Self-portrait (english)

(As at spring 2006)

Sta­ring red-eyed at the mir­ror in front of me, having spent ano­t­her day and half of the night with my com­pu­ter, I ask mys­elf fun­da­men­tal ques­ti­ons: Why radio ? Why docu­men­ta­ry ? Ans­wer: No other medi­um can pro­vi­de me with more free­dom of crea­ti­on and inves­ti­ga­ti­on. It meets my urgent inte­rest in rea­li­ty and the desi­re for a “musi­cal” expres­si­on. The mate­ri­al (der Werk­stoff) is sound. And sound always sur­rounds us. And: I’m not so much inte­rested in the descrip­ti­on of sta­ble situa­ti­ons, but in pro­ces­ses. Our medi­um is not space, but time; our sto­ries are not glued to the ground, but have moti­on, life … That’s why ! 

In 35 years of making radio, I’ve done ever­ything from 3 minu­tes to — well — 16 hours non-stop. Tho­se mega-pro­gram­mes were pre-pro­du­ced and broad­cast live by Hes­si­scher Rund­funk in Frankfurt/Main. The first — ONE DAY IN EUROPE (1999) — was the result of tou­ring tog­e­ther with Hei­drun, my wife, all over this con­ti­nent for about 40 000 kilo­me­tres, most­ly by car, slee­ping in the back of our van on camp­si­tes. The second “radio day” — EIN TAG IN DER STADT (A Day in Town) — depic­ted acousti­cal­ly the life in a midd­le size Ger­man town from dawn to dusk. 

I was born in 1940, one year after the Hit­le­ri­ans had ins­ti­ga­ted the war, as part of the Ger­man speaking popu­la­ti­on in for­mer Czecho-Slo­va­kia and depor­ted in 1946 to Ger­ma­ny. Initi­al­ly, our train (com­po­sed of catt­le trucks) was deter­mi­ned for Sou­thern Bava­ria. But a ner­vous pro­vin­ci­al rail­way offi­cer deci­ded: “Get out here !” And more than 1200 depor­tees crow­ded on the plat­form. So the town of Ful­da acci­dent­al­ly beca­me my and my wifes home town — her’s at the age of 4, mine with 6.