Inquiries and Opening Hours
Please bear in mind that processing your inquiries can take up to two weeks.
The Lautarchiv may be visited by appointment.
Feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibitions, Publications, Activities
Changing projects presented here took shape in connection or in collaboration with the Sound Archives.
Due to illness, this event has been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date!
To mark UNESCO World Mother Language Day on February 21, art and cultural historian Uta Kornmeier will be talking to Mandana Seyfeddinipur (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities), Albrecht Wiedmann (Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv des Ethnologischen Museums) and Christopher Li (Lautarchiv der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) about linguistic field research and language archives, about the documents that are created in the process and what can be researched with them.
-> read more…
Call for Papers / Workshop Application
We invite you to submit paper proposals for our conference “Music, Archives and Politics in East and West Berlin since 1963: Cosmopolitan, International, Global,” which will take place in Berlin 4-6 July 2024. The call for papers closes on March 4, 2024. To submit an abstract, please email us your proposal of up to 250 words at email@example.com.
We are also offering a workshop program on July 5 in relation to the conference. The Ph.D. and master students can register for a specific workshop until February 17, 2024 at firstname.lastname@example.org. All conference participants are welcome to join any one of the workshops.
The conference will take place at the Humboldt Forum, Berlin; workshops will visit other institutions in Berlin and Potsdam. In addition to the workshop track, the conference will also include a concert and several public interviews with eyewitnesses (Zeitzeugen). The conference sessions and workshops will take place either in German or in English.
-> read full Call for Papers (pdf)
On behalf of the Humboldt University of Berlin, the Lautarchiv would like to thank the donors Renate Doegen and Vanessa Büttner, née Doegen.
The aim of the donors is to make the objects from the estate available for research and teaching at the Humboldt University in Berlin and to place them in the conservational care and maintenance of the Lautarchiv.
The objects include shellac records, books, documents, pictures and three historical gramophones. The gramophones from the Doegen family are relevant to media history, because the Lautarchiv has not yet had any historical gramophones in its inventory.
Coming from the descendants of the founder of the Lautarchiv Wilhelm Doegen (1877–1967) – the donation also has a special symbolic value. We are particularly pleased about the pleasant exchange of knowledge and contact with the Doegen family.
English translation available
Anette Hoffmann’s book „Kolonialgeschichte hören“, originally published in German language by mandelbaum verlag (2020), is also available in English: „Listening to Colonial History“, published by Basler Afrika Bibliographien (2023).
Hoffmann’s work provides a detailed analysis of the significance of historical sound recordings for challenging the colonial archive. Whilst her analysis is presented from a historical archive studies perspective, her ideas deserve to be taken up by anthropologists who are engaged in historical ethnography and may even inspire any decolonial-minded researcher in anthropology, and beyond.
-> Read more…
In 2023, three students successfully completed their master’s or bachelor’s degree with a thesis on a Lautarchiv-related topic.
At Aarhus University, Nikoline Jørgensen has completed a master’s thesis in the Department of Comparative Literature (Prof. Marianne Ping Huang) on the topic ‘A decolonial universal museum? A reading of metamuseal stories of decoloniality at Berlin’s Humboldt Forum’. Nikoline completed a three-month internship at the Lautarchiv the previous year.
Paula Zwolenski successfully completed her bachelor’s degree in Cultural Theory and History at Humboldt University of Berlin (Prof. Christian Kassung) with a thesis on the topic of ‘Sensitive sound recordings from the archive. Attempts at communication and self-location in the audio recordings of the Indian prisoner of war Baldeo Singh’.
Sophie Ehmke successfully completed her bachelor’s degree in Transcultural Musicology at the Humboldt University of Berlin (Prof. Sebastian Klotz) with a thesis on the topic ‘The postcolonial handling of the prisoner of war recordings from the First World War in the Berlin Lautarchiv’.
All three works may be read on site in the archive’s reference library upon request/appointment. Nikoline Jørgensen’s work is currently only available in Danish (Et decolonialt universelt museum? - En læsning af metamuseale fortællinger om decolonialitet på Berlins Humboldt Forum).
Historical loans back from Oslo
Particularly significant is the fact that these three records were previously considered lost in Berlin; no digital copies existed until now. In Oslo, digital copies were made and also transferred to the Lautarchiv. The shellac records had been lent to the Norwegian Iranologist Georg Morgenstierne (1892-1978) by the founder of the Lautarchiv Wilhelm Doegen (1877-1967) or by the Göttingen Iranologist Friedrich Carl Andreas (1846-1930). Through Morgenstierne’s estate, they made their way into the Norwegian Nasjionalbiblioteket.
On the records, the voices of Ábdil Kadír Khan, Beidullah Khan and Shahdad Khan (Afghan and Baluchi) can be heard.
The shellac records were brought to Berlin with official permission from the Norwegian Ministry and a written statement from the Nasjionalbibliotekek.
In particular, the Lautarchiv would like to thank Johanne Ostad, Bente Granrud and Włodek Witek from the Oslo Nasjionalbiblioteket.
