5.6.2015: Black Mountain College: Alternative Nation
Official opening of the exhibition 'Black Mountain College: An Interdisciplinary Experiment, 1933-1957', at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art, and accompanying catalogue, edited by Dr Catherine Nichols, and featuring the essay 'Alternative Nation' by Craig Schuftan.
30.5.2015: Gertrude Stein's 'The World is Round'
Short talk on Stein's 1939 children's book, followed by performance of a short excerpt with music by Ducks!
Hosted by Entretempo Kitchen Berlin as part of the 'Literary Dining' series, curated by An Paenhuysen
29.5.2015: Ducks! Present: 'Into the Trees'
Original soundtrack music by Ducks!, to be played at the opening of Agnes KR Patience's exhibition, Schwarz-Weiss-Zwischenwelten, n_how Berlin.
14.5.2015: European Lab: 'The Next Cultural Decade'
Round table debate on the idea of culture defined by decades, and what might be in store during the next one. Hosted by Wyndham Wallace, also featuring Agata Pyzik, Relja Bobic and Jean-Francois Sanz
9.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: Why Romanticism Matters
On why rock music loves misery, and the truth about Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Hosted by The School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theschooloflife.com/melbourne/blog/2015/03/why-romanticism-matters/
8.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: The Philosophy of Disco
Art or Entertainment? Songs to make you think, or songs to help you forget your troubles? The history and practice of disco offers insights into a long-running intellectual debate in Western Culture. Presented by the School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theaureview.com/interviews/craig-schuftan-berlin-sydney-talks-the-philosophy-of-disco
5.4.2015: Hokey Religions and Ancient Weapons: Nostalgia for the Future in Star Wars IV-VI
Lecture and slide show on cultural nostalgia and retro-futurism, hosted by Somos Berlin at the opening of the exhibition, Future: Now, curated by Elisa Rusca. https://askhelmut.com/events/2015-03-05-19-00-opening-future-now
6.12.2014: Eine Kleine Nacht-Fieber; the Philosophy of Disco
Disco lecture and party, hosted by de Gym, Groningen. http://heyevent.de/event/1521098058176514/eine-kleine-nacht-fieber-lecture-party-on-the-philosophy-of-disco
29.11.2014: The Low End Theory: Hip Hop Lecture and Party
A History of loops and samples, a night of beats and rhymes at T Berlin, featuring music by Ray Mann and DJ Zimt
16.10.2014: Lady Dada: Collage and Photomontage from Weimar to Mileygate.
Lecture and slide show on the history of Photomontage. Followed by cut-up sounds from Moonsign and Ducks! Performed at the opening of the exhibition 'Mountains Beyon Mountains', Leuchtstoffe, Berlin.
"What if I tell you now that I have often longed even for plays I have seen performed - frequently the very ones which bored me most - or for books I have read in the past and did not like at all? If that is not madness, there's no such thing."
"And you must not let yourself be misled, in your solitude, by the fact that there is something in you that wants to escape from it. This very wish will, if you use it quietly and pre-eminently and like a tool, help to spread your solitude over wide country. People have (with the help of convention) found the solution of everything in ease, and the easiest side of ease; but it is clear that we must hold to the difficult; everything living holds to it, everything in nature grows and defends itself according to its own character and is an individual in its own right, strives to be so at any cost and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to the difficult is a certainty that will not leave us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; the fact that a thing is difficult must be one more reason for our doing it."
Rainer Maria Rilke, 1904
rainer maria rilke | kate bush
'Acousmatic, the Larousse dictionary tells us, is the 'name given to the disciples of Pythagoras who for five years, listened to his teachings while he was hidden behind a curtain, without seeing him, while observing a strict silence.' Hidden from their eyes, only the voice of their master reached the disciples.... In ancient times, the apparatus was a curtain; today, it is the radio and methods of reproduction, along with the entire set of electro-acoustic transformations, that place us, modern listeners to an invisible voice, under similar conditions.'
Pierre Schaeffer, 'Acousmatics', 1966
pierre schaeffer | musique concrete | sonorous objects | acousmatics | pythagoras | phenomenology | twin peaks | red room
'Imagine a traveller from a hundred years ago arrives at our doorstep and asks us why the music of the 20th century operates so frequently on the basis of cyclic repetition. Not just the rap and dance genres of popular culture, but also minimalism - perhaps the single most viable strand of the Western art music tradition... why does so much of our music work this way? What kind of needs do these patterns satisfy?'
Susan McClary, 1999
stardust | daft punk | susan mcclary | minimalism | loop | chaka kahn | repetition
"Could it be that we come to the city in order to achieve solitude? Such has been the unspoken premise of the modern city of utopian individualism. By solitude I do not mean isolation. Isolation is a state of nature: solitude is the work of culture. Isolation is an imposition, solitude a choice."
walkman | ipod | iphone | isolation | solitude | city | the crowd
"The whole human species, looked at from its origins, appears to the philosopher as an immense whole, which, like an individual, has its infancy and its progress … The totality of humanity, fluctuating between calm and agitation, between good times and bad, moves steadily though slowly towards a greater perfection."
Said nobody, at any time in the last one hundred years. Nowadays, our view of the future is more like the one seen from the middle ages than the Enlightenment. But from where he stood in 1750, or perhaps sat, on a chair a bit like the one pictured above, the French statesman and economist Jacques Turgot could look back on the past five centuries and see a gradual transition from primitive agrarians torturing and killing each other over superstitious nonsense, to the confident era of the Enlightenment, with its stupendous advancements in astronomy, medicine and physics.
enlightenment | progress | history | kubrick | 2001