Kultur Magazine 29: 2019

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ABOUT KULTUR kultur edition 29 highlights some of the Goethe-Institut’s cultural programs and events in 2019. Take a look behind the scenes and learn more about the people and organisations we work with. Through interviews and articles we provide a deeper understanding of our network and exchange between Germany and Australia.

Order your annual complimentary copy of kultur magazine at info-sydney@goethe.de To keep up to date, sign up to our newsletter, check our website or connect via social media. Find out more about the Goethe-Institut in Australia: www.goethe.de/australia

ABOUT THE GOETHE-INSTITUT The Goethe-Institut is the cultural liaison between Germany and Australia. We are a not for profit, independent cultural organisation with a global reach. Our mandate is to promote the study of the German language abroad, and to encourage and facilitate international cultural exchange. The Goethe-Institut in Melbourne was founded in 1972, followed by the Sydney branch in 1974. Our two local branches work with partners and networks across Australia. We strengthen the German language in Australia through providing leadership in the promotion and maintenance of German. We offer language courses at all levels in Sydney and Melbourne and are currently providing them to more than 2,000 participants. We host examinations in VIC, NSW, WA, ACT, SA, whilst our online courses and the eLibrary are accessible across the country. We support schools and teachers nationally through teacher training and the provision of teaching and learning materials that are in line with current best practice and the latest educational research.

Our cultural program presents contemporary arts and culture from Germany. It is developed together with an extensive network of Australian partners like festivals, universities and galleries. Activities include events such as exhibitions, concerts, films and talks, but we also facilitate the cultural dialogue in a broader sense, as we initiate, facilitate and nurture important connections between the Australian and German scenes. We are proud to be part of a strong global network: the Goethe-Institut has 159 branches in 98 countries. We work independently and at arm’s length from the German government. The Goethe-Institut is a founding member of EUNIC global, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, with an active EUNIC cluster in Australia: www.eunic-global.eu

WILLKOMMEN Did you know that multi-talented Australian Barrie Kosky learned German at the Goethe-Institut in Melbourne? Even though it was many years ago, it definitely did not hurt his international career as the Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin. Supporting the 2019 tour of Kosky’s The Magic Flute to sold out performances in Perth, Adelaide and Auckland felt like bringing an old friend home. Kosky’s success in Germany illustrates perfectly the beneficial cultural exchange across the globe. The GoetheInstitut has known about the power of languages and cultures for more than 45 years. By teaching German to young opera singers, aspiring musicians, cultural managers and thinkers in all fields, we build long-term relationships between our two countries. These have been essential for our mutual understanding, respect, creativity and innovation. In this edition of kultur, Bauhaus 100 is a prime example of our collaboration. We did not need to look far for high profile-projects celebrating the centenary of the famous school in Australia. kultur aims to give you an interesting glimpse into the relevance of Bauhaus and how it inspires our partners to organise symposia, exhibitions, talks and other events with us. Four years into my term as Director Australia, I sincerely thank all the fantastic people working with me including my very own team in Melbourne and Sydney.













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kultur © Rupert Kaldor 2016











ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PUBLISHER Goethe-Institut SYDNEY 90 Ocean Street, Woollahra NSW 2011 T 02 8356 8333 MELBOURNE Level 1, 448 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004 T 03 9864 8999 EDITOR/DIRECTOR Sonja Griegoschewski, info-sydney@goethe.de COORDINATORS Jochen Gutsch, Gabriele Urban, Michele Hoare • 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. 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. COVER Dessau Bauhausköpfe — Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Foto: Franz Schreiber









DESIGNING A SOCIAL UTOPIA The Bauhaus art school was founded with a very ambitious objective: to create community through art. And this was no understatement either, as the Bauhaus dreamed of serving ‘new people’ though its applied art. For the first director and the founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, this involved a close synthesis of the different disciplines in arts and handcrafts. Gropius felt everyday objects must be redesigned to fit the production process, so that they could be manufactured quickly and inexpensively. This would make good design affordable in Germany again, at a time when the country’s economy had been decimated by the First World War.

THE BAUHAUS SPIRIT The concept itself sounds like a peaceful artists’ commune. Today we might imagine a famous graphic designer, an architect, a fashion designer, a DJ, an installation artist and a photographer all coming together at a remote art school where they pool their limited financial means to live, teach and develop ideas for a better society. But the reality in Weimar, Germany was anything but a harmonious community of creative minds working in concert. Painter Josef Albers recalled disagreement about everything:


“When Wassily Kandinsky said yes, I said no, and when he said no, I said yes.” This artistic dissent was exactly what Gropius wanted for his school, for he felt it would further his objective: “the goal of the Bauhaus is not a style, system, dogma, canon, recipe or fashion. It will live as long as it does not depend on form, but continues to seek behind changing forms the fluidity of life itself.”

FROM A DESIGN REVOLUTION TO ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL The first stage of the Bauhaus in the city of Weimar (1919–1925) was characterised by a sense of transformation and enthusiasm. Gropius strove to bundle ideas and build workshops. The Weimar period was a time of theoretical experimentation, before the Bauhaus moved to new premises in Dessau (1925–1932) and its second director Hannes Meyer began cutting costs. There was not enough money to sit around pondering basic colours and forms; the focus had to be on devising social buildings. Meyer spoke of a “proletarisation” of the Bauhaus. Another move followed, and under the leadership of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Berlin (1932–1933), the movement broke with it founding principle of creating synergy effects between artistic disciplines. The Bauhaus ultimately evolved into a school of architecture.

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Corporate identity was a thing even back during the Bauhaus. Its idealistic pursuit of minimalism and efficiency extended beyond everyday objects and buildings to typography as well. In 1925 Herbert Bayer, the young master of the print and advertising workshop in Dessau, suggested doing away with capital letters to improve time management. Now the Bauhaus letterhead read: “we write everything in lowercase because it saves time. and besides, why 2 alphabets when it amounts to the same thing? why write in uppercase when you can’t speak in uppercase?” This conscious disregard for the standard German spelling rules, where nouns are always capitalised, was seen as a sign of modernity. This bold step would have political consequences however, when city councils began simply destroying letters addressed to ‘Bauhaus from Dessau”’and written in all lowercase letters. Fear began to spread of the communist potential of these apparently political “Bauhausers”.

In 1919, painter and educational reformist Johannes Itten came to teach at the Bauhaus, where he donned the cloak of a slightly esoteric Zen master. Deeply revered by his students, and thoroughly despised by his opponents, Itten brought the teachings of the Mazdaznan sect to the Bauhaus. The sect practiced vegetarianism, fasting, unique breathing exercises and a special form of sexual discipline. Itten’s teaching methods would prove controversial as well: gymnastic and breathing exercises were the order of the day, as were the master’s temperamental fits of rage when students didn’t follow his instructions to the letter. After a blowout with Gropius, Itten left the Bauhaus in 1923, and here too master Schlemmer furnished a scathing remark: “Meditation and rites were more important to Itten and his circle than work.”


NADINE BERGHAUSEN is an art historian and freelance copywriter and journalist. Translation: Sarah Smithson-Compton This article was first published on goethe.de

Gropius was surprised when just as many women expressed interest in attending his new art school as men. The art school admitted women, since the Weimar Republic’s new constitution granted women unlimited access to education, but they did not have an easy time of it there. Female students were fobbed off to the textile workshop whenever possible, and suffered ridicule from Bauhaus teachers, like mural master Oskar Schlemmer who said: “Where there is wool, you’ll find a weaving wench, be it to fill the idle hours at her bench.”

WILD FANCY DRESS PARTIES It would be a mistake to imagine the Bauhaus as a hoard of serious avant-garde artists mulling over geometric shapes and abstract formulas all day. The Bauhaus’ minimalist and revolutionary design wasn’t the only way the movement was making waves. The Bauhaus hosted equally legendary and often themed costume parties and evenings of theatre and dance. The elaborate costumes and wigs represented weeks of hard work, and a great deal of effort went into learning new dance steps. Pieces like the Figurale Kabinett (the Figural Cabinet), a parody of progress and technology, or the Triadische Ballett (Triadic Ballet), a grotesque mix of dance, acting and pantomime, were performed on stage. The austerity embodied in the Bauhaus style was just one aspect of life in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, after all.

