The Saxon heritage, a sound journey is an artistic project based on ethnographic research by which we aim to contribute to the preservation of the soundscape. We set out to explore the sound imprint and specific artefacts of the Saxon community, in its temporal, social and customary components. The aim of the project was to recover, preserve and share the memory and the soundscape of the Saxon community in Romania.
The Saxons are a community at high risk of extinction and our aim was to let citizens understand how important it is today to know, share and enhance that specific tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Saxons have a longstanding history in Transylvania and left a substantial imprint on the region. Settled in Transylvania in the 12th century from areas that are known today as Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the Saxons gained a reputation for being skilled craftsmen and farmers, and until today they preserved their own traditions, as well as the Saxon language, with variations from one village to another. We met and interviewed people, recorded soundscapes, and together with some Saxon and Romanian artisans we got to know the peculiarities of their woodworking as well as their sound tradition.
The results of such a project have been two Sound Sculptures (Prelude for organ and Trittico), created in collaboration with the Saxon artisans with whom the
Officina Sonora associationcollaborated, which were exhibited at the Goethe Institut in Bucharest in June 2021. The two sound sculptures, one exhibited inside and the other outside, intended to reflect the Saxon experience, landscapes and anthropogenic communities.
We have tried to stop and manifest the sound and material time, to make it experimental and aware public. The participant was able to make an immediate experience of the Saxon communities. In both works loudspeakers were installed that reproduced all the material previously recorded during our research, from the interviews to the stories to the landscape of each community. The Officina Sonora team manipulated and orchestrated the material to give fluidity and unity to the story in listening, finally we discussed with the audience the anthropological result of this research, the importance of Saxon craftsmanship within other communities, the fragility and strength of a community that is still present and strong today thanks to associations and foundations.
The protection of the cultural heritage of historical minority communities responds to the idea of the protection of cultural heritage, as also expressed by UNESCO in its recognition of the languages to be saved. It is no coincidence that the Saxon language is the only language cited as a “language to be saved” by UNESCO (http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/en/atlasmap/language-id-1475.html), and the two Saxon villages where the research was carried out (Sachiz and Viscri) are UNESCO heritage.
The project was promoted by the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs with the collaboration of the Fundatia Adept in Saschiz.