SUSAN ARNDT

Susan Arndt is Professor of Transcultural Anglophone Studies at the University of Bayreuth. She studied literature, linguistics and cultural studies in Berlin and London and worked at the Universities of Oxford, Berlin, Frankfurt/Main and Bayreuth. Her major research interests are British, Anglophone and diasporic fiction as related to postcoloniality, gender, intertextuality, futurity, posthumanism and technology.

She is the author of Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen. Rassismus (München: C.H.Beck 2012, 2nd edition 2015),

The Dynamics of African Feminism. Defining and Classifying African Feminist Literatures (Trenton, NJ; Asmara: Africa World Press 2002) and African  Women’s Literature, Orature and Intertextuality (Bayreuth: Bayreuth African Studies) (1998).

REMIXING WAGNER

DJ Spooky and Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) operas and conceptual writings remain some of the most influential works of the last two centuries. With their complexity, abstract harmonies and deeply elaborate use of leitmotifs, Wagner set the tone for how we think about composition and multiple interpretations of set design, architecture, and the complete use of music to create a virtual tableau for 21st century digital media. It’s been argued that he is essentially the first multimedia composer.

Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, the innovative research structure at the University of Bayreuth, have invited Paul D. Miller to explore some of the deep structural relationships between Wagner’s concepts and the tensions between his work as a composer and theoretician and the long standing controversy surrounding his career.

From 2015-2016, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky is Composer in Residence at Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies in the heart of Bayreuth where Wagner oversaw his crowning achievement – the legendary Festspiel Haus. The Residency is comprised of an exhibition, concert series. It will be part of the joint exhibition of Academy researchers and artists responding to the overarching theme “Future Africa – Visions in Time” which opens on November 7th, 2015, at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth. Paul D. Miller’s project on the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk is devoted to explores the philosophical dimensions of Wagner’s work in relation to 21st Century aesthetics and compositional strategies. The Residency will culminate in an album that explores many of Wagner’s most well known works.

Artist statement:

I first encountered Wagner not just as a composer but as a friend of one of my favorite philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche. The collected Aphorisms of Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and one of my favorite adages from it “For, as a rule, artists are no better than the rest of the world, they are even worse – they misunderstand love. Even Wagner misunderstood it…” are a big inspiration for my work. I did one of my degrees in Philosophy and focused on Ludwig Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Hegel, and the rise of humanism. The intriguing thing about Wagner is that his work was never meant to be “just music” – neither is mine. I started my Residency in Bayeuth by physically walking through the town and environs for many miles. I wanted to put myself in the scenario of Wagner’s architectural idea-form, the Festspiel Haus to explore the resonance between the composer as architect and philosopher. There’s also the dynamic engagement with some of my soundtrack work: Wagner’s music was used to sublimely powerful effect in DW Griffith’s deeply controversial film “Birth of a Nation.” I remixed the film and soundtrack with Kronos Quartet in 2016. The other aspects of Wagner – The Tristan Chord (which many musicologist a trace to the rise of Modernist post Harmonic tone sequences, etc), and Wagner’s relationship to cinema inform the project and Residency: Apocalype Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979), Amiri Baraka’s famous “Dutchman” (1964) on over to the Richard Burton 1983 biographic “Wagner,” to Stephen Fry’s “Wagner and Me” (2012), James Franco’s rendition of “Tristan and Isolde” (2006, Tony Scott, Director) and more currently, the rise of multimedia as the dominant global discourse of our time – all of these point to Wagner as more important than ever. From his relationship to modern cinema (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars etc) one can see his traces on almost every major aspect of Western culture – up to and including the main theme of many, many weddings: The “Bridal Chorus” (“Treulich geführt” in German), from the 1850 opera Lohengrin, is a march played for the bride’s entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world. Then there’s the whole issue of his concepts of Gesamkunstwerk and Zukunftmusik that anticipated our media discourse by a full century. While Wagner won critical acclaim for what he achieved in his theater works, his nuanced and passionately written, problematic philosophical works are less well known. I’ll balance music with art and philosophy in this Residency, and I hope you can join me for the journey.

Bayreuth, 2015

I’ll be exploring a digital media response to his work by looking some of the more complex issues informing his work.

relation to 21st Century aesthetics and compositional strategies. The Residency will culminate in an album that explores many of Wagner’s most well known works.