[F] [A] The Bauhaus Band (T. Lux Feininger: clarinet, Waldemar Alder:

Trumpet, Ernst Egeler: Drums, Clemens Röseler: Trombone, Friedhelm Strenger: Piano), Dessau 1930 © Bauhaus Archiv Berlin [B] Bauhaus poster from 1929 © picture alliance/Heritage images [C] Group photo of Bauhaus masters in Dessau (1926)

Left to Right: Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stölzl and Oskar Schlemmer © picture alliance akg images [D] Group photo of Gunta Stölzl’s (in tie) weaving class, 1927 © picture alliance/akg-images

[E] Woman on club chair B3 from Marcel Breuer, mask from

Oskar Schlemmer, dress from Lis Beyer, about 1927

RIDICULE Bauhaus adherents didn’t have to wait long to be mocked for their unusual ideas and breaks with tradition. Philosopher Theodor W. Adorno dismissed the flat-roofed buildings as “tin cans”, while Dutch painter Theo van Doesburg poked fun at Bauhaus designs, calling them “expressionist fruit preserves”, and philosopher Ernst Bloch deemed the artwork “soulless”. But perhaps this type of vitriol simply goes hand and hand with success.

© Klassik Stiftung Weimar/Erich Consemüller, Stephan Consemüller

[F] South-western aspect of Bauhaus building, Dessau 1926.

Architect Walter Gropius © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Besitz Scan)/ Erich Consemüller, Stephan Consemüller [Property of Original Vintage Print])

[G] Marcel Breuer with his ‘Harem’ Left to Right: Marcel Breuer,

Martha Erps, Katt Both, Ruth Hollos) 1926 © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Besitz Scan)/Erich Consemüller, Stephan Consemüller

[H] Circa 1928 Erich Consemüller (Highjump in front of Bauhaus/

Prellerhaus). © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Besitz Scan)/Ruth Hollos-Consemüller, Stephan Consemüller [Property of Original Vintage Print]




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BAUHAUS NOW: WHY IS THE BAUHAUS STILL RELEVANT TODAY? According to Dr Claudia Perren, Director and CEO, Bauhaus Foundation Dessau, “The Bauhaus as part of a modern era drew its ideas from international and transcultural encounters. This open-minded approach for a new time is still relevant today”. The quotes below illustrate the school’s influence on some of today’s key institutions in Australia.

The Bauhaus founded 100 years ago is still totally relevant today and will continue to be relevant as it is a philosophy which aims to improve the way we live. The Bauhaus was concerned with the development of well-designed everyday objects by the collaboration and integration of art and technology across disciplines and harmony between form and function. This resulted in a new visual aesthetic of transparency and making things appear light and not heavy and earthbound. The Bauhaus movement also showed how there could be balance of unsymmetrical elements. The Bauhaus did not impose any rigid ‘style’, the industrial design objects and architecture created were evolved from the appropriate liaison of modern manufacturing techniques and the appropriate use of new materials and methods of construction which will continue to evolve.


years later, it is the Bauhaus idea that endures. More than “its 100 colourful personalities, its seemingly boundless creativity, its institutional and political dilemmas, it is the idea, the attitude or stance (Haltung) that its proponents said would always stand the test of time. The difficulty is that the interpretation of the Bauhaus idea has always been subject to dispute, both within its own time and ever since. But it stands for a deeply relational — both disciplinary and transdisciplinary — approach that considers the materials to the form, the form to the object, the object to the room, the room to the building, the building to the environment. The question for us today is whether the time has passed for this synergetic attitude or whether it is yet to be realised? Prof Andrew McNamara QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (QUT) AND CO-AUTHOR OF BAUHAUS DIASPORA AND BEYOND (2019)

The Weimar Bauhaus was an experiment, both pedagogically and socially. Its innovation lay in its tearing down of disciplinary, intellectual and social boundaries with the workshop — or laboratory — placed at the its heart as a site of experimentation and innovation where practice and theory worked in unison producing not only intellectual concepts but realisable outcomes. In 1919, following the turmoil of WWI and great social upheaval, the world needed a model for a new society, the old socialorder and ‘ways of doing things’ were no longer applicable, the Bauhaus played an important part investigating how art and design, especially design, could address the challenges of the time. We again find ourselves at such a turning point, the problems and challenges are different but the concept of the Bauhaus, interdisciplinary exchange with theory and praxis in the one space, remains the most powerful agent for innovation and positive change.


Australia’s national capital, the Bauhaus’ lasting influence “is allIn around us — both stylistically and as an attitude — and will be recognised in this year’s DESIGN Canberra festival. From artists and designer-makers whose work occupies a unique position between tradition and innovation, thinking and doing, the local and global; to architecture by Harry Seidler who studied under Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius; and The ANU School of Art and Design workshops (derived from the Bauhaus atelier model of art and design education) which influenced generations of artists and contemporary craft practitioners and forged a distinct design identity for our city.



BAUHAUS NOW! PROGRAMS & EVENTS For more events and details please check:


Throughout May 2019 Documentary Bauhaus Spirit with expert introductions at German Film Festival

Modernism has become the default for domestic architecture the world over, so much so it’s almost a cliché. But it was the Bauhaus, and the idea of less is more developed by Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and others that set the scene. A century on the legacy remains — most notably here in Australia through the designs of the late Harry Seidler.

SYDNEY : From 19 July 2019 Powerhouse Exhibition MELBOURNE : 25 July – 20 October 2019: Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond Exhibition & Films at Buxton Contemporary in Melbourne

But the Bauhaus was more than just a design school. It was a movement, and the philosophy of the school is also preserved in the teachings of Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, who made a huge contribution to the arts curriculum in Victoria having arrived in Australia, as a refugee, via the Bauhaus. Scott Wales PRESENTER AT ABC RADIO

BALLARAT : 23 August – 21 October 2019 Bauhaus Revisited at Ballarat International Foto Biennale featuring guests: Celina Lunsford, Artistic Director, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt Lilly Lulay, photographer, Frankfurt

SYDNEY : 30 September – 02 October 2019 Impact! From Bauhaus to IKEA Conference at UTS in Sydney in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Dr Claudia Perren, CEO Bauhaus Foundation Dessau Prof Axel Kufus, University of the Arts Berlin Prof Christof Mayer, Bergen University, raumlaborberlin Prof Andrew McNamara, Queensland University of Technology Prof Tom Avermaete, ETH Zurich CANBERRA : 04–25 November 2019 Canberra Design Festival

[A] [A] Space Laboratory

© Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin/Foto: Friederike Holländer, 2017

[B] Bauhaus building in Dessau by Walter Gropius

© Aufbacksalami/Wikimeadi Commons


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One hundred years after its founding in Weimar, this conference traces the transnational impact and the inspiration of the Bauhaus and the Bauhaus movement on the history of the future of Design. Impact! From Bauhaus to IKEA examines historical and contemporary design theories, philosophies and practices of making into the future. In collaboration with the Goethe Institut, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab, the conference will be a three day forum for internationally renowned art, design and architecture theorists and practitioners to discuss the impact of the Bauhaus on the way we live together today and in the future. Dr Claudia Perren, CEO and Director Bauhaus Foundation Dessau opens with a keynote that will speak to the contemporary relevance of the


Bauhaus and introduce the brand new Bauhaus museum in Dessau. Product designer Professor Axel Kufus from Berlin Unversity of the Arts (UdK) will discuss the challenges and promises of ‘Global Thinking and Hyperlocal Practices’ in his keynote address. Professor Christof Mayer, a member of the Berlin architecture collective RaumlaborBerlin will present their action research project Making Futures Bauhaus+ that is connected to the past and future imagination of the Bauhaus, and Professor Andrew McNamara from QUT Brisbane will ask what the Bauhaus Idea is and why the Bauhaus is still famous one hundred years later. Keynote speakers will be joined by a wide range of international presentations and interdisciplinary roundtables and discussions.


Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © (Gropius, Walter) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn [Jahr] / Foto: Thomas Meyer, 2019 / OSTKREUZ





In its short existence between 1919 and 1933, the historic Bauhaus operated as a pathbreaking laboratory of the future through its studio-based, ‘workshops of modernity’ in all areas of art, design, and architecture. It was the aim of the Bauhaus to transform every aspect of daily life towards the creation of a ‘new man, a new city, a new world’ and within its fourteen years of existence, the Bauhaus set into motion a democratisation of Design that is reflected today in all aspects of the objects we use and the spaces we live in. The Bauhaus was both political and visionary in its aspiration to change everyday life through Design for many. In this ambition, articulated in objects and buildings, as much as in performances, choreographies, textiles, paintings, texts and manifestoes, we can find distinct links to today’s concerns in regards to Design, Design education and the role and responsibility of the designer in society.

30 September – 2 October 2019 University of Technology (UTS) www.ikeaxuts.org The Conference is co-convened by Thea Brejzek together with the Directors of the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab and will be followed up with a book publication in 2020.

DR THEA BREJZEK is Professor for Spatial Theory at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and a Director of the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab. She is also Member Scientific Advisory Board, Bauhaus Dessau. From 2007 to 2012 she was a Professor of Scenography at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), Switzerland.

THE IMPACT OF THE BAUHAUS Today we are challenged to critically reflect on the role of art, design and architecture in a rapidly changing urban environment and amidst dramatic environmental concerns. A critical engagement with Bauhaus principles can serve to underline the potentiality of Design to be an active agent towards responsible and sustainable design, fabrication and distribution processes. The conference will discuss the impact of the Bauhaus on the future of living together and on the processes of making. It will look at Co-design practices and the specific challenges of Design for manufacture. Speakers will address the Bauhaus’ impact on pedagogy and the expansion of knowledge beyond institutions. The Bauhaus’ impact on society will be a focus of the conference with the key terms ‘social design’ and ‘democratic design’.



Claudia Perren, Auftakt zum Bauhaus-Jubiläum in Dessau, “Reif fürs Museum?”, Bauhaus Museum Dessau

[B] [C] Festival Schule FUNDAMENTAL, Bauhausgebäude [D]

Making Futures Bauhaus+ is a cooperation between the University of the Arts and raumlaborberlin on the occasion of the Bauhaus’ centenary. Funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.


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Although the Bauhaus was closed in 1933 amidst political turmoil, it fundamentally redefined the role of design in society, producing a number of designers, many of them women, whose work had a lasting impact on twentieth century visual arts and industrial design. These designers owed much to avant-garde artists who came to Germany from across Europe drawn to the vibrant artistic milieu. The cover of the Wendingen magazine [A] and ceramic plate [B], both designed by Russian constructivist El Lissitzky in the early 1920s, illustrate his revolutionary approach to non-objective art represented through Prouns, spacial constructions of geometric shapes and lines. El Lissitzky’s art and ideas around the transformation of all art forms for a modern society paralleled artistic experimentations by the Hungarian artist László MoholyNagy who advocated for the unity of art and technology. Through the teachings of Moholy-Nagy who joined the Bauhaus in 1923, El Lissitzky exercised a radical influence at the school. Moholy-Nagy changed the Bauhaus’ direction from an emotional apprehension of forms and colours to a rational approach focused on mechanised production. His impact on students in the metalwork workshop, where Marianne Brandt studied and worked, was particularly profound. Brandt was one of the Bauhaus’ most brilliant students, acting as head of the workshop in 1928–29 after which she left Bauhaus following its relocation to Dessau. Brandt produced this desk set [C] around 1930 at the time she was asked to modernise various household articles from ashtrays to inkwells and napkin holders for Ruppelwerk, a large metalware manufacturer in Gotha, Thuringia. Machine-cut from steel sheeting and finished in a range of bold colours, Brandt’s affordable designs proved to be highly marketable. Today, surviving objects from these modernist lines can be found in museums and private collections as examples of the application of Bauhaus ideals to industrial production.

Working across disciplines, Moholy-Nagy was also instrumental in creating a new photographic style. He exploited the possibilities of the camera to break away from ‘the painterly trend’. His ideas spread to other schools where former Bauhaus instructors taught, such as the Contempora Lehrateliers für neue Werkkunst (Contemporary School for Modern Applied Arts) in Berlin, where students explored unconventional angles and extreme close-ups to allow familiar objects and architecture to be seen in new ways. Wolfgang Sievers, one of Australia’s most acclaimed post-war architectural and industrial photographers, studied and taught photography at Contempora from 1935 to 1938. Just before he left Nazi Germany to migrate to Melbourne, Sievers worked on commercial advertisements for Elbo Stockings. The illustrated photographs [D] with their unusual details, soft shadows and sharp lines exemplify the legacy of the Bauhaus’ streamlined and modernist view of the world.

BAUHAUS 100 Opens 19 July 2019 Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Entry is included in Museum admission. maas.museum

[A] Cover for the journal Wendingen, lithograph, designed

by El Lissitzky for issue 11 devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright, Amsterdam, Holland, 1921 [B] Plate designed by El Lissitzky, Germany, 1922–24 [C] Desk set, enamelled metal, designed by Marianne Brandt for

Ruppelwerk Metallwarenfabrik, Gotha, Germany, 1930–1931 [D] Elbo Stockings, gelatin silver photographs, Wolfgang Sievers

with Erich Balg, Berlin, 1938






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TO COMMEMORATE THE GLOBAL INFLUENCE OF THE BAUHAUS AND TO MARK ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY, BAUHAUS FOTO 2019 IN BALLARAT WILL BRING TOGETHER LEADING INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS WORKING WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SPIRIT INSTILLED BY THE BAUHAUS. In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) will include a group exhibition featuring Lilly Lulay from Germany and a curators’ forum and international professional development with Celina Lunsford, Director of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (FFF). kultur: During your trip to Europe last year, you visited several German organisations and experts in the field of contemporary photography. What inspired you most? FIONA SWEET: The commitment to the photographic art form was the most inspiring. Creating successful centres and institutions dedicated to photography is an extremely hard task, and many of the institutions I visited had wonderful archives, presented highly engaged and socially aware exhibitions and had strong community and industry support. Best of all, the directors and the curators were extremely generous in their willingness to collaborate and share. For example, the remarkable NRW Forum and The Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, alongside the Forum for Photography in Köln were exceptional galleries. kultur: Most Australians focus on Berlin as the go-to place for arts and culture in Germany. You have travelled all around the country meeting people like Celina Lunsford, artistic director of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt and guest of this year’s biennale. How did you decide where to visit? FS: I was fortunate to receive international development funding from the Ian Potter Foundation in Australia to research photographic European festival best practice. My research specifically addressed the festival-artist professional relationship, alongside how the geographic location of a festival impacts its engagement with artist and audiences. As the director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, located in regional Australia one hour from Melbourne — which is often considered Australia’s cultural centre — I was specifically interested in festival locations outside those of major cities and how they mobilise audiences to

attend. This led me to RAY Fotografieprojekte Frankfurt and the Triennale der Photographie Hamburg. Secondly, my organisation had just recently purchased a grand 19th century building in the city centre of Ballarat. This will become the new home of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale alongside the National Centre For Photography, a dedicated contemporary photography gallery, Australia’s only regional gallery dedicated to photography. This is an extremely exciting time for the organisation as we generate and implement the vision for this new institution. One area of interest is creating a collection. This led me to visiting Cologne, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt and even small towns outside the larger cities which had beautiful galleries, like Darmstadt and Wiesbaden. kultur: For this year’s biennale, you were keen to invite photographers and experts working in the tradition of the Bauhaus. Why is Bauhaus photography important for Ballarat? FS: 2019 will mark the momentous occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the highly influential Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany in 1919. The tentacles of the Bauhaus school and its subsequent artistic movement have inspired many artists, predominately western, throughout the globe. Whether aware of it or not, art and design from the Bauhaus school is integrated into the art and design of the world to this day. Bauhaus was and still is one of the most significant art movements of the 20th century. Importantly, and in the context of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, photography was not initially embraced at the Bauhaus as an artistic medium in its own right, rather as a mechanism to document the creation of other art forms. The internationally acclaimed artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy adapted the Bauhaus doctrine in its latter years to incorporate the vision of the photographic medium, resulting in the proliferation of Bauhaus photographic experimentation. In recent years


