Between the small towns of Štúrovo in Slovakia and Esztergom in Hungary flows the river Danube, five hundred metres wide. Now the Mária Valéria bridge connects both towns and spans the border between both countries, but from 1944 till 2001 the bridge lay in pieces in the river. From the 1950s on the border was closed, no traffic over water was possible.
Families, friends were cut off from each other for decades. When the weather was calm people on both sides of the banks of the river communicated over the water. They hardly could see each other but the water would carry the sound, their voices would travel over its surface, back and forth. Short encoded messages could be sent, in the hope that they would reach one’s relatives and friends on the other side of the river.
Since 2006 each year in June an event takes place, Aquaphone, to commemorate the reciprocal yearning to stay in contact during times of separation. New compositions, poems, and performances take place on both sides of the Danube, near the Mária Valéria bridge. Aquaphone is an initiative of curator Hanneke Frühauf, in the framework of the Bridge Guard artist-in-residence programme.