The sound project CORONA CONCRÈTE is based on the experiences of sound artist Lasse-Marc Riek during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time, he created an extensive sound archive that forms the basis and source for the elaboration of the material into various artistic formats.

Riek recorded his immediate surroundings with the help of various microphones and sensors in the period between March 28, 2020 and March 28, 2021. Individual situations were often recorded from different perspectives and at different times. Underwater, stereo, directional, and contact microphones were used. The result was 1100 hours (1 month, 15 days, 20 hours) of unedited footage recorded at 13 locations that Riek visited repeatedly at different times. Due to the lockdown-induced decrease in anthropogenic sounds, vocalizations of various bird, insect, and mammal species became much more audible.

Seismic studies by various researchers found that man-made noise decreased by as much as 50 percent during the period between March and May 2020 due to the sharp decline in human activities such as industrial production or passenger and freight traffic. Global quieting of high-frequency seismic noise due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures /

The development of the CORONA CONCRÈTE project was accompanied by two guiding questions:
- How does the sound sphere change when an entire society stays at home and backyards, gardens, and near-city natural spaces become the center of life?
- How do soundscapes change in the approach corridor of Frankfurt Airport in which 95 percent of air traffic have disappeared?

In Phase 1 of the project, during the first lockdown in Germany from March 28 to April 15, 2020, Riek focused on the sound changes in his own backyard. During the first lockdowns between April 15 and June 5, 2020, in Phase 2, he engaged in recording the changes in the soundscapes surrounding him. In Phase 3, from June 5 to July 30, 2020, during which additional lockdown ease took place, Riek documented further situations and locations in different time periods.

The majority of the recordings were edited in Phase 4, between August 1 and October 31, 2020, adding information such as the location, time, and date of the recordings, as well as accompanying photographs. In the following months, in Phase 5 between November 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, the collected material was used to create a sound map that geographically locates a selection of recordings by making them visually accessible. Riek also developed various concepts for sound installations and a series of radiophonic compositions based on the sound material. CORONA CONCRÈTE is an open project and will continue to expand with ideas, formats and performances in the future.

Many thanks to Tobias Schmitt, Verena Freyschmidt and Stefan Militzer.

The project was supported by the Hessische Kulturstiftung and the Musikfonds e.V.

Nomination: Corona Concrète was nominated for the Phonurgia Nova Award 2022 in the category Field Recording / Soundscape!


Experience the entire "CORONA CONCRÈTE" project.