Anosmia is an abstract reflection on the absurd fact that a tiny part of the body, the nose, played a key role in the Rwandan Genocide (1994). In the early 90’s Hutu extremists started broadcasting hate messages via public radio, against Tutsi people. Millions of Hutu moderates got manipulated and in April ‘94 the whole propaganda machinery escalated in a bloody civil war. Four months long a whole nation was haunting ‘the enemy’, while often the enemy had to be found within oneself or one’s relatives. Distinguishing a ‘real Tutsi’ from a ‘real Hutu’ is anyhow difficult due to intermarriage. So during this period of war and terror tough decisions had to be made, often in no time: e.g. What if you were married to a Tutsi and had children with ‘enemy blood’? Back in ‘94 brutal killings within one family or household were countless! The length of a nose was decisive to classify the enemy. Even if your passport said that you were ‘Hutu’, if you had a long and thin nose you were considered a Tutsi, so you’d had to hide or run for your life. Nowadays it is by law forbidden to use the word Tutsi or Hutu


Curatorial statement by Anna Raimondo (Saout Radio/ Fearless Radio):
“Could radio be a medium of resistance? Resistance to the economic system? Resistance to politic discourses? Resistance to taboos? Resistance to main tendencies and aesthetics? But over all what does it mean to resist?
The starting point of Fearless radio is Foucault’s concept of “fearless speech” also defined as parrhesia, considered as “a verbal activity where the speaker has a specific relation to truth through frankness, a certain relationship to his own life through danger, a certain type of relation to himself or other people through criticism (self-criticism or criticism of other people), and a specific relation to moral law through freedom and duty.”

Focusing on radio language, artists could integrate the verbal activity but they could also embrace the possibility of electronic sounds, noises and soundscapes to propose a sonic fearless speech. What happens then if we replace in Foucault’s definition of parrhesia, “verbal activity” with “radio language”? The possibilities of telling personal truth without fear multiply. We articulated our proposal inviting 5 artists to become “true tellers”, “fearless speakers” using radio as a way to express parrhesia, “using freedom and choosing frankness instead of per- suasion, truth instead of falsehood or silence, the risk of death instead of life and security, criticism instead of flattery, and moral duty instead of self-interest and moral apathy”.

- Each artist uses the radio slot given by Kunst Radio preparing a specific fearless radio show, presenting new productions but also older works relevant to the main intent of the series.

Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman tells her truth through a fearless score, which goes beyond taboos and classic aesthetics. Using spoken word, field recording, instrumental improvisation she sonically responds to the poem ‘Politics Of The Nose’ written by David Mwambari (Rw), echoing the Rwandan genocide in 1994. In her new production “Anosmia”, listeners can follow her voice and her body in different acoustic spaces, they can hear the risks she took in recording in public space in Rwanda and listen to her duty to discuss the actual law in Rwanda which even forbids to use the word “Tutsi” and “Hutu”.

Title: Anosmia
Duration: 43’38”
Year: 2013
Composition, Concept & Realisation: Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman
Performers: Francisco Couto (trb), Momoko Noguchi (prep pno), Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman (prep pno, voice, electronics)
Text: Politics Of The Nose by David Mwambari
Form: fixed media (2.1 stereo)
Awards: 1st prize, Monophonic 2014, Brussels
Premiered: Feb 2014 Im Klangtheater, Radio 1, ÖRF, Vienna

April 2014, Ephémères, Den Haag
May 2014, Monophonic 2014, Brussels
July 2015, thewulf., Los Angeles

June 2018 Savvy Funk, Documenta 2014, Kassel/Berlin
May 2018 – June 2018 Interspaces Kunstlerhaus Kärnten Klagenfurt
Oct 2018 – Jan 2019 Radiophonic Spaces, Museum Tinguely, Basel
Nov 2018 – Dec 2018 Radiophonic Spaces, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
July 2019 – Sept 2019 Radiophonic Spaces, Bauhaus Universität, Weimar

Radio Broadcasts:
March 2014, Kunstradio, Ö1, ORF, Vienna
April 2014, Electronic Frequencies, Concertzender, Utrecht
May 2014, Radio Moniek/Monophonic 2014, Brussels
May 2014, Par Ouï Dire, RTBF, Brussels
June 2014, Radio Campus, Brussels
July 2014, Radio Art, 106FM, Tel Aviv
July 2014, Radio Art, 88FM, Tel Aviv
March 2015, Politics of the Voice, Websynradio, Nîmes
January 2016, Radio Art, 106FM, Tel Aviv
January 2016, Radio Art, 88FM, Tel Aviv
March 2018 Printemps des Arts, Websyn Radio, Monte Carlo
April 2018 Printemps des Arts, Websyn Radio, Monte Carlo

official entry for Kunstradio, Ö1, ORF at URTI Grand Prix 2014, Paris
official selection for Grand Prix Nova 2014, Bucharest
Commission: Kunstradio, Ö1, ORF
Curator: Saout Radio/Fearless Radio
Funds & Support: Kunstradio, Ö1, ORF

L’Atelier du Son, France Culture, Paris
Kunstradio, Radio 1, ÖRF, Vienna (pt1)
Kunstradio, Radio 1, ÖRF, Vienna (pt2)
The Lake Radio, Copenhagen
Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Berlin
Matrix Centre for New Music, Leuven
Navel Gazers, London


Radio 1 ORF saout radio oude logo

Leave a Reply