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Sometimes I Forget I'm a Woman.

09.03.16
1 min
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Sometimes I forget I’m a woman.

What does it mean to be a woman anyway?

Lots of shitty feminist art to narrow down the answer.

I sometimes feel I’m a guy. Which is what I wanted to be when I was a teenager.

I sometimes feel pretty neutral regarding gender.

And then I remember I’m a woman.

I wouldn’t choose otherwise.

On Refugees

09.03.16
6 min
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Conversation

Dear Georg,

apologies for this long absence from our conversation. (Also, Thank You! I too am glad of your presence and this conversation which gives us space and time to contemplate the relentless cycle of events.)
I would gladly beam you up, but alas I’m not sure where to bring you. No place seems to be free of nationalist hysteria coloured by a fear of imagined enemies.
The newspapers in India too seem to be from a different time: the president of the student union of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru university has been arrested for “sedition” for  chanting supposedly “anti-national slogans” at a university event. When he was produced in court, he was assaulted by flag-waving lawyers shouting “Long Live Mother India.” Journalists covering the event were beaten up as well.
There is a campaign to instill patriotic values in society; there is a proposal to install national flag, on 207 feet tall flag polces, on campuses to instill national pride amidst the student body.
In Hyderabad, a young man called Rohit Vemula from the historically-oppressed Dalit caste, hung himself from a ceiling fan in the student hostel –  after he was hounded for “anti-national” activities.
He left behind an extraordinary note that offers fresh insights on each reading. I reproduce an excerpt below:
I loved Science, Stars, Nature, but then I loved people without knowing that people have long since divorced from nature. Our feelings are second handed. Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt.
The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust. In very field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.
Over the past two weeks I’ve witnessed extraordinary solidarity between students and teachers in JNU. Classes have stopped and teachers are giving public lectures that unpack and decode this strange thing called “nationalism”. Thus far, the student body has presented a united face to the government and police, despite deep political divisions between various political factions on campus.
In my interviews, I was struck by the diversity of the student base – many are the first members of their family to clear grade 10, let alone make it to university.
Prior to his arrest, Kanhaiya Kumar – the JNU student leader arrested for sedition – made a speech on campus where he laid out the contours of the ideological battle we are all living through:
What are universities for? Universities are there for critical analysis of the society’s collective conscience. Critical analysis should be promoted. If universities fail in their duty, there would be no nation. If people are not part of a nation, it will turn into a grazing ground for the rich, for exploitation and looting.
If we don’t assimilate people’s culture, beliefs and rights, a nation would not be formed….
I want to know what kind of nation worship they are talking about? If an owner doesn’t behave properly with his employees, if a farmer doesn’t do justice with his workers, if a highly paid CEO of a media house doesn’t behave properly with the meagrely paid reporters, then what is this nation worship?
So it is the worst of times, but also the best of times – in that a generation of students seem to be forging a politics of their own.
They aren’t cowed down by this assault on their universities, rather they seem to be growing in confidence each day; their utterances revealing a subversive humour and political sophistication that is completely lacking in the politicians entombed in parliament. It is all very fascinating to witness.
The news you convey from Europe certainly seems bleak; I just read the latest update that a group of Balkan countries have decided to come up with their own restrictions on migrants without waiting for the EU to come up with a plan. But maybe there are some silver linings to be sought?
On hearing about our correspondence, my aunt asked me when the world “refugee” first entered public usage.
It turns out that the word “refugee” was first used in the context of the flight of the Huguenots from France to England in the late 17th century after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. So the first refugees – in the specific sense of the word – were Europeans fleeing religious repression in France. How can we interpret such coincidences or repetitions without being either cynical or facile?
Of late I have been reading a translation of medieval tales of fantasy, many of which are set in the bazaars of Damascus. Reading the rich descriptions of bazaars stocked with items most wonderous and magical, it seems impossible that such a world could end the way it has.
Perhaps the fate of the Hugenots, and Damascus, reminds us that it is a good idea to provide refuge to strangers as we never know when we might need the kindness of strangers ourselves.
Maybe that is the truly terrifying affect that the musafir or migrant produces: her or his appearance at the door is a gesture towards the ephemerality of our comfort. Could this ever be me? We think, before quickly suppressing the thought. I say this for all of us living in diverse and unequal societies – not just for Europe today.
It is not unlike George Orwell’s amazing insight in “Down and Out in Paris and London”, in the dialogue between Orwell and Boris, the Russian refugee who has taken it upon himself to show the young writer the ways of the street:
‘Do you think I look hungry, mon ami?’
‘You look pale.’
‘Curse it, what can one do on bread and potatoes? It is fatal to look hungry. It makes people want to kick you. Wait.’
He stopped at a jeweller’s window and smacked his cheeks sharply to bring the blood into them. Then, before the flush had faded, we hurried into the restaurant and introduced ourselves to the patron.
I’ve read Down and Out several times and always find this section the most powerful.
So I hear you Georg, but we beamed ourselves away, we’ll miss our chance to think through this unsettling time.
Look forward to hearing from you, as always, and apologies once more for the late reply.
Yrs
Aman

