Today Bazon Brock turns 80. Being an unique mixture of an artist and an polymath, Bazon Brock studied with Theordor W. Adorno, helped to bring Fluxus to Germany in the 1960th and was a close collaborator of Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell. Brock is emeritus Professor of Aesthetics and Cultural Education at the Bergische Universität in Wuppertal, Germany. He developed the method of “Action Teaching”, in which the seminar hall becomes a place for staging oneself and others. From 1968 until 1992 he launched the documenta-schools for visitors. As „Bazon“ is the Greek word for a talkative person, Bazon Brock developed talking and the mediation of art to an art form, always driven by on the one hand his fury against Hitlerism, which he suffered severely of as a child, being a refugee at the end of the Second World War from the east, and on the other hand by his euphoria to be alive.
On Sunday night, the 3rd of April at 10.05 pm my one-hour long radio feature „Wir und sie und alle die wir kennen. Die kalifornische Konzeptkünstlerin Miranda July im Portrait“ will be boradcast in German at Zündfunk Generator on Bayern2 (afterwards available as podcast). Based on my November 2015 interview with Miranda July and my interview with the scholar Antje Czudaj, who wrote a book on July’s intermedial art, I am analyzing her work in a wider context. In this portrait I am looking at Miranda July’s background in 1990s Riot Grrlism in Portland, Oregon and at her own art work alike: I will talk about her short stories and her debut novel, her films and her media art pieces. Especially I will focus on the interactive and webbased project „Learning to Love You More“ (together with Harrell Fletscher, 2002 – 2009) and her latest intermedial art work „Somebody“, a combination of an app and a wonderful short film, which the fashion label Miu Miu of Prada helped her to realize.Thus I strive to unravel her artistic concept and claim that Miranda July should be regarded as one of the most interesting artistic voices of the current generation.
Three days after the terror attacks in Paris, four days after the massacer which the suicide bombers caused in Beirut, in the middle of the biggest refugee track through Europe since World War II, during an evil war in Syria and daily terror in Israel, Iraq and so many other places since decades: I still feel speechless and deeply sad. On the contrary to so many politicians and demagogues and their immediate response to the terror attacks. All over the planet they seem to know the answers right away and cannot wait to spread their verbal build-up of arms via any channel of communication. But their hatred and racism, their cry for war and revenge is no answer. It never was and it never will be.
It is a great pleasure for me to announce that my first scientific article on radio art in English has appeared. After passing the double-blind peer review process of the ECREA Radio Research Section it just has been published in the book „Radio: The Resilient Medium. Papers from the third conference of the ECREA Radio Research Section„, edited by Madalena Oliveira, Grazyna Stachyra and Guy Starkey.
After I had the great opportunity and pleasure to present my PhD-project at the Radio Research Confernce in September 2013 in London it is of course also a very special pleasure to see the article printed now in English in a book, together with the articles of over 20 other radio researchers from all over the world. My very special thanks goes to Guy Starkey, Grazyna Stachyra and Madalena Oliveira for the great job they did in editing this wonderful book. Although Mauro José Sá Rego Costa was allowed to translate the article into Portugese and publish it in advance in the online-journal of the State University of Rio de Janero the English version only can be accessed via the book due to the copyright of the publishers to protect their investment in preparing the book for print.
Nevertheless it´s certainly fine to tell the title of my article and to publish the abstract here:
Today the result of intensive research in the last weeks and months goes on air and online: My 28 minutes long radio feature „Von Aliens, UFOs und Erdlingen – Zur Kulturgeschichte der Außerirdischen“ will be broadcasted by the Swiss public radio station SRF 2 Kultur, afterwards being available as a podcast.
This production was only possible thanks to wonderful reasearchers like film scholar Simon Spiegel, astrophysicist Ben Moore, literature scholars Robert Stockhammer, Hania Siebenpfeiffer and Philipp Theisohn, ethnologist Alice Spinnler and numerous aliens. They are all featured in the show.
A big thanks also goes to all the others who helped and inspired my work along the way and openend my eyes for so many incredible creatures in and aspects of this universe. These selenites of The Great Moon Hoax from 1835 (see pic the right) are only one example.
A very special thanks goes to Philipp Theisohn and his team at the Swiss national research project „Conditio extraterrestris. The Inhabitated Galaxy as the Space of Literary Imagination and Communication (1600 – 2000)“ at the German Department of the University of Zurich.
Their amazing research projects probably bore me out the most that humankind is once again changing its sense of self and that we have to think and talk about it. Therefore I also portrayed Conditio extraterrestris additionally in a seperate article and broadcast.
Saturday this week (22nd of November) my seminar „They are amongst us. Towards an intergalactic and interdisciplinary cultural history of aliens“ starts at the department for art research and media philosophy of the art academy HfG Karlsruhe. With art students from different disciplines I will try to find out how and why the unimaginable is imagined the way it is and how, why and when the imagination has changed in history and how all of that depended on the evolution of media.
We will be reading theoretical texts e.g. by Immanuel Kant, Nikola Tesla, Hans Blumenberg, Umberto Eco, Kodwo Eshun, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Joseph Vogl, novels by Stanislaw Lem and H.G. Wells, listen to Orson Welles‘ radio drama „The War of the Worlds“ (1938) and watch movies like „Alien“ by Ridley Scott, „2001: a space odyssey“ (1968) by Stanley Kubrick, „Solaris“ (1972) by Andrei Tarkowski, and „Contact“ (1997) by Robert Zemeckis. Of course this will be for me as a radio researcher one of the highlights:
The first human-fungi musical collaboration
Just coming home from The Notwist Concert at Circus Krone in Munich, thinking of what Tomek Kolcynski said lately about J. S. Bach at the Sound Sorrounds Symposium: If you need a psychiatrist after having listend to an opera of Wagner, if listening to Bach feels like having the psychiatrist included, going to a Notwist concert is like having had a wonderful Shiatsu massage – maybe the best you can do to body and mind nowadays to keep them going.