KATHARINA FINK

Katharina Fink works as researcher, writer and cultural organizer. She holds a Magister in Cultural Studies from University of Thübingen and a PhD from BIGSAS, University of Bayreuth. She is and has been engaged in various projects ranging from all cultural areas to research and teaching. Her particular interest is to combine theoretical and practical aspects of aesthetics with societal issues: What can ‘beautiful’ mean? She’s also facilitating the literary estate of late South African author, Bloke Modisane.

Currently she holds the position of a Post-Doc-researcher at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, where she is part of the sub-project TP 5, Revolution 3.0. She not only was essential in developing a new method, used in this sub-project, called the Icon Lab, but also forms part of the curatorial and organisational team for the upcoming exhibition, Future Africa – Visions in Time. Keeping in touch with her second home university, she’s affiliated researcher at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Johannesburg.

frl_fink@gmx.net
katharina.fink@uni-bayreuth.de

www.sübkültür.de
www.revolvermaedle.wordpress.com
www.bayreuth-academy.uni-bayreuth.de/resources/TP5-poster-revolution.pdf

FABIO VANIN

Fabio Vanin is an architect and urban designer, holding a PhD in Urbanism from University Iuav of Venice, completed in 2008 with the thesis “Maputo Open City – Investigations on an African Capital City”. He worked as project leader for several strategic plans in Europe (Antwerp, Gent, Gorzow, Poznan) and Africa (Nairobi), and as research assistant at TU Eindhoven and at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 2009 he co-founded LATITUDE – Platform for Urban Research and Design, where he is currently involved in an international comparative research on water based urbanism, “Floating Urbanism”. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Landscape Urbanism at the Vrjie Univrsiteit Brussel.

Bibliography:

F. Vanin et al., “Prototypes Beautopia” in P. Pellegrini, P. Viganò (eds.), Comment vivre ensemble: prototypes of hidrorhithmical conglomerates and shared spaces, Officina Editori, Rome 2006. F. Vanin, “Multiculturalism in Maputo: from society to physical spaces”, in Planning for the risk society. Dealing with uncertainty, challenging the future, XXI AESOP (Association of European School of Planning) International Conference, Naples 2007. P. Guedes, Vitruvius Mozambicanus, ed. by F. Vanin, DODO, Venice 2011

SAM HOPKINS

Sam Hopkins is an artist whose work responds to the specific social and political context within which he is living, exploring and re-imagining elements of daily life. As his practice is triggered by a context, it exhibits a broad spectrum of both media and content. Much of his work orbits around issues of public space and the negotiation of participatory practice. Critical to this engagement is a keen attentiveness to the ways in which media produce realities, as opposed to simply transmitting them.
Sam grew up between Kenya and England and studied Art in England, Cuba and Germany, returning to Nairobi in 2006. He has participated in a broad spectrum of local and international exhibitions, is currently a PhD research candidate at the University of the Arts London (UAL) and works as a Kulturstiftung des Bundes Fellow at the Iwalewahaus Bayreuth. He was recently named one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014 by Foreign Policy (FP) Magazine.

Exhibitions and Festivals (Selection)

2014: Once Upon A Time, Makerere Art Gallery (UG)
          Dakar Biennale, Dakar (SEN)
2013: Mashup the Archive (curatorial), Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth (GER)
          Africa, Uebersee Museum, Bremen (GER)
          Once Upon A Time, Goethe Institut Johannesburg (SA)
2012: Nairobi; A State of Mind, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (A)
          Truth is Concrete; Steirischer Herbst, Graz (A)
          Dead Insects in my Parents Pool, Roots Contemporary, Brussels (BEL)
2011: Conversations in Silence, Goethe Institut Nairobi (KEN)
          Ueberlebenskunst, HKW, Berlin (GER)
          ‘Not in the Title’ (Solo Show), Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth (GER)
          The Urban Culture of Global Prayers, NGBK, Berlin (GER)
2010: Afropolis,Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne (GER)
          Mwangalio Tofauti, Nairobi Museum (KEN)
          Qui Vive II Moscow International Biennale (RUS)
          Sketches (Solo Show), Goethe Institut Nairobi (KEN)
          Afropolis (Nairobi) Goethe Institut Nairobi (KEN)
          Stereotypes, Mombasa Law Courts (KEN)