greenlight

Green Light

Franziska Sophie Wildfoerster
Boris Ondreička
Kerstin Paloma
Paul Feigelfeld
07.03.16
40 min
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Conceived by Olafur Eliasson as a metaphorical green light for refugees and migrants in Austria and beyond, the project testifies to the agency of contemporary art and its potential to initiate processes of civic transformation. Green light consists of an artistic workshop and the learning platform Green light – Shared learning surrounding the making of lamp modules designed by Eliasson. The lamps are assembled on-site from materials and components that are made available at TBA21-Augarten. In addition to Augarten’s regular audience, young refugees, migrants, and university students are invited to take part in this process of collaborative artistic practice and learning, giving rise to a space of exchange and encounter for contributors from a range of linguistic, social, geographic, and educational backgrounds.
 
The Green light project responds to a situation of great uncertainty, both for refugees, who are often caught up in legal and political limbo, and for the European societies that welcome them. Through its communal fabrication, Green light constitutes a dynamic space that elicits various forms of participation. By collapsing the categories of production and reception, performer and audience, and art and social action, the project aims to open up the contested terrain between art and society, probing the question of what constitutes the “public” and negotiating a field of difference and similarity.

The crystalline Green light lamps are polyhedral units fitted with small, green-tinted light fixtures. Made predominantly from recycled and sustainable materials and designed to be stackable, the modules can function either as single objects or be assembled into a variety of architectural configurations. At TBA21–Augarten, the lamps will form a steadily expanding environment in the exhibition space that carries the narratives of its making. 

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Precarious Breakfast

Armen Avanessian
Mark Fisher
04.03.16
60 min
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You know what a Zirbelstube is? Well, think of it as a light brown hell built from wood. In Austria and other strange places people take this for Gemütlichkeit. Anyway, in such a place, at a rather early time of the day, philosophers Armen Avanessian and Mark Fisher, author of among others “Capitalist Realism” and “Ghosts of My Life”, met to talk about of course Accelerationism but also and mainly about smartphones, depression and the way academics like them live today, caught between the notion of freedom and the dread of poverty, yes, poverty. Because this is what thinking amounts to today: symbolically, maybe, a bit, financially, realistically, close to nothing. What does this mean? Well, listen.

Music on Display

The art of the contemporary 6

Marie-France Rafael about "music on display"
01.03.16
8 min
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INT. DAY. SOMEWHERE IN BERLIN-KREUZBERG – ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS’ ARTIST STUDIO

M

The deconstruction of music, of the ‘idea of music’, or let’s say of what we think music might be, appears to me to be one of your main artistic strategies. Could you elucidate this aspect  – for instance let’s talk about your exhibition Black Thoughts at Galerie Esther Schipper in 2013 where you used the music of Erik Satie as the basis for your work, also deconstructing it in a certain way.

