For 13,000 years, Lake Neusiedl has regularly fluctuated between deep flooding and complete desiccation. Increasingly frequent heat waves in summer often cause the water level of the steppe lake to drop deeply. In July 2022, the water level was lower than at any time since 1965.

At the beginning of the project’s research phase, the artists Conny Zenk, Eva-Maria Schaller, and Marco Döttlinger, developed questions connected to the region of Lake Neusiedl, in particular, Podersdorf am See, a rural area situated in Burgenland (AT). Setting up a participatory sound installation that invited local residents to join in, they collected stories, sounds, impressions, and experiences that initiated a process of translating narratives into various forms of artistic processes. Focusing on the central topic of translation as a pivotal phenomenon for their own collaborative practice, the artists analyzed the sounds and synthesized fragments of rhythms as well as speech melodies of recorded voices in order to superimpose and elaborate on these sounds created in real-time. Progressively shifting their focus of the work from the idea of interviewing people to interviewing the space and even the natural elements around them such as water or bodies, they designed this experimental film as an ever-changing conversation in the image of a transformative landscape made of sound, video, and the landscape itself. The film is devised as hybrid multimedia work.

What does the landscape around Lake Neusiedl sound like? What changes within the last years or decades can you remember? The acoustic feel, the soundscape that surrounds us, is also always an indicator of the state of a system.

Experimental Documentation
Memories of a Vanishing Lake
production year: 2022
length: 10:57 min
Digital, 16:9 – 4k / HD, 1920 x 1080px / 3840 x 2160 px

Regie & Animation: Conny Zenk
Sound & Sonification: Marco Döttlinger
Camera: Ioana Tarchila
Research: Conny Zenk, Marco Döttlinger, Eva-Maria Schaller