Ruperto Carola Lecture Series
Sebastian Klotz, Scientific Coordinator of the Berlin Lautarchiv, has given a lecture on “Document or Transformative Resource? Phonographic Recordings in UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World Register’” as part of the RUPERTO CAROLA LECTURE SERIES with the theme “IMMATERIAL HERITAGE: A FUTURE RESOURCE?” at the University of Heidelberg in June 2023.
The entire lecture is available as a video,
Special Exhibition Forum Wissen, Göttingen
30 March – 9 July 2023
The exhibition “Voices” is dedicated to the connection between war and scientific research by example of the prisoners of war Sunab Gut, Abdul Aziz Khan, Harzet Shah, Beidullah Khan, Shahdad Khan and the Professor of West Asian languages Friedrich Carl Andreas in Göttingen.
The exhibition focuses on the documents and language recordings of the prisoners and the attempt to make the individual person behind them visible.
Two historical shellac records and a matrix from the Berlin Lautarchiv are on display in the exhibition.
-> Read more…
ECAS in Cologne
May 30 - June 3, 2023
At this year’s European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) in Cologne, Anette Hoffmann (University of Cologne) and Christopher Li (Lautarchiv, Humboldt University of Berlin) will present a paper on “Who inherits the recorded voice?” as part of the panel “Beyond colonial plunder and postcolonial restitution: a legal pluralist approach”.
-> Read more…
Alina Januscheck, currently working as assistant curator at the Humboldt Labor, completed her master thesis on the Lautarchiv, supervised by Prof. Dr. Silvy Chakkalakal at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie HU-Berlin.
A hardcopy of this master thesis may be viewed and read on site in the visitor room of the archive upon request.
New publication out now
Irene Hilden’s PhD thesis on the Berlin Sound Archive (Lautarchiv) is now available, published by Leuven University Press.
The book focuses on sound recordings produced under colonial conditions. It examines sound objects and listening practices, revealing the “absent presences” of colonial subjects who are given little or no place in established national narratives and collective memories.
Irene Hilden is postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Ebook also available in Open Access.
IASA Annual Conference November 10-11, 2023 in Berlin
This year’s IASA Annual Conference will be organized by the IASA Group Germany/Switzerland e.V. in cooperation with the Lautarchiv of the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Berlin Phonogram Archive, Department of Ethnomusicology of the Ethnological Museum. It will be held at the Humboldt Forum on November 10-11, 2023.
Thematic focus of the IASA Annual Meeting 2023:
100 years of radio and 70 years of television in Germany.
Call for papers until June 30, 2023 by email to email@example.com
-> Read more…
The relocation of the Lautarchiv to the Humboldt Forum was completed on July 26, 2022.
The sound archive had been located Am Kupfergraben 5 since 1975.
In preparation for the move, a comprehensive inventory of the Lautarchiv has been carried out over a period of one year since January 2021.
The new premises in the Humboldt Forum offer very good conservational and climatic conditions for the collection of shellac records.
Recordings from the core holdings can be made digitally accessible once a user agreement has been concluded. By appointment (e-mail or telephone), digital copies can also be listened to on site in a room for visitors.
Object of the month 04/2023
In addition to its core holdings of audio recordings of prisoners of war from the First World War and the collection of German dialects from the 1920s and 1930s, the Lautarchiv (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) also preserves other interesting sub-collections that have so far remained rather in the background and initially seem to have no obvious connection to the collection. Take, for example, three Indian drums.
No historical written documentation exists for these instruments. There is no entry in any inventory book that would indicate how, why and from where they came into the collection of the Lautarchiv. In terms of organology, the three drums do not form a coherent ensemble. One of these drums—an Indian tablā (dāyāṃ)—will be the focus of attention here.
-> Read more…
On August 23, 2022 at 1 p.m., Arte will broadcast a documentary on the Lautarchiv as part of the series “Stadt Land Kunst” (directed by Heinz Cadera and produced in September 2021).
With commentaries by Britta Lange and Christopher Li
New book publication 02/2023
Viktoria Tkaczyk is professor in the musicology and media studies department at Humboldt University Berlin, specializing in media and knowledge techniques.
“Thinking with Sound” traces the formation of auditory knowledge in the sciences and humanities in the decades around 1900.
When the outside world is silent, all sorts of sounds often come to mind: inner voices, snippets of past conversations, imaginary debates, beloved and unloved melodies. What should we make of such sonic companions? “Thinking with Sound” investigates a period when these and other newly perceived aural phenomena prompted a far-reaching debate.
-> Read more…
Book launch October 7, 2022 at 6 p.m.
Britta Lange’s book Gefangene Stimmen is now also available in English as an e-book titled Captured Voices, translated by Rubaica Jaliwala as part of a grant by the Deutscher Übersetzungsfonds.
Since the German version of the book (2020) could not have a book premiere due to Corona, a book launch will take place for both publications on October 7, 2022 Am Kupfergraben 5 10117 Berlin (room 501) at 6 p.m., to which all interested parties are warmly welcome.