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16/06/2006

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16.06.2006

On the media page, Rainer Stadler discusses the eldorado of citizen journalism, after the Netzeitung launched its new "Readers Edition" platform last week. He finds it paradoxical that this idea is on the rise in the days of increasing specialisation and "enlightened perplexity". "It remains highly unlikely that these platforms will foster a completely new form of journalism, as the 'Readers Edition' pompously declares. Although various media companies are flirting with this journalistic genre, it is not with the idea of non-hierarchical media discourse in mind. Instead, it is an attempt to bind the increasingly fickle customers tighter to their sides through interactive forms and to profit from the communication needs of the readership in the in-house channels. Interactive platforms act primarily as repositories, as a new means to pin down what the public wants to see reported and to avoid the blinkers which threaten every routine-based organisation."

At the RoboCup football championship in Bremen, Manfred Weise observed a certain lack of ball-sensitivity in the tin-footed players: "Because in the humanoid league the autonomous robots recognise the ball, the goals and their fellow players by their colours, their image processing has to be finely tuned to the light. This is one reason why every RoboCup entry form provides an exact description of the lighting conditions in the hall, and why robots are not permitted to wear the same colour as the playing field, ball or goal. When spectators on the perimeter of the field wear ball-coloured T-shirts, it can happen that robots take them for the ball."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16.06.2006


In the context of the Peter Handke affair (more here), Serbian author Dunja Melcic portrays the situation in Serbia today, praising the liberal heritage of Zoran Djindjic and mentioning in passing that two witnesses who were to testify against Djindjic's murderers have recently been killed. She notes in alarm a return to the nationalist era of Slobodan Milosevic: "The radicals' programme is broadly based around the desire for a Greater Serbia – together with Kosovo and the lost bits of Croatia. A bloodthirsty rhyme paying homage to Ratko Mladic and the Srebrenica massacre has aroused much horror by calling for the slaughter of Bosnians. The title is: 'Kill, Mladic; kill.' The Serbian majority is filled with hatred for all its neighbours – including its 'brother nation' Montenegro."


Die Welt, 16.06.2006

Roger Köppel talks with Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, for whom 'Regietheater', or directors' theatre, is nonsense: "All creative people tread on thin ice. Of course actors can be easily unsettled by someone who's studied literature and philosophy, for example. The actor is his own instrument, and that's no picnic. Some don't have the intellectual underpinnings, and are easily taken in by charlatans. Throw in a few clever critics and cultural politicians who are perhaps also wannabe artists and you get the hodge podge we're dealing with... Theatre today is a sort of ideologically imposed elation, one that's often not shared by audiences. The reason's simple: with an excellent play and ten talented actors, the director can become secondary, and some of them find that hard to take. A lot of actors do in fact suffer under the so-called 'director's theatre', but they wouldn't dare speak out against the trend. I mean they want to work after all."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 16.06.2006

Christian Thomas is highly impressed by the exhibition "The Conquest of the Street" at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, which compares artistic modernity in Paris and Berlin. "Whereas Impressionism sees big-city life as an aesthetic phenomenon, Expressionism turns the urban stage into a battlefield, a social limbo. In the end, on the threshold of Futurism and Cubism, the urban organism is nothing more for the avant-garde than an abstract mechanism. The comforts of urban modernity seem to have reached a critical mass, and city dwellers were not just energised by technical inventions like electricity. A painting by Carl Saltzmann from 1884 celebrated the electric arc lamp as a civilisational gain allowing people to read the paper even at night. Thirty years later someone like George Grosz shows how big-city lights merely reveal the grimaces of an all-embracing social prostitution."

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