Impressions by Ricoh Gerbl, translated from German by Elizabeth Toole
It is a Tuesday evening, just before 8pm. I am walking along the Mehringdamm. On my way to the Lettrétage. Author Kinga Tóth and illustrator Doro Billard are going to present the results of their collaboration. They had a week to get to grips with each other’s different forms of expression, or simply put to find a way to come together. This event, where literature encounters other art forms, is part of a series called CON_TEXT. Authors meet artists from a variety of fields and have to create something together. This evening the third outcome of such a ’collision’ will be presented to the public. I turn into the backyard. A few people are standing in front of the entrance, smoking.
7 days, 2 artists, 1 location: As part of the project CON_TEXT, two artists had one week to develop an event together at the Lettrétage
Poet and publisher Daniela Seel visits the CON_TEXT artists Kinga Tóth and Doro Billard at the Lettrétage.
Translated from German by Elizabeth Toole.
Daniela Seel: The room seems immediately so different when you enter, we could start with that straight away. Various steps of different processes and utensils can be seen here – can you perhaps say something about what is going on here and what will happen.
Kinga Tóth: Ok. I should perhaps start with the texts. These texts on the floor all have a lot to do with water. That’s why we chose to work together. There was a CON_TEXT discussion round, not blind dates exactly but more like two minute dates – and for us it really was an immediate match.
Doro Billard: A topic which made us both think, “that’s exactly what I’m about”. And that’s where the obvious idea came about that we would work together. Kinga’s texts, so clearly about water, about women in water, in basins, about a woman who jumps into a tank, the whole theme of girls’ bodies, women’s bodies, it all really spoke to me.
Norbert Lange writing to Mathias Traxler about ‘Haut-Parleurs’, a literary event which was conceived and presented by both Harald Muenz and Mathias Traxler in the Lettrétage on the 23th February 2017 as part of the ‘CONT_TEXT’ project.
Translation: Alice Bibbings
That was a great reunion! And also a lovely opportunity to refresh the themes that we often come back to in our conversations together. The right word to describe the Robin Blaser’s way with words occurred to me afterwards on the way home. It wasn’t ‘elegance’ that I was thinking of and that I first tried to explain to you, even though that is most certainly a characteristic of Blaser’s poetry; rather, the word I was looking for was ‘attentiveness’. I like to think that you can hear just how much or how little room poets give words in their poetry. When I listen to Blaser (and I had the same impression when listening to Harald Muenz and yourself) I can sense that a certain attention has been paid to the words that allows them to really express themselves. It shows that the words have be treated with real care, as you become aware of just how sensitive they are and equally of the wrath that they can unleash if they are not handled properly. Sensitivity and fragility are not synonymous, after all.
An extract from Harald Muenz and Mathais Traxler’s mail correspondence during the preparation stages of the CON_TEXT event ‘Haut-Parleurs’ on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th of February 2017 in the Lettrétage. (For further information about the event and its preparation, see here: video, photos, Norbert Lange’s letter to Mathias Traxler about the event).
Translation: Alice Bibbings.
1: So, before I print out the score, I need to quickly get some paper and buy a few things.
2: Attached are a couple of examples of what the Minnesang II-Block might look like.
1: Gah. I just got your email. Lovely – Chopin, Schumann and Tristan!! Are you playing that on the piano?
2: Thank you very much for the interlined Konrad – now everything is much clearer.
Sivuvalo is literary activism at its best. The network/publishing company that works across national borders to promote non-Finnish literature from Finland is a fresh way for literature in a globalized world.
In a globalized world literature and the literary market are yet jetlagged. Slowly publishers and foremost independent networkers, writers and organizers are catching up on a development nobody can call recent anymore. Even big publishing companies that are specializing in the book market recognize the need to transform their portfolio to a broader and more international approach.
But this is still new and untestified ground for the literary world. For literature it can very well be said that it’s inhabited by coteries of increasingly problematic posts – post-colonialism, race, nation, gender, modernism, amongst others – when it goes international. And the hybrid spaces that are created by that carry the weight of weariness from the reader and writer as well. Continue reading “Sivuvalo – literary activism at its best”
Daniela Seel: Let’s start at the beginning – what made you decide to work together? Why were you interested by each other?
Cia Rinne: I think I was very irrational. I liked Gernot a lot from the off and could imagine myself working well with him. The only thing was that, unlike with the other possible partners I could have had, I did not have a clear idea what the two of us could do together. That sort of open-endedness poses a kind of challenge that I really like. The way we work is rather different to how I am used to working – I’m really glad that we met. Selecting our partners was a mixed experience. Meeting the other artists was great but it was also tainted by the fact that we would imminently have to pick out partners to work with, which is always an awkward thing to have to do.
Gernot Wieland: I also think that the conditions set out for us were peculiar. What would have happened if all ten of the artists wanted to work with Cia and no one wanted to work with another author? The chemistry was right between us, that’s all. But I equally don’t know how else you could organise it.
DS: The teams were finalised by the end of 2016; you had to be ready to present by late January. You must have had to move insanely fast?
GW: In the world of fine arts, there are different types of people. You’ve got certain people who like to go to their workshops, throw on their overalls and get cracking that way. I’m more of a “deadline artist” – I get invited to do a project that has a theme and a deadline and I create a piece of work for it. That’s what helps me.
As part of the „WiSU – Wirtschaftliche Stärkung der UrheberInnen in der freien Literaturszene Berlin“ project. The project is a relay station that enables a contact point between authors, editors, organizers of literary events, translators of literature and small publishers, in order to get in touch, exchange information, cooperate, support each other and develop new ideas TOGETHER.