AM Kanngieser

Transversal Geographies

audio works Undertow Klosterruine Berlin 2020

Exhibition notes:
"The threshold is a place of salt; it crusts mouths and throats. You swallow brine. This is the place of drownings and driftings and births. This is the place that is always elsewhere, always moving, taking you there. I was born on this threshold, held within the sounds of waves slapping the shore. The tiny breaths and gurgles eddying around the hull. The vast cold lying below, underneath. The waves a breach, a break, in the surface.

This is the place my father came to rest. Here, his bones sank. Here, his ashes broke apart. I didn’t see what happened to them, after. The candle we floated behind him was swamped.

The water here is so tangy it turns your lips insideout into oysters, your tears the same as marrow, the same as blood, the same as sea. All the same.

Last year I gave my baby a shell, and she woke up crying one night dreaming of the time the ocean tried to pull her in, she came to me and said my mother is trying to take me home. I told her, your grandfather lives there now, he will always take care of you. She said, I remember him from before I came here. Her mouth circled with joy. The water gathered on her tongue. She is lost to the tide.

The waves dance along the edges of things. I see a tsunami shadow the trees. I throw salt over my left shoulder to ward off the devil. He swims away, iridescent."


"For the exhibition God is an Asphyxiating Black Sauce, Johanna Hedva brings together works from over 10 years, written and spoken text, songs and performances, creating an exhibition that reveals matters of accessibility to be the very condition of any meaningful exploration of absence(s) and nothingness.

At the heart of the exhibition is the “Playlist to the Void,” which plays continuously in the altar section of the Klosterruine, one of the oldest buildings in Berlin, the ruins of a 13th-century Franciscan monastery. The Playlist is composed of songs from Hedva’s 2019 EP, The Sun and the Moon; poems and essays read aloud from their new book, Minerva the Miscarriage the Brain, out in September; and songs from their new LP, Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, out in November. The musicians and artists William Fowler Collins, Gabie Strong and Pauline Lay, Geneva Skeen, and AM Kanngieser were invited to contribute new and unreleased tracks. Different versions of the exhibition can be experienced remotely and on site, virtually and telepathically.

The installation continues Hedva’s search for the break up of the unholy unity of time and productivity, and creates a soundscape of noise, music, and language that prods and howls at the infinite. How does this absence feel, how does it sound, this black sauce that flows under, through, without, and in our everyday time? Does absence actually exist? Or is it not always interspersed with stories, memories, and ghosts?"


Kanngieser A Undertow.
Audio composition
Surround, 5’06
Curated in Johanna Hedva God is an Asphyxiating Black Sauce. Klosterruine, Berlin. 20 June-3 August 2020.