||Henry C. Brinker's first
job as the Semper Opera House's head of communications was to visit
a coach holiday trade fair in Cologne. "We sell 25 operas a year
to coach trippers." He has prepared a powerpoint presentation
for us. His screen saver is an image of wild mushrooms. "Wild
mushrooms are my favourite mushrooms," he says. "When I'm
down, I look at the mushrooms. Opera and Coca-Cola don't mix but opera
and wild mushrooms do." "Most people come here for the building,
regardless of what's showing. I might as well show my mushrooms."
He adds, "I'm an art mid-wife" and "The main thing
is the art on the stage.“ His voice becomes more melodious.
The main sponsor Radeberger's envoy says little.
Back on our World Trade Center balcony we exchange opinions. The group
proves to be well behaved, polite and well versed in handling differences
of opinion. We order pizza and eat hungrily, straight from the box.
The weather is still lovely.
The city as (historic) image
Observatorium (artists group, Rotterdam):
Krassimir Terziev (artist, Sofia):
Excuse Me, Which City Is This?
Andre Dekker introduces
the work of the Observatorium artist group. After the symposium
he sends me a number of interesting observations: „Many people
are smart. There are many things one doesn't know. Smart insights
don't mean that the audience is equally smart.” During his
lecture I learn that the American Bill of Rights includes the sentence
“You have the right to be left alone.” His talk about
the group's long attachment to a juvenile prison for which they
installed a garden with a car workshop and goats includes the insight
that „Prisioners come and go. Staff stay.“ Andre has
since written: "The advantage of art presentations at a symposium
is not having to question if it is true or if there might be opposite
Krassimir Terziev's film is shot on a set left behind by an Italian
film production at a studio in Sofia. The set depicts an average
historical central european city. Film extras have been recruited
for a day's work but the shoot never begins. The camera observes
the extras chatting, killing time, enjoying each others company
and linking arms. I ask myself if extras everywhere would react
like that or if different nationalities would behave differently.
I'd love to know if the extras in my country would have been so
patient. But I don't know much about the film extra profession.
The city as (historic) image
Andreas Siekmann (artist, Berlin):
On Behalf Of Streets And Squares
Prof. Dr. Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (Institute of Sociology, TU Dresden):
The Canaletto-Syndrom - Dresden As An Imaginary City
moderated by Sophie Goltz (co-curator of Wild Capital / Wildes
Then Andreas Siekmann presents his
proposal for a history of public art. Oil crises and squatters,
documenta and participation. I listen entranced. Luchezar says "Nice
drawing". The Bulgarian participants feel patronised and are
"Every institution - and art is always institutional - invents
its own genealogy." Karl-Siegbert Rehberg's eloquence is captivating.
"Before we move on to a more pleasant topic" as he puts
it, he explains what he thinks of "rentier capitalism“
which socialises the risk factor. He describes the refusal for permission
for Andreas Siekmann's merry-go-round round the Golden Rider as
"a touching testimony of traditionalism", says "from
the SED to ZDF", calls artists "neo-liberal tamagochis"
and laughs about the way marketing departments believe that artists'
main aim is publicity. He shows us monumental plans by an architect
to rebuild Dresden after the war.
In the evening we gather for gulash soup. Geert van de Camp and
I hear about the thinking behind artists' self esteem in socialism:
if socialism had achieved the productivity levels required to allow
the workers to have more free time, socialism thus becoming communism,
then sport and art would have had their day. Artists stood for this
perspective and had to be looked after. Professor Rehberg described
a survey he did in Dresden 10 years ago: artists were convinced
that their profession would have no future relevance for society.