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GoetheInstitute

24/11/2005

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, 24.11.2005

"I'm ashamed of the new Iranian president, whose name the newscaster will hopefully not be able to pronounce," writes author Navid Kermani about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I'm ashamed of his call to destroy Israel. I'm ashamed of his contempt for secular Iranian culture. I'm ashamed of his grotesquely tailored suits. I'm ashamed of his unpolished shoes. They say he doesn't even wash.... There's not a single phone call to Iran without at least one joke about the new president. An example? By all means: Why has the new president started parting his hair in the middle? To separate the male and female fleas. Yeah, yeah, you're laughing. I don't find that funny. The man is my president."
See our feature "I can't live without Europe" by Navid Kermani.


Frankfurter Rundschau, 24.11.2005


"For me, it has to do with the opposition between economic rationality and a certain romanticism," says French cult author Camille de Toledo while talking to Cornelius Wüllenkemper about his capitalism-critical book "Goodbye Tristesse" and the rioting in the French suburbs. "A person who, given an existence based solely on economic logic, says, 'it's not enough, the world is more than that' is behaving like Albert Camus' 'Man in Revolt'. He is engaging in a kind of poetic revolt. In the current riots in Paris, the issue is a simple reality: the social misery of mankind."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.11.2005

A double retrospective of the work of the work of Michel Majerus has opened: "demand the best, don't accept excuses" at Deichtorhallen Hamburg, and "what looks good today may not look good tomorrow" at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover. The Luxemburg-born artist, who died in 2002 in a plane crash at the age of 35, was a proponent of pop culture and worked with computer games, pop music, fashion, film, comics, toys, television and advertising. Till Briegleb, who considers Majerus a "legitimate grandson of Andy Warhol", writes: "The formal particularity of Majerus' style is how he 'rebooted' painting out of computer production. He drew from the digitalised flood of images of the information society. Game designs, computer graphics and the reworking of pictures with Photoshop software are all products of the universal tool PC. By slowing down the instant production of images with the means of painting, by bringing it to a standstill for the viewer, he made a concentrated consideration of this storm of symbols possible."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24.11.2005

China is living in time capsules spanning everything from tradition to punk and high-tech, writes Mark Siemons, the paper's new cultural correspondent in China. He illustrates his findings with, among other phenomena, television programmes: "The daily documentations on the heroes of the revolution and the war against Japan are interrupted by ads for soap and face cream, where beautiful women loll around in gigantic, gleaming white bathrooms; the credits of a TV series based on the novel of the Chinese author Lin Yutang on a traditional family in the 1920s are shown over a picture of a Chinese rocket launch; the numerous gala shows full of sugary sweet pop music are also full of officers of the People's Liberation Army; and at the spring festival, the most popular TV moderators recite poems from the Tang Dynasty."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 24.11.2005

Looking forward to the upcoming concert by Germany's most successful young-boy group "Tokio Hotel" in Zurich's Rohstofflager next Tuesday, Mercedes Bunz reflects about pop artists' lost role as subversive social critics. Only those not tarnished by media hype and contact to the big labels can claim to be subversive at all. "The new independent culture is driven by a bold new ethic: 'Get up and go and do it yourself.' Artists no longer wait to be discovered by a record firm; they play so-called 'guerilla gigs' at their friends' homes and market their albums on their websites. 'Stop buying albums in the supermarkets, take a look at us – we've started a band', they proclaim in the tradition of Art Brut. Today pop and politics have a new relationship. Loud rebellion has been replaced by a softer form of protest. The counter-economy of individual niches has bumped the counter-culture."


Berliner Zeitung, 24.11.2005

Wolfgang Fuhrmann was enchanted by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's performance in the Philharmonie in Berlin on Tuesday: "She is simply THERE and dominates everything, musicians and audience alike. Whether she laughs or languishes, pouts or pleads, or is just happy at yet another perfect coloratura – she unites naive intensity with artistic artifice as only the Italians can do. As she sings, she accompanies herself with expressive gestures of her left hand, and with the right she kneads her fingers as if forming the next note. Then when she happens not to be singing, she seems to conduct the accompanying ensemble, swinging her left arm in rhythm, tossing her head back and forth and showing her Roman profile."

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