The Elephant Unforgettable – “To Heaven, To Hell, To Value Added”: Peter Laudenbach in conversation with Alexander Kluge:

“To Heaven, to Hell, to Added Value”: Peter Ludenbach in an interview with Alexander Kluge

By Rebecca Hounhouse

Book review / references

The nine interviews of theater critic Peter Ludenbach with Alexander Kluge, which are collected in this volume, are not about elephants. However, there is not only one elephant in the room. In the form of two-page illustrations from Kluge’s personal archive, they separate the interviews from one another and give the book its own aesthetic quality. You will encounter circus elephants, elephant masks, elephants in the water, and elephants from cave paintings from the Stone Age. If “the elephant in the room” is a metaphor for an obvious problem that is not addressed by those present, then this first interpretation misses the point of the text. Because Laudenbach suddenly directs his questions to Kluge, and Kluge answers the problems of his time with equal precision.

The first interviews in tazto me daily mirror or in a Berlin city magazine NB The cover was published from 2021 to 2001 and deals with the transformations of the crisis. Their chronological order from the present to the past is like a trip into history. It not only reveals the significance of certain anniversaries, artistic successes or personal encounters in the life of Alexander Kluge, but also refers directly to the historical (worldwide) events of the past twenty years: the Covid epidemic, the entry of the German Bundestag Alternative for Germany and the two interlocutors concerned with the annexation of Crimea, as well as the September 11 attacks and the subsequent US invasion of Iraq. It turns out that autobiography and contemporary history are intertwined throughout Kluge’s work and urges him, as Laudenbach wrote in the epilogue, to become a “historian.”[n] deep digging.”

After the headlines, the interviews are preceded by barbaric sentences that anticipate the content of the conversations. What is illogical at first glance is clear from Kluge’s statements in interviews. Kluge’s artwork isn’t about planning or explaining, it’s about planning Rate spontaneous movements feelings to oppose. His works are fragmentary, associative, and stable between document and fiction. This does not mean that there is no common thread. In all conversations he revolves around the search motive, that is, the search for a way out in moments of crisis.

As he explains in “Dreams Are Food on the Way to Goal” from 2009, imagination or dreaming plays a critical role in this research. “Dreams create horizons,” he says. They allow us to distance ourselves from reality and it is not uncommon for us to find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem in a dream. For Kluge, imagination is a way to play through different possibilities and bring new ideas into the world. then “[v]One cannot live in the present alone. Societies have an enormous need to anticipate the future. They need a future that was not already available in the past. And as the book’s title suggests, it’s outlined in all directions: To heaven, to hell, to added value.

Kluge is neither naive nor romantic. He is aware of the social constraints which result from the dictates of the continuous production of surplus value. But upon closer examination, he argues, these limitations are just as fanciful as dreams. Therefore fiction must “allied with enlightenment” and highlight “unpleasant truths”. Without them we would be hopeless and perish under the weight of impotence.

Like an elephant, he doesn’t forget Cluj, who will turn 90 this year. His memory provides an enormous body of knowledge that provides strategies for surviving in times of “emergency”.

The last conversation, “Caution! Danger of survival! ”from 2001, which Kluge conducted against the backdrop of the LOVEPANGS conference in Volksbuhn Berlin with theater and film director Christoph Schlingensev, who died in 2010. At this conference, organized with researchers, artists and club Boxing, the constant transformations of the pain of love are negotiated: PainAnd the angerAnd the RecentlyAnd the During It is the “Four Stages of Love Sickness” which describes the play of those enslaved by history. Here, too, the two do not quite consciously offer a way out of this eternal cycle of life and death: “We are accused of not having a plan and forget that we are acting out of love.” Eternal lovers do not want to conquer in pain, but carry him in order, like a boxer in the ring, learning through suffering.

This book does not protect against the renewed “turn of emergency,” nor does it provide any escape opportunities. But the experience of Cluj’s life and survival encourages confidence in the powers of the human mind and body and never giving up hope.

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