kultur MAGAZINE OF THE GOETHE-INSTITUT IN AUSTRALIA 2017 EDITION 27
Welcome to Germany
Begin your journey in the vibrant capital of Berlin. Berlin is 365/24 – a sparkling array of events, highlights, entertainment and culture every day. Contrasting the buzz of Berlin is the countryside and small towns in Germany, brought to life by Viking’s river cruises that offer the most convenient and relaxing way to
In cooperation with
© dpa - Report
see this stunning country. Explore more of Germany: www.germany.travel
WILLKOMMEN In a world that seems more complex, intertwined and uncertain by the day, our 2017 projects focus on questions around responsibility: Where does it end? What are we responsible for? — As a person, a family, a city or a nation?
But they also offer hope and fresh ideas. They champion people and concepts around responsibility, sustainability, social ethics and the power of art and culture. kultur offers a fine selection of our German guests, Australian partner organisations and global thinkers.
Our most important work is less spectacular and happens behind the scenes: our growing network and long-term collaborations with Australian and European partners, residency programs and scholarships. Meet some of these crucial partners and guests in this edition of kultur. For the latest news about our activities please check our newly made-over website www.goethe.de/australia, subscribe to our monthly newsletter or connect via Facebook. We hope you will enjoy this edition of kultur and we sincerely hope to see you at the related events!
kultur MAGAZINE OF THE GOETHE-INSTITUT IN AUSTRALIA 2017 EDITION 27
DESIGN FOR CIRCULARITY
TOO MUCH, TOO FAST?
MAKER CULTURE: CONNECTING THE DOTS Gina Robilliard
MANOMAMA: AN ALTERNATIVE IN CLOTH Marie-Sophie Platzer
UPCYCLING FASHION STORE: A NEW ALTERNATIVE Marie-Luis Dulig
EILENBERGER + LONGSTAFF: NONE OF MY BUSINESS?
GOETHE-INSTITUT DAMASCUS IN EXILE
BJÖRN LULEY: REVOLUTIONS HAPPEN ELSEWHERE
CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF GERMAN CINEMA
FASSBINDER: THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES
ART AND CULTURE 24
HERLINDE KOELBL: TARGETS
GERHARD RICHTER: THE LIFE OF IMAGES
JUTTA MALNIC: MWAGA, A BIRD AT THE END OF THE WORLD
MAZIAR MORADI: I AM BECOMING GERMAN
Sonja Griegoschewski DIRECTOR, GOETHE-INSTITUT AUSTRALIA
In 2016 our cultural program reached more than 600,000 people across Australia. By far the most popular events series, Urban Subculture in Berlin attracted the interest of almost 100,000 people for exhibitions, concerts, films and panels in Melbourne and Sydney. Other highlights included Julian Rosefeldt’s video installation Manifesto featuring Cate Blanchett in twelve different roles at ACMI and the Art Gallery of NSW, Moritz Behrens’ light installation at VIVID Sydney and the award winning Guesthouse Project: Refugees, migration and inclusive communities through design by raumlabor berlin and RMIT Melbourne.
THE DARK SIDE OF FASHION
Artists, philosophers, journalists and other experts from Germany and Australia look for answers and dig deep into sometimes uncomfortable topics like refugees, war, climate change, ‘fake news’ and the global greed for consumption.
We take a look back at 2016 to celebrate some great memories of our 15th and final German Film Fest which offered a feast of German, Swiss and Austrian cinema. An era has come to an end but German film in Australia is stronger than ever and new adventures lie ahead — check our online magazine for details: www.goethe.de/kinoinoz
© Wesley Nel
FAST FASHION / FAST FASHION — SLOW FASHION 04 / FAST FASHION: 02
ULLA VON BRANDENBURG: GOLDEN YELLOW SUN
EXCHANGE / CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
SHAUN PARKER: TANZPLATTFORM
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Australia now GERMANY 2017
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PUBLISHER www.goethe.de/australia • Goethe-Institut Australia SYDNEY 90 Ocean Street, Woollahra NSW 2011 T 02 8356 8333 F 02 8356 8314 MELBOURNE Level 1, 448 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004 T 03 9864 8999 F 03 9864 8988 EDITOR/DIRECTOR Sonja Griegoschewski, email@example.com COORDINATORS Jochen Gutsch, Gabriele Urban • Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily endorsed by the Goethe-Institut. No responsibility is accepted by the publisher for the accuracy of information contained in the texts and advertisements. GRAPHIC DESIGN Torkos Ploetz Design, Melbourne PRINTING Doran Printing Pty Ltd, Melbourne IMAGES The Goethe-Institut has taken every possible care to secure clear copyright permission for all images published here. FRONT COVER Tim Mitchell [Mutilated hosiery sorted by colour, 2005]
FAST FASHION SLOW FASHION Under the banner Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion we present a series of events in which we invite you to take a critical look behind the scenes of the fashion industry and seek to undress the social, economic and environmental impacts of cheap fashion. A fundamental part of the Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion series of events is the exhibition Fast Fashion: The Dark Side of Fashion. Curated by Dr. Claudia Banz of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, the exhibition has travelled to Dresden, Manila and Jakarta and now opens its doors in Melbourne from 21 July to 9 September 2017. Visualising the ramifications of fast-paced consumerism and an even faster industry, the exhibition brings attention to economic, ecological and social issues that more often than not remain comfortably invisible. But not all is bad in the fashion industry. The Slow Fashion Studio, developed in collaboration with the RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles, proposes alternatives. “Using the Fast Fashion exhibition as a provocation, the Slow Fashion Studio features the work of nine design practitioners, who collectively create a social space for exploring alternative approaches to how fashion is produced, consumed and experienced,” RMIT senior lecturer and Slow Fashion Studio curator Dr. Jenny Underwood explains. “The Studio will showcase everything from advanced digital technologies, such as Virtual Reality to better design clothes for individual body shapes, to meticulous hand craftsmanship.” Both the exhibition and the Slow Fashion Studio will be accompanied by an extensive public program. Workshops, lectures and panel discussions offer opportunities to engage with the ethical fashion scene and illustrate a growing social and environmental awareness that pushes for ethically conscious consumption.
Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion is the Australian contribution to the regional Goethe-Institut project IKAT/eCUT, which focuses on the past, present and future of the textile industry in South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. Fast Fashion | Slow Fashion has been made possible through the Karin Stilke Stiftung, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the Goethe-Institut, IKAT/eCUT, RMIT Gallery, MKG and DBU. [BACKGROUND] Silk remnant dress by Georgia McCorkill
EXHIBITION: FAST FASHION RMIT GALLERY IN MELBOURNE 21 JULY TO 9 SEPTEMBER 2017 19 July 2017 5 – 6pm : RMIT Brunswick Campus SUSTAINABLE FASHION FUTURES: PRE-OPENING KEYNOTES WITH BERLIN-BASED DESIGNER INA BUDDE & CLARE PRESS (WARDROBE CRISIS) Hear from two women who have changed the way we understand sustainability in the fashion world. Berlin-based designer Ina Budde will share her research into the concept of circular fashion design and closed material loops while slow fashion expert Clare Press will explain how Australians may or may not be moving towards a more ethical fashion future.
Courtney will share her sewing skills whilst having a yarn about fashion that does not cost the earth. Learn how to sew on that button, darn this shirt or make this stain into a special feature — and leave with a new fashion favourite. Booking via RMIT Gallery (03) 9925 1717. 17 August 2017 1 – 2pm : RMIT Gallery 22 August 2017 6 – 8pm : Goethe-Institut Sydney
20 July 2017 6 – 8 pm : RMIT Gallery OPENING NIGHT
FASHION AS SOCIAL BUSINESS: LECTURE WITH SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR SINA TRINKWALDER
Join Clare Press, journalist and ethical fashion blogger, and Suzanne Davies, director of RMIT Gallery, in the celebration of the exhibition opening of Fast Fashion: The Dark Side of Fashion.
Find out about the way Sina founded Germany’s social textile business manomama, a business that provides training for those who would otherwise have difficulties on the job-market and is known for its horizontal hierarchies and its focus on local supply chains.
21 July + 22 July 2017 12 – 1 pm : RMIT Gallery GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE EXHIBITION
© Chealse Vo [Dress] / Tim Mitchell [Factory worker]
22 July 2017 1 – 3pm : RMIT Gallery REPAIR FAIR WORKSHOP WITH COURTNEY HOLM (A.BCH)
Join the exhibition’s assistant curator Luisa Hilmer, from Hamburg, for a walkthrough, highlighting elements that have been particularly controversial in both research and display. Luisa will give an overview on the exhibition’s journey through different local contexts and will be available for questions. 21 July 2017 1 – 2 pm : RMIT Gallery CHANGE-MAKING BEYOND THE CATWALK: PANEL DISCUSSION Join a panel of speakers that intend to steer the fashion industry in new, more sustainable directions: Clare Press and Ina Budde will be joined by Melinda Tually of Fashion Revolution Australia/ New Zealand.
See www.goethe.de/australia for details
24 August 2017 4 – 6.30pm : RMIT Gallery FAST FORWARD: FASHION 2030: MEET THE RMIT DESIGNERS In this studio-led design pop-up, RMIT students will showcase the interim results of their collaboration with Germany’s forward-thinking sustainable designer and entrepreneur Ina Budde. They will try and imagine what circular fashion practices might look like in 2030. 3 September 2017 4 – 6pm : ACMI TRACEABLE FILM SCREENING + PANEL DISCUSSION This documentary sheds light on the increasing disconnect between production and consumption in the fast-fashion industry by focusing on the people who create garments. The film’s claims will be reviewed in a panel discussion after the screening. Booking via ACMI (03) 8663 2200.
FAST FASHION: THE DARK SIDE OF FASHION Claudia Banz, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG)
FASHION IS A SOCIAL REGULATIVE OF A VERY SPECIAL KIND, AND IS REGARDED AS BEING THE PACEMAKER OF SOCIAL CHANGE. IT HAS ALWAYS HAD CLOSE TIES WITH MODERN CAPITALISM, TRUE TO THE MOTTO: “ONLY WASTEFULNESS BRINGS YOU PRESTIGE”.
The Marxist cultural philosopher Eduard Fuchs anticipated the interplay of unceasing changes of fashion and the capitalist profit motive with a clairvoyant eye at the beginning of the 20th century: “If changes of fashion were in the past the exclusive privilege of the wealthy, and the process of copying new fashions only operated at a very slow pace, the engine of modern capitalism, based as it is on mass production, must systematically strive towards a situation where not only restricted circles follow fashion, but to the greatest extent possible the whole of society. Capitalism must democratise the external workings of society, albeit not motivated by the political ideals of the middle classes, but precisely in the interests of generating value-added, of continually increasing profit margins.” 1 In the transition from a society based on the educated bourgeoisie to one based on consumption, an important function is taken, alongside product design, above all by fashion: it not only has the task of sending out aesthetic stimuli to attract attention; it is far more its function as a resonator for personal identity and the formulation of a lifestyle statement or a life script which is at stake. Conversely, the market economy and its strategic thinkers have the ambition to predict the behaviour of the men and women who are their consumers, indeed to plan it, in order to be able — at least on the surface — to steer and control the success of a brand.
DROP IN PRICE AND SUBHEAD
© Greenpeace [A dyeing factory in Shishi City, China] / J Floeter [portrait]
In no other area of the consumer goods industry does the principle of creating new needs function as well as in fashion. Fast Fashion, a success story which has been surging upwards since the 1990s, has increased this ‘must-have’ motivation exponentially: within a fortnight the big fashion names, thanks to verticalisation, manage to launch their new collections on the market. The price of clothing is dropping, and with it the quality. The market is narrowly defined and saturated. Despite this, they succeed, with the help of various marketing strategies, in continually encouraging consumers to buy more and more.
