“Thirty years later we speak of the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall,’ but the Wall didn’t simply tumble down like a row of dominoes on November 9th. The GDR continued to exist for another year, during which the East German authorities did what they could to keep up appearances. The border guards let East and West Germans cross the border freely, but when it came to foreign residents like myself those first few weeks, they didn’t quite know what to do. My passport wasn’t enough for them; I had to go to the foreign police and apply for an interim document, a ‘Lichtbildbescheinigung’ that was essentially a stamped sheet of paper with my address and a photograph stapled to it. It was a pretend-document for a situation in which the authorities pretended they still had authority; a document for a charade.”

My essay on November 9, 1989 for the Times Literary Supplement

Non-subscribers can read the PDF here. 

 

via 3 Quarks Daily

I’ve been a columnist at 3 Quarks Daily for over a year. The result is a collection of in-depth conversations with artists and writers on the creative process.

I’ve talked to artist Joy Garnett about her famous Egyptian poet and beekeeping grandfather; David Krippendorff about his exploration of the subjects of home and identity; Patricia Thornley about the layers of American identity in her video installation work; German author Ally Klein about her literary debut, “Carter”; Liesl Schillinger about literature and politics; and my editor, Christopher Heil, about the German edition of “A Lesser Day,” “Wie viele Tage” (Droschl 2018).

I’ve written about reading, mass shootings, and about the complex work of Alyssa DeLuccia and the balancing act it performs between photography, installation, and collage. There’s also a conversation with Myriam Naumann that explores the connecting points between my book “A Lesser Day” and an installation I exhibited a year ago at the Berlin gallery Manière Noire, titled “The Ethnic Chinese Millionaire.”

The series can be found in its entirety here.

The most recent conversations have been with Joan Giroux on her artmaking practice; Aimee Parkison and Carol Guess and their collection Girl Zoo; Madeleine LaRue on editing the work of Swiss author Peter Bichsel; and Saskia Vogel on her debut novel Permission.

My next 3Quarks conversation, which will appear on December 23, will be with artists Simon Lee and Eve Sussman.

The term “strange attractor” derives from a scientific theory describing an inevitable occurrence that arises out of chaos. Edie Meidav’s introduction and the thirty-five pieces collected in this new anthology offer imaginative, arresting, and memorable replies to this query, including guidance from a yellow fish, a typewriter repairman, a cat, a moose, a bicycle, and a stranger on a train. Absorbing and provocative, this is nonfiction to be read in batches and bursts and returned to again and again.

Berliners! Come this Friday to the Hopscotch Reading Room at 7:30 pm:  Kurfürstenstrasse 14, 10785 Berlin

Strange Attractors Berlin

Authors Andrea Scrima and Heather Sheehan will meet with Edie Meidav, co-editor of “Strange Attractors: Lives Changed by Chance” (University of Massachusetts Press), and moderator Madeleine LaRue for a reading and discussion at the Hopscotch Reading Room.  Followed by: musical guest Ben Richter on accordion.

“Each essay reckons with contradictions, consequences, and risks. The moving, muscular collection holds an unexpected sort of magic, a sparkling nudge to stay open to change.” —Nina MacLaughlin, The Boston Globe

 

About the readers:

Edie Meidav, co-editoris the author of Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande), short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels, Lola, California (FSG), and Crawl Space (FSG) the most recent. She is on the permanent faculty of the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Andrea Scrima is the author of the novel A Lesser Day (Spuyten Duyvil), which has also been published in German (Wie viele Tage, Literaturverlag Droschl) to great acclaim. She received a writer’s fellowship from the Berlin Senate for Cultural Affairs and is currently completing a second novel. Scrima writes literary criticism for the Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, Schreibheft, Manuskripte, Quarterly Conversation, and other publications; she is contributing editor to the online literary magazine Statorec and writes a monthly column for 3QuarksDaily. The work in the anthology is excerpted from a piece that appeared on her blog Stories I tell myself when I can’t get to sleep at night.

Heather Sheehan, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, thrives on a visual arts practice that informs her written works. Together with sculpture, performance, and photography, Sheehan reaches audiences within and beyond the boundaries of her adopted homeland in Germany, where her works are to be seen in contemporary art museums. When not in her atelier manifesting experience into form, Heather Sheehan inspires others with her boundless curiosity and belief in the healing powers of human nature. Visit her at www.heathersheehan.com.

Moderator: Madeleine LaRue is a writer and translator, and senior editor and director of publicity for Music & Literature. She lives in Berlin.

A great evening was had by all! 

Thanks to Joy Garnett, Margo Taft Stever, Chris Campanioni, Uche Nduka, Erik Rasmussen, Andrea Scrima, David Dephy, David Winner, and Tyler Gore for reading at the Starr Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn in celebration of the new issue of STATOREC magazine. 

May 24, 2019 at 7 pm. 214 Starr Street / Brooklyn, New York / 11237

Slam readers 2

 

“I know of no love that exists with moderation, at least on my side. The older I get, the busier I am, and the more engrossing my social life becomes, the warier I grow of submitting to the powerlessness of being in a love affair in which the heart is truly engaged. There’s a Kenneth Koch poem posted on the wall behind my computer that explains why. It says, ‘You want a social life, with friends/ A passionate love life and as well/ To work hard every day. What’s true/ Is of these three you may have two.’ When love comes in the door, my work and social life seem to fly out the window. Yet every now and then… even though I know how disruptive it is, I succumb, and all balance is lost.”

I talked to Liesl Schillinger to celebrate the publication of the Strange Attractors anthology with UMass Press—you can read the full conversation here

Strange Attractors cover

 

And come to the reading at McNally Jackson in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 

Screenshot 2019-05-07 at 09.45.38

An image is described: a photograph cut out of the newspaper in which a raging crowd is in the act of plundering a millionaire’s home. In the foreground, an oil painting is held aloft by several people: it’s the portrait of the millionaire. The photo was taken in the 1990s, when ethnic Chinese businessmen living in Indonesia were rumored to have caused the economic crisis of the time and suddenly found themselves in danger. The narrator describes the photograph in painstaking detail; she literally reconstructs the photograph in words. What is the mental image that results from this description, and what relationship does it bear to the original photograph? It’s about the description of an image of an image here: a text about the printed photograph of a portrait painted on canvas of a man who has fled for his life only moments before—an oil painting that was destroyed seconds after the picture was taken.

 

Read the full conversation at 3 Quarks Daily

The original German version can be read at Jitter: Magazin für Kunst und visuelle Kultur.