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gerMANY FACES


a festival to change perceptions

a dialogue with germany about culture and cities


Meret Becker & Ars Vitalis, HARMONIE DESASTRES Meret Becker & Ars Vitalis, HARMONIE DESASTRES
HERE’S A FESTIVAL THAT WILL BRING YOU FACE TO FACE WITH CLAUDIA TERSTAPPEN’S PHOTOGRAPHS OF GERMANS LIVING IN AUSTRALIA, WITH THOMAS WEINBERGER’S JUXTAPOSITIONS OF BERLIN, MUNICH AND SYDNEY, AND INTO EYE CONTACT WITH THE CRYING WOMEN OF THE PAINFULLY INTIMATE VIDEO PORTRAITURE OF BORIS ELDAGSEN’S WEEPING SONG.

How we look at another culture, from everyday physiognomy to art to the character of its cities is central to the Goethe-Institut’s GerMANY FACES Australia festival whether encountered in Thomas Lehmen’s provocative self-choreography, or Katharina Grosse’s adventures in the colour-driven transformations of space, or the hybrid forms bred by a new generation of German musicians.

Sydney Goethe-Institut’s Director, Klaus Krischok, sees the festival’s substantial music program as “countering the predictable association of German music with Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, hard-core Berlin techno and the allegedly ubiquituous brass band oompah-pah. The performers chosen for this festival counteract some of those stereotypical associations though ironic commentary and deliberate style mixes.”

As evidence, Krischok cites “the young film star Meret Becker teaming up with a group of rather mature world musicians to produce her Harmonie Desastres, and a good deal of anarchy. Rising star Schriefl—a Bavarian dandy—blends cool urban jazz with punk elements. Francoise Cactus and Brezel Göring are Stereo Total. They mix German and French lyrics and styles, accents and topics in their minimalistic yet melodic songs. DJs Ame, Tanzmann and Trickski are here to prove that the German electronica scene has indeed evolved from techno and does allow for elements of new romanticism.”

While seeing new German music in action, or contemplating the imagery of German-Australian duo Boris Eldagsen and Natascha Stellmach and at the ACP in No Cure—New German Photomedia (Aug 23-Sept 29), or finding oneself immersed in site-specific and performative painter Katharina Grosse’s new work at GoMA (Brisbane’s new Gallery of Modern Art, July 15-Oct 28), there’ll be big picture ideas to talk about and contemplate. An art and science expo at the University of Sydney (GerMANY INNOVATIONS) will open on September 10 and go on to other cities while The Liquid Cities: Berlin-Sydney Conference (Oct 3-5) is designed to address “the creative city, innovative cultural management and broader access to the arts.”

Performance comes to the centre of these discussions in Ta(l)king Pleasure in German Culture, A Day in the Dialectical Playground. This symposium at UNSW is followed by performances featuring Sydney based artists Martin del Amo, Jeff Stein, Regina Heilmann along with Paul Gazzola (who works between Germany and Australia) and visuals by Heidrun Lohr (Io Myers Studio, 5.45pm, Oct 20).

As Sydney increasingly comes face to face with its problems as a city, the opportunity to reflect on its future through art and dialogue is truly welcome. RT


GerMANY FACES Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Sept 10-Oct 20

RealTime issue #80 Aug-Sept 2007 pg. 11

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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