Thomas Ruff, phg.06_I 2013, 50cm x 40cm, Chromogenic print Courtesy Thomas Ruff and VG Bild-Kunst.

academics have argued that due to such experiments there exists no such thing as a Bauhaus photographic ‘style’, rather a Bauhaus photographic ‘spirit.’ This led me to think critically about what Bauhaus means to artists today in contemporary Australia and Germany, and what a cultural collaboration between these two Western nations would look like. From here I selected the works of two important German photographers: we will present existing works by internationally acclaimed Thomas Ruff and the rapidly emerging Lilly Lulay in Australia, both of which reference ideas of Bauhaus experimentation. Thomas Ruff explores the digital photogram while Lilly Lulay discusses the impact upon the individual in the most technological era to date. I then used these as a foundation for three important Australian photographers to create new work: David Rosetzky, Consuelo Cavaniglia and Zoë Croggon.

Secondly, we are Australia’s leading contemporary photographic biennale and present in our core program, exclusively, works by leading national and international artists that have never been displayed in Australia. Combined, our core program and open program display over 100 exhibitions, and we have developed an accompanying cinema, performance, and night life program for audiences to rest, meet one another and converse. Finally, our Bauhaus inspired exhibition is a must see. This exhibition presents artworks by some of Germany and Australia’s most exciting and important photographic artists. Specifically, Thomas Ruff’s digital photograms are breathtaking and have never before been displayed in Australia.

kultur: Do you have a favourite item or personal memory in relation to the Bauhaus, its designers or artists? FS: I spent a large portion of my career working in design and as to be expected Bauhaus was a major influence in my creative practice. From my early teens I become obsessed with the Marcel Breuer chair and spent many hours attempting to draw its continuous curves perfectly. I am also highly inspired by theatre and how performers use their bodies to communicate in a way other than verbal language. Oskar Schlemmer was a master choreographer and his performances still have an ongoing influence on my practice as a curator and artistic director.

© Chippy Rivera

kultur: Can you tell us three reasons why everyone should visit the Ballarat International Foto Biennale this year? FS: Firstly, Ballarat is a wonderful destination filled with exciting bars, restaurants, nature and grandiose 19th century architecture. It is extremely accessible by public transport and once here everything is within walking distance.

FIONA SWEET is Festival and Creative Director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia’s foremost contemporary photographic biennale, as well as the Director at the National Centre For Photography. She is the recipient of many prestigious design awards and was named in the top 25 women who have made a significant contribution to Australian graphic design by her peers.

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What do you imagine will be the design character of your future cities, buildings, and everyday goods? Do you feel confident that the world will experience one day a specific Australian regional character of architecture, derived from your landscape, your habits and your own culture, developed through native creativeness? All civilised countries, which have gone through the inevitable social revolution of our period, are faced with this same central cultural problem of how they may regain — with contemporary means — that unity and beauty of pre-machine cultures lost in the industrial upheaval. No doubt most people are still deeply confused by the struggle between traditional and modern conceptions of design so evident in our cities and houses. I remember that before this last war the modern trend in architectural and industrial design was curiously enough branded by the Nazis as ‘Bolshevistic’, by the Russians as being of ‘western bourgeoisie’, while democratic countries were sitting on the fence. That sort of architectural forms flash through your mind as being truly modern? Perhaps flat roofs, large windows, cantilevered slabs and concrete wings hovering on stilts? Well these are only some of the outward characteristics of modern functional design. But if we look closer we discover that design has changed from inside out in accordance with human social progress and with the development of our new means of production, not in accordance with this or that transient fashion or form of political government. Its new spirit has put the emphasis on conceiving a more freely developed house plan and on using skillfully the great gains made in science and technique. In all civilised countries the roots of modern design have meanwhile struck through the quicksand of fluctuating fashions into solid cultural ground. Its sound principles established by a generation of pioneer designers have evolved already such standards of excellence as cannot be destroyed by transient political powers. Is this a symptom that we are standing at the threshold of a new culture? If such contemporary standards of design already exist, however, why then are the forms of so many houses and every-day goods here, as well as abroad, still contradictory in their character, ignoring often what we may call our new language of vision? Has perhaps the sweeping speed of the spiritual and intellectual revolution of our time surpassed the limits of human adaptability?

For although our intellect is capable of quickly grasping the significance of changes, we have to go a long way to transform new knowledge into widely recognised form, into definite habits of art expression. The process of transformation in our time seems to be fast and radical indeed compared with the prevalent attitude towards art and design in the last generation. The social revolution caused by the invention and development of the machine had suddenly cut off slow regional growth of creative art. The succeeding, gigantic struggle of coming to terms with the machine and getting it under control had absorbed most of the vitality and creative power of that generation. The old conception of the basic unity of all art in its relation to life was lost in the machine revolution. A shallow ‘art for art’s sake’ was all that remained. The outward forms of former periods of art were borrowed and used commercially to satisfy only mentality of business being an end in itself. Good taste became a substitute for creative art. The architect turned archaeologist. Design was heading for a ‘slip cover’ civilisation. A trade mentality had superseded the desire for a balanced life, the work of imagination had become suspect and discreditable. But has not always the thinker, the post, the artist determined the future trend of human, spiritual development; the man of vision and not the materialist? Imitation had become a fatal habit, however, hard to exterminate. People humbly believed that beauty is something which has been decided upon centuries ago in Greece and Italy, and that all we can do is study it carefully and then apply it again for our own surroundings. What do we think of when we say a building is beautiful in the old classic sense — do we think of its columns, porticos and cornices? But are these the form and elements which can satisfy our own present way of life, so different from former periods. The simple epithet “beautiful“ has become the most deceiving designation. For many see beauty tied up with the achievements of the past only, as prejudice prevents them from enjoying original manifestations of living art. They succumb to the widespread superstition that buildings should be built in a style instead of with style. Instead of adapting their buildings to their innate wishes, they adapt themselves to any style to be stylish and thus lose their freedom. Enslaved by the fixed idea that beauty means period design, they are not aware that beauty, although eternal, changes its image continuously. For, as soon as we stop renewing it incessantly, it fades away. Established standards of

TEXT: © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin IMAGE: Walter Gropius with Harry Seidler, 1954, by Max Dupain Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased with funds provided by Timothy Fairfax AC 2003

