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GoetheInstitute

06/03/2009

From the Feuilletons

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.

Die Welt 28.02.2009

The esteemed painter, sculptor and long-standing Rector of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, Marcus Lüpertz, recently came under criticism from Hilla Becher for neglecting photography. In conversation with Tilman Urbach he explains why: "Photography is becoming more about entertainment, cabaret, circus. It's moving towards – and I say this with all respect – meretriciousness. It's going to have to fulfil its vast entertainment potential, but these are all things which transport photography away from art. In contrast to painting, photography has no surface, it has only content. It has mood, it has tension, it has perplexity. These are honourable criteria, no question about it. Photography comes in vast formats. But this will be its ruin: it has devastating technical potential."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 28.02.2009

The Emirates will have to downscale their cultural construction programme rather dramatically, reports Jan-Aslak Stannies, who met a man who should know: Michael Schindhelm, abandoned ship as director of the Opera Foundation in Berlin when the budget was slashed and now, as a culture functionary in Dubai, is having to face the poverty of the oil sheiks. "Around 50 buildings were due to be built by 2015 in the estuary area to create the cultural pearl of Dubai. There is now a giant question mark hanging over the entire project. 'All cultural infrastructure projects which have not reached an irreversible state of development have been put on ice, without exception,' was how Michael Schindhelm summed up the situation. The opera house, the Middle Eastern Art Museum, the Prophet Mohammed Museum, the cultural pavilion which was being developed together with Rem Koolhaas – everything is being delayed."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 02.03.2009

Michael Gogos visited Küstendorf, a tiny mountain village in Serbia where Serbian film director Emir Kusturica plans to save cinema from the evils of Hollywood: "Küstendorf recently staged its second film festival featuring filmmakers from around the world. Last year Peter Handke was on the jury and this year he also returned for the festival. For Kusturica, the best films today come from Asia, particularly from small nations like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, which have no real film tradition of their own. He has also opened a film school where he educates these young filmmakers in the old style of European auteur films. Which explains Jim Jarmusch's recent visit. It would seem that this Serbian backwater, what Handke called 'Europe's corner of shame', is out to become a breeding ground for anti-globalization avant-garde art. Here in this 'reconstructed home', as Kusturica calls it, 'Hollywood's pure poison' cannot infiltrate."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
05.03.2009

In Tuesday's spectacular urban planning debacle, construction work in Cologne caused the city's historical archive to collapse into a metro tunnel (news story). In an interview, the Medieval historian Johannes Fried explains the historical sources that were housed in the archive and what their loss means: "The Cologne City Archive is – was?- one of the largest in Central Europe. In Germany there are two remaining archives of a comparable size in major international trade cities, namely Lübeck and Nuremberg. The archives in Frankfurt and Hamburg were destroyed, one in WWII, the other in the great fire of Hamburg in 1842." In a second article Stefan Koldehoff lists the most important recent additions to the archive – namely the literary remains of Heinrich Böll, Vilem Flusser und Rolf Dieter Brinkmann.


Die Zeit 05.03.2009

Even after the fatal car accident of its beloved governor, Jörg Haider, Carinthia is still a "political blot on the landscape" that is "broken by its own stupidity," writes Eva Menasse. "From a distance it might look some form of bizarre regional slapstick, the death cult that is somehow touching and the embarrassing jokes, which are too intellectually inferior to merit the term 'racist'. But in fact Carinthia is an experiment in cancelling European democracy, and it's almost completed. Yes, Carinthia, with its exquisitely mountains and lakes, its cordial people and its delicious dumplings, so adored by the Germans as a holiday destination, is an ethical, moral and political catastrophe."

In an interview with Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg, Egyptian jurist and preacher Suad Saleh describes a special form of Islamic feminism. As one of the first women to study at Cairo's Al Azhar University, she obtained the right to issue fatwas – for example, the death sentence against Mohammed Hegazi and his wife for their conversion to Christianity: "If someone converts to Christianity - or vice versa – without causing a disturbance in the society, that's his right. The death sentence stems from the social unrest he caused. Mohammed Hegazi used the media to declare his conversion to Christianity publicly, and in doing so, he attacked Islam."


Achgut.de 06.03.2009

The broadcaster ZDF has co-financed the 60th birthday celebrations for the Minister President of Rheinland-Palatinate, Kurt Beck, who was also the chairman of ZDF's board of directors for many years. The blog Achse des Guten (axis of good) quotes a letter from ZDF to a viewer who had asked for more information: "Originally, ZDF had considered honouring the longstanding chair of its board of directors with a special event that would give the executive management, the members of the ZDF supervisory board, as well as the staff the opportunity to show their reverence for Kurt Beck. The minister president made it clear that personal gifts were not desired and that the expenditure for the reception should be kept within acceptable proportions. For that reason, the government of Rheinland-Palatinate and ZDF agreed to host an event together. Indeed ZDF is essentially funneling its limited contribution to this event into technical-organisational support as well as a cash contribution." (And what form did their reverence take? Did they kiss his ring?)

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Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

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Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
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Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

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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