[-empyre-] public lament and gardening

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sat Oct 6 03:21:39 EST 2012

On Fri, 5 Oct 2012, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> [strangely I am trying to re-read them while watching Alan's machinima 
> on Anita Berber and Sebastian Droste, now that is a very strange 
> dis/traction to the 1920s and the queering of Berlin's underground & 
> performance, cabaret and film scene)

Those performances were incredibly complex, and spoke to issues of 
suffering, addictions, and death, as you know; I don't see this as a 
distraction any more than any other past history is. These people - I'd 
include Valeska Gert - were walking a very thin edge, and some of them 
escaped and some didn't; some escaped themselves and some didn't. So here 
are performances that are recorded at best in film and with Berber hardly 
that - yet through text and images, they're uncanny.

Why wouldn't empathy or affect work through video etc.? I've seen video 
from films shot at safaris for example which still haunt me, as well as 
Martha Stewart's video she made for PETA, which I assigned students (yes, 
it's _that_ Martha Stewart). My own work (which you'd probably find a 
distraction here) is very much concerned with these issues online - that 
was the basis of my Eyebeam residency.

> Grave matters here this week. After Alan, may I also dis/tract you by 
> passing on to you a brief message just received from Argentine friend 
> asking me about the camera work in Madrid during recent public unrest 
> and protests, when drones?/surveillance helicopters?  flew over the 
> city, like angels, taking a look at the wounding?
- Alan

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