Project ‘The border Maas tells’

The landscape: a unique painting

A landscape is just like a canvas on which multiple ‘painters’ have worked. It bears the signature of time in which the fauna and flora have supplied the soil with a coat, geological history created hills and river valleys and man applied many beautifications but also scars. Getting to know how to capture the nature of a specific landscape in a sound image and to explore what components it comprises, constitutes the challenge of this project. The unique format of ‘The border Maas tells’, which unfolds both in time and in space, encourages the audience to experience Limburg and the Euregion with other ears and eyes. Carefully chosen sites do not only function as a scenery, but also as a source of inspiration.

A group of international composers and sound artists as well as visual artists, poets and theatre makers are assigned to be guided by the inspiration of the landscape. Through a process of co creation they establish a dialogue with experts who know the region through and through. You can think of a biologist, a physicist, a physical scientist, a local historian, a military, a sociologist ….. They set up a new personal concept and launch it as a part of the lanscape opera, whereas an artistic key team gards the completeness and coherence between the contributions and unites them into a great entity. The series of interventions, performances, walks, concerts and installations, which are mutually and poetically connected, complete an alternative tour of the landscape that the audience experiences. The ultimate goal of this drift consists of acquiring a completetely new and authentic experience made to measure and in the middle of the environment. For as nature has fed various expressions of culture, the landscape opera returns a piece of culture: landscape shapes culture.


The Maas tells, its spacious bed reveals

As typical as the Maas and its tributaries are for Maastricht and the surrounding Limburg and Euregion, they are of great importance for the area where they flow. Consortium_Grensmaas BVThese waters do not only form a natural mode of transport for people, goods, knowledge and culture, but also an impulse for the industry which has appeared in its growth and decay, renewal and deterioration.

That is why in Sonic Landscape the Maas gets the role of a nonchalant narrator who leads us through her vast bed along the remarkable buildings, war monuments, pearls of nature, history …. And thus confronts us with the homogeneity and identity of the people who live both on the borders and in the wide surroundings. Ancient stories and fables mix with a contemporary narrative that encourages us to contemplate about who we are and enables us to understand what we see and hear in the vast Limburg and Euregional landscape. After all man is both collectively and individually part of the place where he lives and he has an image of that place which differs and connects at the same time. The challenge for the artists involved lies in stimulating the experience to make the audience litterally walk in each others imaginary and real, old and new landscapes. For what gives people a common denominator? What does the cultural DNA, with which the communtiy identifies itself, consist of? With a curiosity for the past and the future the landscape opera makes us a part of the known and unknown that the surroundings reveal.

Listening differently as the new listening

Paul Coenjaarts maintains that ‘art and music are not confined to borders no more than our landscape is’. From this vision he has shaped his projects and worked together with a project team of pacesetters and creative entrepreneurs for years now. They stand at the cradle of a transdisciplinary sonic landscape project that questions everyday natural and cultural experiences in an auditory way. In the format of the landscape opera tradition and future unite in a contemporary way. Artists creatively show the way to how the landscape as a unique painting sounds in the completeness of a new ‘opera’. The stratification of the ENCI pit for example could reflect in a new composition. Perhaps sonification techniques could convert the play of colours of the Maas into soundscapes?

An idyllic old bridge is a potential xylophone with the ignorant audience as players.

A sonic belt revives the sound of soldiers’ feet on a paved road, which meanwhile is deep under the ground. The opportunities are numerous to develop original connections between sound and landscape, but of course the artists pull the cart.

‘The border Maas tells’ is at the intersection of sonic art, expressive arts, music and theatre and makes the audience listen to an environment, which they mostly see or have never seen before.

The foundation RAGEN wells from a widespread international network of artists, composers and poets to shape the opera in an original way. Moreover the project seeks synergies with other disciplines and unrolls both on the location (i.e the spots where the audience will be taken by bus, boat, on foot or bike as a part of the artistic experience) and outside (i.e. streaming, via internet, apps and/or television). There is a lot of space for interaction with the makers and the landscape. The audience will participate consciously and unconsciously, because the landscape changes when other actors appear to play a role.

Location of the project: