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Agathe Bauer

The title of publication series ‘Agathe Bauer’ stands for a broadly misheard hook “I’ve got the power” from a German 1990 eurodance hit ‘The Power’ by the band Snap!. The hook that turned the song into a hit, came from Jocelyn Brown’s track ‘Love’s Gonna Get You’, but neither her name nor the track appear in the credits.

The act of sampling and collage can be understood as an opportunity to destabilize concepts of ownership and authorship for the purpose of producing new modes of interpretation. Yet, in the case of Agathe Bauer, the result of sampling and collage reveals a logic of extraction dictated by the capitalist market. The reframing of Jocelyn Brown’s lyrics in a completely altered social and political context – that of post-Wende Germany – can be understood as an extractive appropriation of material rather than just a liberating act of sampling.

The international recognition and record chart ratings of Snap!’s eurodance hit ‘The Power’ in contrast with its lesser known and uncredited sample from Jocelyn’s ‘Love’s Gonna Get You’ turns the case of Agathe Bauer into an instantiation of aggressive misinterpreting. Further, whether intended or not the homophonic misinterpretation as in the case of the misheard hook; can be also read as a broader principle of epistemic gatekeeping as it relies on biased forms of hearing and reception.

Indeed, the analysis of Agathe Bauer or misinterpretations in general, may have a capacity to unveil asymmetric power structures in knowledge systems. The publication attempts to speculate on the multiple consciousness of Agathe Bauer by tuning into the social-political, cultural and aesthetic dimension of misinterpretation.