February 2, 2011
It’s now a few days after the Sebald event at Snape Maltings and I’m not finding much coverage online. The Guardian hyped the Patti Smith concert and the Grant Gee film for days but doesn’t seem to have reviewed either one yet. A Vertigo reader sent me a link to a Dutch newspaper review of the concert. And a couple of online writers have added their musings. Check out Invective Against Swans Tumblr commentary and Skywritings blog post.
In case anyone was wondering about the connection between Patti Smith and Sebald, apparently she gave out a list of her favorite books at the Melbourne International Arts Festival a few years ago. It’s an interesting blend of cult books (e.g. The Glass Bead Game), the expected Beat classics, Beat must-reads (Rimbaud, Blake, et al), more than a handful of genuinely great books, and two I’ve never heard of before. Several authors rate high enough that Smith recommends all their books, including Sebald.
“The Master & Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov
“Journey To The East” by Hermann Hesse
“The Glass Bead Game” by Hermann Hesse
“Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
“Billy Budd” by Herman Melville
“Songs Of Innocence” by William Blake
“The Wild Boys” by William Burroughs
“Howl” by Allen Ginsburg
“A Season In Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud
“Illuminations” by Arthur Rimbaud
“Wittgenstein’s Poker” by David Edmonds & John Eidinow
“Villette” by Charlotte Bronte
“The Process” by Brion Gysin
“Cain’s Book” by Alexander Trocchi
“Coriolanus” by William Shakespeare
“The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde
“The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles
“Against Interpretation” by Susan Sontag
“The Oblivian Seekers” by Isabelle Eberhardt
“Women Of Cairo” by Gerard de Nerval
“Under The Volcano” by Malcom Lowery
“Dead Souls” by Nikolai Gogol
“The Book Of Disquiet” by Fernando Pessoa
“Death Of Virgil” by Herman Broch
“Raise High The Roof Beams Carpenter/ Franny & Zooey” by J.D. Salinger
“The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
“A Night Of Serious Drinking” by Rene Daumal
“Swann In Love” by Marcel Proust
“A Happy Death” by Albert Camus
“The First Man” by Albert Camus
“The Waves” by Virginia Woolf
“Big Sur” by Jack Kerouac
anything by H.P. Lovecraft
anything by W.G. Sebald
“The Thief’s Journal” or anything by Jean Genet
“The Arcades Project” or anything by Walter Benjamin
“A Poet In New York” by Garcia Lorca
“The Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum” by Heinrich Boll
“The Palm Wine Drinkard” by Amos Tutuola
“Ice” by Anna Kavan (or anything by her)
“The Divine Proportion” by H.E. Huntley
“Nadja” by Andre Breton
What’s next for Patti Smith? Apparently a detective novel.
January 26, 2011
The Guardian has posted the previously announced video piece of their writer Stuart Jeffries in conversation with filmmaker Grant Gee. At 4:33 it’s a mere snippet and doesn’t provide much foreshadowing of Grant Gee’s new film Patience (After Sebald), which premieres in two days.
There’s better reading in The Guardian‘s interview with Patti Smith, who will play a concert this coming Saturday night
where she will improvise work based on WG Sebald’s poem After Nature. She has spent the morning reading him, and “listening to Polly Harvey’s new song – she has this new song, The Words That Maketh Murder – what a great song. It just makes me happy to exist. Whenever anyone does something of worth, including myself, it just makes me happy to be alive. So I listened to that song all morning, totally happy.”
Even better, skip all the journalism and watch the music video of PJ Harvey singing the song mentioned by Patti Smith, The Words that Maketh Murder, from her recent CD Let England Shake.
September 1, 2010
Located in the beautifully-named town of Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh Music is planning a weekend of film, music, conversation, and walks devoted to W.G. Sebald from January 28-30, 2011 called After Sebald – Place and Re-Enchantment: A Weekend Exploration. Aldeburgh Music is a permanent performance center that has emerged out of the Aldeburgh Festival established in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears, and Eric Crozier. (In his recent book The Rest Is Silence, music critic Alex Ross made a brief but strong connection between Sebald and Britten.) Below are some of the details of the weekend, which I’ve extracted from the organization’s website. Additional details can be found at Aldeburgh Music’s website under the individual events. Here’s the link to the main page, but to find each event I think you have to scroll through the Coming Up pages of the site’s What’s On section for the specific dates. [Thanks to Christopher and Grant, who both let me know about this event.]
Friday 28 January
Patience (After Sebald) – World Premiere
Written and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Grant Gee, Patience (After Sebald) is a multi-layered essay film on landscape, art, history, life and loss. It offers a unique exploration of the life, work and influence of W.G. Sebald (1944–2001) via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking The Rings of Saturn. Visually and aurally innovative, Patience features contributions from Tacita Dean, Robert Macfarlane, Katie Mitchell, Rick Moody, Andrew Motion, Chris Petit, Iain Sinclair and Marina Warner. After the screening, Grant Gee will be in conversation with prize-winning writer on place, Robert Macfarlane (The Wild Places).
Saturday 29 January
Towards Re-Enchantment – Symposium
A day-long enquiry into the landscapes of Suffolk, the spirit of place and its various meanings, taking Sebald as its foundation. Presentations, discussions
and readings with Robert Macfarlane and other leading writers.
Saturday 29 January
Max: A Tribute by Patti Smith
Internationally renowned for her visionary creativity and commitment, the iconic musician, poet, writer and cultural activist Patti Smith needs no
introduction. In an exclusive concert created for this weekend, she will respond to Sebald’s book-length poem After Nature in an intimate evening of song and spoken word performance.
Sunday 30 January
Orford Ness Walk
This singular landscape has inspired many artists, including Sebald, whose visit, recorded in The Rings of Saturn, captures perfectly its unsettling presence and buried past. Take advantage of a very rare opportunity to explore this haunting location in the heart of winter.
Tickets. Weekend tickets (best tickets, excluding Walk and Lunch) are available at £55. Only Weekend tickets will be available from Wednesday 1 September; booking for individual events opens Monday 18 October.
More on Grant Gee’s film:
Grant Gee’s film Patience (After Sebald) is part of a new series of commissions from a group called artevents as part of their project The Re-Enchantment:
The Re-Enchantment is the first national project exploring culture and the rural through original artistic commissions. This ambitious project seeks to interrogate the various meanings of ‘place’ in the twenty first century. At a time when globalisation, the implications of extreme environmental change and the multiple alienations of modern society all threaten our sense of belonging, the importance of ‘place’ to the enhancement of identity and creative possibility in life and art cannot be underestimated. The Re-Enchantment aims to deliver an imaginative response through art, live performance, film and writing to one of the most pressing issues facing the contemporary world.
Note: On Saturday September 11, Gee will talk about his film with writer and critic Chris Darke and apparently will show clips at The British Library, as part of a one-day program Landscaping: Artists, Maps and Britain.