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beauty dissolve with changing standards of living: they cannot be stored away for future re-use. Tradition does not mean imitation of the past nor the complacent acceptance of by-gone aesthetic forms. Try to scrutinise in your own dwelling the origin of form for the various parts of your household. Which ones show contemporary forms? Certainly refrigerators, bathroom fixtures, radiators, electric bulbs — but what about your furniture and your carpets, your windows and the exterior of your house? Compare your present surroundings with any original example of the Georgian, Gothic or Greek period. Did the architects and clients of those great periods ever think of imitating the style of their forefathers as we do? No. They were proud of pioneering into new form expressions of their own. Their new technical processes caused new and adequate form characteristics which they accepted. What they called tradition was a floating process of constant renewal and change of form. We misinterpret the creative sense of tradition if we try to perpetuate any one of its episodes. For its nature is dynamic, not static. For instance, the Colonial style started in England and further developed in the United States was certainly beautiful. We all love it. It expressed excellently the living conditions of its period. But our present way of living, our means of production, differ over so much from those of Colonial times. It is a poor and weak performance to disguise the bulk of contemporary buildings behind Colonial columns or Victorian mouldings and gim cracks. Can’t we emerge from that deadening inertia and complacency towards conceptions and visions of our own? Indeed a revolution against sentimental pseudo-art was due. A living art, vital and essential for the whole community, became the aim of a new generation of pioneer designers. They have rediscovered that man should be the focus of all design, that animation by simple means derived from natural environment is needed to rebuild new space for living, freed of aesthetic ‘stunts’ and borrowed adornment. Science is to be the safeguard against relapsing into aesthetic sentimentalism. Man’s scientific knowledge of himself, of nature, has to furnish the practical answers — concise and expressive — to many new requirements of life, psychological, technical and economic. Science has to control the purpose in the process of designing. But the demands imposed on the form are of purely spiritual nature. The form is not a product of intellect but of human desire and dream closely associated with the individual, with the people, and with place and time. Creative design must satisfy both the spiritual and material needs of life; it has to renew the human spirit by transforming science into art. Can there be any doubt that the quest for such a basic, organic simplicity of form, colour and function for our communities, houses and tools is a task far superior to the former rehearsal of borrowed period design with varying doses of modern flavour? Indeed the new principles of design have already proved their soundness. Slowly but surely they will sweep away that home-sweet-home mentality of faked candlesticks slipped over electric light bulbs or of those stylish house facades which, like straitjackets, prevent a freer, more natural life of the inhabitants.

Those who have withdrawn into that sentimental and outmoded dream-world will be deprived of such blessings as the easy relationship of outer and inner living space through large windows, the simplified housekeeping, the good furnishings and implements relieved of false pretences. Already a generation ago the great American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, warned the American artists against imitative design. He said, “Why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic model?… If the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.” These words are as fitting today as they were then. They anticipated precisely the credo of the modern architect and designer. Here then seems to be the true spirit of tradition to guide us in the future! Sound principles of modern design for which we have plenty of evidence are ready for use. In addition, material means in abundance are at our disposal to build modern cities and houses in the spirit of the twentieth-century man. But surely, the right mentality must be prepared first and a will to make a common pattern for our grown-up generation the conviction that beauty is a basic requirement of life and that the presence of man-made beauty in our surroundings will be an infallible sign of a nature and dignified civilisation. The conditions created today by a highly developed science seem to present a flaming challenge that we should seize this grandiose opportunity to add quality to quantity for a final cultural success. Such a development will depend entirely on you and me, on whether the average man will be indifferent or whether he will understand, respond and act. Radio broadcast on Sunday, 9 May 1954 — 7.15 pm, 2FC Sydney

Harry Seidler with Walter and Ise Gropius at Seidler’s Julian Rose House in Wahroonga (Sydney) finishing construction. Photo Max Dupain, May 1954. Public Domain. Negative first printed by Jill White 2003. Original negative held by State Library NSW, Sydney.



IN NOVEMBER 2019, SYDNEY’S PREMIER CONTEMPORARY CHAMBER GROUP ENSEMBLE OFFSPRING WILL TEAM UP WITH PERTH-BASED COMPOSER CHRIS TONKIN FOR A NEW INTERPRETATION OF THE SILENT FILM CLASSIC NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF HORROR. The ambitious project will be presented as the sixth edition of the Goethe-Institut KinoKonzert series, which has fascinated Australian audiences since its inception in May 2018. kultur spoke to lead percussionist Claire Edwardes and to the composer Chris Tonkin. kultur: Chris, what do you have in mind in terms of instrumentation and arrangement for the Nosferatu soundtrack? CHRIS TONKIN: I’ve chosen cello, clarinet, percussion and electronics all of which I’ve written for quite a bit over the years. There’s a large colour range in the group that I find attractive. For Nosferatu I split and mix these up into different combinations; sometimes all four, sometimes one or two instruments alone, sometimes all acoustic and sometimes all electronic. The film is over 90 minutes long so I’m aiming for some variety. The performers will probably appreciate the odd break also. kultur: Claire, Ensemble Offspring has collaborated with many composers. Is there a set process for commissions of new pieces? CLAIRE EDWARDES: We are always on the lookout for new and exciting composers to commission as well as coming back to long term collaborators such as the wonderful Chris Tonkin from Perth. We recorded a work Chris wrote for us on our first CD — he approached us about collaborating on Nosferatu a few years ago and we are really grateful to Goethe-Institut for getting on board with it. We commission a mixture of established and emerging, mostly Australian and a handful of international — but really we are committed to the championing of Australian composers. About seven years ago we initiated our own commissioning fund — The Noisy Egg Creation Fund. This was a way to develop our private donor base for the first time and it was really necessary because gradually money was being siphoned away from the Australia Council for the Arts, so no one could rely solely on government funding for the creation of new work in Australia any more. We have commissioned over 30 works via this means and we are so proud of this statistic. Sometimes our commissions are

for large collaborators such as an upcoming opera by Cathy Milliken which we will present with Sydney Chamber Opera in 2022 — and other times they are small chamber works such as some for our Birdsong at Dusk touring trio program in 2019, for which we just commissioned a pied butcherbird piece from Hollis Taylor and Jon Rose. kultur: Chris, some of the artists in our KinoKonzert series respond to exact cues in the films, while others improvise more and follow a general mood — what’s your approach? CT: A bit of everything actually. What you’re describing are really degrees of correspondence between the image and the sound/music. While planning the music I went through and made notes of how and where the music might accent the film. For instance there are some instances where there may be actual direct sight and sound coordination, in the moment. More often it might be a question of capturing momentum, the direction a scene is taking. Then there’s also, as you say, following the general mood of the scene with music that seems appropriate. I’m going for a balance and trying not to overdo any one approach. kultur: Claire, recently Ensemble Offspring worked with Berlin’s Ensemble Adapter and New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) for Sydney Festival. Was this a one-off project or do you have further plans for this international collaboration? CE: Yes indeed — it was our first gig of 2019 as part of Sydney Festival at Casula Powerhouse and we had an absolute blast working with and hosting those two groups in our hometown. The project is being remounted in New York in the middle of the year without us and then in September, Ensemble Offspring and ICE will venture over to Berlin to return to the three-way present that we just experienced here in Sydney. Ensemble Offspring has never before performed in Berlin so we are very excited about it! We will perform Natasha Anderson’s APRA Art Music Fund commissioned work which she wrote for all three

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ensembles, entitled Cleave, alongside some new works by local Berlin composers. That tour is actually pretty huge because we begin in Berlin, and then we go onto perform two shows at Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht, a concert in Amsterdam at a collective venue called Splendor, and then onto the UK for a tour of bars! kultur: Chris, you studied violin and piano and have majored in music composition. However, these days you focus more on electronic music and sound art. What is it that attracts you to this way of working? CT: With composition I’ve always thought a lot about colour and the ‘shape’ of sound, which is an approach that lends itself to electronic music, which is often about manipulating sound on these terms. I think this is why I like instruments like cello and clarinet also, not only because of their colour range but also their ability to make sound shapes, transitioning smoothly across the whole spectrum. Percussion of course also has a virtually infinite variety of colours. I like the programming aspect of computer music also. There are right and wrong solutions so it’s a nice change from composition where you’re often deciding — sometimes it seems arbitrarily — between so many possibilities. kultur: Claire, Ensemble Offspring is known for high-level musicianship and for mastering complex music. However, the group also engages in educational and community projects. Please tell us a little more about those. CE: It is indeed a fine line to tread — that of valuing musical and presentational excellence alongside community and educational goals equally. It is a constant work in progress and two recent examples I think show quite clearly how committed we are to both aspects of our output but how it’s never easy. Last weekend we presented Sizzle at the Petersham Bowling Club here in Sydney. It was our tenth iteration of this family-friendly, cross-genre musical event that Ensemble Offspring presents annually. We had been working for three weeks with the Tempe Public School Performing Band and had commissioned Alice Chance to write a work for the young band alongside a new piece by our clarinet player Jason Noble and jazz guitarist Jess Green. The idea was that the students would get inspired by working with the professional musicians of Ensemble Offspring as mentors, as well as having a really special performing experience outside of the school assembly norms — and that they would get to work with a composer first hand, most of all a female composer. Most people don’t realise how few works by female composers they would play in their lifetimes, so it’s really important that the next generation become aware of why gender equity in instrumental music is so important in this day and age. The concert was a real buzz for all those involved, as well as the parents — but as you can imagine the audiences who were expecting our regular professional Sizzle opener were perhaps a little bemused. Most people took it in their stride but I daresay we lost a few punters that day. There are two sides of the coin and I am constantly thinking about how to successfully do both!