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

In that show I don’t actually use any of Satie’s music but he is present as a reflection. I always want to create a relationship between an audience or viewer and a piece of music, a musical score or a musical performance. Music as we now encounter it is often packaged in a certain way by the music industry and then presented to us as a completely finished, perfectly consumable thing. And as we know, consuming like that negates any kind of real interaction. What was missing for me in my work as a conductor and composer was precisely that: a real relationship among the audience and performers and with the music – in short, the social, messy, openended aspect. In this sense, also the political. 

Imagine a piano recital at the Berlin Philharmonie: a very famous classical pianist is on the program; musician and audience both playing their part, in their costumes, performing their roles in the ritual that is a classical concert. The pianist comes out, starts playing. After two minutes you’ve settled into your role, into your comfort zone, but then suddenly he stops, gets up from the piano and says something directly to the audience like: “No talking!” He’s broken out from his role. And from one moment to the next the whole charade, the artifice of the situation crumbles. Everyone is very awkward, the audience because they realize they are not an audience anymore. Now the concert turns into a performative situation, the audience gets the feeling of seeing something truly live, that things may not necessarily follow the script. That is what I am trying to achieve but in different ways.

M

So you are trying to create situations that open up the possibility for an encounter, be it social or political or let’s say aesthetic. Would you say that the situation is already inherent to the score, as a kind of potentiality?

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

Standing up and saying: “No talking!” is certainly not written in the score. But I don’t see it as necessarily outside the score either, in the sense that a score is a basis for a situation. Inside that situation a lot of things can happen – this might be one of them. If music is viewed as simply being equal to its ‘perfect’ reproduction then such performative elements are additional, not included – but if the performance of music means interaction on a social level in a certain space changing over a certain time span then a lot of things are possible without them being extraneous.

M

Speaking about the situation, I would like to know how the score operates in relation to this idea of a situation, especially in an art context. What I mean by that is, can a score be (visually) presented? And could we then speak about a situation as a form of presentation of the score?

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

A score is a written instruction. Notated music is the instruction for a musician to play or sing a note at a certain point in time usually in relation to other notes. Artistic instructions though can take a lot of forms, so there are graphic scores, speech pieces, the scores by John Cage or Yoko Ono that are just text. In my case a score is an instruction that leads to a certain situation. In a traditional sense we think of the score as a blueprint for an exact representation of a piece of music, so if I would write down the notes I hear I arrive back to the score it was played from. But if you go back in music history and for instance read newspaper reviews from the time when Beethoven was conducting his own works, those concerts were five to six hours long with different symphonies, concertos and opera arias, most of them premieres. The concert hall was full of sounds and things happening like people playing chess or eating. Some of the more important incidents are reported in the reviews, like Beethoven getting angry at the audience and the audience at him. He was going deaf so there were a lot of problems. . .So here again is the idea of the musical score as the basis of a social situation. In today’s classical concerts there is very little room for this, for the unrehearsed, the so-called extraneous or the contingency, even (or one could say especially) within contemporary music performance practice. We need the Philharmonie or La Scala in all its perfection like we need museums to display the old masters, but we also need another kind of space for contemporary music performance that hasn’t really existed until now, let’s call it a ‘Kunsthalle’ for music. We as composers and musicians haven’t traditionally had this playground as we know it in contemporary art. As a composer I feel a strong pull towards a nongoal oriented musical space, the derive. An art space has of course its own rules, but is still a space you can navigate at your own pace.

M

What I noticed about your work is the fact that you sometimes take one of your previous pieces and continue working with it, by changing it, rewriting it, or giving it a new form – so basically you are working with the same material over a long period of time.Are you especially interested in time-based variations?

