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GoetheInstitute

05/03/2007

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Monday 5 March, 2007

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 05.03.2007

Ukrainian author Yuri Andrukhovych talks to Ulrich M. Schmid and Andreas Breitenstein about Ukraine's situation in Europe, Ukrainian literature and his relationship to Germany and Switzerland. Only Austria fares badly: "Originally I idealised Austria, but today the country disappoints me profoundly. I learned about the whole Austrian "kaiserlich und königlich" myth - the myth of the Austrian empire - at the start of the 1990s. At that time the central European idea was totally new for me, I was just writing my first essays on the topic, for example 'Erz-Herz-Perz' (a play on the German 'Erzherzog' or archduke -ed). Today Austria shuts itself off from the Habsburg tradition. No one understands me when I talk about it in Austria. People say: that's old-hat, uninteresting. Austria is a cold land, I dreamed about it a lot but no one understands me there. For this indifference I have taken literary revenge: perhaps this is why I have the Austrian protagonists in my novels killed, thus killing the Austrian in me, as it were." See our feature "The carnival continues," an interview with Yuri Andrukhovych.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05.03.2007

Regina Mönch portrays the Iranian activist Mina Ahadi, condemned to death in her own country and resident in Germany, who has just launched the "We have renounced" campaign where Muslims can out themselves, complete with photo, as having renounced their faith. "Like other like-minded people, Ms. Ahadi has found that in a media society provocation is now more effective than finely-chisled argumentation in achieving a political end. Her polite protest against the picture painted by the media that the caricature conflict had the entire Islam-dominated world in turmoil and constituted an insult to every individual citizen of the so-called Muslim states, went unnoticed. She believes it is time to acknowlege the thousands of people in Germany's immigrant society who want nothing to do with headscarves, Sharia, or even Islam. And since, in the run-up to the Islam conference, Aiman Mazyek, the secretary general of the 'Central Committee of Muslims', did not call for better defined rights for 'three-and-a-half million Muslims' and for Sharia to be 'brought in line' with democracy, Ms. Ahadi and those around her decided to found a 'Central Committee for Ex-Muslims'."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
05.03.2007

Sculpture is making a comeback on the art market, and Jörg Heise is not impressed. "It's just like when people postulated the 'return of painting,' but above all meant the return of butter-wouldn't melt reproduction of bits of reality. Now the proclaimed 'renaissance of sculpture' is little more than a display of technical self-suffiency. Just don't ask too many complicated questions that could cast doubt in people's minds about the need for all this technique. Or it could take the wind out of gallerists' sales pitches to trophy collectors. In fact, the only thing left to say, is that future sculptures should all be standardised to European pallet size, to facilitate transport and storage (something that Martin Kippenberger suggested)."


Die Tageszeitung 05.03.2007

Around 90 magazines have joined forces and put out the first edition of Documenta Magazine, for the upcoming contemporary art exhibition Documenta 12. The project's director Gregor Schöllhammer explains the benefits of the project to Brigitte Werneburg. "With this publication, discussion has been initiated between magazines from Argentina and Chile, say, and those from Poland, Romania and the Balkans. South America talks with Eastern Europe. In this way, the whole neglected history of the Non-Aligned Nations is made accessible. Suddenly, entirely different channels open up, a long way off the major trade routes. A colleague from India is now working together with other Asian publications to investigate the incredible schizophrenia surrounding cultural quality control in the major Asian cities. The authoritarian regimes there are becoming increasingly censorial, but anything and everything can be had on the markets. In Thailand you can find every European avant-garde film from the 1960s, even works by Friedel Kubelka."


Berliner Zeitung
05.03.2007

Christian Esch reports that Michael Schindhelm, the former general director of the Berlin Opera Foundation, has announced he is looking forward to "going into the desert in the biblical sense." After much wrangling about the financing of the foundation and talk of "bullying" by Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit, Schindhelm resigned from his position in the German capital on February 14th and is off to Dubai to be the new cultural senator. "The Emirate wants to build a cultural centre on an international scale, a laguna city, which will be under construction until 'at least 2012, 2013.'... He did not wish to comment on the terms of his new contract but made it clear that the offer from the Gulf Emirate had had no influence on his decision to resign from the Opera Foundation."


Saturday 3 March, 2007

Süddeutsche Zeitung 03.03.2007

Sonja Zekri reports on Arab Internet and blog enthusiasm: "The blogger scene is thriving. According to estimates of the initiative for Open Arab Internet, in Saudi Arabia alone, blogger numbers have trebled since the beginning of 2006, and are now as high as 2,000. The most quoted statistics say there are around 40,000 Arab web diaries, and there is even a word for the people who write them: mudawen. 'The number of Arab bloggers still looks negligable on an international level, but in terms of influence and popularity it has exceeded all expectations,' raves Gamal Eid of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information." Zekri is rather more sceptical in her conclusion: "In Arabic blogs Islamist voices now hold sway."

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The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
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Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
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Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
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Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
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