Another project dear to our hearts is Ngarra-Burria: First Nations composers. Ensemble Offspring worked really closely with the five composers in the first iteration over 2017 and 2018 and even travelled to Brewarinna in central NSW to perform their works in an outdoor setting at the festival there presented by Moogahlin. It was such a wonderful experience and one that we are committed to into the future. We feel it is so important to champion and support Indigenous composers in our niche art music scene, given how sidelined they have been pretty much always. The times, they are a-changing. thanks to Chris Sainsbury, the founder of the program alongside all of the partners, and that is so exciting. However, the issue of relevance-vs-excellence also pops up from time to time in that initiative and that is something that we all grapple with. ‘First nations first’ is their saying and so it should be. I am totally in support of that mantra yet because Ensemble Offspring is all about quality and excellence and high level musicianship as you say, when we are making recordings or performing their work in concert it is important to us that these airings show off everyone in the best possible light. In a way this whole tension is a big part of new music making in general and working with young and emerging composers as there is always an element of variation from piece to piece when a young composer is still finding their voice and honing their technique. So it is definitely something we are very well attuned to and take in out stride! kultur: Chris, some of your research looks at the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on music. What are the most important questions and developments we will need to keep an eye on in the near future? CT: Yes I have been getting into this over the past couple of years. A friend and I made an algorithmic song-writer/producer called Mississippi Swan that could and did generate over 70 EPs worth of unique songs per day. We exhibited it as a sound installation in a few places in 2017/18. I’ve actually used some modified algorithms from that to create some of the electronic music for Nosferatu also, but with a fairly different aesthetic aim. Mississippi Swan pretty much creates new music (results may vary) based upon a stock of existing material. Whether that’s intelligent or not depends on how you define it. On one level, all it is really is a collection of ideas that my collaborator Rick Snow and I gave it, however, it does often seem to have a mind of its own. For us it’s not a question of replacing human composers or generating thousands of hit songs or anything like that. When we started working on it, we just thought it would be fun as we’re both into programming. There’s quite a lot of this thing going on everywhere and in everything of course. Despite my interests, I’m paradoxically not really that comfortable with the amount that digital technology has encroached on all aspects of life. I’m actually happiest in nature on a bushwalk or some similar activity.


KINOKONZERT: ENSEMBLE OFFSPRING WITH NOSFERATU PROGRAMS & EVENTS 18–22 November 2019 Details announced on www.goethe.de/australia/kinokonzert

© Monty Coles [portrait Claire Edwardes] / © Murnau Stiftung [Nosferatu still]

NOSFERATU is often cited as the world’s first vampire film. Released in 1922 by legendary German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, the movie is an expressionist adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original Dracula story. The silent masterpiece has inspired not only legions of filmmakers but also many composers. To this day the film is highly regarded, holding its IMDB rating at 97% and appearing in many best-of lists.

[LEFT] Chris Tonkin [RIGHT] Claire Edwardes

ENSEMBLE OFFSPRING is an internationally renowned new music ensemble led by acclaimed percussionist, Claire Edwardes. The group up of virtuoso musicians have performed worldwide and received many awards. For this project they will collaborate with Western Australian composer Chris Tonkin, Head of Composition and Electronic Music at the UWA Conservatorium of Music. Tonkin specialises in electronic music and sound installation, with research contributing to the field of musical artificial intelligence and generative art.

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This will be a unique opportunity to watch the rare cult flick Der Golem on the big screen accompanied by an original live score from contemporary sound artist and producer Lucrecia Dalt. The Goethe-Institut presents this tour in close cooperation with its partners Sydney Film Festival, Dark Mofo, QAGOMA, NFSA, Astor Theatre, Liquid Architecture and Berlin Atonal. kultur: Hello Lucrecia, we’re looking forward to your tour here in Australia for the KinoKonzert series. What is your creative approach for this project, and have you worked with silent film before? LUCRECIA DALT: Hi, so do I, and yes, I have worked this format before. I was once invited to do a live soundtrack for the film Lessons of Darkness by Werner Herzog several years ago in Barcelona. I also got a Scholarship by Musicboard Berlin, which got me interested in doing research on German cinema and work on music while I was playing a selection of that research in the background. This work resulted in my album Ou released by Care of Editions a couple of years ago. As for Der Golem, I have to say that I haven’t yet scored a silent film, and this film excites me in particular as it touches on subjects that feel somehow close to some I have explored on my album Anticlines, like giving life or giving voice to objects or matter, or reworking or re-contextualising folklore and horror. kultur: Voice has played an important role in your work. It seems you moved from comparatively traditional singing in early recordings via effect-heavy live improvisations towards spoken-word performance on your most recent album, Anticlines. Do you plan to use your voice for the live soundtrack? LD: Yes, definitely, the main character suggests the need of an abstract voice that makes itself more understandable as the film develops, so I’m working on that process at the moment, to somehow impersonate a stone being. kultur: You have an academic background as a civil engineer, and you cite artistic and philosophical influences such as New German Cinema, artificial intelligence, the politics of listening, technological ideas, and even geological substrates. How do these non-musical references influence your work as a predominantly musical artist? LD: I have explored different strategies to arrive at a piece, it sometimes comes from a straightforward process of emotional transfer, but I also force myself to be in certain environments

that mislead my natural way of working. On the other hand, I just feel that I need non-musical information to stay creative and to be able to generate works of fiction. kultur: Your tour schedule is astonishing. In the first few weeks of this year you’ve played in Amsterdam, London, the Hague, Zagreb, New York, Krems, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Moscow, to name but a few. We have now invited you to Australia where you’ll be playing seven performances in eight days across five cities. With such a demanding schedule, when and where do you write and produce new work? LD: Correct, it’s been an intense ride since last year and I do definitely struggle a bit with adjusting my brain and body to this type of life, especially to find the space to get some proper rest. Nevertheless, I do surprise myself composing and working in odd spaces and situations, on planes, in small time gaps; and movement keeps me very inspired so after a trip I could lay over ideas very quickly as I had had enough time to think about them. kultur: A lot of artists have moved to Berlin in recent decades. This has created an international scene within the German city, with many claiming it’s not even necessary to learn the language anymore. As some one who moved to Berlin from Colombia via Spain, what’s your opinion on this? LD: That’s unfortunately what you hear over and over and what you also struggle with as a foreigner. I do think it’s a pity not to engage with the language of the place that you live. It’s so exciting to understand what people say as you walk.

© Catalina Perez-Lopez [portrait Lucrecia Dalt]/ © Murnau Stiftung [Der Golem still]

I remember discovering a whole new world when I learned Catalan in Barcelona for example. The thing is that German is, of course, a complex language and sometimes even if you try to speak it many people will switch to English very quickly as they notice your limitation. And, as I see with many foreign friends living here, it’s easy to live in that comfortable bubble of not learning it if you don’t have the time or the patience to commit to it. I wouldn’t say my German is great but I do try, with my limitations of time and travel to keep it alive. I have taken several courses until B2, which fluctuates going back at times to let’s say A2 when I travel, but I do surprise myself not only understanding more but having longer interactions with random people on the streets, with the accountant, or understanding your friend while he talks on the phone. I recently got an invitation to do a voiceover for Deutschlandfunk, yes something simple in German but… kultur: In Berlin there is a strong network of female artists, some of them grouped around Monika Enterprises. Gudrun Gut, Danielle de Piciotto, Barbara Morgenstern, Islaja, Beate Bartel, yourself — these are just some of the names. Could you describe the relationship between these artists? LD: The names you mention here have gravitated around the hard work and a great deal of energy that Gudrun Gut has put into visualising and supporting the work of female artists. Not only with releases but also putting together concerts, tours, collective live improvisations and collective recordings. I have to


say that I owe a lot to her because she was the first European to show interest in my music very early in my career when I was still living in Colombia. I still remember being in shock when I got her message on Myspace like 13 years ago or so. kultur: Finally, have you been to Australia before, and do you have any specific expectations? LD: No I haven’t been to Australia. I have no clue what to expect in all these different contexts, but I’m thrilled to do this extreme journey there. www.goethe.de/australia/kinokonzert

DER GOLEM is a silent horror film from 1920, and a leading example of early German Expressionism. Based on a novel from 1914, Der Golem is set in a Jewish ghetto in 16th century Prague. It tells the story of astrologer Rabbi who creates a clay golem that he brings to life with the assistance of a demon spirit and an amulet placed in the centre of the creature’s chest.

