From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Süddeutsche Zeitung 08.05.2008

Burkhard Müller read Elfriede Jelinek's text about Amstetten on her homepage and concludes: "The Amstetten case must have seemed not only possible to her from the first moment on, but utterly inevitable."

The text is titled "Im Verlassenen" (a complex invented word which combines the idea of abandoned-ness and in a dungeon) and is not intended to be quoted. "All texts here are protected by copyright and should not be reproduced or quoted in any form without permission", it says on her homepage. But we were particularly interested in the passage about the architecture of the dungeon in Amstetten: "The performance by this grandfather-god-the-father who has constructed an idyll which he has artlessly built in the form of a female body, with its many niches and passages, where you can't look in at everything from everywhere, it is not art to use something as the female body, even if you don't have one, there are blow-up sex dolls, hollowed out apples, animals etc., but it is an art to build spaces as a woman might, and decorate them with pretty patterns, a temple, only built for the lust of the father." Here Jelinek's text in full.

Die Welt

The arguments used by our dear Olympic officials to dismiss any boycotting and criticism of the host nations never change, as Uwe Schmitt discovered at an exhibition on the "Nazi Olympics" of 1936 in the Washington Holocaust Museum. The head of the Olympic committee, Avery Brundage, said at the time that the games "belonged to the athletes, not the politicians" (even though the Nazis had banned Jewish athletes from their team). Everything went to plan: "The New York Times declared at the end of the games in 1936 that the Germans had become more human again and had returned to the fold of the nations. Then in June 1939, after the attack on the Czechs and after 'Reichskristallnacht' the Winter Games were given to Garmisch-Partenkirchen."

Die Welt 07.05.2008

Rainer Haubrich watched Christoph Schaub and Michael Schindhelm's film "Bird's Nest" which follows Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron through the building of China's Olympic stadium. "You hear the admiration in the voice of Jaques Herzog for the consistency with which the Chinese regime pushes through projects of this scale. A democracy like Switzerland can also be quite crippling for architectural projects, he says, 'in this respect there are certainly advantages to a country like China'."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 06.05.2008

Roman Bucheli spent a stimulating weekend at the 30th Solothurn literature festival. One of the highlights – alongside readings by Adolf Muschg and Tim Krohn – was the performance by Marius Daniel Popescu: "... spellbound (or perhaps a little bewildered, even dumbfounded) one listened in on the wild singing of Marius Daniel Popescu, a writer who left Romania for Lausanne in 1989 where he has worked as a bus driver ever since, in the knowledge that the magic of the writing would evaporate if you had to read it yourself, without hearing the rustling of Transylvanian forests in the author's rasping voice. He was recently awarded the Robert Walser prize for his debut novel 'La symphonie du loup' which, as he said, he sadly had to bring to a close, not after 900 pages, but half way through. His prose, which he delivers in a full shamanic trance, deals with nothing and everything, it tells of life and nonsense, bears literary witness to the Romanian dictatorship and transforms biography into literature. 'La poesie est partout' he says and dreams, not like Flaubert of a novel about nothing, but of a book that never ends."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The writer Slavenka Drakulic explains why she cannot stand the word "Balkanisation", because it only serves European denial. "As if Europe was a terrain that had been spared the devil's touch.... As if European nation states or revolutions had not been born out of blood. As if Auschwitz never happened."

Süddeutsche Zeitung 03.05.2008

The entire first page of the feuilleton is dedicated to Rem Koolhaas' China Central Television tower in Bejing. Is this one of the "buildings of evil"? For Gerhard Matzig this is a question for the future to answer: "No other building poses so prominently they question, which only the future can answer, as to whether architecture can contribute to the opening of a society. The tower which has been built for Chinese state TV, a medium which is like no other is designed to exercise power: the power of television images. The thoughts and feelings of one sixth of the human race are programmed and administered here. Whether the skulls of innocent monks are smashed in Tibet, or aggressive acts of sabotage by dangerous separatists are successfully thwarted, the truth is the truth of television which can broadcast journalism or propaganda."

In an interview the project manager Ole Scheeren, defends the decision to accept the contract: "On one hand there is the task of representing the government's own programme. But at the same time processes of implicit democratisation are taking place. China has a vast number of ethnic groups: they have to be accounted for in the 250 channels. There are also hundreds of other stations. This means competition."

From the blogs 03.05.2008

In a legal blog, copyright expert Thomas Hoeren vented his anger over the open letter by the German music industry calling for internet access to be blocked to illegal music downloaders. In an interview with he explains his thinking. "The music industry ihas made a name for itself by using so-called buy-out contracts to remove all rights from the artists and transfer them to themselves. Which is why the music industry, under the pretences of defending the artists, has only its own interests at heart. This is what a colleague of mine – the former head of the Max Planck Institute – called the shift of copyrights to economic rights."

Der Tagesspiegel 03.05.2008

Michael Busse describes how Karl Schulze, the head of the Berlin piano manufacturers Bechstein, put things to right in a factory in China: Schulze brought two bottles of champagne with him and handed them to Mister Louo, the head of the company and Mister Rool, the managing director. But that was the end of polite exchanges. Mr. Louo and Mr.Rool then showed Schulze around the production halls. Schulze strode ahead and suddenly caught sight of a worker who was cutting up tiny bits of plastic. Plastic! In mechanics!" - let's talk european