Göttingen: two days, three events
Goettingen is a lovely old German town, full of cheerful bicycle riders and committed cultural “Wissenschaftler”. I just went there for a day and a half. It seemed more like a week.
Right after arrival, there was even time for a relaxed bite and drink on a terrasse, which allowed me to get acquainted with a few extraordinarily smart and committed “cultural musicologists” - for excellent reasons, they reject the more usual term “ethno-musicologist”. A very enjoyable beginning. After this, there was an opening of a small “interventionist” exhibition, which we call Past Landscape: Among Old Masters.
This is the first show of its kind, where our videos were exhibited among old master paintings. Curator Anne-Katrin Sors, who is in charge of this collection which is reputed to be the best university-based art collection in Germany, had installed our videos among the old master paintings. This was a first for our project, and the result was very interesting. The paintings became modernized, the videos almost still.
And to top of this half day, the film A Long History of Madness was shown in a lovely arthouse theatre, called Lumière. An excellent Q&A chaired by filmmaker Lalit Vachani generated a passionate debate, about such different issues as the film’s multilingualism, the collaboration between Michelle and me, and Françoise Davoine’s role in the process.
The next day, Friday the 25th, I was a guest, for the day, of the Featured Thinker Day, an annual event organised by the Zentrum für Theorie und Methodik der Kulturwissenschaften, based at the University of Göttingen. The concept of this event is brilliant: scholars, mainly but not exclusively young scholars, read a considerable number of my articles, and in pairs of two, over three seminar sessions, respondents raise issues that then become the subject of debate with the audience. I thought the day would be long and heavy. In reality, time flew by, and before I knew it, it was over. The gorgeous weather helping, we ended the day as we had begun the previous day: eating, drinking, and talking on a terrasse. All in all, it was just wonderful.