KINOKONZERT: LUCRECIA DALT WITH DER GOLEM PROGRAMS & EVENTS SYDNEY : Saturday 15 June 2019 Sydney Film Festival at Art Gallery of NSW BRISBANE : Sunday 16 June 2019 Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) CANBERRA : Tuesday 18 June 2019 National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) HOBART : Wednesday 19 June 2019 Dark Mofo Festival at Hobart Town Hall MELBOURNE : Friday 21 June 2019 Astor Theatre In addition, Lucrecia Dalt will perform alongside other artists (without film) in: HOBART : Thursday 20 June 2019 Berlin Atonal at Dark Mofo MELBOURNE : Saturday 22 June 2019 Liquid Architecture at Northcote Uniting Church

LUCRECIA DALT is a Berlin-based electronic musician and sound artist. Her work draws on a wealth of artistic and philosophical influences, including cinema, geotechnics, artificial intelligence, the ethics of listening and futuristic ideas. The Columbian-born producer has released five solo albums and has toured extensively, playing festivals, galleries and clubs all over the world.

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Polyrhythmic structures and trance-like textures — these are the speciality of percussionist and composer Mohammad Reza Mortazavi. Born in Iran, the virtuoso moved to Berlin two decades ago. His highly skilful way of playing traditional Persian hand drums lets him emulate the sounds of a full band, an electronic artist or a full orchestra in a purely solo concert setting. Media outlets such as ZDF and Der Spiegel are full of praise for his work, and he has become a highly in-demand artist all over the world. kultur: Hello Mohammad Reza Mortazavi. Let’s start at the beginning. Both of your parents are musicians — do you think this gave you a head-start at an early age, or would you say anyone manage to achieve this level of success? MOHAMMAD REZA MORTAZAVI: I was excited about music and my parents gave me all room to express this excitement. I did not see playing the drum as a training, but more as a delight. Atmosphere is important. But there doesn’t have to be certain circumstances for being a great musician. When the words of our usual languages are not enough anymore but the desire to express oneself is big, it will look for other channels to speak. kultur: You are credited with revolutionising the traditional way of Persian percussion playing, and have developed new performing techniques. Are these inventions generally accepted by the more traditional Persian music masters?

© AcciBaba

MRM: For me music is love, which does not know borders or regulation. My focus does not lie in the instruments or Persian music. This might evoke unusual sounds, even in the Western hemisphere. Reinterpreting traditions can be seen as something disrespectful. I received such critics. Things that appear to be new now, might become traditions.

kultur: Improvisation seems to be an important part of your work. When you compose music for an ensemble such as Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, do you score all parts or do you leave room for free exploration and expression? MRM: In this collaboration, with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, all parts were scored. But in general I do have compositions which leave me and other musicians enough space to react in flexible ways to the given atmosphere. kultur: You often perform with acclaimed electronic artist Burnt Friedman in a duo called YEK. How did this collaboration come about, and do you have fixed song structures for this duo? MRM: We have been introduced by mutual friends. As we found out that we have the same attitude to music, we started talking and finally also with our instruments. The development of this dialogue appears in our shared music, orientating on layers where contrasts merge into each other. kultur: Your music has trance-like qualities that could be described as transcendental or psychedelic. As an artist, are you motivated by philosophical, spiritual or religious ideas? MRM: My opinion is that music should come through us, not from us. Through undivided perception, excitement occurs. When you are excited you lose yourself and you give room to what flows naturally. A balance between letting go and concentration emerges. When my hands are getting faster naturally there comes quietness. A natural balance between left and right, for getting to one point — as in my play, concentration and letting go meet each other. The moment when you get deeply excited, you lose time and space. The most beautiful moments for me are those where I do not have control over my hands anymore and become listener with the audience as well.

kultur: You regularly perform at rock festivals, experimental and jazz events and at prestigious spaces such as the Berliner Philharmonie. Do you adjust your performance style and program to the respective situations?


MRM: Even in the same place I always play different. I react to the unique atmosphere and try to find a balance between audience and stage. Music can get influenced by each aspect in this very certain moment of a performance. My focus lies in perceiving this energy.

SYDNEY : Sunday 18 August 2019 Sydney Opera House DARWIN : Wednesday 21 August 2019 Darwin Festival MELBOURNE : Friday 23 August 2019 Supersense Festival

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THE RELEVANCE OF CULTURE IN THE AGE OF AI Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are happening faster today than ever before. As machines become more intelligent, cultural context will be crucial. In March 2019, the Goethe-Institut in Sydney held a series of talks followed by a round table entitled The Relevance of Culture in the Age of AI. The event was linked to the Kultursymposium in Weimar, Germany, a triannual conference on culture organised by the Goethe-Institut in June 2019.

For the event in Australia we invited high-profile international speakers to discuss how cultural and social scientists, philosophers, linguists, artists and people of different cultural and social backgrounds can play a role in shaping how AI will impact society. In kultur we present three very different angles on the topic. Theresa Züger, our guest speaker from Berlin, is an expert on civil disobedience in the digital age. Julia Schneider and Lena Kadriye Ziyal, also based in Berlin, approach the topic in a more playful way, while Hank Häusler who lives and works in Sydney, investigates the use of AI in architecture and urban planning.


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS A CULTURAL REFERENCE MORE THAN IT IS A TECHNOLOGICAL ONE This doesn’t question the existence of trained machines labelled as artificial intelligence or the transformative impact that these developments will have on recent societies. Artificial intelligence as a cultural myth refers to the narrative of machines overtaking and leading the human world to a higher form of existence. The term artificial intelligence signifies a subconscious collective meaning — a myth in the extended definition of Roland Barthes (Mythologies 1957).

THE MYTH OF AI A myth in Barthes’ sense is more than an ancient story known to many. In his sense potentially, any semiotic process can gain a subconscious collective meaning. Artificial Intelligence as a myth stands for a human narrative that is both deeply feared and deeply longed for. In a growing secular society, where religious belief in the afterlife becomes rare, powerful personalities like Ray Kurzweil (Director of Engineering at Google) speaking with the authority of a scientist, are representing a belief that a singularity will inevitably emerge from AI and transform human life into a higher mode of existence. As a fantasy of redemption, the human is giving the world a superhuman machine as the eternal creator of a superior being. On the side of human fears, others like Oxford Professor Nick Bostrom, predict that AI will get out of control. He finds an intelligence-explosion of AI very likely. In this scenario humanity is facing a machine dictatorship. As new as Nick Bostrom’s and Ray Kurzweil’s fear of a non-human entity destroying or saving human life may seem, they represent a very old human fear and longing in a new (robotic) outfit.

AI in this phantasy becomes the placeholder for a human reflection on our own making — they become, what for long has been called a demon.

TODAY’S DEMONS WEAR WIRE In his book In the Dust of this Planet (2010) Eugene Thacker introduces his understanding of demons. Humans of nearly all cultures have known demons as non-human and supernatural creatures. In many myths, demons have played the role of the antagonist to human life and well-being — as seducer and dark power. The demon seems to fulfil an important cultural role of personifying human fears and hopes for divine intervention. In this sense, our projections into AI can be seen as the demons of our times. Thacker in his book explains: “The demon functions as a metaphor for the human — both in the sense of the human’s ability to comprehend itself, as well as the relations between one human being and another. The demon is not really a supernatural creature, but an anthropological motif through which we human beings project, externalise, and represent the darker side of the human ourselves”.