The pleasure derived by purchases can intensify until it becomes an addiction. Shopping addicts are not seeking to possess things, it is the euphoric feeling, the kick they get when buying what interests them. Shopping works like a drug influencing the reward system in the limbic system of our brain. Meanwhile, the younger consumers use social media as a public platform, a stage on which to present themselves and the loot they bring back from their extravagant spending sprees in video clips they make themselves, so-called ‘haul videos’. The fashion giants, too, have recognised the enormous potential here and taken over this type of selfpromotion for their own advertising purposes. So does Fast Fashion mean the democratisation of fashion? Does the global mainstream of Fast Fashion actually enable people to enhance their individuality? Why is it possible that today a t-shirt costs less than an XL coffee, a dress the same as a big ice-cream sundae or a pair of trousers the same as a cinema ticket? What does this tell us about the quality of fashion and the value consumers place on it? Is Fast Fashion environmentally — let alone socially — acceptable? Is it OK that 90% of our clothes are produced in low-wage countries, mainly in Asia — and therefore have to be transported half-way around the globe before being offered in our shops? In the price calculation for a piece of clothing, a maximum of one to two percent is accounted for by the wages of the textile workers! So who are the real fashion victims? Consumption is today no longer a question of self-fulfilment, but a question of responsibility. It is with this in mind that the exhibition Fast Fashion is also an appeal to consumers: use the power you have and make the right decisions about what to buy! 1 EDUARD FUCHS Ich bin der Herr, Dein Gott!, in/in: Silvia Boven (Hg.) Die Listen der Moden, Frankfurt/Main 1986, S./p. 173.
A particularly successful ploy is so-called ‘celebrity seeding’: many lifestyle and glossy magazines present the exciting world of the stars and starlets. Fashion brands exploit this media attention for their own purposes by giving away their products free of charge, thus turning the stars into walking advertisements. In turn, Fast Fashion transforms these ‘star outfits’ into affordable variants anyone can buy.
SAVING MONEY BY BUYING MORE The policy of keeping prices low appeals to people’s subconscious instincts and their yearning for happiness: it tries to give consumers the feeling that they are saving money when buying a garment, and therefore not really indulging themselves. Being able to decide for a relatively cheap offer gives people a bogus feeling of renunciation, in this way increasing the options for buying the next item.
DR. CLAUDIA BANZ is an art historian and lecturer and since June 2017 curator for design at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin. From 2011–2017 she was head of the collection of art and design at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, where she curated several international exhibitions, amongst others Food Revolution 5.0. Design for Tomorrows Society.
closed loop recycling
JAN â€˜N JUNE
DESIGN FOR CIRCULARITY Ina Budde
HOW TO CREATE PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS FOR A SUSTAINABLE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN TEXTILES? Ina Budde approaches this challenge with the innovative perspective of a designer and sustainability expert. She has developed a revolutionary model that can guarantee an effective and valuable closed-loop material flow. The current predominant, linear and accelerated fashion system ignores the fact of resource scarcity, and pushes to increase consumption without providing a real solution for valuable discarded materials. The reason is that products are not designed to be reused and recycled to the same value. We are missing infrastructures to use innovative fibre-to-fibre recycling. With the aim to solve the resulting global challenges of scarce resources and mass disposal, I founded ‘Design for Circularity’ — a sustainable design lab co-creating product and system innovation for a sustainable circular future of fashion. A future where products are recycled endlessly into new textiles — a future without waste and the need of virgin resources.
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN LAB
© Maximilian Probst [fashion] / Rolf Schulte [portrait]
The innovative approach is based on the Cradle to Cradle® methodology. The aim is to create healthy and positively defined products in such an intelligent way that they can serve as nutrient for new products endlessly. The concept requires that biological materials are able to biodegrade naturally and restore the soil whereas the technical materials are fully recycled into highquality raw materials again. This is quite challenging because usually clothes consist of many different materials and are not recyclable. Additionally the current standard technique of recycling is still a mechanical and degrading one, because we are missing sufficient amounts of monomaterial products and their transparent labeling for material specific recycling.
EXTENDED CLOSED LOOP The key is to start right at the beginning and create directly healthy, durable and perpetually recyclable products and establish a coherent infrastructure for reuse and closed-loop recycling. To achieve this vision of a cradle to cradle inspired circular economy we invented the missing piece — the ‘Extended Closed Loop’ system, which connects industry from across the world.
This system provides a material library for fashion labels that supports the creation of recyclable products. I established a partner network that can support the effective reuse and closed-loop recycling for these textiles. The technology that creates the needed interconnection and flow of information between all stakeholders involved is our scannable SmartTag in each garment, that leads to a specific product website. It creates transparency and traceability regarding the product life provides an informative and empowering interface to the customer and is fashion’s first direct interconnection between material suppliers, designers, users and recyclers. Our approach is to design directly for reuse and recycling which functions as a driver for our innovation as designers. This includes monomaterial design strategies, surface treatments and multifunctional patterns. Thereby we create products of endless value within a circular system using and holding it infinitely. All fashion labels are invited to join ‘Design for Circularity’ and to co-create sustainable collections for a systemic change! www.circular.fashion Ina Budde is a guest of the Goethe-Institut. She will participate in the Fast Fashion public program at RMIT Gallery and conduct workshops with RMIT design students. For details see pages 2–3.
INA BUDDE, MA Sustainability in Fashion, is a future-thinking designer, lecturer and entrepreneur within sustainable fashion. As founder of ‘Design for Circularity’ — a sustainable design lab — she realises recyclable product and system innovations for fashion labels with the aim to close the loop for textiles. Developing the Extended Closed Loop Platform as a system for an interconnected circular industry structure, she received the Next Economy Award 2015 and was selected as one of the sustainable innovators 2014 by LAUNCH Nordic. Parallel she lectured Sustainable Design Strategies at universities in Hamburg, Copenhagen and London and currently teaches at ESMOD Berlin, MA Programme.
TOO MUCH, TOO FAST? Clare Press Our fast fashion habit is part of a collective wardrobe crisis. Privileged western women have a heck of a lot of clothes. We wear, on average, just 40% of what’s in our wardrobes, and get rid of new clothes after somewhere between four and seven wears. Now, that might mean that we pass them on to friends and family, that we sell or recycle or donate these unwanted garments to op shops. But we know, although we don’t like to dwell on it, that much of our unloved clobber ends up at the tip. In today’s social media-driven culture, we like to be seen in the latest fashionable looks, but we’re not so hot on being clocked in them twice. And really, where’s the incentive? When you can buy a dress for the cost of a pizza, why not chuck it in the wheelie bin when you tire of it? Each year Australians dispatch more than 500,000 tonnes of clothing, leather and textiles to landfill. How did we come to see fashion as disposable? News flash: it’s not. Polyester fibres are essentially plastic, and never disappear. Anyway, landfill is not some lovely airy compost heap — even natural and supposedly biodegradable fibres do not break down easily there. Our mothers and grandmothers did not consume and discard like this. Over the past twenty years, our fashion shopping habits have changed beyond recognition. Buying clothes has never been more convenient! We can shop online, at our desks and on our phones, choosing items from all over the world with nary a thought for where they come from (and how many air-miles they clock up in the process). According to McKinsey, in 2016 the global fashion industry was worth USD $2.4 trillion. We are buying more from luxury brands, but even more from the lower-priced sector. For example, according to Roy Morgan in any given four-week period more than
“Pretty girls in the factory are always harassed by the male managers. They come on to the girls, ask them into their offices, whisper into their ears, touch them at the waist, arms, neck, buttocks, breasts, bribe them with money and threaten them with loosing their jobs to have sex with them.” Liuxia, garment worker in China
Sweater € 0,09
1.7 million Australians shop for jeans. Are these designer denims, or Levi’s innovative “WaterLess” jeans, perhaps? Are they responsibly made from organic cotton by a boutique brand like the Melbourne-based Nobody? Nah. Our favourite local denim destination is Kmart, where a pair of high-rise women’s skinnies can cost as a little as $15. Be honest. Have you ever shopped on a whim? Have you ever bought an item of clothing you did not need because it was so cheap? Have you purchased jeans or a jacket or dress, or a pair of knock-off Gucci sneakers, without really knowing why? Too often we buy this stuff simply because it is there; because we can. But there is such a thing as too much. And too much rarely makes us feel good. You binge; you get a hangover.
MORE CLOTHES, LESS FULFILMENT According to British journalist Lucy Siegle, in her book To Die For, Is Fashion Wearing Out The World?: “We have more clothes than at any other time in history, but have become less and less fulfilled and secure in our purchases, precisely because we have become such passive consumers. We watch, we follow, we pick off the rail and — herdlike — we find ourselves at the cash till.” Part of the problem is our severed connection with the origins of these purchases. Sometimes it seems as if our clothes appear by magic in the sparkling shops that fill our cities and malls. As if nobody makes them at all; they simply spring, fully formed, from the ether — like alien mushrooms out of Dr Who. Alien mushrooms with random price tags. Some of the clothes seem mighty cheap, some expensive — but who knows really? It’s impossible to determine the true value of something when you don’t know how it came to be, or what it means.
“I leave home at six in the morning and come back home at nine in the evening. I leave when my daughter is still in her dreams and come back home to see her gone to sleep again. She sees my face only one day of the week.”
“I would like the people who buy these clothes to know their real cost, in terms of the sacrifices we make to produce them.” Marta, former garment worker in Honduras
Amanthi, garment worker in Sri Lanka
Bodysuit € 0,09
Blouse € 0,29
Today more than 92% of the clothing sold in Australia is manufactured overseas. As small-scale garment manufacture has dwindled in the global north; fast fashion built on cheap labour in the south, has boomed.
HUMANS NOT ROBOTS Fashion remains one of the most labour-intensive industries on earth and humans, not robots, still cut and stitch our clothes. Globally, these workers number more than 60 million, and about 80% of them are women. Most are aged between 18 and 24, and not paid nearly enough for their toils. And what monotonous toils they can be! Working on a factory line, focusing on just one tiny part of the whole garment. A seamstress might sew only the back pocket on a pair of jeans, or only a buttonhole, a hundred times a day, six-and-a-half days a week. And yet she made our clothes; she made them with her hands. Modern fashion supply chains can be complex and hard to unpick. When production happens somewhere we’ve never been, perhaps never even heard of, on the other side of the world, how are we meant to imagine what that looks like? Or how the workers are treated, or their local environments affected? If we do not hear her story, how can we put ourselves in the garment worker’s shoes?
© Friedel [Fashion statements] / Jasper Kitschke [Portrait]
It takes caring to question: Who made our clothes? Where did they make them, how and from what? Were they paid a living wage? Were they allowed to work free from harassment and intimidation, with sufficient breaks? Are their employers taking due care to ensure production does not pollute the surrounding air, land and waterways? Are they conserving resources? Looking for new ways to use more sustainable textiles? Yes, it takes caring to question, but it takes guts to really want to know the answers.
“I had two children before I was widowed when my husband died in a fire at the factory where we both worked. I got no maternity leave during my pregnancy and no compensation for the death of my husband.” Farzana, garment worker in Bangladesh
Blouse € 0,15
“We work for about 12–14 hours a day. We work on Sundays and holidays. Yet, we don’t get a wage that could fulfill our basic needs.” Krishanthi, garment worker in Bangladesh
Shirt € 0,10
This is an edited extract from Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion by Clare Press Clare Press is a guest of the Goethe-Institut. She will participate in the Fast Fashion public program at RMIT Gallery. For details see pages 2–3. CLARE PRESS is a journalist, author and slow fashion expert. Her book Wardrobe Crisis, How We Went From Sunday Best To Fast Fashion was named one of the Best Books of 2016 by The Age, and will be published in the US and China next year. Clare recently launched Wardrobe Crisis, The Podcast. Ex-Vogue, she is currently Marie Claire’s fashion editor-at-large, and Daily Life’s ‘Sustainable Style’ columnist. Throughout her long career as a fashion insider she has reported on the shows from New York, London, Milan and Paris, and interviewed everyone from Beyoncé and Pharrell to Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard. Clare is a passionate advocate for responsible fashion, and sits on the Australian advisory board of Fashion Revolution.
