The Contemporary

I'm sitting in on a seminar called "The Contemporary,' with students from different departments, German and Complit but also Education and Anthropology. The problem is partly to define what 'contemporary' means: e.g, a moving target...not an epoch but an ethos... . The professor, Amir Eshel, is a German/Complit person and for the first session we read Coetzee and Celan. Last week I was away, and missed a discussion that included a New Yorker article on catching Bin Laden and the film 'Zero Dark Thirty,' which I tried to watch anyway, but couldn't get past the initial torture scenes. History was the theme. This week Paul Rabinow is coming over from Berkeley and the readings are from his books. One especially interests me--about a German writer, Alexander Kluge, who has collaborated on books with Gerhard Richter. The reading is from an article--an assemblage of 'posts' by Rabinow on an assemblage of posts by Kluge, interspersed with Richter photographs of snowy woods: December. I'm going to have buy the book, which Seagull has brought out, because I'm trying to figure out where to go with my own thoughts and Kluge's texts--what I've seen so far--fascinate me.

Here, I've just found this online, for anyone who might be interested. I suspect my own interest is partly literary, partly the snow (Robert Frost's 'Whose Woods These Are" was my formative poetry experience and my dad's favourite poem), partly World War 2, which is also an obsession of Kluge who was 10 at the time.)

And something about how landscape, not people/characters, is the agent.

Yesterday I worked at the farm, weeding celeriac and garlic. My reward was two leeks, some flowers and strawberries.