5 questions to Nora & Lily from IDEOGRAMMA

In our online series “5 Fragen an…” (“5 questions to…”) we usually pose five questions to Berlin literary activists. As the CROWD-Conference in Berlin is taking place at the beginning of February, we decided to go a bit further and take the cahnce to introduce Lettrétage’s international CROWD-partners. Lisa Lettrétage first spoke to Nora Hadjisotiriou and Lily Michaelides from IDEOGRAMMA, the Cypriot CROWD-partner.

IDEOGRAMMA emphasises and supports cultural exchange between Cypriot and International culture. How does literature enable or facilitate such cultural exchange?

Ideogramma believes that one’s language is an inherent part of one’s history, culture and past and the preservation of all languages is one of Ideogramma’s objectives. For this reason all writers and poets at Ideogramma’s events are encouraged to read in the original language and / or dialect that the text / poem is written in. The same is true of all the publications which are trilingual; the text in the original language and in translation in Greek and English. Continue reading “5 questions to Nora & Lily from IDEOGRAMMA”

Moshabak-Nights: Interview with Mudar Alhaggi, founder of NAWRAS

Moshabak-Nights return this Friday (19.01.) to the Lettrétage and will so again in February (16.02.). We were lucky enough to get a short interview with Mudar Alhaggi, the founder of NAWRAS, about all things Moshabak and the meaning of NAWRAS.

The internet-research for the meaning of Moshabak and NAWRAS brings up only a few results. How should these names be understood? Is there a history and meaning to this that eludes non-syrians?

The idea of the name “Nawras” came through the Arabic meaning of the word “seagull”, which is a seabird that can be seen upon the shores of the whole world. It became a metaphor for the group as many Syrians have had to cross over the seas to arrive to the shores of the new land. Seagulls are one of the first and most familiar things one sees when arriving on new terrain that gives the sense of being home. Moshabak is a traditional sweet in Syrian culture while at the same time it derives from the word “network” meaning to connect, which is what these nights are all about.

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Sharmilla from Speaking Volumes talks about her ventures in literature

Speaking Volumes are producers of literary events that focus on international authors of color who perform their literature rather on stage – in very different fashion. Sharmilla and her partners have curated a great program with four authors from different directions of the world which they will be presenting in Berlin, 16 November at Lettrétage.

Published originally on the CROWD Blog.

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Any questions?

A report by Sieglinde Geisel on the ninth CON_TEXT event by Érica Zingano, Tatiana Ilichenko, Marion Breton, Barbara Marcel and Tom Nóbrega ‘The hairy goddess’ misstory.’ Translated from German by Hester Underhill.

 

We take off our shoes because the Lettrétage space has been transformed; the floor has been covered with soft cling film, and in some areas with bubble wrap that crackles under foot, ‘Watch out for the glass’ is written on red tape. On the wall is a dark red bathrobe supspended from a hanging balance, a wreath on a loop ‘In loving memory OIKOS.’

All kinds of things are lying about in the room: an old fashioned TV set with a small propeller ventilator, a red rimmed clock on the wall displaying the wrong time, and on an old speaker I discover a perfume spray, a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of mayonnaise. Art or everyday? In a corner I find a heap of dirty cutlery, along with sponges and washing up liquid and next to it a kind of altar with candles in a shell, flowers and matches. And now real art, or at least not everyday items: diagonally at eye level in a scrolling sprawl of script, of which I can only manage to glean individual phrases. Apocalypse… Big Bang… army of the encrypted angels… hairy goddess… A disco ball rains stars over us, dry ice, faint blue light. We sit on the floor and watch what happens. The evening is named ‘The hairy goddess’ misstory’ a collaborative work by visual artist Tatiana Ilichenko (Russia) and poet and video artist Érica Zingano (Brazil), performed with assistance from Marion Breton (France), Barbara Marcel (Brazil) and Tom Nobrega (Brazil). In transparent white plastic overalls, the performers move through the room, a voice rings out from offstage in an English that isn’t easy to understand. We’re in an elevator the voice tells us, relaxation… sudden muscle contractions… the heart stops… body convulsions… end of an era… Europe is a sinking ship… At one point I pick out the word zombies.
Continue reading “Any questions?”

How do you recognise war?

On the ‘War in the park’ installation, with photos and text by Yevgenia Belorusets and Charlotte Warsen
by Sieglinde Geisel, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole.

This evening we are not just entering a room in the Lettrétage on the Mehringdamm. Instead, we are travelling in just a few minutes a distance of over 1,300 kilometres, from Berlin to Kiev. Poet Charlotte Warsen accompanies us via headset on this mental journey. Her voice picks us up and lets us know that we are travelling. “If you were not here right now, would something more exciting be happening to you somewhere else?” The voice knows that we would rather be out on the street in the evening air and that, considering the chairs piled up in the room, fear having to stand up for the entire evening. The invitation said “8-11pm” and it is only know that I understand that it is not really the duration of the event, but rather a period of time during which we can stay as long as we can manage.

I follow the voice’s instructions. She leads me into the back room and into the park in Kiev, where Ukranian-German artist Yevgenia Belorusets took photographs. The recording from the headset lasts 13:25 minutes. It was up to me how long I lingered in the back room. The photographs hang on two walls opposite each other, on the front wall in between them is a poem, with lines distributed in groups on white paper.
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Interview: War im Park / Krieg im Park

Daniela Seel was talking with Yevgenia Belorusets and Charlotte Warsen. Translated from German by Thomas Nießer.

Daniela Seel: Let’s start with something nice: What was your favorite moment of working together?

Charlotte Warsen: It was probably the jokes we were making as we went along… A lot of things did not work out for one reason or another and all taken together it was pretty funny.

Yevgenia Belorusets: The best moment for me was when we both understood what we could achieve here.

CW: When it became clear?

YB: Yes, when it became clear. That we had found a solution to the trap in which we had found ourselves.

DS: That is a pretty important keyword, trap. Why do you say trap?

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Interview with Momo Sanno and Maria A. Ioannou

by Érica Zíngano

 

Érica Zingano: While I was trying to write down some questions to ask you both for this interview, imagining what kind of questions should I ask, I was thinking specifically about you Maria, because you don’t live here in Berlin, so, for you, to be here this week, it’s a completely new experience, it’s a kind of displacement, isn’t it? But for you, Momo, I guess you are more used to life in Berlin, you’ve lived here for a while now, but you also live in Romania…

Momo Sanno: I live all over the world! Actually, I don’t really have a place where I live… But yes, I pay my taxes in Berlin and in Bucharest too, but I’m pretty much moving around! So, I’m permanently commuting between Berlin and Bucharest, because I moved back to Bucharest two, three years ago, and I’m making my base there also, but Berlin conquered me a long time ago…

ÉZ: And you Maria, are you enjoying this week in Berlin? How is it going for you, developing this new work here?

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Text, Room, Time

A personal report on the seventh CON_TEXT event with Rike Scheffler and Jochen Roller by Florian Neuner, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole

Any one of the masses of visitors packed into the documenta showrooms in Kassel could hardly fail to notice the striking disparity between the kind of reception warranted by the numerous works of art that are kept there and what is actually appreciated. Or rather, they would find themselves in the position, simply for reasons of time, to not be able to do justice to many of the works. Some of the films projected on screens and monitors are hours long. Other artists present visitors with entire archives and extensive documentations, which would require a considerable amount of time to read or even just somewhat adequately take in. Continue reading “Text, Room, Time”