believe nothing until it has been officially denied

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment


Soergel was a Bauhaus architect and author of a number of works on design and far more ethereal, floating-castle ideas. His most spectacular contribution—incubated in the mid-1920’s and still clinging by its fingertips as an idea among some current thinkers—was to put a dam across the straights of Gibraltar. The dam would generate electricity of course, but most importantly to Soergel, it would also empty an enormous amount of water (lowering the sea by 200 metres)  from the Mediterranean leaving vast new expanses of land to be developed and colonized over generations into the future. The water of course would have to go somewhere, and that somewhere was the Sahara Desert, somehow in its wake creating farmable and productive lands. Soergel was creating a certain, very wide, fantastical future of uncertain monumental prospects.

A “brief outline” of the idea was published in this four-language pamphlet, Lowering the Mediterranean Irrigating the Sahara (Panropa Project), which was published by J.M. Gebhardt in Leipzig in the very bumpy year of 1929. (The Weimar years in Germany were already into deep bumpiness; the rest of the world would follow suit in October of that year.) To be fair, Soergel didn’t plan on emptying the entire Mediterranean, just a bunch of it–at least enough to be able to rename it.

[Here’s a map of the new Mediterranean, or the Mediterranean that would be made to go away. As you can see at this point Sicily and Italy become enormous, and the Greek Islands are combined to form one large land mass–this last bit alone is enough to form total and complete resistance to this idea. Also at this stage perhaps 150 or so miles of new lands have been reclaimed from the sea all along its former borders–more so in Turkey. There is no mention as yet of any new islands that are formed in the sea water’s wake.]  As it turns out Soergel thought that this plan would add at least 660,000 KM2 to the base of the surrounding countries of the Mediterranean, or roughly the equivalent of the combined land masses of Italy and Germany. Having the sea pulled back from hundreds if not thousands of seaside towns and cities would no doubt be a “problem”, for them; but that doesn’t matter to Soergel, as they were inferior thoughts to the grand idea of emerging a new continent.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Juergen Teller

Alice who? Her name is Renee. If she told you her name was Alice she’s lying. And your name? What the fuck is your name?

June 6, 2013 § Leave a comment


I have the same complaint: Mezzoforte was gesture… gesturized if they did this-this-this. I wanted it. I saw it very abstract. It didn’t happen that way… I had an idea. Actually the idea was suggested by the cellist. Well, he would say to the fellows, “Why don’t we just vibrate the first note and then do the other?” So just the whole idea of the vibrating gave it to him. So I spoke to my friend this morning on the phone and I said, “I think you should find a way to notate that vibrating and then not vibrating.” I said, “It might look as an affectation to other people,” I said, “but find a way to write it down. I think that’s exactly what you want, because I’m gonna change my score. It’s the only thing I’m gonna change in my score. The how to notate this, and I’m gonna use it now until the last days of my life.” I like that, and that was the problem. It wasn’t some kind of idea I had of mezzoforte-piano. It was a performance problem that I wasn’t in tune with. So Boulez, myself, whoever – Morton Subotnik – so much of our musical background and thinking came from various backgrounds and attitudes about performing. OK.

Which we’re getting in a convoluted way… But if this lecture was six hours my remarks would not be considered convoluted, but say, truths like Proust. Yeah, like Proust goes and talks a little bit. And that’s in a sense what happened to my String Quartet. I never have a plan in my idea, on my mind. I don’t like commissioned pieces. I don’t like to even know – never mind do I wanna call things something – I don’t want to even know that I’m writing for something. I kid myself I’m writing for something. And so for the past thirty years, even though I’m writing a piano piece, I start the same goddamn way, the same
goddamn way. I start on the same paper. And when you look through – any future historians of my music – it’s gonna be, every page written since 1958 looks exactly the same.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Wang Chien-Yang

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