherini]

Performers: Alon Ben, Silvan Schmid (drumming/running)

bio

Born on Lake Constance in 1984, Rahel Kraft is a composer, artist and director who creates environments meticulously designed to provoke interactions, intersections and unexpected revelations within the realm of auditory encounters. At the crossroads of performance and participatory events, Kraft's work embraces interspecies kinship, anthropological inquiry and inner perception in relation to collectivity. Kraft regularly collaborates with numerous artists, designers and researchers, including Japanese artist Tomoko Hojo, German director Sylvie Kretschmar, Swiss designers Ortreport, and Italian based writer Sibylle Ciarloni. Her work has been shown most recently at Ocean Space Venice (2023), Komaki City Library (2022), Deutschlandfunk Kultur (2021), and Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (2020). Numerous grants and residencies also brought her to institutions like ZKM Karlsruhe, Cité des Arts Paris, Electronic Music Studio Stockholm, and Palazzo Trevisan Venice. Her compositions are published by platforms such as BBC Radio 3, Nonclassical UK, Dasa Tapes Greece, and Line Sound Art Editions L.A. Kraft lives and works in Basel after seven years of nomadic existence.

Alon Ben (*1998) is a musician and producer currently based in Elsass France. His musical Career started at age 11 where he joined Bands as a drummer and bassplayer. Between the age of 14 and 19 he was invited to join different youth programs at the local Musicschool, was accepted in Christian Muthspiels Youth Jazz orchestra and performed at Neue Musik Festival Rümlingen. Over the years he performed live with Adrian Sieber (Lovebugs), Benjamin Amaru, North Naim, Malummi, David Caspar, Haesin, Mastergrief, Iuri a.o. In 2023 Alon joined the Band Black Sea Dahu on Drums. 

Silvan Schmid is a drummer and mixing engineer from Lucerne, living in Basel. He is currently studying in the master's program „Producing/Performance“ at Jazzcampus Basel. As a drummer, he works with artists such as "Black Sea Dahu", "Solong", "STRUKTURSTRUKTUR". He also creates pieces for theatre, performance art and sound installations and works as a freelance live and studio engineer.

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