Echo-Ovations for slammed doors - Oude Kerk Amsterdam

14 performer slam doors while audience do walk-scores, 2016

Echo Ovations: THE DOOR PIECE

A performative act to impress the living and honor the dead
Sweelinck has left the building. Sweelinck is in the house! Van Uylenburgh has left the building. Van Uylenburgh is in the house! Around 12.000 people have left the building. Around 12.000 people are in the house!

Documentations of a sound and walk performance 
in May 2016 at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam 
for the "Nachtelijke Dwaling #7"
curator: Fleur van Muiswinkel

14 performer slammed the 14 doors of the oldest church and building of Amsterdam, while the audience was invited to join a walking choreography throughout the building.

During 20 minutes the performers where loudly closing the doors, organised in various forms, leading finally to a circular “surround”- movement of attack-sounds with very long and full reverbs.
The piece was part of a full evening of concepts and pieces by David Helbich with the title: 
more info and documentation about the evening here

symbolic content
Next to the intense sound experience, the piece carries a symbolic layer of great depth: The floor of the church consists entirely of gravestones. There are 2500 graves in the Oude Kerk, under which are buried more than 10,000 Amsterdam citizens (a.o. Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck).

A door that slams without anyone passing through it could symbolise a transmigration of souls or simply the centuries of people moving in and out or this space.

Also, the relationships of bodies, with the church being the largest of them all, synergises the building as a body, corpus, room with the bodies of the audiences, the living and the dead. The emerging echoes (of the slamming doors) fading into the stillness of everything that had sounded in all these years.

future of the piece
In 2020/2021 I will record the piece with a complex set-up (14 mics plus an ambisonic mic) and will use the recordings to develop a performance concept for Echo-Ovations in large places. More on this later. 

photos: Ernst van Deursen
recordings: David Helbich


instrumental compositions & co.


Album NYH