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

Yes, absolutely. I find that idea interesting, that a work or a composition itself could be revisited and change or be reworked over a long period of time. In the world of contemporary music there is a lot of importance put on the idea of the ‘premiere’ and I wanted to get away from that. Then in classical music there exists the concept of the arrangement, but the arrangement is always considered as something of lesser importance than the original. In a way this is odd, because we know that ‘popular’ arrangements of classical music were at the time often the first contact people had to a work. The string quartet arrangements of arias from an opera like Don Giovanni (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, KV 527, 1787) would at the time have been much more popular than the original opera, precisely because they could be performed at home.

M

So taken from what you just said, what interests you is not only the process of composition, but especially also what happens to the piece you created once the composing act is done? The way it is going to be performed and presented and the different and new forms the work can produce?

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

Every composer puts a lot of energy and emotion into a piece and after a certain time, let’s say a year, the work is done. Then it is taken out of your hands and you have nothing more to do with it. You write down the notes and that’s it. Wanting to control the variables after that led me into the direction of contemporary art. When you start with a blank space, like a white cube, you have to think about where the musicians are going to sit, on what kind of chairs, and what the color of the walls should be. It is a specific space you have to deal with when you are invited to show in an institution. I usually start with the idea of a situation – usually connected to a specific space – and the composition process will proceed on from that.

M

Do you think that a musical experience must necessarily be an immersive one?

ARI BENJAMIN MEYERS

I’m not interested in creating an ambience or atmosphere in which one gets lost, but rather an always active present. I see it more like a constant series of ‘nows’. Usually when one starts talking about the immersive qualities of music, what’s implied there as a counterpart is a passive audience letting the music wash over them; this kind of ‘zoning out’ leads to a certain isolation and separation among an audience.

The Syrian Tragedy

Carsten Stormer
Georg Diez
25.02.16
60 min
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60hertz

Carsten Stormer seems fine, he is cool and clear as always. He just spent two weeks in Syria with the Kurdish led coalition fighting IS or Daesh, close to Raqqa and Aleppo. He is a covering the war since 2012 and wrote about it for 60pages – his moving and important text “The Syrian Tragedy” is just out in English. With Georg Diez he talked about the grim reality on the ground, empty villages, no people left to kill. About his friend James Foley. And about what will lies ahead. His stern verdict: “This will not take years, this will take decades.”

clausnitz

Chemnitz, Charleston, Clausnitz

20.02.16
9 min
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November 1989 erlebte ich von Istanbul aus, wie die Mauer fiel. Ich freute mich für dieses Land, in das meine Familie und ich aus dieser Stadt gekommen waren. Komisch, dachte ich noch, gerade bei so einem unfassbaren Ereignis bin ich, aufgewachsen in der BRD, nicht da, schaue von der Ferne aus zu. Ich saß fast ungläubig vor dem Fernseher und musste daran denken, wie mir meine Mutter davon erzählte, wie sie 1969 die Landung auf dem Mond in unserem Wohnzimmer im Taunus verfolgten. 

Als dann 1990, kurz nach der Wiedervereinigung, die Treuhand anfing, ostdeutsche Betriebe abzuwickeln, war ich Student an der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät Erlangen-Nürnberg. Am Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre hing ein Zettel, dass die Treuhand Studenten im Hauptstudium suche, die während der Semesterferien dabei assistieren könnten, Umschulungsprogramme in ostdeutschen Betrieben abzuhalten. 

Wir wussten, dass die dortigen Unternehmen in keinem guten Zustand waren und dass das für viele Menschen bedeuten würde, dass sie ihren Arbeitsplatz verlieren. Ich wusste auch, wie es für meine Eltern war, als sie damals in Deutschland ankamen. Sich in ein neues Arbeitsumfeld einfügen, zwei Kinder einschulen, sich mit einer anderen Gesellschaft auseinandersetzen. Es ging uns gut, wenn auch nicht alle Erfahrungen positiv waren. 

Ich meldete mich. Ich dachte, ich kann nachempfinden, wie es den Menschen in Ostdeutschland geht, wenn sich plötzlich alles ändert, wenn man nicht weiß, ob das, worauf man bisher baute, in einem anderen System funktioniert. 

