Crowdfunding finished
Become one of 1000 founding members to create the new Norient Space, in which you can become immersed in contemporary music and experimental sound, and in the noises and voices of the world. 700 thinkers and artists from all continents will tell stories about the world they live in – through texts, podcasts, films, photographs and hypermedia art. /// This is only possible with you. The world needs new stories about the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.
100,700 €
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 Norient Space - The Now In Sound
 Norient Space - The Now In Sound
 Norient Space - The Now In Sound
 Norient Space - The Now In Sound
 Norient Space - The Now In Sound
Privacy notice

About this project

Funding period 11/29/19 11:13 AM - 1/31/20 11:59 PM
Realisation 31.01.2020
Start level 70,000 €

We will open the Norient Space, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

Category Community
City Bern

Project description show hide

What is this project all about?

The world needs new voices, positions and perspectives. [Deutsche Version]

We are therefore re-inventing Norient – with you! Norient, founded two decades ago, will continue to present great music, and will remain an advocate for music scenes from Bolivia to Ghana to Pakistan – and for a world beyond Eurocentrism, exoticism and discrimination.

However, we intend to become more political, deep, playful and experimental – and reach more people to achieve more. “The Now in Sound” means you experience through music, sound and noise what inspires today and is possible tomorrow.

The renowned Norient magazine will be shut down. And the forward-looking Norient Space shall be created: a virtual transdisciplinary gallery and community platform between art, journalism and academic research.

On this platform, we want to bring together our community of over 700 thinkers and artists from 50 countries, grown over the years, to create opportunities, pay fair fees, and present their ideas for the future to a broad public.

As a founding member, you can make this vision of a multi-layered, polyphonic writing of contemporary history a reality. Only together, as a vital community platform with dedicated membership, can we defy algorithms and filter bubbles – and tell new stories that are heard far and wide.

With you and 999 other founding members, we can take this big step. “The Now in Sound” needs to reach a certain level of success to make an impact.

If we miss this step, Norient could disappear altogether.


Music and sound are seismographs of time and predict the future. They mark changes in an increasingly complex world.

What would it be like if we took seriously the worlds that music, sounds, voices and noises speak of? If we were to free ourselves from binary thinking about places, scenes, styles, ways of being, ideologies and genders?



“There’s nothing like Norient!”
Marcus Gammel, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

“What makes the Norient Music Network so special? It’s their personal spirit, the sharp ethnographic eye and their social conscience.”
Björn Schaeffner, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

We want to introduce exciting music and tell new stories about the world. The Norient Space for thinkers and artists from all continents should be forward-looking and sustainable – and draw attention to the publications and projects of others.

The Norient Space is for:

1) Music lovers, culture lovers and politically interested people

You'll find: current music from pop to club to experimental from all over the world / new and improvised music / sounds and noises from cities, nature and fauna / voice samples from youth movements, migrants and citizens / post-human grooves / ...

And answers to many questions around artistic and social issues:

  • What does it mean to do political rap in Pakistan?
  • What effect do noise-cancelling headphones have on us?
  • Is music really a universal language?
  • What does the soundscape tell us about Hong Kong?
  • How are war noises reflected in compositions?
  • How does the extinction of species change our acoustic environment?
  • Is there a special Alpine sound?
  • How does a new global club culture emerge in a township?
  • Is experimental music only for the privileged?
  • Can a bedroom producer change the world?
  • Why has the concept of “world music” long since become obsolete?
  • Does electronic music make us lonely?

2) Thinkers and artists worldwide

We want to create a platform for everyone who wants to report on current developments via music and sound: journalists, researchers, podcast and radio producers, photographers, filmmakers, curators and other thinkers and artists.

Together, we want to create a community of practice that supports and learns from each other, and generates opportunities and fair fees for all.

3) Magazines, podcast stations and other quality media

The Norient Space also serves as a meta-platform for films, podcasts, reports and publications by others. These days, too much good content is consumed by too few. We feel connected to all those who carefully and profoundly think about the Now.

4) Universities and art colleges

Research must reach the public and must not be hidden in university libraries. Only in this way can it initiate social developments. This is why we seek cooperation with universities, art colleges, journals and symposia on academic and artistic research.

The Norient Space will offer an extensive archive and can increase the public visibility and acceptance of research fields such as ethnomusicology, popular music studies, sound studies, digital humanities, media studies, postcolonial studies and artistic research.


“Norient is 21st century research.”
Prof. Holger Schulze, Sound Studies Lab, Copenhagen University

“For years, Norient has consistently told stories of artists around the world and was a forerunner in decolonizing the European music scene.”
AGF aka poemproducer, musician

“Norient has helped in shaping modern music in the Arab world 15 years ago.”
Mahmoud Refat, musician and owner of 100COPIES label, Cairo

Why would you support this project?
  • You will become part of a worldwide community – one that is independent, multilingual, transdisciplinary, content-driven and much more.
  • You will give sounds, voices and visions of a new world an international audience.
  • You will promote and support thinkers and artists from all over the globe and commit to the preservation of cultural diversity.
  • You will make sure that the search for and discovery of new music is not left to algorithms, but to passionate curators all over the world.
  • You will become part of a community that is developing new audio–visual formats. We want to tell our stories in depth, to be sophisticated in content and aesthetics, but also playful and intuitive.
  • You will help to reinvent music journalism, lead it into the future – and perhaps even save it.
  • You will enable a platform that communicates cutting-edge research to the wider public.
  • You will be involved in a project that seeks solutions to the problem of how journalism can be financed in the future.


