The Charité campus is a vast, gated maze of buildings, right in the middle of Berlin. Matthias already took us once on a photographic ride through his alma mater. The Charité is a city within a city, and it’s old. The buildings of the university date back to the 1700s of Berlin. Among them is the outstanding “Tieranatomisches Theater” (TAT), The Veterinary School’s Anatomical Theatre.
The TAT is indeed Berlins oldest educational building and an exceptional landmark. The historic lecture hall is currently being used for exhibitions in the cultural realm that play with an experimental or scientific vision. The aim is to provide a space that unites the arts and sciences through intercultural and interdisciplinary works.
SINUS & SYNTH by Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag
The current exhibition program includes SYNTH, an installation about the phantasm of sound and music synthesis by the artist, composer and researcher Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag. Sonntag depicts the history of the radio through various sounds and material across the lecture hall’s chambers. In seven rooms, the audience can see and hear the development of media theory and contemporary experimental music.
Beyond SYNTH, Sonntag also created a chamber opera in three acts called SINUS, specifically developed for the unique architecture of the Tieranatomisches Theater. Sonntag investigates the origins of modern art and music.
During the exhibition the first and the second act and the coda of the chamber opera will be performed and presented within a collection of instruments and objects, pictures and photos, scores, circuits and acoustic transducers. The objects come from the historical collection of musical instruments of the Charité, from Jan-Peter Sonntag’s collections as well as his and Sebastian Döring’s research on a synthesizer of the media theorist Friedrich A. Kittler.
The architecture of the Tieranatomisches Theater
But even if you can’t make it to the SINUS performance, you can still visit the impressive Tieranatomisches Theater. The building is a remarkable testament to the early Prussian classicist architecture. The cupola was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans (who also built the Brandenburger Tor), commissioned by King Friedrich Wilhelm II.
Having been built for research purposes in the control of animal diseases and then being used for the training of veterinarians, the venue was renovated in 2012 and re-opened to the public.
Expounding on the idea that science should be available to all, a tour of the Tieranatomisches Theater begins in the entrance hall and continues through many rooms, each of which is packed with animal skeletons, photographs and other artefacts pertaining to natural history and science. The permanent exhibition, “Das Tieranatomische Theater – Architecture and Science History” gives you an exciting insight into the 200-year history of the auditorium.
The aesthetics of the building have an immersive effect. Although the building isn’t large, it’s easy to lose orientation. The lecture hall, the laboratories and the hallways seem to seamlessly blend into one another.