“When workers try to form or join a trade union, they loose their job. This is the way to keep us quiet.” Alexandra, garment worker in Rumania
Scarf € 0,09
MAKER CULTURE: CONNECTING THE DOTS Gina Robilliard
ACROSS SYDNEY’S INNER-WEST, LOCAL CREATIVES ARE SETTING UP SMALL BUSINESSES AIMED AT RECONNECTING PEOPLE TO THEIR HANDS, AND THE POSSIBILITIES OF WHAT THEY CAN CREATE WITH THEM. It is part of a larger global movement of makers and creators who are mending and up-cycling their way to a more beautiful and sustainable future. Maker Culture as a movement is fighting against the effects of consumerism, which Jacques Peretti says in his documentary The Men Who Made Us Spend has ‘’divorced us from our hands’’. If consumers don’t know how to make their own clothes, they also won’t know how to distinguish good quality from bad quality and once it breaks they won’t know how to fix it. As a result they will naturally return to the shopping centre and purchase another poor quality garment that will do the exact same thing. Founder of Sew Make Create, Melissa Tan-Lu’s love of ecofashion has had a huge influence on the creation of her business: ‘‘sewing your own clothing is very sustainable because you are creating a well-made garment which you will love until it literally starts to fall apart! It is because you have a special connection with the piece you created and have a memorable experience making it’’. Despite her involvement in the fashion industry she is disappointed with the effects it has on the environment and suggests that the only solution is educating the community about conscious consumerism. Quite often in the discussions about fast-fashion, the idea of the micro-season pops up. Chain stores cart in a bundle of new styles as frequently as every week. Consumers find it impossible to keep up as their clothing is out of fashion almost as soon as they have bought it. Fashion models and designers will tout the beauty of owning a white shirt as a staple, yet even the ‘classic’ white shirt changes its style from year to year. What people don’t often realise is that this prerogative has been quickening in pace since the 1950s. This was the point where aesthetic was surpassing the value of functionality. In the post-war period it was most common with cars which were slowing down their technological advancements and speeding up the turnover of the appearance of external paneling. The affect this had was most aptly stated at the time by General Motors’ head of research, Charles F. Kettering:
‘‘The key to economic prosperity is the organised creation of dissatisfaction’’. The creators of The True Cost, a documentary exploring the environmental impact of the fashion industry, theorises that our economy now depends on this widespread ‘neophilia’ and subsequent frivolous spending.
MILLENNIALS LIVE IN A DISPOSABLE WORLD Far removed from generations born in eras of frugality and endless repair work, millennials live in a highly disposable world where it is far easier and cheaper to replace something than repair it. The daughters of mothers who were expected to learn to sew their own clothes can now purchase an entire outfit for the same price as one hand made garment. All this is at their fingertips, and yet on a Saturday morning in Chippendale’s Sew Make Create studio, four young women sit at a table learning the basics of using a sewing machine. Across from them sit three more women learning the niche Japanese craft of Amigurumi, producing adorable crochet, stuffed animals. Across Sydney’s Inner-West, local creatives are setting up small businesses aimed at reconnecting people to their hands, and the possibilities of what they can create with them. They are part of a larger movement called Maker Culture, which focuses on educating people about how to make and repair the everyday items in their homes. Matt Branagan started Work-Shop in 2013 with his friend and co-founder, Chester Garcia. Work-Shop runs short classes taught by local artists, teaching anyone between the age of six and sixty. They can sign up to learn anything from how to brew your own gin to low water immersion garment dyeing. Their company tagline is ‘’Do Extraordinary Shit’’, which provides an indication of their outlook. Matt says one of the aims of the business is to reconnect people to the manufacturing process, ‘‘as our phones get smarter, we are getting dumber and more disconnected from where our food, clothes and furniture are coming from. Now everything is a search away, we don’t need to retain this information.’’
[A] Re-purposed duffel bag [B] Learning Amigurumi with Sew Make Create [C] Amigurumi Animals created by Amanda Jackson [D] Work-Shop [E] Work-Shop runs classes in everything from ‘craft singles’ speed dating to illustration and shibori [F] The walls of Work-Shop are covered in street art
MAKER CULTURE INCIDENTALLY ALLOWS PEOPLE TO DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY Despite the time and energy involved in making and repairing, it would seem there is a demand and even a yearning for this knowledge. Melissa says people are searching for activities to do in their spare time that feel productive and get them away from their devices. ‘‘Making something by hand takes the investment of time, but the experience of making something and the sense of achievement when it is finished is priceless’’ says Melissa. This sense of achievement and the experience of creating something with one’s own hands seems to weave its way through so many aspects of maker culture. Sew Make Create was established because Melissa saw a gap in Sydney’s creative sphere for a space for people to come together in a social environment and learn the basics of sewing and crafting. ‘‘I have always loved craft and making things by hand. I saw the need for more of this in Sydney but people didn’t have access to creative studio spaces or sewing equipment.’’ This lack of access to equipment is linked to a loss of value in creative pursuits. This has had a profound effect on how we approach tactile activities as adults. Matt says we become self-conscious about creativity as we grow older ‘‘as adults we lose that confident spirit of a child to just dive in head first and try something new […]. We are trying to create a safe space where anyone can pick up a paintbrush or a hammer and try something new.’’
OBJECT THERAPY One major aspect that these two businesses have in common is the combination of fostering community values with an awareness and promotion of sustainable values. Though aesthetically the two workshop spaces are wildly different, they are decked out in retro furniture, beautiful old relics and repurposed objects. What was once a Singer sewing machine table is now Melissa’s desk and Matt and Chester’s workshop — which is itself a converted warehouse — is littered with eclectic street signs, movie theatre seats and intriguing props. Melissa
said that the idea of having comfortable, retro-furniture in her studio was to make people feel comfortable and at home. This idea of repurposing is the driving factor behind the Australian Design Centre’s (ADC) latest exhibition ‘Object Therapy’ where cherished objects that have fallen apart are ’treated and reimagined’ by local artists. One woman, Fi, brought in a kimono which her late mother wore in the 1970s when Fi was a baby. It’s now too delicate to wear so it was repurposed by ‘Corr Blimey’ into a comforting, soft cushion. According to the ADC, the exhibition is designed to ‘‘[encourage] us to rethink our habits of material consumption while exploring and celebrating the role and creative possibilities of repair in society’’. It also has the effect of casting a shadow over cheap, disposable items we pick up on a whim and have no inherent meaning to our lives. As with any aspect of culture, according to Georg Hegel’s dialectic, it often takes three moves to strike a balance between one extreme and its opposite. This awakening and appreciation for the simple act of making hopefully represents a synthesis. All it takes is a mental recalibration of the value of our hands and possessions. The idea is catching on and the businesses are expanding due to popular demand. Matt and Chester’s ultimate goal is international expansion, ‘‘Adelaide is launching next month, with Fremantle not far behind. We will focus all our energies on these, but we have one eye on London and Mexico. The creative crusade continues!’’ GINA ROBILLIARD is a freelance writer living in Sydney Repair and restore your favourite clothes at the Repair Fair Workshop at RMIT Gallery, more details pages 2–3.
MANOMAMA: AN ALTERNATIVE IN CLOTH Marie-Sophie Platzer
GROWTH IN COMPASSION RATHER THAN IN CAPITAL — SINA TRINKWALDER SHOWS US HOW A FAIR WORKPLACE ACTUALLY WORKS. HER COMPANY MANOMAMA PRODUCES GARMENTS — LOCALLY, IN A SUSTAINABLE MANNER AND WITH A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE.
Augsburg, Willy-Brandt-Square 1a: a huge shopping center offering everything that a town mired in ennui can desire: from cheap, trendy garb to bright-coloured donuts. Behind this buyer’s paradise we find another building. A group of middle-aged women stand outside, smoking, drinking coffee, laughing happily. Is this where we find the clothing company manomama ? It is. No sooner you walk through the door, you are met by a clatter of sewing-machines and a multitude of seamstresses working away at their posts, piles of cloth in a rainbow of colors all around them — an unusual sight in Germany these days. Germany’s apparel industry last flourished in the post-war period. Things went downhill after that. Local production was replaced by cheaper competition elsewhere in Europe. The number of German garment companies fell by almost a third between 1963 and 1973; the industry headed towards a crisis. Globalisation outsourced production to the so-called low-wage countries. Today China is the world’s largest exporter of fashion apparel. Garments “made in Germany” are a rare commodity. A garment company that sets up shop again in Germany without making any political demands or vying for official subsidies and in the midst of the financial crisis: this takes a lot more than guts — in fact, it calls for nothing short of a miracle.
© Marie-Sophie Platzer [manomama production] / Sina Trinkwalder portrait Stefan Puchner  / manomama
MAKE THE MIRACLES YOURSELF If your name is Sina Trinkwalder, then it’s easy to see how the things any investor would try to dissuade you from doing were, in fact, able to work. Sina Trinkwalder founded the garment company manomama in Augsburg. In 2013 she published a book called Wunder muss man selber machen. Wie ich die Wirtschaft auf den Kopf stelle, German for You Must Make the Miracles Yourself — How I Turn the Economy Upside Down — a title brimming with the self-confidence that is also Trinkwalder’s signature trait.
in the apparel industry before, delved into the subject head on. She spent almost three months looking for long forgotten knowhow and then set up a supply chain. Craftspeople who make buttons and zippers, expert dyers and weavers had to be found locally — and they all had to be able to work in a sustainable way and produce within a regional value-added chain.
MORE TO STAY Trinkwalder finds that the labels ‘social business’ and ‘eco-social’ are meaningless, though. “I just wanted to found a good ol’ company,” she says — one that treats both its employees and its customers in a fair and decent way. The clothing is affordable but without sacrificing quality. All components of a manomama garment are sourced from local production facilities — the only exception is the cotton imported from Turkey. But a new “Augsburg denim,” manomama’s blue classic jeans, will soon be available and even contain Bavarian hemp among its fibers. Trinkwalder considers her garments should not discriminate anyone — with sizes ranging from XS to XXL, everybody can find a manomama piece that will fit and look good. Most garments are sold online; the rest are sold directly through a network of “Manomommas” or at health food stores. Trinkwalder designs the garments together with a small team who helps determine the styling and fabrics. She focuses on a line of basics: t-shirts for men and women, wrap dresses, skirts. “Less to Go. More to Stay” — the slogan you can read on manomama’s fabric bags refers to the throwaway mentality of many people who go pick up some new item at a fashion boutique as though it were a takeaway coffee. manomama thinks creatively in all respects. When asked what the logo means, Sina Trinkwalder replies with a subtle smile: “The feather is the symbol of a silent revolution. But our feathers cross, like swords.”
The title of the book combines the familiar sayings “Miracles happen” and “You have to do everything yourself” because Sina Trinkwalder knows one thing for sure: when you tackle something with drive and ambition, you can make the impossible come true. When she was only 24 years old and still at university, she founded a small advertising agency with her husband. She made a lot of money but knew that something was missing. It was only when her son was born that she realised what it was. “My values have changed. You normally set up a company when you have a great idea for a product. My idea, instead, was people. It was about maximising compassion, not capital. It was about having a company that can offer everyone a job. Today, many of her employees are older people, people who have been unemployed for a long time or single parents — that is, people who can no longer find a job in the ‘normal’ work world. Being able to make a living with your own two hands creates self-confidence in people who have already given up on themselves.
Sina Trinkwalder is a guest of the Goethe-Institut. She will participate in the Fast Fashion public program at RMIT Gallery. More details see pages 2–3.
The question of what to produce is easily answered in the city of Augsburg, traditionally a textile manufacturing center. The answer is clothing. Trinkwalder, who had never worked
MARIE-SOPHIE PLATZER is a freelance fashion journalist. Translation: Ani de la Jara
SINA TRINKWALDER studied political science and business in Munich, however her focus soon shifted to founding her own advertising agency, which she led for more than over ten years. In 2010 she founded Germany’s first social textile business: manomama. In this textile manufacture, formerly unemployed sewers and seamstresses create eco-social clothing and accessories utilising a local supply chain. For this project Sina Trinkwalder received many awards including the “Social Entrepreneur of Sustainability” from the German government’s Sustainability Council, the “German Fairness Prize” and the “Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany”. Sina Trinkwalder’s book Wunder muss man selber machen. Wie ich die Wirtschaft auf den Kopf stelle was published by Droemer Knaur in 2013. It is available as hardcover and e-book.