“Norient is […] like a university lecture live from a really good club.”
Raffael Dörig, curator of Kunsthaus Langenthal, co-founder of Shift Festival of Electronic Arts

“I discover musical scenes and artists new to me, discussed in an intelligent, clear manner without the usual world music romanticizing.”
Sandeep Bhagwati, composer, musician, scholar

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?

The Norient Space can only be created with you and 999 other founding members. As a founding member, you will get access to the first beta website and can help shape the Space with your feedback. After its launch, your membership will allow you to visit all areas of the Space.

The Norient Space will be designed as a non-profit company and function as a fair circular economy. As a founding member, you will finance the curation and production of content.

Goal: 70,000 Euro

We will open the Norient Space, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

Goal: 100,000 Euro

We will get started right away, by bringing the existing community closer together and producing new articles, podcasts, videos and audio–visual works. Within the first year, you are guaranteed to be glad you’re a part of this.

Goal: More than 100,000

The sky’s the limit for the Norient Space. New music and new voices should receive as strong a platform as possible. We can produce more content, and first, we would like to expand our core team to include curators from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Risk: Failure of the campaign

Norient, founded seventeen years ago, could disappear altogether.

Launch Events

If successful, we will celebrate the opening of the Norient Space with launch events across various countries. And you’re invited!


“I and other musicians and artists wish this platform a long-lasting life!!”
Kamilya Jubran, singer and musician, Paris

“I'd rather lose my orientation than Norient.”
Daniel Fontana, concert organizer, Bad Bonn



From 2002 to 2018, Norient has worked without any financing of its structure and has survived until today only on subsidies for individual projects and with much personal contribution and initiative of its core team. In order to live up to our international reputation and our vision, we have to change this now.

Creative work, international collaboration, high-quality journalism and academic research should be paid fairly!

Who are the people behind the project?

Dr. Thomas Burkhalter – Founder and Artistic Director

Thomas Burkhalter is an ethnomusicologist, artist and music journalist from Bern (Switzerland). He founded Norient 2002, and he has worked on the vision for Norient's future with Sandra Passaro for the last three years. Burkhalter wrote his PhD dissertation on underground music in Beirut and has published academic books with Routledge and Wesleyan University Press. As a freelance journalist, Burkhalter worked many years internationally for print and radio. In 2018 and 2019 he co-directed the documentary Contradict and the AV/theatre/dance performance Clash of Gods.

Sandra Passaro – Managing Director

Sandra Passaro is the founder of Stars & Heroes – an international artist and label communications agency – and Hyper Culture - management for cutting edge music projects. She is a founding member and former member of the executive committee of the IASPM - DACH (International Association for the study of popular music German-speaking branch). As a university lecturer, coach and mentor, she works with NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the Clive Davis Institute and the British and Irish Academy for Modern Music and several Universities in Germany. She is a scholar and author of popular music, subcultures and media. Passaro has worked on the vision for Norient's future with Thomas Burkhalter for the last three years.

The Norient Team

Theresa Beyer, music journalist and curator
Dr. Des. Hannes Liechti, musicologist and theatre producer
Philipp Rhensius, music journalist, musician, author
Marit Posch, artist & label & project manager
Vinzent Preuss, anthropologist
Peter Lell, musicologist



Over almost two decades, Norient has grown into a many-voiced collaborative work, thanks to thinkers and artists from 50 countries, but also thanks to visits and feedback from readers, listeners and visitors, online and offline – on the Norient Magazine, at the Norient Music Film Festival, or at events curated by Norient in places such as the Schauspielhaus Zürich, Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the Rewire Festival in The Hague or the Donaueschinger Musiktage.

The new Norient Space is inspired by our multi-authored exhibition and now sold-out book release, Seismographic Sounds: Visions of a New World (2015–2017), which travelled from Forum Schlossplatz Aarau, ZKM Karlsruhe and CTM Festival Berlin to Bern, Bellinzona, Cairo, Amsterdam, Milan, London, Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing together 30,000 visitors and readers.

Project updates

1/18/20 - The first Beta-Site is online till January...

The first Beta-Site is online till January 31!

You get access to the Norient archive (2002-2019). On the final site, search functions, index, archive and researcher space will be restricted for non-subscribers.

With your contributions only, can we build the final Norient Space, create new content, keep the editorial team, pay fair fees to our contributors worldwide, increase the quality, and introduce experimental formats.

1/18/20 - If you are having problems with your payment...

If you are having problems with your payment, please write to [email protected] - or to

Postkarte: Wähle Zahlungsmethoden Direct Debit oder Klarna Banking. Oder zahle auf das Norient Bern Postkonto ein: IBAN CH44 0900 0000 3134 1838 2

PayPal. You can support Norient directly via this Link:

We will put all the money into the campaign and you will registered correctly.

12/14/19 - FAQ - Antworten auf häufig gestellte Fragen...

FAQ - Antworten auf häufig gestellte Fragen

Es gibt eine deutsche Version der Kampagne - hier:

Das Norient Archiv (2002-2019) wird auf dem neuen Norient Space wieder online gehen und weiterhin frei zugänglich sein.

Gründungsmitglieder verpflichten sich nicht zu irgendeiner Mitarbeit. Wir laden sie aber ein, freiwillig mit uns die existierende Beta-Seite zu testen. Ihr Input kann so der Entwicklung des Norient Space dienen.

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Norient Space - The Now In Sound

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