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09/06/2005

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 Zeit, 09.06.2005

The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk and artist Tino Sehgal, who along with painter Thomas Scheibitz is representing Germany in its pavilion (more) at the Venice Biennale, engage in a downright weighty discussion about the immaterial lightness of Sehgal's art. Sehgal explains: "For me it's more a question of experiencing, and celebrating, abundance. Taking the affirmative step to joy is one thing that interests me about my work. What I like is combining self-consciously responsible artistic production with joy, with something that is not ascetic and not Protestant."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 09.06.2005

A new permanent exhibition opens tonight in the Karl Marx House in Trier (map). Hans-Jürgen Linke looks at the effect the new show will have on Chinese tourists. "More and more tourists are coming to Trier from China. According to the tourist office, 28,700 Chinese people stayed overnight in the city in 2004... They come to visit the house at number 10 Brückenstrasse, where Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818. In China, Karl Marx is the most famous German figure. The Chinese are clear on something that is not easily accepted in Germany: that Karl Marx is typically German. He grew up in the old part of Trier. Back then Trier was somewhat remote, lying behind the Seven Mountains and far from the country's few cosmopolitan metropolises. But on the other hand it is also in Germany's heartland. Its inhabitants, and the rest of Germans, see Trier as Germany likes to see itself: a place of introspective yet self-repudiating provincialism. This is where Karl Marx grew up and went to school, this is where he learned what the German-speaking world had long been famous for: censorship and political persecution. In two decades, when China is the second-most powerful economy on the planet, Trier could become a major centre of Chinese tourism in Germany."

German socialism is gaining popularity in exotic corners of the world. "Socialist Realism might be the description on the plaque, but the painting is closer to Heimatmalerei (kitschy folk art). The entire museum is a mass of pale orange and dusty brown. The only exceptions are the red flags, the white of the border signs and the green of the cemetery which you catch sight of occasionally through the window. The location of this memorial: Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, Culver City - a district of Los Angeles" reports the writer Antje Ravic Strubel, still shell-shocked after her visit to the DDR-obsessed Wendemusem in far off L.A. "And I was there!"


Der Tagesspiegel, 09.06.2005

"The whole memorial is a great big nothing." In conversation with Wolfgang Menge, Henryk M. Broder, one of Germany's best known publicists, badmouths Peter Eisenman's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. "It is a memorial to the East German Plattenbau (pre-fab block of concrete high-rises). From the outside it looks like a model of Marzahn (a district on the outskirts of Berlin famous for its rows of these buildings)." He continues: "And as for the memorial itself, in contrast to the 'Third Reich' this really is an example of collective German guilt. Everyone involved in this project is guilty. The thing is sitting there now, and probably will be for the next 1000 years. I see the memorial as the continuation of the 'Third Reich' in sculptural form."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 09.06.2005

"For a long time, we have been content to cooly sit back and witness a dangerous development," writes Romanian philosopher and ex-foreign minister Andrei Plesu (more here), about the defeats of the yes vote in the recent referenda on the EU constitution. "You could describe it like this: Europe has become an ideology. Here in the East, we still remember all too well the devastating impact of a thought, a conviction, that metamorphoses into an ideology, an abstract programme, a fanatic schema, an idee fixe. Ideology is a form of the bureaucratisation of thought... Even the greatness of the European idea cannot survive if it is infected with ideological reflexes. It is simply impossible for the demagogy of the 'common house', the regimentation of optimism, the tactical monumentalisation of the spirit of the community, the sovereignty of administration and accountancy, to create a convincing portrait of Europe – neither for its members, nor for the those waiting to join. Europe, or rather the European Union, must hurry up and recover its organic freshness, its naturalness, its human dimension."


Fatih Akin's new film...

Fatih Akin, the Turkish-German director of "Gegen die Wand" (Head On) which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale Film Festival 2004, has made a new film, "Crossing the Bridge", a documentary about the sound of Istanbul.

He tells the tageszeitung: "My brothers and sisters in Germany who are so fond of outing themselves as Turks by hanging a crescent moon around their necks, know almost nothing about Turkey today," he says. "They have never heard of the writer Orhan Pamuk (more here) or the director Nuri Bilge Ceylan or the band Baba Zula, and they know nothing at all about Turkish history. It's like black Americans who know nothing about their history: after all they don't learn it in school. So they should be interested in my film, because it shows what's happening in Turkey today."

Rainer Gansera writes in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, "The 15 bands portrayed in the film reflect Istanbul as a bubbling melting pot. The sound of the city as a mosaic of the most diverse musical universes expressing a vast array of lifestyles, generations and backgrounds." He concludes: "After seeing this film, it is impossible to understand why there is such a snotty debate about Turkey's right to EU membership."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

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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

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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

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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

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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

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