[MAIN PHOTO] Sina Trinkwalder
UPCYCLING FASHION STORE: A NEW ALTERNATIVE Marie-Luis Dulig
STEPPING AWAY FROM THE CONVENTIONAL FASHION INDUSTRY, THE UPCYCLING FASHION STORE IN BERLIN OFFERS A PIONEERING PLATFORM FOR DESIGNERS AND LABELS IN GERMANY.
The shop façade is decorated with old garments. There is a mosaic doormat on the entrance step, made from carpet colour samples. Designer items hang from an ingenious rail configuration. Carina Bischof is decorating an antique window — now used as a table top — with earrings made from zippers and notebooks that hold pages from old books, postcards and photos.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF UPCYCLING Carina Bischof, co-founder of the Upcycling Fashion Store, has discovered a real alternative: “We rely on new creative ideas, unusual and unused materials and an attractive design”, she explains. She is also wearing a top made from an old shirt that provides a simple and straightforward answer to the curious questions of some customers: “So what is this upcycling all about? She then sits down on a bench that has been made from old pallets. “Recycling? I call it down-cycling. They simply smash up bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling, where old products are given more value, not less,” complained British engineer Von der Burgdorfer in a magazine article in 1994. It was the first time that the term upcycling gained real meaning. Arianna Nicoletti, Carina Bischof, Luise Barsch and Jonathan Leupert have put a face to the term upcycling in Germany. They set up the Upcycling Fashion Store together and launched the fashion label Aluc. Their shop concept clearly contrasts the everyday sins of the fashion industry: cotton monocultures, underpaid sewing machine operators and a waste of resources — to name just a few. The three designers met in 2009 in London while working for the From Somewhere fashion label. They went on to found the label Aluc together with a business expert and friend. The next step followed in November 2011 with the opening of the Upcycling Fashion Store in Berlin. “Three years ago, hardly anyone in Germany knew the meaning of upcycling. We wanted to change this and we were successful”, Carina adds with a smile. “We were the first shop in Berlin to support this concept, we were, in fact, the first in the whole of Germany.”
AN ORIGINAL, SUSTAINABLE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT The Aluc label presents shirts, blouses and accessories that are made out of unused left-over and sample materials from a textile mill that works for fashion houses such as Hugo Boss. “Friends of ours have set up a production workshop for upcycling in Bulgaria and this is where a part of our collection is made”, Carina explains. For other collection items she has cooperation agreements with sheltered workshops in Berlin and Central Germany. Each and every detail reflects the concept of a sustainable development. The buttons, for example, are from a social project in which disused buttons are sorted by people with autistic behaviour. “We are not able to fully meet the zero-waste cut principle, but I do like to describe our method as one with minimal-waste cut, Carina adds with a grin. “We use left-over material to make bags, purses and mobile phone pouches.” Removable collars round off the design and different styles give each shirt its own individual expression and at the same time prevent premature wear. “The aim is not just to reduce textile waste, but rather to put waste to good use”, says Carina. From the beginning to the end of a garment’s life cycle, a lot of different waste is created. How do the designers find such novel ideas? Carina is absolutely certain about this: “All of these different materials inspire the fashion designers to take unique and individual approaches.” Many designers use pre-consumer waste, waste products that occur during the manufacturing of a garment. The label FromSomewhere, for instance, uses faulty products, offcuts and colour samples that were considered worthless. These are then further processed and turned into designer items. Transforming old into new — this is the principle and practice of the childrenswear recycling label Kamaeleon, where post-consumer waste forms the basis of the label’s approach. Kamaeleon creates children’s fashion from used textiles, these are toys to wear and are also free from chemicals due to the number of times the material has been washed. It is the beginning of a new cycle.
WORKING TOGETHER MAKES US STRONGER The doors at the Upcycling Fashion Store are now open. Carina quickly clears away the last two crates of bottles left over from the ‘Strich und Faden’ meetup the night before. This is where fashion designers and people generally interested in the movement regularly meet to draw inspiration and support. In cooperation with the Berliner Stadtmission (city mission) Arianna has established a link that gives designers easy access to old textiles. Their new concept in fashion manufacturing was met with a very positive response at Fashion Weeks in Berlin and in Paris. “It is our aim to raise awareness about the catastrophic conditions in the fashion industry and to also present alternative methods”, Carina explains, as she moves to welcome the first customer. Every new visitor to the shop can spread the concept of upcycling to further circles.
© Marina Chahboune / Luise Barsch
MARIE-LUIS DULIG is a student of Culture and Media Education, she lives in Berlin. Translation: Sally Habel © Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion, July 2015
[ABOVE] The team at the Upcycling Fashion Store [RIGHT] Rack of upcycled fashion
NONE OF MY BUSINESS? THE RENEWED INTEREST IN PHILOSOPHY
For the second half of 2017 the Goethe-Institut program in Australia includes two distinguished philosophers and writers: Dr Wolfram Eilenberger, editor in chief of Philosophie Magazin and Dr Simon Longstaff, executive director of Sydney’s Ethics Centre. For kultur magazine, the Goethe-Institut asks both of them six questions.
GOETHE-INSTITUT: It seems there is a renewed interest in philosophy. The German Philosophie Magazin was founded in 2011 and became an instant success. The same is true for The New Philosopher in Australia. In this day and age, what can philosophical ideas offer that is otherwise lacking in people’s everyday lives? SIMON LONGSTAFF: While change has become a constant in the lives of modern people, the underlying issues that cause concern often concern ancient questions given new form. For example, the question of when a human life becomes a ‘person’ is millennia old — but takes on new currency as science reveals new facts about embryology, etc. Philosophy provides access to centuries of thinking about core questions. However, it also offers a way of thinking afresh. In essence, philosophy (with its different branches) is like a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ for thinking about life; its meaning, challenges and opportunities.
SL: The discussion of philosophical questions has been on the rise in Australia — but it is often ‘packaged’ as something else. With a few notable exceptions (e.g. Peter Singer), philosophers have preferred to work within the secure ‘groves of Academia’. That said, I think things are improving. Now, the challenge is for philosophers to learn how to communicate their ideas in accessible language — without ‘dumbing down’ the content. This is quite possible — but you have to want to make the effort. And this depends on seeing philosophy as a ‘public good’ that philosophers have a responsibility to share. WE: Philosophy at its best has never been an entirely academic endeavour. The Socratic example, to my mind, is still a guiding one when it comes to philosophy and the public sphere: clarity, tenacity, irony — and above all, the courage to radically question the very assumptions that form the foundation of our existence. It remains a risky business. Not primarily due to the danger of oversimplification, but rather because most people rather avoid the unsettling, yet possibly liberating experience of seeing things anew. GI: Is there a philosophical answer for every question? SL: It depends on what you mean by the word ‘answer’. There is a philosophical response to every question and those responses include the ‘answer’ — “this question is, in principle, undecidable”. One of the curious things about the human condition is that even in circumstances where there is, in principle, no ‘right’ answer to be found, we are still bound to act in response to a world which is indifferent to our dilemmas.
WOLFRAM EILENBERGER: In short: providing orientation concerning the most important matters in everyday life, culture and politics by asking the right questions — instead of giving definite answers. As it always has done. Yet, the current speed and intensity of innovations that prove relevant to our form of life is without precedent in human history. The virtue of philosophy is to clarify a situation by bringing to light its inherent complexity instead of simplifying it for the sake of a specific purpose.
WE: Good question. Frankly, I doubt it. But all the better for philosophy, as its central questions are not asked to be answered once and for all, but rather to serve as eternal starting points that enable us to engage in a dialogue that transcends the narrowness of one’s very own convictions. After all, the most important and restricting cave that we all live in is the cave of our dearest opinions.
GI: In Germany philosophy takes the stage at festivals, in television shows, glossy magazines and celebrity interviews. Mainstream media has played an important role in bringing philosophical questions into the living rooms of ‘common people’. Is there a similar development in Australia and other countries? How does that change the discourse and discussions between academics and the broader public?
SL: Socrates — and his claim that ‘the unexamined life’ is not worth living remains of central importance. Human beings are endowed with the capacity to transcend the demands of instinct and desire … we just need to think. Unfortunately, too many people find comfort in unthinking custom and practice, in the simple certainties of habit, of fundamentalists, of anything that will relieve us from the burden of our freedom as creatures with a conscience. ‘Examining life’ remains the key to being human and being responsible for the world we help to make through our choices.
GI: Please elaborate on one philosophical idea/philosopher you consider to be extremely relevant in 2017.
WE: The question of how to read, understand and feel other minds than one’s own, in other words, the question of empathy seems to me a very central one in today’s culture and world. In this context, the contemporary American philosopher Stanley Cavell must count as a towering figure. The implications of his work cover, properly understood, the entire field of human interaction and coexistence. Furthermore, Cavell defines the business of philosophy as nothing more, or less, than “education for grownups”. And that is a definition I can very much identify with.
DR SIMON LONGSTAFF AO’s Simon’s distinguished career includes being named as one of AFR Boss’ True Leaders for the 21st century. Simon undertook postgraduate studies in philosophy as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge, before commencing work as Executive Director of The Ethics Centre in 1991. Simon is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University.
GI: Today’s ‘ideas industry’ flourishes. Given the abundance
of workshops, seminars, courses, retreats, talks, debates, conferences and publications, how might one decide between charlatanism and genuine programs based on philosophical thinking? SL: At its best, philosophy seeks to equip a person to examine their life and the world with a view to forming their own view of what makes for a ‘good life’ and a ‘good society’. The ‘charlatans’ use ‘philosophy’ as a veil to hide their real intent — which is to recruit adherents to their preferred world view. Unfortunately, the ‘charlatans’ often sing a ‘siren song’ of self-improvement, wisdom and certainty. Programs based on philosophical thinking can often be identified by the restraint evident in the claims they make. WE: It’s not that difficult, really. Whenever a person enters the stage claiming that he or she knows the one and only perfect solution to a given problem concerning the fabric of our very lives, philosophy has been betrayed. If a person, on the other hand, is able to dialogically elicit new and yet relevant questions in the minds of the people attending, we are heading in the right direction. GI: Wolfram Eilenberger, you have been the co-founder of Philosophie Magazin and phil.cologne festival; Simon Longstaff, your work includes Australia’s Ethics Centre and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. When you initiate such projects, what kind of audiences do you have in mind? And who turns up in the end?
© Michael Heck
SL: My first employment was as a cleaner working on a manganese mine on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The people with whom I worked were just as capable of philosophical reflection as my colleagues in Cambridge. Based on that experience, we reach out to all. As to who responds to that invitation — our audiences have only one thing in common — an interest in exploring ideas. Apart from that, people who attend our events represent a broad crosssection of Australia’s demographic diversity. WE: I think of each and every person that is willing to take their own questions seriously: Why do we have children? God — a good idea? Is there such a thing as a good death? Where does my responsibility end? There is, in this sense, no age restriction. We really try to address people from 14 years of age on — and even created a special section at the phil.cologne for humans much younger than that. It works. The magazine and the festival attract a very broad range of people. Although I must confess that I am most happy when I see a middle-aged parent showing up with his adolescent offspring. That is, for me, an ideal situation to start the dialogue.
DR WOLFRAM EILENBERGER is a German philosopher, journalist and writer. He is the editor of Philosophie Magazin and one of the program directors of the philosophy festival phil.cologne. Wolfram is in high demand as a German intellectual, often appearing on TV shows. He has taught at University of Toronto, Indiana University and Berlin University of the Arts, and published eight books.