Nach vier Wochen Vorbereitung kam ich nach Chemnitz, ehemals Karl-Marx-Stadt, zu Robotron, einem Flagschiff der ostdeutschen Industrie. Ich hatte mich ein wenig eingelesen, 1989 arbeiteten in dem Kombinat fast 70.000 Menschen, am Standort Chemnitz waren es glaube ich 8.000. Weniger als 2.000 sollten dort übrig bleiben wurde gesagt. Ich war ich mir unsicher, was ich dort einbringen konnte, außer meinen Optimismus. 

Und so war es dann auch. Montagmorgen um acht stand ich in einer grauen Flanellhose und einem Wollcardigan vor etwa 30 Nochbeschäftigten Robotronmitarbeitern. Mein Vater hatte noch beim Abschied über den Cardigan gelächelt und milde gefragt, ob ich jetzt mit meinen paar Semestern Studium in Yale unterrichten würde. Es roch nach Braunkohle, als ich von meinem Wohnheim, wo noch einige Vietnamesen wohnten, zum Betriebsgelände des Ex-Kombinats lief, und ich hatte davon Kopfschmerzen. Das kannte ich aus Istanbul, als der Ruß von den Kohleöfen im Winter in der Luft hing und ich immer Tage brauchte, um mich an die schmierige, kalte Winterluft zu gewöhnen. Ich sagte: „Guten Morgen, mein Name ist Murat Suner. Ich bin hier, um mit Ihnen die nächsten vier Wochen das Modul Volkswirtschaftslehre und Soziale Marktwirtschaft druchzunehmen.“ Es klang wie ein Witz. Sie guckten mich alle an. Keiner sagte etwas. Ich war Anfang zwanzig, sie zwischen Ende dreißig und Anfang fünfzig. Ich war Student, sie Ingenieure, Physiker, Facharbeiter, Büroangestellte. Ich kam aus der BRD, sie aus der DDR. Wenigstens das hatten wir gemeinsam: Zwei Länder, die es irgendwie nicht mehr gab. Ich fragte mich, wie sie sich jetzt wohl vorkommen, mit so einem jungen Spund vor sich, der noch dazu gar nicht so aussah, wie sie sich vielleicht den Besserwessi vorstellten. Ich dachte, die haben Angst und die trauen mir nicht. Auch das kannte ich aus West-Deutschland. Es gab so endlos viele Begegnungen von klein auf, wo ich das Gefühl hatte, die haben Angst, die sind misstrauisch, ohne dass ich es erklären konnte. Dieses verdammte Gefühl, das mich endlos nervte, aber das ich nicht ablegen konnte, und nicht verstand warum. Ich verstehe es bis heute nicht. Es gibt Erklärungen, dass es mit dem Krieg zusammenängt, mit dem Faschismus, mit dem das Land sich und andere in den Abgrund riss, dass dieses Trauma sich über Generationen vererben kann, all das weiß man heute. Aber man weiß das nicht, wenn man als Kind in diesem Land aufwächst. Ich wusste nur von klein auf, dass die Angst und dieses Misstrauen absolut nichts mit mir zu tun haben. Dass das meinen Eltern gelungen ist, dafür bin ich endlos dankbar. 

Im Laufe der Wochen wurde die Stimmung immer gelassener, jeden Tag verbrachten wir acht Stunden zusammen. Keiner von uns wusste, ob das, was wir da machen würden, irgendjemand nützen würde, aber wir entwickelten eine Art Gemeinschaft in diesem Raum. Aus dem, was lächerlicherweise als Unterricht gedacht war, wurde ein Miteinander-Reden. Ich sollte Noten vergeben, aber schämte mich, gestandenen Physikern etwas über Pivottabellen zu erzählen. Ich glaubte, sie spürten das und ließen mich machen, und ich sie. Eine fand heraus, wann ich Geburtstag hatte, dann gab es morgens einen Kuchen und ein Ständchen von allen auf Sächsisch. Ich war wirklich froh, dass ich nach dem Zettel von der Treuhand gegriffen hatte. 

