Created by Tereza Bartůňková and Diane Barbé as an evolving series of live performances, installations and research, Wassertanz is an audio-visual project which aims to present, disturb and reconstruct a narrative of pressure and vibration. It also seeks to reunite artists from various disciplines (theater, light design, music, vocal performance) and cultural traditions into a holistic art world.

Wassertanz is an invitation to dive under the surface and explore dormant life in submarine worlds down into the midnight zone. A vast world we know little about, at the convergence of myths and scientific evidence.

Our perceptions are altered, our senses expanded.

Only the dimmest blue light prevails (480 nm), yet fish and invertebrates create their own bioluminescence. Sound becomes the principal vector that describes time and space in the deep, but we may only hear it as it resonates through our bones. Eardrums cannot function in the crushing pressure. In our dream, the human city is a strange coral that florishes near a toxic hydrothermal vent, a different form of life, an oddity in its own genetic home.

Water is a big sky upside down. The world becomes double. Images reflected on the surface melt within those that live in the tide. The birds, swimming, turn into fish. The star-isles shimmer on the surface of the ocean…

8 march 2020
Vaguement Ensemble AV premiere
Arkaoda Berlin
commissioned & curated by Diane Barbé
> facebook event


5 december 2019
analogue sound performance and light installation
West Germany Berlin
curated by Oscar Rohleder
> facebook event


29-30 november 2019
installation for Water ≈ Sound ≈ City
Zwitschermachine Gallerie Berlin
curated by Francisco Petrucci
> facebook event


12-15 november 2019
installation at Universität der Künste Berlin
music building (LIE 45)
curated by Daisuke Ishida
> video documentation


25 October – 5 November 2019
research residency
Lagoa de Óbidos, Portugal
curated by Diane Barbé & Tereza Bartunkova

v a g u e m e n t . e n s e m b l e

P r o g r a m m e

Oneironautics I. What lays there in the deep
Arkaoda, 8 March 2020
Special 6.1 surround soundsystem

• Vaguement Ensemble
live AV premiere
with Farah Hazim (electronics), Diane Barbé (electronics), Celia Stroom (voice), Sibi Abhimanue (voice) and Tereza Bartunkova (lights)

• Laure Boer & Wissam Sader
spatialized live electro-acoustic set

• Pina Rücker (Kosmosklang)
crystal quartz soundbath

Gefördert vom Musikfonds e. V. mit Projektmitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.

Oneironautics is a bridge: between the world of dreams and waking life, between experimental electronics and sounds of the submarine world. Dive into the ocean of sound with us: tune in, drop out. What lays there in the deep is a kind of new music, a kind of dance, a kind of trance, so rarely materialised. When we take a deep dive into the swaying waters of the subconscious? How do our representations of submarine worlds weave in our fearful narratives of madness, irrationality, and death?

Voices. Repeated electronically. Repeated electronically. Repeated electronically. Who sang? Beams of light passing through water, dancing on the walls of the cave. VAGUEMENT ENSEMBLE works together to explore the dreams and lives contained in water, the images that sway softly like ideas floating in a soul. The world is doubled. Birds swim and fish fly.

Dualities meet, and the strange timbres start to associate. Célia Stroom is a visual artist and versatile vocalist (opera singing, atonal compositions and ancient polyphonies); Sibi Abhimanue comes from classical hindustani and sufi traditions. Their organic vocalisations are plunged in various baths, rendered unrecognizable, just familiar enough. Farah Hazim, a french-lebanese intermedia artist interested in psychoacoustics and hauntology, cooks with Diane Barbé, a french soundscape composer and researcher. Together with Czech light designer Tereza Bartunkova, they explore the ambiguous charms of the Midnight Zone…

Pictures by Salomé Jashi (2020).

w e s t . g e r m a n y

Wassertanz (2019), by Diane Barbé & Tereza Bartunkova.

Presented during the Spirit Domain showcase curated by Vaagner at West Germany, 5 December 2019. Also shown was a second version of The Permanent Wave Machine.

Live performance of light reflections and field recordings, descending from the surface into the abyss of a cold ocean. From shallow waters where we float in a familiar space, we take a dive deep below to encounter a strange universe peopled by peculiar beings…

Five spotlights and two transducer speakers under copper bowls filled with water and iridescent disks, digital sampler, analog synthesiser, effects.

Pictures by Diane Barbé & Oscar Rohleder (2019).

z w i t s c h e r . g a l l e r i e

The Permanent Wave Machine (2019), by Diane Barbé & Tereza Bartunkova.

Presented during Water ≈ Sound ≈ City at Zwitscher Gallerie Berlin, curated by Francisco Petrucci. 29 November – 1 December 2019.

Sound and light installation for a head, a body and a water bowl. Soft oceanic compositions with deep bass vibrations felt through flesh, bones, and retinae. The human body and the water bowls mirror each other as they take the waves in.

Three speaker cones in a metal basket; transducer speaker under a wood stool; transducer speaker under a copper bowl filled with water, iridescent disks, and foil.

Pictures by Diane Barbé (2019).

h y d r o c l i n e s . i n s t a l l a t i o n

Hydroclines, multichannel installation, Universität der Künste Berlin, 2019

H Y D R O C L I N E S is an immersive sound installation for staircases, water reservoirs, or high vertical spaces. Starting from the surface of the ocean, the pedestrian-listener is able to float up and down a fully fledged aquatic world, distributed over three omnidirectional loudspeakers and a subwoofer.

three layers of dense water
carry voices of a world unknown
the cold Pacific island listens
sand and rock, an iceberg adrift
wide-eyed seals slip
into the blue, diving through
kelp and krill

Four hanging omnidirectional speakers; one sub; net and fairy lights; a jar of marinating kelp and algae; vertical staircase (minimum 5 stories).

r e s e a r c h . r e s i d e n c y

Research Residency on the Atlantic Ocean, Laguna de Obidos, Portugal.

For ten days, I went with light and stage designer Tereza Bartunkova to study the sounds and motions of the Atlantic ocean on the Portuguese coast, a hundred kilometers above Lisbon. There, we had access both to rugged cliffs, sheltered coves, and the wide lagoon of Obidos, which spreads over two kilometers of wetlands. The most inland parts make up a delicate ecosystem of salines, which rise with the tide and are home to a variety of birds, amphibians and insects.

35mm film photographs by Tereza Bartunkova (2019).

< Water Study I (2019)

Images from Corsica, Site de la Tête de Mort, Ajaccio.
Processing with GRM Tools.