NONE OF MY BUSINESS? The Goethe-Institut in Australia continues its series in which it investigates issues around ethics, responsibility, empathy and other philosophical concepts and ideas. We invite the public to discuss these challenging topics at our events and exhibitions: 21 March – 9 April 2017 Goethe-Institut Damascus in Exile | Pop-up Sydney Exhibitions, talks, panels, performances, films 5 – 28 May 2017 Herlinde Koelbl: Targets Exhibition at Head On Photo Festival Sydney 21 July – 9 September 2017 Fast Fashion: The Dark Side of Fashion Exhibition at RMIT Gallery Melbourne with public talks and a Slow Fashion Studio by RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles 19 August – 17 September 2017 Maziar Moradi: I Am Becoming German Artist in residence at the Ballarat International Photo Biennale 8 – 18 September 2017 None of my Business? Philosophical Events Featuring Wolfram Eilenberger, Fritz Breithaupt, Simon Longstaff, and more For details and upcoming events please check our website: www.goethe.de/australia
REVOLUTIONS HAPPEN ELSEWHERE: BJÖRN LULEY ABOUT HIS WORK IN DAMASCUS Sonja Griegoschewski
The Goethe-Institut Damascus was established in 1955 as one of the first outside of Germany, a second branch in Aleppo was opened in 2011 — however both had to be closed in 2012 due to the unsafe situation in Syria. In 2017 the Goethe-Institut in Sydney presented a series of events titled ‘Goethe-Institut Damascus in Exile | Pop-up Sydney’. Events focused on international cultural exchange and artists in exile, including artists and speakers from Syria, Germany, Australia, and beyond. For kultur, the director of the Goethe-Institut Australien, Sonja Griegoschewski, spoke with the former director of the institute in Damascus, Björn Luley.
SONJA GRIEGOSCHEWSKI: The Goethe-Institut Damascus opened as one of the first institutes worldwide in 1955. What relevance did Syria have for German cultural exchange at that time? Why Damascus? BJÖRN LULAY: After World War II and the division of our country, the young German Republic was seeking out new allies in the world. Amongst former colonies like India, Syria and Indonesia the reputation was that Germany was anti-colonial, as it had fought against former colonial powers such as England and France. Back then, Syria had only been independent from French paternalism for seven years and was a modernising secular country. The Goethe-Institut in Damascus was the result of a lectureship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) at the university and was well frequented by young people.
IMPORTANT PLACES FOR CULTURAL EXCHANGE SG: With the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ many new
cultural and educational projects were brought to the region, many special funds. With these funds came great expectations. How realistic would you say — with your current perspective — is the possibility that the GoetheInstitut has actual influence in such a phase? What was particularly relevant, and where were we naïve or on the wrong track? BL: Political change is created during revolutions in the streets and squares — not in the facilities of foreign cultural institutions. One should not be under the illusion that the creation of a TahrirLounge at the Goethe-Institut Cairo for instance, had any effect on
the course of the Egyptian Revolution. Foreign cultural institutes are certainly important places in which young, open and secular people with a certain educational background enjoy hanging out, discussing issues and finding inspiration. Revolutions however, happen elsewhere. For example, shortly before the Syrian uprising began, on the day of the funeral of the extremely significant documentary filmmaker Omar Amiralay, we were screening his regime-critical film A Flood in Baath Country without government consent at the Goethe-Institut Damascus in the evening to a full house. This resulted in a strict reprimand and the threat of my deportation (of which I was very proud!), and great recognition amongst artists and the critical youth. But no more than that! SG: As director of the Goethe-Institut in Damascus you opened a branch in Aleppo in November 2010. The German press was enthusiastically writing about the city of four million people with a blossoming art and cultural scene. Only a few months later everything was different. What memories do you have of this time in Syria? BL: Trying to open a Goethe-Institut in Aleppo — where there had already been a so-called lectureship of the Goethe-Institut back in the early sixties — dates back to efforts during my first appointment in Syria, in collaboration with the local lecturer of the DAAD. The authorities had shown an interest but wanted to control access to the Goethe-Institut — which was unacceptable for us. This is the reason why we didn’t choose the offered space at the university when the endeavour was taken up again right at the beginning of my second Syria-appointment. Instead, we decided on a space in the old town that we had tediously negotiated with the city council. It was in an old school that had been renovated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) which also housed the Aga Kahn Foundation and an old town restoration office of GIZ. Most importantly for us though was the fact that everyone had free, uncontrolled access and we could contribute to the rejuvenation of the historic old town of Aleppo at the same time. What aided the tedious negotiations was that in autumn 2010 an acquaintance of mine — the theatre director and author Riad Ismat — became the new Syrian Minister for Culture. His assurance to attend the opening of the new Goethe-Institut in December simplified things.
Goethe-Institut Damascus in Exile
Impressions from the events in Sydney: [CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT] Mouneer Al Shaarani calligraphy exhibition; Syrian book designer Dona Abboud with Goethe-Institut Australia Director, Sonja Griegoschewski and German author Ulla Lenze; Tasmanian journalist Firas Massouh with LebaneseAustralian academic scholar Ghassan Hage; Syrian-born oud virtuoso Adnan Baraky
SG: The Goethe-Institut Damascus and its branch in Aleppo were closed in 2012 due to security concerns. What remains? Is there still contact between both cultural scenes? Where do your former Syrian colleagues live, and work today? BL: Many of the artists and intellectuals that we collaborated with in Syria are now living in exile — many of them in Germany. When we buried the sadly departed Syrian philosopher Sadiq al-Azm in Berlin in December 2016, I met many of the people who I still knew from my time in Damascus. A few have deliberately stayed in Syria and of course I’m still in touch with them as well.
MOST WANT TO RETURN HOME SG: You were involved with the original project The
Goethe-Institut Damascus | In Exile in Berlin. By now, many Syrian artists, musicians and filmmakers are living there in exile. To offer them a platform, a ‘living space’ was one goal of the project. At the same time, we are haunted by the terrible images of the conflict in Syria. What important message did you take away from the Syrians that were involved with the project in Berlin? BL: As with anyone in exile, they pay close attention to developments in their home country and have regular contact with family and friends who have stayed behind. Almost all of them want to return home as soon as the situation allows them to. They want to be involved with the rebuilding process — but only when the criminal Assad-Regime is well and truly in the past. SG: After many years working for the Goethe-Institut,
Syria was your second last appointment. As a Goetheemployee in your position one must relocate (often with family) to a foreign place approximately every five years. One gains many interesting work-related contacts but also finds personal friends. From personal experience, I’m aware that one can get especially attached to so-called
‘difficult posts’. In what way do you still feel attached to Syria? What impact did your time there have on you? BL: I’m not only still in touch with many artists from Syria, but also with my former colleagues — they are the backbone of any institute’s work. And that isn’t only true for places that are deemed ‘difficult’, but relates to all my posts (Calcutta, Tokyo, Kyoto, Damascus and Aleppo and Nicosia). If one takes their work seriously, any posting is difficult in some regard. Unless, one doesn’t care about their work, but that was never my thing!
GOETHE-INSTITUT DAMASCUS IN EXILE | POP-UP SYDNEY 21 March – 09 April 2017 Goethe-Institut Sydney EXHIBITIONS Mouneer al Shaarani, James L Brown TALKS Dona Abboud, Ulla Lenze, Firas Massouh, Omar Al-Kassab, Father Dave, Luke “Elk” Cornish
PERFORMANCES Adnan Baraky, Zeina Issa, Andalus Arabic Choir, Atif Badria, Sako Dermenjian SCREENINGS After Spring Comes Fall, Cultures of Resistance, Twilight/ Shafaq CULINARY Syrian Restaurant Almond Bar
PANEL Supporting the Arts in Difficult Circumstances featuring Sonja Griegoschewski, Goethe-Institut Australia, Helen O’Neil, British Council, Marion Potts, Australia Council for the Arts, Lucia Sobera, University of Sydney
BJÖRN LULEY was born in Frankfurt/Main in 1949, where he studied history and politics at university. During his studies, he took extended trips though Asia and the Orient and came to know the Goethe-Institut. In 1977 Björn Luley departed from the Hessian School system and transferred to the Goethe-Institut. His posts for the Goethe-Institut: Staufen, Calcutta, Tokyo, Frankfurt/Main, Headquarters in Munich, Damascus (1997–2002), Kyoto, Damascus (2007–2011), Nicosia. Björn Luley retired in 2015.
THANK YOU FOR 15 YEARS OF CELEBRATING GERMAN CINEMA Dear Movie Lovers, We would like to thank you for your ongoing support for the German Film Fest in Australia. We love film just as much as you do, and we feel privileged that we were in a position to bring all these movies, guests and events to theatres in Australia for 15 years: more than 600 Australian premieres, 2,500 film screenings and 200,000 ticket sales. After careful consideration and engagement, a joint decision has been made that the Goethe-Institut and German Films will discontinue the festival in 2017. We are going to focus on our year-round cooperation with Australia’s top international film festivals and other cinematic partners. There will be many opportunities to watch German films in the future. Last year more than 50 German films and co-productions were screened at international film festivals and cinemas across Australia. 2017 will be no different. For instance this year’s Sydney Film Festival featured 26 German films and co-productions. To keep you in the loop about the highlights of German screen culture here in Australia we launched our new online magazine “Kino in OZ”. Australian film critic Sarah Ward will introduce upcoming German films including a list of theatrical releases and festival screenings in Australia. We sincerely thank all our supporters, fans and sponsors. In 2016, two new Gold Sponsors took the lead after our longterm contract with AUDI expired: Henkell Brothers and Melitta.
