A director in flip-flops!
By Peter Krutsch, Leipziger Volkszeitung .
A dreamer with realism:
Micky Remann runs a concert hall under water, is the curator of the world bell concert and builds houses from willow branches. A dreamer? Maybe, but one who makes his dreams come true - and while he's at it strengthens the fortunes of the small Thuringian spa town of Bad Sulza.
If relaxation made a noise, maybe it would be like this: hundreds of people stand in a tunnel and hum. Ommm. IN 1981 in San Francisco it happened. The American Bonnie Barnett organised the first tunnel hum. Masses of people turned up. Sceptical journalists too. A reporter asked her, "What would you say if the people found it all rather silly?" Barnett answered, "I'd say we need more silliness."
This answer is just up Micky Remann's street. When he recounts the happening in his book "Der Globaltrottel" you can feel his devilish grin broadly smiling at her answer. " Yes, it is the dreamers who make the world go round not the bean counters." The artist von Frankfurt am Main and the artist from California are not only sibling spirits. Both have been able to make a success out of their apparently silly ideas. The reaction to the tunnel hum was so great that four years later a world summit hum took place, with 20 satellites, two space shuttles and 2 ½ million radios taking part.
Remann's greatest success is somewhat less ephemeral. It resides on a hilltop in the Thuringian spa town of Baud Sulza. The imposing UFO is a bathing temple called the Toskana Therme.
Bathing complex? Don't we have enough fit-for-fun wellness-aqua-centres already draining away the municipalities aching reserves? We do. But the Toskana Therme is quite different to your everyday fun bath. It attracts up to 1000 guests a day to Bad Sulza, provides 80 jobs and gives the fortunes of the 3500 inhabitant strong Bad Sulza one almighty boost. "The town and surroundings have profited appreciably from it", enthuses mayor Johannes Hertwig.
What makes the Therme so successful is an unusual idea of body-culture:
Bathing in music. The "Keep Quiet!" signs are not the brainchild
of an aggravated pool attendant but part of a concept. "There is
nothing to do except to do nothing
" is what Remann, director
of the underwater concert hall, tells his guests before they disappear
into the Liquid Sound Temple, a pool covered by an 18m high vaulted mosaic
|From this time forth, he could not let go. When
he writes for "Geo", "Tempo" and "Kursbuch",
publishes prose and fairy tales, he remains true to his vision. He waited
20 days with American musician Jim Nollman on a boat in order to be able
to communicate with a whale using a guitar and underwater loudspeaker. Together
with Nollman and a theatre organiser he developed the Liquid-Sound technique.
He organised underwater concerts, searched for an appropriate room, and
for investors. Klaus-Dieter Böhm and Marion Schneider, the owners and
operators of the Klinikzentrum in Bad Sulza are enthusiastic. The community
of Bad Sulza too.
In 1994, for Remann "the most exciting time", the test pool was built. Visitors come in droves. Eventually with the help of funding from the EU and state the Toskana Therme was built, opening in 1999. Its gracious swooping form fits perfectly in the hilly landscape, as if it could be nowhere else. Remann shakes his head, "had I had a call from Sydney I would have gone there." The now 51 year old Remann lives with his wife in the Thuringian province. Fate.
Psst! Peace and quiet is a must in the Liquid-Sound temple - pure relaxation.
"How was the concert last night?" - "Great. First we got
undressed. Then I put my hands over my ears. And in the end I fell asleep."
Whenever Micky Remann tells this joke he immediately ensures his guests
that this behaviour is not at all embarrassing, it's how it should be.
And it's true. Micky Remann's underwater concerts are so relaxing it's
hard not to fall asleep in the warm water.
The director in flip-flops doesn't just mix classical, jazz or pop together
from CD. He arranges events. At weekends or full-moon there are special
events such as "Bach under water" or the "Liquid Sound
Club". Live events are also a regular occurrence. Over 300 have already
taken place. Some of these have been captured on the album "Liquid
Sound Volume 1".
And as if that were not enough, he is now in action in Berlin. In May
2002 the Toskana Therme's little brother opened, the Liquidrom in the
Tempodrom Berlin. Is Germany going to be overrun with Liquid-Sound temples
following in MacDonald's footsteps? "It's about developing the medium."
answers Remann, "Take for example the opera. Each larger city has
an opera house. But the Sydney Opera House and the Scala in Milan are
two very different things. More places should become aware of the possibilities
Liquid-Sound can offer. And of course, the buildings have to be individual.
How about an underwater Gewandhaus for Leipzig?"
Under the swooping roof of the Toskana Therme - no ordinary fun-bath experience. Bathed in music from underwater loudspeakers the guests float freely carried by the water as if in the Dead Sea.