PORTRAITS OF INVISIBLE PLACES
We (Line Bøgh and Christian Gundtoft) moved to Zeitz from Copenhagen in 2021, and while traveling around in Germany playing concerts, we have often been asked why we chose this “GEISTERSTADT” in “DUNKEL-DEUTSCHLAND”, instead of going to Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Munich - or just any other place.
In general we have met a lot of prejudice and strong opinions about towns in the former GDR - often from people who have never visited these places themselves. This made us curious, because these opinions did not match our own experience of actually living there. Therefore we decided to visit 10 different towns in the former GDR and look for new stories.
PORTRAITS OF INVISIBLE PLACES is a mixture of music, video and artwork. Each of the 10 towns inspire a song, a music video and a physical art piece.
An abandoned industrial town in the eastern part of Germany can sometimes be a very attractive place. In the case of the Danish duo Linebug, the former ducal residence of Zeitz in Saxony-Anhalt is a big source of inspiration. After the singer-songwriter Line Bøgh and the painter and digital artist Christian Gundtoft went on a tour in Germany, they fell in love with the rough charm of the 27,000-strong nest and moved from Copenhagen to the East German provinces in early 2021.
“Germans themselves often think of the eastern part of Germany as harsh - and to a certain extent I think this is historically conditioned. Everything in Denmark is so chic and slick and expensive, and to be honest I've had enough of it,” says Line. "There are few opportunities for people doing something niche, something experimental."
And as a niche-project, this is very important to Linebug. Musician Line was busy with many projects until she in 2019 decided to do something quite unique with her partner Christian: He creates hand-drawn, animated music videos for her songs, which are brought to life during the concerts. The illustrations are projected onto the wall in such a way that Line's performance becomes part of some kind of oversized graphic novel: A flower seems to grow out of her, then she’ll become part of a scene in an amusement park with a carousel and a Ferris wheel, then a couple kisses in the background, painted in bright colors and thick lines, as if Klimt was resurrected as a graffiti-artist.
"If you derive the drawings from the lyrics too literally, it can get boring, and if you get too abstract, the music and visuals become disjointed," says Christian. "A good visual interpretation should open up the songs, support the words and the music, and at the same time have a life of their own." The two creatives succeeded in doing this, in the spirit of A-ha's Take On Me or Pink Floyd's The Wall.
This can now also be experienced with their new album “Fast Changing Landscapes” (released 21.04.23). The record a little gem: cautious alternative pop, pervaded by Scandinavian melancholy as well as the warmth of a never-ending midsommar party. It was co-written and produced by Maxi Menot, winner of the “2022 Music Female* Producer Prize 2022 von Music Women* Germany”, in association with Sony Music. They even brought the German Film Orchester Babelsberg on board, which has enriched the album cinematically on five of nine songs - no romantic symphonic kitsch, but a subtle classical touch.
The first single "Skyline", which was released on January 27th, bears witness to this: A wonderful homage to their new home and their favorite places in it, which Christian illustrated for the music video, such as the Villa Weltfrieden, the Nikolaikirche or the Johannesfriedhof. In it, Line sings about broken windows, drunks in the park, abandoned schools, but only to state in the tender chorus: "You are my skyline". This is Linebug's art: naming fractures while making them sound like their healing. “East Germany has an aesthetic that I have never seen before and that fascinates me. You see the city growing and you can help shape it as an artist,” says Line.