A big thank you to them and all the other sponsors, partners and volunteers throughout the years — their support and dedication put the ‘fest’ into the festival! We especially thank our advisory board members who have been of invaluable support throughout the years: Peter Krausz (2002–2016), Richard Kuipers (2004–2016), Richard Moore (2015), Margaret Pomeranz (2016) and Paul Byrnes (2016). Together with them we celebrated many highlights including Wim Wender’s 3D documentary Pina at the Sydney Opera House in 2011, visits by international acclaimed actors like Daniel Brühl (2002), Hannah Herzsprung (2007) as well as directors Dani Levy (2005) and Sönke Wortmann (2010). An era has come to an end but German film in Australia is stronger than ever and new adventures lie ahead including a brand new Schulfilmfestival for kids and teens across Australia in 2018. We hope you will enjoy the many other opportunities to watch German films in Australia. Herzlichen Dank Your team at the Goethe-Institut Australia
2016 GERMAN FILM FEST [A] Actor Clemens Schick and journalist Margaret Pomeranz with Sonja Griegoschewski
[B] Director Leonie Krippendorf, Actress Jella Hase [C] Festival Audience Award: The Golden Gnome [D] Sonja Griegoschewski with German Ambassador Dr Anna Prinz and Prof Jacqueline Lo [E] Melbourne Opening Night [F] Sydney Opening Night
goethe.de/kinoinoz # kinoinoz
RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER: THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES José Da Silva, Curatorial Manager, Australian Cinémathèque
THIS SPRING, THE AUSTRALIAN CINÉMATHÈQUE BEGINS A RETROSPECTIVE OF WORKS BY RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER (1945–82). FASSBINDER FILMS WERE PROVOCATIVE DURING HIS LIFETIME, AND HIS STORIES OF HUMAN CRUELTY CONTINUE TO RESONATE WITH CONTEMPORARY AUDIENCES. “I’d like to be for cinema what Shakespeare was for theatre, Marx for politics and Freud for psychology: someone after whom nothing is as it used to be.” Rainer Werner Fassbinder has been described as many things: prodigious to the point of folly; a homosexual who loved men and women equally; an unashamed exhibitionist; a tyrant in the workplace; and a radical, no matter your political persuasion. During his short and self-destructive life (he died of a drug overdose at 37), Fassbinder worked at a frenzied pace and fashioned a practice that was both mercurial and brutally honest. Between 1966 and 1982, he directed an astonishing 39 films (including six television movies and series) and four video productions. He directed 24 stage plays, four radio plays, and worked as an actor, dramatist, cameraman, composer, designer, editor, producer and theatre manager. He famously claimed, ‘I don’t throw bombs; I make films’, and cherished his position as one of the most polarising and influential figures of the German New Wave.1 Born to a middle-class family in Bavaria, Fassbinder was quick to denounce the propriety of then West German society, which he felt impeded his personal freedoms. He began his career with Munich’s Action-Theater ensemble, amid a climate of disillusionment following the failed protests of May 1968, and there he wrote and directed
a series of plays that he would later adapt to screen. Without a formal university education, Fassbinder worked tirelessly to prove himself and to create works that would expose the foolishness and hypocrisy he saw in human relationships. He reasoned:
I detest the idea…that the love between two persons can lead to salvation. All my life I have fought against this oppressive type of relationship. Instead, I believe in searching for a kind of love that somehow involves all of mankind…2 Fassbinder favoured an aesthetic eclecticism that allowed him to experiment with contradictory genres, styles and cultural references — from social melodramas and comedies to science fiction and thrillers, psychological dramas and austere literary adaptations. His early films drew inspiration from the gangster films of the French New Wave and the methodologies of Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud. During the 1970s, he was heavily influenced by the technicolour melodramas of Hollywood director Douglas Sirk. They imbued the mise en scène of his later works with lurid colours, artifice, and plenty of histrionics, yet his use of melodrama was never for the sake of sarcasm: ‘I don’t believe that melodramatic feelings are laughable — they should be taken absolutely seriously’.3
For Fassbinder, there were no taboo subjects in cinema, just taboo means of representing them. His films often deal with challenging subjects, including Baader-Meinhof terrorism and the tricky politics of postwar Germany; the alienated experiences of women and homosexuals; as well as the plight of migrants, interracial couples and the socially downtrodden. The key trajectory through these stories is the interplay of cruelty, exploitation and victimhood, where distinctions between the oppressed and the oppressors were never clear or simple. As Thomas Elsaesser has noted, in Fassbinder’s film, the ‘ethics of becoming a victim is to strip the self of all its physical, psychic, and symbolic means of exchange, and in this way to achieve a radical openness towards life’.4 Alfred Döblin’s celebrated Weimar Republic novel, Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), was a major influence for Fassbinder, which he later adapted into a cult television series. He argued that reading the text as an adolescent had enabled him to avoid becoming ‘completely and utterly sick, dishonest and desperate’ like other Germans.5 Further literary adaptions include Vladimir Nabokov’s Despair (1934), about a man who undertakes the perfect crime — his own murder; Theodor Fontane’s realist novel Effi Briest (1894), about a woman trapped by marriage and social conventions; and Jean Genet’s Querelle of Brest (1947), that evoked an erotic underworld of sailors and hustlers. In these texts, Fassbinder found exiles, outcasts and strangers — characters that inhabited a world filled with prejudice and injustice. Never one to be overly sentimental, Fassbinder allowed these characters to be openly troubled as a way of confronting audiences with their fears — a fear of others and a fear of the self. Fassbinder maintained an intense working relationship with a recurring cast of actors and technicians, which often spilt over into dysfunctional and intimate relations off set. He was accused of treating those around him as marionettes, and his combative personality and directorial style estranged him from some of his principal collaborators. Yet this group formed something of a surrogate family; it is this working process that fed Fassbinder’s relentless drive and output. His films bear a signature style and continuity through the work of longtime cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, production designer Kurt Raab, editor Juliane Lorenz, musician Peer Raben, and the luminous presence of stars, like Hanna Schygulla, who appear throughout Fassbinder’s entire filmography.
While Fassbinder never lived to see German society change during and after the country’s reunification in 1990, the social conditions he railed against persist today. As a conservative political establishment sweeps across western Europe, it’s unsurprising that Fassbinder’s films are being reconsidered and championed by new audiences. Along with greater access to his work through restorations, there is a resurgence of his seminal theatre works and film retrospectives, including, most recently, a complete program at the British Film Institute in April this year. His oeuvre has also inspired generations of contemporary artists, including Ming Wong, Rikrit Tiravanija, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, and filmmakers such as Pedro Almodóvar, Todd Haynes and Christoph Schlingensief.
RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER: THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES This in-depth screening series at Australian Cinémathèque, Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), will be presented in two parts. A special in-conversation event with Juliane Lorenz will be held in conjunction with the opening of Part Two. Lorenz was an editor and long-time partner in Fassbinder’s later career, and is currently the director of the Fassbinder Foundation and Estate. Part One: 4 October – 26 November 2017 Part Two: 1 June – 4 July 2018 Australian Cinémathèque at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) This film series has been made possible through the support of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation. For info about related events supported by the Goethe-Institut please check our website. 1 Fassbinder’s proclamation on the film poster for Die Dritte Generation (The Third Generation) 1979. The ‘New German Cinema’ was a pledge by filmmakers during the late 1960s and 1970s to create challenging works for post-war Germany. Alongside Fassbinder, this disparate group included directors such as Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Alexander Kluge, and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. 2 Fassbinder discussing George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 (1949) in Robert Katz, Peter Berling Love is colder than death: the life and times of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1987 p.166. 3 Fassbinder cited in Wallace Steadman Watson, Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Film as Private and Public Art, University of South Carolina Press, 1996, p.107 4 Thomas Elsaesser, R.W. Fassbinder: Prodigal Son, Not Reconciled?’ in A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Wiley & Sons, 2002, p.51 5 Fassbinder cited in Wallace Steadman Watson, p.234
[IMAGES, LEFT TO RIGHT] Production stills from: Berlin Alexanderplatz
1980; Lola 1981; Angst essen Seele auf (Fear Eats the Soul) 1973; Welt am Draht (World on a Wire) 1973; Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (Love is Colder than Death) 1969; Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant) 1972 [Images courtesy: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation]; Fassbinder: at elske uden at kræve (Fassbinder: To Love Without Demands) 2015, Director: Christian Braad Thomsen [Image courtesy: DFI]
HERLINDE KOELBL: TARGETS WHO IS THE ENEMY? A MAN? A WOMAN? AN ABSTRACT SHAPE? ARE THEY DEPICTED WITH A FACE? DO MILITARY TARGETS EXHIBIT CULTURAL DIFFERENCES DEPENDING ON THE ARMY THEY ARE USED FOR AND THE TIME WHEN THEY WERE MADE? These are just some of the questions that emerge when you look at Herlinde Koelbl’s astonishing work Targets. The celebrated German photographer is well known for her long-term projects encompassing many countries and many years. For Targets, she spent well over a decade travelling to close to 30 countries, winning the trust of politicians and military officials in order to gain access to highly secured military training camps. The outcome is as shocking as it is thought provoking. Photos and interviews show soldiers as they learn their deadly trade. Combining her skills in the field of journalism with those in photography, Koelbl documents the seemingly obvious truth behind the armies of the world: soldiers are trained to kill their enemies. The quotes on this page show snippets of interviews Koelbl conducted for the project. Those soldiers who speak out are not only trained to kill, they are also trained to risk their own loves on the frontlines of modern warfare. They have their targets, while for others, they are the moving targets.
HERLINDE KOELBL PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION At the Head On Festival, Herlinde Koelbl exhibited her work Targets which featured a selection of stunning photos showing military targets from all over the world. 5 — 28 May 2017 Sydney, Paddington Reservoir
“I never felt guilty about killing people who deserved to die. In my eyes they deserve to die because they are the enemy. I’m trained to think that way.” “It sounds horrifying, but you have to learn to kill automatically in order to function.”
“During training, when I shoot at a picture of a lady holding a baby, well it’s just a paper target. If there’s a lady actor out there holding a baby and you shoot her in the chest with a paint round, you understand that you’ve just killed an innocent woman.”
“We thought we could save him, but… I was close to him. Yes, it was an emotional experience to go through, when you have his blood on your hands. But it’s easy for me to get back to business. Because I know I have a job and have other people rely on me.”
“In my memory I leave the situation at home frozen as it was and I would like to have it the same way when I come back. But it isn’t that way anymore. Life went on.” “War is the chess game of the politicians and we are the figures.” kultur 2017
Art and Culture
GERHARD RICHTER: THE LIFE OF IMAGES Geraldine Barlow, Curatorial Manager David Burnett, Curator Abigail Bernal, Assistant Curator — International Art, QAGOMA
IN OCTOBER 2017, THE QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY | GALLERY OF MODERN ART WILL PRESENT THE FIRST MAJOR EXHIBITION IN AUSTRALIA OF THE WORK OF GERMAN ARTIST, GERHARD RICHTER. Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images will feature over sixty works from six decades of the artist’s career. Richter is widely recognised as one of the world’s most influential and successful living artists and the exhibition will provide Australian audiences with a unique opportunity to view the diversity of his approach to painting. Artworks have been loaned from the artist’s own personal collection in Germany, as well as numerous museums and private collections in Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Asia. Over the past sixty years, Richter has sought to examine the nature of painting as an artistic practice, changing the way that we think about the medium. The output of this long career includes responses to many pivotal historical, social and political moments including World War II, the horror of the holocaust and the impact of these events on Germany and the larger world.
© Gerhard Richter 2016
Now in his eighties, Richter’s life has run parallel to the course of modern German history. He was born the year before Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in 1933; and his family members were deeply affected by drafting into the army, the Nazi eugenics campaign targeting the mentally ill, and the destruction of his home city of Dresden. He was seven when Germany invaded Poland, and seventeen when the German Democratic Republic was established. As a young artist, he grew up in an environment that valued social realist painting; he was encouraged to train as a sign painter, and completed several large-scale murals in public institutions in East Germany. In 1961, the same year the Berlin wall was constructed, he and his young wife fled Dresden for West Berlin as refugees. By the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall (in 1989, 38 years after it was first constructed), Richter had become widely known, his work the subject of major retrospectives in prestigious international museums. He witnessed the reunification of Germany, and contributed works to its iconic buildings — the Reichstag in Berlin, and later for Cologne cathedral’s south transept window, bombed during the war, for which he created a design consisting of around 11,500 mouth-blown glass squares in 72 repeating grids of colour.
This exhibition looks at Richter’s ongoing fascination with the ‘life of the image’ by addressing classical elements of art history, such as the portrait, still life and history painting, to people and events represented in mass media, and increasingly, to the immediacy of monumental abstraction. The exhibition demonstrates the extraordinary breadth of Richter’s visual and emotional reach from some of his most intimate, personal images of family, to large, digitally generated abstract works. Also featured is the monumental, four-part painting, Birkenau 2014. This profoundly moving work with its skins of brooding, evocative colour obliquely addresses particular photographic records from Birkenau Concentration Camp, described as recording an event beyond representation. Richter’s epic and ongoing archival project, Atlas, a compendium of thousands of clippings, photographs and source images, will be represented in the exhibition as Atlas Übersicht, a new version of the work selected by the artist and lent by Museum Lenbachhaus, Munich. This will be the first time this version of the work has been assembled and exhibited in its full form.
GERHARD RICHTER: THE LIFE OF IMAGES 14 October 2017 – 4 February 2018 GOMA Foyer, Brisbane For events and guest speakers presented in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, please check www.goethe.de/australia for more details. [TOP] Gerhard Richter, Germany b.1932, Abstract Painting (726) 1990,
Oil on canvas. Tate Collection, London [BELOW] Gerhard Richter, Germany b.1932, Seascape (377),
Oil on canvas. Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart
JUTTA MALNIC: MWAGA, A BIRD AT THE END OF THE WORLD Jutta Malnic is a Sydney-based photographer who has accumulated a vast collection of works over her lifetime. Born in Berlin to a German father and Australian mother, she experienced countless bombing raids during World War II, recalling that her house was on fire 32 times. Jutta Malnic went to photo school and acquired her first work experience as a photo journalist for the Mauritius agency in Berlin.