Im nächsten Jahr bin ich wieder hin, da waren, glaube ich, noch 1.600 da, die Stimmung war ernüchtert. Einige Zeit später brannte in Hoyerswerda ein Heim, in dem vietnamesische Arbeiter lebten – so eines wie das, in dem ich in Chemnitz gewohnt hatte. Es waren sogenannte Gastarbeiter, deren Veträge aus DDR-Zeiten abgelaufen waren. Sie sollten bald nach „Hause“ geschickt werden, viele mit Kindern. 30 Menschen wurden bei den Anschlägen verletzt. Die Menge applaudierte, während Rassisten Brandsätze schmissen. Das war im Herbst 1991. Dann kamen Solingen und Mölln, und Helmut Kohl ging nicht zur Trauerfeier. Später mordete die NSU quer durchs Land, auch in Nürnberg, wo ich studierte. Der Rassismus scheint überall zu sein, wo ich bin, doch eigentlich ist er überall, wo jeder ist. Aber es gibt keine Regierung, die von strukturellem Rassismus spricht.

Es geht nicht um Ost oder West. Dieses Land kann nicht ohne Einwanderung, es setzt sich in der Mitte des europäischen Kontinents ja aus Eingewanderten zusammen. Es gab auch nie irgendeine Gesellschaft ohne Ein- oder Auswanderung. Es geht gar nicht ohne den vermeintlich Fremden, die Konstruktion der fremden Kultur ist lächerlich, es gibt nur eine Kultur des Zusammenlebens oder es gibt keine. Wo Abschottung ist, ist Dunkelheit. Niemand will da leben. Selbst die Leute aus Clausnitz nicht, denn im Grunde vergehen sie vor Selbsthass. Der Mensch hat keine Wahl, er kann sich nur öffnen oder zu Grunde gehen. 

Als die Menschen 1989 „Wir sind das Volk“ schrien, meinten sie das „Wir“, jetzt aber geht es nicht um das „Wir“, es geht um das „Volk“, das die völkische Bewegung des 19. Jahrhunderts meinte, und die war rassistisch und antisemitisch. Dass dieses Geschrei heute auch anti-muslimisch ist, ist fast Nebensache, denn was sich gerade breit macht, ist vor allem anti-demokratisch. 

Ich bin enttäuscht, weil die Politik das nicht klar genug macht. Politik muss das Öffnen der Menschen, das Zusammenleben gestalten, wofür gibt es sonst Politik? 

Ich habe angefangen diesen Text zu schreiben, nachdem ich fassungslos und wütend das Video sah, in dem Geflüchtete in einem Bus mit der unglaublichen Aufschrift „Reisegenuss“ in Clausnitz ankamen und der hasserfüllte Mob die Menschen mit „Wir sind das Volk“-Gegröle bedrohte. Und dann dieser Polizist, der den völlig eingeschüchterten, angsterfüllten Jungen gewaltsam aus dem Bus zerrt, während der Mob dabei aufjohlt. Wer macht so was? Ich wollte mir die Erschütterung aus der Seele schreiben und ich dachte, es wird nicht gut enden. Aber ich erinnerte mich an die Leute, die ich in Chemnitz kennenlernte und die mich kennenlernten, die mich nach einigen Wochen zu sich nach Hause einluden und die am Ende traurig waren, dass ich wieder nach Hause fuhr. Und das beruhigte mich. 