In 2016, Sonja Griegoschewski, director of the Goethe-Institut in Australia, discovered some of Jutta Malnic’s photos at the Berndt Museum in Perth, tracked down the artist, and found that she had many more treasures in her private archives. Many years after the last collaboration between the artist and the Goethe-Institut, the team is now working on a Jutta Malnic solo exhibition, with plans to present it in Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington.
In 1948 the family decided to move to Sydney. Having read about Alexander von Humboldt’s expeditions to the South Pacific, the young woman already had a keen appetite for the region. In 1949 she applied as an on-board photographer for a cruise ship line and was accepted onto the first Pacific cruise after the war. Consequently she had many unique opportunities to document the region’s people and nature through the lens of her camera. Between 1950–1969 Jutta Malnic contracted with P&O Shipping Line as on-board photographer with a crew of three assistants and went on 72 cruises around the Pacific islands. During this time she became to feel what she later described as ‘A Woman of the Pacific’. She met many inhabitants of the islands, talked to chiefs, fishermen, women and children, learned about the stories and mysteries of the Pacific islanders’ rich culture — and took a vast number of photos. From the beginning, Jutta Malnic approached her art as a storyteller. Her aesthetic language is personal and emotional. It speaks of a connectedness with nature, of family values, and of harmony. Her body of work glows with her ever-growing enchantment with the people and lifestyle around the Pacific.
JUTTA MALNIC: MWAGA, A BIRD AT THE END OF THE WORLD 24 November 2017 6pm Opening at the Goethe-Institut in Sydney For more details about this event and exhibition please check our website.
© Jutta Malnic
One example is a photographic series around a local bird species called ‘Mwaga’ — a Gannet. Locally referred to as ‘The Navigator Birds’ the ancient Polynesian seafarers used these birds’ behaviour and movements as a navigation tool. The image series tells a tale of the close relationship between humans and animals as they live together in a near-synergetic relationship.
Art and Culture
BALLARAT PHOTO BIENNALE: MAZIAR MORADI
MAZIAR MORADI’S POWERFUL EXHIBITION ICH WERDE DEUTSCH (I AM BECOMING GERMAN) IS MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE OF ASYLUM SEEKER ISSUES AND DEBATE. The collection explores the powerful and personal experiences of young people who were forced to leave their countries and start anew as immigrants in Germany, as well as capturing those who were born in Germany but have grown up under the influence of their families’ cultural backgrounds. Based on the impressions, fears, experiences, fates and losses of young immigrants, the work is at once personal and political, focusing on the individual circumstances of each life but also painting an overall picture of the face of immigration and change. Moradi invites the immigrants to reenact key scenes of personal developments, dramatic experiences or turning points in their lives, seeing them become actors of their own stories as they weave a narrative of what it means to become German. [TOP] Maziar Moradi (Detail) [BELOW] Maziar Moradi, Without Title, 2008, Fine Art Print, 100 x 125cm.
MAZIAR MORADI: I AM BECOMING GERMAN Exhibition, residency, and public talk program at Ballarat Photo Biennale 19 August – 17 September 2017 Exhibition at Post Office Gallery 9 September 2017 2–4pm Artist Talk with Maziar Moradi Maziar Moradi has been supported by the Goethe-Institut to appear at Ballarat International Photo Biennale for the exhibition and residency program.
ULLA VON BRANDENBURG Vorhang auf, raise the curtain. That is the very first thought that comes to mind when entering Ulla von Brandenburg’s exhibition. The spectator steps into the world of Ulla von Brandenburg where multiple stages are set using different media and a symbolic language to tell stories. We met with the German-born artist Ulla von Brandenburg and asked her ten questions. GOETHE-INSTITUT: One can see that you are intensely
drawn to the performing arts, theatre and cinema. Where does that come from? ULLA VON BRANDENBURG: I was always in between the arts and theatre and for me it was a tough choice. I started in theatre, I even tried to be an actress, went to acting schools, but I lacked talent. I thought scenography would be a good compromise between the arts and theatre and I focused on set design. It became increasingly difficult for me to just deliver the scenography for a theatre piece which is why I wanted to be a director. By then I was strongly engaged in visual art and for me this was a field which was promising much more freedom than the theatre. So, I finished my studies at an art school in Hamburg. GI: Could you describe how a piece of art is produced, from the idea to the installation? How long does that process take? How do you work? UvB: After my studies I was invited to do shows in museums and art institutions. Right from the beginning I was exposed to spaces. For me the site-specific impact is very important. I usually visit the locations beforehand to see the space and then I respond to that space. Because of the distance, this method of course did not work for ACCA. Usually, I draw the space, then I build models of the space and then I try out my ideas in these models. This is important because I do not have a big museum space. My studio is small, just a mere thinking space to develop concepts. GI: You have exhibitions all over the world and this is your second visit to Australia. Compared to the art scene in Europe, do you feel any difference in the way art is perceived? UvB: I feel the audience is welcoming, curious and hungry for European art. I have the feeling that they dive into my show. In a way they probably feel cut off a bit from the world because of Australia’s remote location. I think in Europe people are more critical because they have more to compare to. They also try to put things into a context right away. Here people see it without comparing.
GI: Was there anything in particular in Australia that you
will take on board for the next work you are planning? UvB: With only seven days, my stay was very short, and I would have loved to travel around and see more of the country. What I really like is the freedom and enormity of space over here. It is a spacial notion which opens up your perspective. GI: Do you deliberately try to provoke a reaction in the visitor? Is there a message connected with your work? UvB: What I want to do is to blur frontiers and to create worlds that differ from the one you are in. It is often a black and white world or a world where music transports you to somewhere else and it is about diving into this other world. I often do big fabric installations where the spectator cannot see the real space anymore. It is about changing spaces and times. The notion of time is important to me — I blur even the time when my films were shot because they are shot in black and white and, for many other reasons, I try to do something akin to timelessness. You could say I am linked to the past because of the black and white, but my interest is more about creating timeless spaces and timeless senses. I am interested in psychology and the family as a micro society representing the whole of society. I am focused on what moves us to where and why. What is power, who has the power and why? And why are we all playing a role? What kind of roles do we play? What kind of society do we live in? What I did here at ACCA is to put the spectators in a more conscious position. They walk through a big curtain and pass from one side to another. It is about them and their point of view. What I try to do, with the films and installations, is this kind of mirroring. My films play with this blurry frontier between the spectator and the artwork. At the same time, the spectator is in a kind of film; put on a stage, ready to act using props which are already in the space. Somebody else may be looking at him while he is looking at something else. GI: Can you tell us about the use of colour in your work? UvB: My interest focuses on colours and especially the psychology and theories connected to it. The installation at ACCA, for example, concentrates on the theory of Johannes Itten who was a Bauhaus theorist. I am using his theory ‘twelve expressive colours’ in my work and even Lüscher Colour test and a work about Goethe’s colours were inspiration for my works. The way Goethe said that colours would construct light have influenced me a lot.
Art and Culture
GI: Do you think that art should be political? UvB: Yes. Everything you do is political. GI: You are a German artist, living in France. How do you think that your German upbringing influences your art? UvB: That is a really tricky question. I was born in a generation that was against nationalism and none of us would ever have shown a German flag or other national symbols considering the history of Germany. After the Soccer World Cup that was hosted by Germany in 2006, the attitude towards ‘Germanism’ has changed and I did feel disgusted with it. I would say I am a European artist. I had a residency in Sweden and I could feel this kind of protestant culture they still have there, I felt really close to that. For me being German is still something I want to overcome. For me it is still a really bad idea of the Venice Biennale that every country is presenting one ‘best’ artist of their country. This is about nationalism and politics and this is not right. This is not the future for me. GI: I referred more or less to the upbringing. That means
© jan_noordhoff_photography [Portrait] /Andrew Curtis [Background image]
the story, the mythology and everything you grew up with which is of course different to growing up in France. UvB: The books you read, the stories you hear, fairytales and the theatre culture — all this plays an important role. I grew up in Germany, I studied in Germany, so this is a very important source. But I could not tell you what it is that makes me German. This is interesting because I found that my art is perceived as being German. I think the forest, for example, is something that some viewers identify completely as German even if forests are everywhere. But this is their image. GI: In your private life is it possible to separate art from
the everyday life with kids and family? UvB: Yes, it is. I separate that. People often ask me if having kids changed my work. But I am one of these artists who never does involves her kids in her art. This is something I admire about colleagues who are also highly emancipated. In a way your family naturally influences your art, because this is your life. But I would say that I really try to separate the two.
ULLA VON BRANDENBURG is a Germanborn, Paris-based installation artist who implements many elements of modern art in her displays. The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne exhibited a major installation work in 2016.
[BACKGROUND] Installation View, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
GERMANY AND AUSTRALIA: VISITORS PROGRAM/ RESIDENCIES/ EXCHANGE PROGRAM 2016/17 The Goethe-Institut regularly collaborates closely with its partners in Australia and Germany to support visitor programs for arts professionals. This enables creative industry representatives to meet their counterparts, artist to engage in local residencies and exchange programs, and speakers to travel to conferences and symposia. Some of the recent programs include the following: Visitors Program of the Federal Republic of Germany: Creative Industries 2016 Lisa Colley, Manager Cultural Strategy, City of Sydney Jess Cook, Managing Director, 107 Projects, Sydney Jane Crawley, Director Arts Investment, Creative Victoria Vicky Gugliemo, Manager of Creative Culture, City of Darebin Berlinale Film Festival 2017 Sarah Ward, film critic, Brisbane Jessica Khoury, film professional, Sydney Tanzplattform Deutschland 2016 Shaun Parker, Choreographer, Sydney Stephanie Lake, Choreographer, Melbourne Dance Massive Melbourne 2017 in cooperation with Australia Council for the Arts Honne Dohrmann, TanzMainz / Staatstheater Mainz Bettina Masuch, Tanzhaus NRW Virve Sutinen, Tanz im August, Berlin Sven Till, Potsdam Fabrik Performing Arts Festival Berlin 2017 in cooperation with Australia Council for the Arts Simon Abrahams, Melbourne Fringe Kate Usher, Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, Brisbane German Australian Opera Grant in cooperation with Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden Alexander Knight, 2016 Joel Scott, 2017 The Opera Foundation for Young Australians Sam Roberts-Smith, Deutsche Oper Berlin Award 2016 Ballarat International Foto Biennale: Residency 2017 Maziar Moradi, photographer, Hamburg documenta 14, Kassel 2017 Liz Nowell, ACE OPEN, Adelaide Head On Photo Festival 2017 Herlinde Koelbl, photographer, Munich
[TOP] Creative Industries: Australians Jane Crawley, Director Arts Investment Creative Victoria, Lisa Colley, Manager Cultural Strategy City of Sydney, Jess Cook, Managing Director 107 Projects, Vicky Gugliemo, Manager Creative Culture City of Darebin in Germany [BELOW] Tanzplattform: Shaun Parker with Stefanie Lake and other participants from seven countries with Heinrich Blรถmeke, Regional Director of the Goethe-Institut in South East Asia, and Almuth MeyerZollitsch, Director of the Goethe-Institut in Vietnam
CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IN GERMANY, SEEN THROUGH AUSTRALIAN EYES IN OCTOBER 2016, A DELEGATION OF AUSTRALIAN ARTS PROFESSIONALS WAS INVITED TO GERMANY TO GET AN IMPRESSION OF HOW THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY OPERATES THERE. The group included Lisa Colley, Manager Cultural Strategy at the City of Sydney, Jess Cook, Managing Director of Sydney’s 107 Projects, Jane Crawley, Director of Arts Investment at Creative Victoria, and Vicky Gugliemo, Manager of Creative Culture at the City of Darebin. The trip was a week-long program as part of the Visitors Program of the Federal Republic of Germany. The four participants were selected by the Goethe-Institut in Australia, while the colleagues in Berlin arranged the itinerary, and filmmaker Martin Jabs acted as a local tour guide and interpreter. This is a short account collaboratively written by the four participants: The development of the program was in consultation with us and was tailored to our particular areas of interest. We wanted to understand the way in which the arts and creative industries are supported. We were curious about the roles of government and city planning — on a regulatory, policy, and delivery level — as well as the incorporation of the creative sector, in particular around the night-time economy and live music. The program delivered on these objectives. We spent five full days being immersed in the creative industries in Germany. Our time was spent in Berlin, with a one-day trip to Hamburg. The decision to focus mainly on Berlin made sense as the city combines the largest concentration of artists and creative businesses with the headquarters of government agencies.
HOLZMARKT At Holzmarkt we were given a tour by Ania Pilipenko, founding member of the project and chairman of its Genossenschaft für urbane Kreativität (GuK). Ania will be visiting Australia to speak about this project at Creative Victoria’s Creative State Summit in Melbourne in late June. Holzmarkt is an inspiring project on a 12,000 square metre piece of industrial wasteland between Berlin’s Ostbahnhof and the river Spree. Previously the iconic site of raves and weeks-long summer parties, the site is now an urban village made of recycled windows, second-hand bricks and scrap wood, containing among other things a studio for circus acrobats, a children’s theatre, a cake shop and a childcare centre. We learned that a Swiss pension fund called Abendrot, which had been born out of the anti-nuclear movement, beat off competition from hedge funds and bought the site for over €10 million, then leased it back to the cooperative. Neither the cooperative nor the
Abendrot foundation are contractually allowed to sell the property for their own profit. The value of properties in the area has risen ten-fold in the four years since the first cut of the spade. There are plans for student accommodation and a guest house, and while none of the people behind the project live on the site, the project’s genesis from club site to creative-industries led redevelopment, under the leadership of artists and creatives was inspiring.
HAFENCITY In Hamburg we got the chance to visit Hafencity. This project is a major development on the city’s huge harbour. It covers ten square kilometres, including a UNSECO-designated heritage site. The project is 100% city-owned and is designed to deliver a mix of social housing and artists working spaces.
NEUKÖLLN CULTURAL NETWORK Back in Berlin we were given a tour of Neukölln with the team of the Neukölln Cultural Network which runs a 48-hour festival every year. They showed us a range of project spaces including a site that has been bought by a Swiss foundation who have worked with the city to build a public staircase with the goal of connecting two neighbourhoods and bringing their people together. The site spans two city blocks and includes a massive warehouse that will include artist studios. The foundation is working with artists that are already in residence on the design of the space and its operating model.
OUR IMPRESSION These are just some of the many projects and ideas we saw. We got the impression that there is cross-party support for the creative industries in Germany, which secures a certain depth and longevity of policy interventions. It was impressive to see the degree to which artists have taken control of their own destiny, using a co-operative structure to protect the integrity of projects like the Holzmarkt. The historic fall of the wall has noticeably played a role in the creation of Berlin as a drawcard for creatives from all over the world. In the words of Lutz Leichsenring from the Clubcommission eV, a network for Berlin club culture, Berlin is an unfinished city: “That’s what makes it so attractive to creatives. We have worked hard to keep a space for subcultures and the grassroots initiatives”. The fact that Berlin has been in operation as a ‘24-hour city’ since 1949 is evident in its palpable cultural vibrancy and the determination of its resident and visiting creatives to keep it open.
TANZPLATTFORM IN 2016 TWO RENOWNED AUSTRALIAN CHOREOGRAPHERS VISITED TANZPLATTFORM IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY: SHAUN PARKER FROM SYDNEY AND STEPHANIE LAKE FROM MELBOURNE. Shaun Parker describes his impressions from this visit.
It was a delight to be a part of the Asia Pacific delegation to Tanzplattform in March 2016, supported by Goethe-Institut Australia. The platform took place in Frankfurt and presented the twelve most outstanding German dance productions from the previous two years that reflected the aesthetic diversity and wide range of contemporary dance styles in Germany. In addition to the young choreographer’s profiling, artists from the RhineMain dance scene also had the opportunity to present their work. All of this, together with 500 dance professionals arriving from all around the world, made for a stunning event featuring the work of Meg Stuart, Isabelle Schad, Monika Gintersdorfer, Knut Klassen, Adam Linder, Antje Pfundtner, Lea Moro, Verena Billinger, Sebastian Schulz, Antonia Baehr, Valerie Castan, Bayerisches Staatsballett II, Oskar Schlemmer, Gerhard Bohner, Ivan Liska, Paula Rosole, Ian Kaler, Ana Vujanovic and Sasa Asentic.
VITAL NETWORKING EXPERIENCE I travelled alongside fellow Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake, and it was wonderful to undertake the program with choreographers from Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia. The platform provided us with several workshops, seminars, performances and interactive discussions. It was a vital networking experience, not only for myself and the Asia Pacific delegation, but also in regards to meeting presenters, curators and key dance delegates from the rest of the world.
Festival in Wolfsburg, and later in the year to Ludwigshafen and Ludwigsburg with our production Am I and finally to the Colours International Dance Festival in Stuttgart with our production Blue Love. Overall, it was such a special experience, and myself and the other choreographers from Germany and Asia have been in constant dialogue since the platform, building long-term relationships for years to come. It was a treat to see the range of innovative new choreographic voices emerging from Germany, as well as seeing established visions such as Meg Stuart continue to thrive! SHAUN PARKER is an award-winning choreographer whose work has spanned film, television and live theatre productions. His work has toured to 18 countries including Germany, Sweden, Austria, Luxembourg, France, Malaysia, USA, Lebanon, Palestine and the UK. His choreographic works include: Am I, Happy As Larry, This Show is About People, The Yard, Spill, Trolleys, Rika’s Story, My Little Garden, Blue Love, Love Installment, Tenebrae III and the award winning short films The Love Trilogy and No. Parker won an Australian Dance Award for both This Show is About People, and The Yard, for his work with underprivileged teenagers in Western Sydney, the Shirley McKechnie Award for Choreography, a Green Room Award and the Argus Angel Award (UK).
The notion of ‘networking’ is an interesting one: I still find it amazing that you can meet someone during the event, and that such incredible discussions can arise out of it, whether it be a presentation of your work, a collaboration, or even a suggestion linking you to another colleague.
© Prudence Upton
BUILDING LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS From a personal perspective, it was also very fruitful to meet with our German agent Meinrad Huber, from ecotopia dance productions, who introduced us to some fantastic artists and presenters. It was a timely follow-up to our tours to Germany the previous year which saw us perform at the Movimentos
WE THANK OUR PARTNERS 2016/17 THE GOETHE-INSTITUT IS PROUD TO COLLABORATE CLOSELY WITH AUSTRALIAN PARTNERS INCLUDING FESTIVALS, VENUES, GALLERIES, CONSULATES, GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, INSTITUTIONS, UNIVERSITIES, COMPANIES AND AGENCIES. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THESE PARTNERS WITHOUT WHOM OUR WORK IN AUSTRALIA WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE.
ACE OPEN, Adelaide
Instituto Cervantes, Sydney
Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Sydney
Ambush Gallery, Sydney
Liquid Architecture Festival, Sydney
Antenna Documentary Film Festival
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney
Australia Council for the Arts
Melbourne Queer Film Festival
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne
Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne
Melbourne Writers Festival
Australian Cinematheque, Brisbane
Museum of Old and New Art: MONA FOMA, Hobart
Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), Melbourne
National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sydney
Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival British Council
Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane
Canberra Writers Festival
Perth International Arts Festival
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Melbourne
RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles, Melbourne
Consulate General of Germany, Sydney
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University)
Consulate General of Switzerland, Sydney
SIMA Womenâ€™s International Jazz Festival
Dance Massive, Melbourne
The Substation, Melbourne
Embassy of Austria, Canberra
Sydney Chamber Opera
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Canberra
The Ethics Centre, Sydney
Sydney Film Festival
EU Delegation, Canberra
Sydney Jewish Museum
European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), Sydney
University of Sydney
Head On Photo Festival, Sydney
University of NSW, Sydney
Honorary Consulate General of Germany, Melbourne
VIVID Festival, Sydney
Honorary Consulate of Germany, Adelaide
Visitors Program of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany
Honorary Consulate of Germany, Brisbane
Wangaratta Jazz Festival
Honorary Consulate of Germany, Perth
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Perth
MANIFESTO: Julian Rosefeldt with Cate Blanchett
SCHAUBÜHNE: Thomas Ostermeier’s interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Richard III featuring Lars Edinger at Adelaide Festival 2017
© Photographer Steffen Pedersen, Image Courtesy ACMI
© Tony Lewis
[D, E, F] RAUMLABOR: Community Day at the Guesthouse Project at RMIT University Design Hub in Melbourne © Anna Fairbank [G]
HAUSCHKA: Prepared piano concert at the Basement, Sydney
CAROLINA EYCK: Theremin concert with Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil) and Jennifer Marten-Smith at Mona Foma 2017
VIVID FESTIVAL: Sentiment Cocoon by Moritz Behrens and Konstantinos Mavromichalis, Sydney, 2016
© Chris Frape
© Mona Rémi Chauvin, Courtesy Museum of Old and New Art
© Moritz Behrens
Australia now GERMANY 2017 Margalit Levin — Second Secretary, Australian Embassy Berlin Denica Kyle — Public Diplomacy Program Officer Sinje Steinmann — Program Manager Australia now Germany 2017 Australia now is a long standing initiative of the Australian Government to showcase the creative excellence, diversity, and innovation of contemporary Australia in one focus country each year — and promote Australia as an ideal destination for research, investment, tourism and study. We are proud that Germany is our host for 2017. Following successful programs in Turkey (2015) and Brazil (2016), Australia now has been unfolding this year across a number of locations including in Berlin, Munich, Bremen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Kassel and Bonn. Featuring leading Australian artists, performers, musicians, thinkers and innovators, it’s been exciting to see how keen and welcoming our German audiences have been to the diversity of Australian culture on display. Kicking off the year at the Berlinale promoting Australia’s record nine films, the arts and cultural programming has seen no end. Since February we’ve promoted jazz infused circus performances; traditional musical events by the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and the Sydney Youth Orchestra; four outstanding Australian theatre companies at Theatre der Welt in Hamburg; Australian artists currently at Documenta; glass work collaborations; contemporary photography exhibitions and more.
At the same time we’ve showcased Australia’s world class innovation capabilities and expertise, including major science forums with Australia’s Chief Scientist and events around women in technology and business, and promoting the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance and start-ups. With half the year gone we’re not slowing down. In the second half of the year Australia now will include electronic music events, sporting matches and symposia on architecture and smart city design. In November, we will close the program with headline performances by Bangarra Dance Theatre and the largest exhibition to Germany of Indigenous master works from the National Gallery of Australia. Through the variety of programming, we’re proud to see how Australia now is strengthening partnerships, promoting new collaborations, encouraging audiences to explore issues of international significance, and ultimately finding ways to deepen the connections between our communities. The Australia now Germany 2017 is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in collaboration with the Australian Embassy Berlin. The full program can be found on www.australianow2017.de
© Sean Young
[BACKGROUND] Scotch & Soda at Chameleon Theater Berlin
HAMBURG AND MELBOURNE TWINNED FOR EU WORLD CITIES PROJECT 2017/18
AUSTRALIAN AND EUROPEAN CITIES PARTNER TO EXCHANGE URBAN EXPERTISE World Cities is an initiative that pairs European cities with non-European cities to exchange cutting-edge ideas. As part of the program, Melbourne was twinned with Hamburg, Canberra with Prague, Adelaide with Manchester and Hobart with Katowice. The EU initiative that will run until May 2018 and allows for representatives from each city to visit their partner city. In the words of EUâ€™s Ambassador to Australia, Sem Fabrizi, the EU initiative aims to bring European and Australian cities closer together, exchanging valuable information, experience and ideas on urban development, urban-rural partnership and urban cross-border cooperation. Program will be published at world-cities.eu
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In our magazine and our 2017 projects we focus on questions around responsibility: Where does it end? What are we responsible for? — As a pe...
Published on Jul 7, 2017
In our magazine and our 2017 projects we focus on questions around responsibility: Where does it end? What are we responsible for? — As a pe...