Aber es geht nicht um mich. Da kommen traumatisierte Menschen aus Not und Elend, fliehen aus Verzweiflung und vor dem Tod. Um dann in die hässliche Fratze von entmenschlichten Wesen zu schauen, so dass sie noch einmal um ihr Leben fürchten müssen. Woher kommt diese Entmenschlichung? So was macht allenfalls der Krieg, aber hier ist kein Krieg. Hier stimmt etwas nicht. Auch mit der Politik nicht, mit der Polizei nicht. Dafür müssen wir keine US-amerikanischen Polizeivideos anschauen, in denen Afro-Amerikaner misshandelt oder gleich abgeknallt werden. Was Obama nach dem Attentat von Charleston über die klaffende Rassismus-Wunde, in die dort keiner hineinsehen will, sagte, können wir uns ruhig auch hier eingestehen: Deutschland hat ein gewaltiges Rassimusproblem. Wenn wir es aussprechen, wird es besser, nicht schlechter. Viele Facebook-Kommentare sprechen von Scham und Betroffenheit über Clausnitz, aber das reicht nicht. Das sind keine Einzelfälle, das ist ein wiederkehrendes, also strukturelles Problem. 

Ich, der als Einwanderungskind mit nationalsozialistischer Vergangenheitsbewältigung bis zum Erbrechen aufwuchs, muss es mir selber sagen. Weil ich es nicht fassen kann. Weil ich dachte, als jemand meinen Eltern einen Karton voll mit noch dampfender Scheiße vor die Tür legte, mit einem Zettel, auf dem mit armseliger Handschrift „Geh nach Anatolien, Hunde kurieren“ stand, das sei ein Spinner, wie das halt jeder so denkt. Aber das ist falsch. Ein Rassist denkt nie, dass er alleine steht. Überall. In Hoyerswerda nicht, nicht in Charleston und auch nicht in Clausnitz. Er denkt immer, dass er für andere mithandelt. Andere, die sich nicht trauen, die nicht erkennen, was er vermeintlich erkennt. Er denkt in seinem kranken Wahn, wie der norwegische Massenmörder Breivik, dass er irgendwas beschützt, was schützenswert ist. Aber da ist nichts. Nichts außer Selbsthass. Wir können diese Leute nicht alle auf die Couch legen, wo man sie eigentlich behandeln müsste. Nicht den Mob auf der Straße, nicht die gestörten AfD-Leute, auch nicht die aus der sogenannten bürgerliche Mitte, von denen offenbar viele immer noch denken, Rassimus ist nur, wenn das in der Gaskammer endet, und das sei ja vorbei. Ist es nicht. 

Deutsche sind doch so ehrgeizig. Warum ist die Politik dann nicht so progressiv und erkennt, dass ein Einwanderungsland seit Jahren nicht einfach so stehen bleiben kann. Es reicht nicht, einen einmaligen humanitären Akt zu vollziehen, damit wir uns dann wieder in tumben Das-Boot-ist-voll-Debatten aus den neunziger Jahren verheddern. Da waren wir doch schon. Wir sollten uns der Zukunft zuwenden und konsequent den Weg zu einer echten Einwanderungsgesellschaft bestreiten. Es gibt keinen Weg zurück, wir können nicht stehenbleiben oder abbiegen, es geht nur dorthin. Das muss Politik aber auch sagen.

carsten stormer sniper still
Sniper Abu Abdul accompanied by Carsten Stormer, Aleppo 2013, © Courtesy of Carsten Stormer
Aleppo - A City Engulfed In Civil War, Aleppo 2013, © Courtesy of Carsten Stormer

The Syrian Tragedy

by
Carsten Stormer
17.02.16
60 min
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Our Task

Igor Levit about meeting a guy with a clear vision of politics, life, love – and music
10.02.16
4 min
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My driver, a black man of about 25 years, picks me up from the hotel and greets me with a super loud “Hi brother, how are ya?”
“Good. And you?”
“I’m fine, thanks! I’m always fine, I’m always good, I’m fighting for a better world, daily, ya know? We all need to fight, and we need to feel good about it, that’s our task!”
A few minutes later, driving to Kalamazoo, we are deep into a wonderful conversation on intellectualism in politics, on presidents (“Obama is the best president we’ve ever had!”), on the media (“Sure, Fox News is crazy, but hey, I like MSNBC, but I would like MSNBC even more if they wouldn’t try to act like Fox News. Sometimes I think, we’re all surrounded by crazy people. Why can’t they all just THINK before they act?! Why not?!”)
“You know, my family and I, we came from Ethiopia to the United States, we lived in Virginia. But I didn’t like it. You know why? Too white, too republican (big laugh), too happy, too unpolitical. Not enough trouble! (big laugh). Luckily my friend called me from Ann Arbor, asked me if I’d like to move here, so I did. And it’s great! I love it! We all fight. We all do ! And each day we fight more, and each day we love the United States more. These nazis, Cruz, Trump, they’ll never take over our country. We won’t let them. It’s our land. It belongs to all of us! Bernie Sanders, he is my man. I love him. But I wouldn’t elect him. It’s sad, but the country isn’t ready yet. I support Hillary. Yes, I do. We all do. Sure, Bernie is closer to my heart, but the country isn’t ready yet. But he did so much for us already. So much! He’s our voice. Our media calls him “Socialist Trump”. They’re nuts!!!! Populist? He’s a populist? He’s a good man! He cares for us, he cares for culture, he cares for young people, and they call him Socialist Trump??? That’s insane! He’s like the only guy who speaks about culture. Yeah brother, I love culture, I love music. I think music helps us fighting. Detroit is like so so close from here. Hip Hop, Eminem, they’re fighters. But here, today I was listening to Schubert. You know Schubert? Listen to this! (He switches on the radio, puts a CD inside, Schubert E flat major Mass.) Listen to this great stuff! Ah, yeah, ah … these harmonies! That drive! He must have been in trouble, man! You can tell! Such amazing stuff! I’ve been listening to this all day long! Trump is a nazi, Cruz is a nazi, maybe even more dangerous than Trump. We shouldn’t underestimate these guys. Never! Look, you see these places over here? (He points to the left and to the right side.) So many crazy people live here. They’re crazy about their guns. Guns, everywhere guns. They’re insane. And churches everywhere. Baptist churches, all kind of churches. But sure, yeah, more guns than churches! (big laugh) They trust guys like Trump and Cruz. And you know why? Cause they hate us. They hate blacks, they hate Mexicans, they hate gays, they hate progressives, they hate culture. It’s pure hate. And it’s fear. They’re afraid of us. That’s why they hate us. Where are you from? Germany? Europe is a mess these days, right? I read it in the news. Everywhere crazy people. France, England, Poland, crazy stuff, man … Germany too? Oh shit. But is the young generation fighting? They should fight! You guys must fight! It’s your country! It’s a problem to say “my country”? Why? You should care for your country and for your people. Always! Hey, you know, I think the key is: love. I love all people. Even people, who hate me, I love them. If they’d kill someone I love, I’d still love them. I’d never hate them. Never! That’s why they’ll always loose. I think I drove too far, wait. No, just one block. I want you to be safe and to be on time. That’s important! Hey, good luck with your concert brother! You play Schubert? Wow! He’s my guy!! (big laugh) Give them hell!”
He dropped me at my hotel and drove away. Three hours later I performed Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Prokofiev at the hall down the street.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-10 um 14.36.46
The three in a Nietzschean pose; and look who has the whip

Listen, We Have a Jingle!

10.02.16
60 min
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60hertz

Armen Avanessian visited Ari Benjamin Meyers together with Marie-France Rafael in his studio in Kreuzberg for 60Hz. At the end of 60 minutes 60Hz finally has the only thing that was still missing for such an amazing radio show: a jingle, or rather one out of 60 jingles. You’ll hear about Marie’s and Ari’s new book ‘Music on Display’ and his work as a composer, (post)contemporary artist, his upcoming shows, the book launch on February 19th at Spike Berlin, his childhood discovery of Satie and Vexation’s 840 repetitions, his discovery now of our hidden singing talents, and basically everything you ever wanted to know about the history of radio (jingles) and why its frequency should be measured not in hertz but in hurts: Ari explains it all while sitting and playing at his piano. And all this you get if you make it beyond the first 10 minutes of us recording a jingle for 60Hertz (or hurts) totally out of tune.

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Listen, We Have a Jingle!

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