THE OUTDATEDNESS OF HUMANKIND To better understand the side of the fears our times subconsciously hold towards artificial intelligence, the idea of the promethean shame by Günther Anders is helpful. Anders used the term to describe the human discomfort to realise his or her own limitations in the comparison to the machines humans created. Science has led to several disappointments for the humankind (as already Freud described).

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The Relevance of Culture in the Age of AI conference at the Goethe-Institut in Sydney, March 2019. Left to Right: Consul General Peter Silberberg, Melvin Chen (SIN), Karaitiana Taiuru (NZ), Sonja Griegoschewski (AUS), Toby Walsh (AUS), Theresa Züger (GER), Fiona Martin (AUS), Angie Abdilla (AUS)

1) the cosmological disappointment, which occurred with Copernicus and the realisation that the earth is not the centre of the universe, 2) the biological, with Darwin, when humankind had to recognise that it was not simply made by God but a part of evolution, 3) the psychological, Freud saw in his method of psychoanalysis and the discovery of the subconscious 4) the technological, Anders added with his idea of the promethean shame as the technological disappointment of humankind realising its inferiority in comparison with its own making. This feeling confronts us with our own reliance and even dependence on technological objects that usually slip from our consciousness and in extreme forms even lets us wish we could function like a machine. Behind this shame lies the frustration with humanness, as a state of being, which can never be fully understood or controlled, which is inevitably painful at times, powerless against many twists of fate and eventually — ending in death.

© Goethe-Institut, photographer: Daryl Charles

In his book The Outdatedness of Humankind (1956) Anders argues that a gap is growing between the human abilities to develop technologies, that both create and destroy our world, and our abilities to comprehend this power and imagine its consequences. Anders wrote this book under the impression of the nuclear threat. Even though this threat of humanity destroying itself with nuclear weapons is no less real today, we are additionally and as urgently facing a different threat. Today we need to face the fact, that we are a species that destroys (or hopefully only comes close to) destroying the planetary basis of its own existence. Maybe that can be seen as a fifth disappointment to humankind — at least in a western worldview in which religion as well as philosophy told us that homo sapiens is the superior being amongst all beings on earth. If any of the human ego was still remaining after the disappointments described before, realising that our own choices and inventions are most likely killing our planet and potentially most of us, must crush whatever human pride is remaining. Besides living in the age of AI, we are also living with the outlook to an age of a realistic existential crisis for humankind and nature.

WHY MODERN MYTHS MATTER Why does it matter, that myths are a part an essential part of the discourse on AI? Roland Barthes argued in his theory of myths, that a myth is de-politicised speech. De-politicised here means that all human relations, in their structure and their power of making the world, are stripped from its narrative. He says, by becoming a myth, things lose the memory of the way they were made. And that is what happens when we mystify AI: We forget how and what for it is created and lose track of the invisible power relations machine dependence and AI will extend. The myths around AI, as culturally interesting and important as they are — cloud our sight from the actual dangers and decisions ahead. Stripping away the mythical creature of the demon, we can see the myth of AI as a human reflection on our own dark impulses. We are looking at a realistic human fear. It is the fear of creating entities and structures that implement our own failures, weaknesses and wrongdoings. More than anything, AI development is a run for power since it will be used in critical infrastructures of economy and governance. We need to look at the men (and few women) who hold this power and ask ourselves if we trust them to make choices that benefit all and don’t exclude vulnerable groups from their equation. The rightful fear we have should concentrate on the human weaknesses that show in AI today, as in biases of data sets and unreflected use of AI in surveillance and military. As for any powerful technology, our question should be how the power to govern AI is distributed, who will benefit and who will be overlooked and de-humanised by the loving grace of the machines we create. THERESA ZÜGER is a political and cultural theorist writing and speaking about the digital world. She holds a doctorate in media studies from Humboldt University of Berlin and is head of the office for the Third Engagement Report for the Federal German Government at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Her PhD Reload Disobedience deals with digital forms of civil disobedience, focussing on innovative digital strategies for social and political change.

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WE NEED TO TALK IN THE AGE OF AI TWO YOUNG WOMEN FROM BERLIN HAVE FOUND AN INTERESTING WAY TO TACKLE THE COMPLEX TOPICS SURROUNDING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) IN A PLAYFUL AND ENTERTAINING WAY: ECONOMIST JULIA SCHNEIDER AND ILLUSTRATOR LENA KADRIYE ZIYAL DECIDED TO TEAM UP AND COMBINE THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL SETS TO CREATE A COMIC ESSAY ON THE THEME. JOCHEN GUTSCH MET THE ARTISTS AT RE:PUBLICA CONFERENCE IN BERLIN. “In 30 years, will robots do all the unpleasant work for us? Or will they subjugate us to become submissive slaves?” These are some of the questions raised by the energetic duo. “The discussions about how AI will change our lives move between these poles. There is no doubt that the change will be dramatic”, they explain. According to Schneider and Ziyal, it may just be the right time to start interfering. With their comic, they invite the interested public on an illustrated journey through the dimensions and implications of the ground-breaking technology, discussing important opportunities and limitations.

AN ANCIENT DREAM OF HUMANITY “It is a creative stimulus for insiders of the subject as well as an invitation for newbies to get informed and join the debate. Artificial intelligence is an ancient dream of humanity.” While the team see the dark potential of the technology, they also stress that AI is a fascinating toolbox with the potential to help us solve some huge problems: “A key motivator for the comic essay is our conviction that the most difficult and pressing problems, such as climate change or capitalism-caused crises, are very, very complex. Unfortunately, our human brains are not really good at solving complex problems, in a way that society benefits from it”, they add. With their comic, Schneider and Ziyal aim to demystify both the appeal and the risks of AI, and to open the discourse: “Our involvement in or withdrawal from the debate will determine whose problems will be addressed with AI. Let our voices be heard — and our perspectives be seen.” The comic can be read (and shared, remixed or enhanced) from: https://weneedtotalk.ai/

DR. JULIA SCHNEIDER discovered data and code as tools to solve complex puzzles during her studies of econometrics. During her dissertation in empirical labor economics and in her later research career, she was concerned with puzzles that one wanted to solve with data and code. She prefers puzzles that deal with digital, diverse societies. Additionally, she is a comic aficionada. LENA KADRIYE ZIYAL During her studies of visual communication Lena dealt — vice versa — with the translation of thoughts into images. Her artistic approach is to encrypt complexity using associations of her own perspective and thereby widen the meaning of a specific issue. As a designer and illustrator she offers her skills at the Berlin-based content and graphicdesign agency Infotext.


Š Jochen Gutsch

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RAPID URBANISATION DUE TO POPULATION GROWTH REQUIRES AUSTRALIA TO DEVELOP HUGE GREENFIELD AND BROWNFIELD AREAS AS TRANSPORT ORIENTATED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. ARGUABLY THESE DEVELOPMENTS ARE TOO LARGE IN SIZE, TIME FRAMES TOO PRESSING, AND FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL DIMENSIONS REQUIRE SECURITY TO DESIGN THEM VIA CONVENTIONAL DESIGN METHODS. Computational Design (CoDe) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney argues that these large scale rapid urban developments in combination with vast amounts of data are beyond the human comprehension and consequently need to be designed in a synthesis. How do we define synthesis? In referring to an early example of human/machine (machine learning) interaction, after being beaten in 1997 by the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, Gary Kasparov introduced advanced chess. His objective was to let a human player and a computer chess program play as a team against other such pairs. After introducing it to the chess world many proponents claimed that the quality and level of chess has improved to heights never seen in chess.1

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE? While computational workflows exist and are commonly used by Computational Designers, and Machine Learning algorithms exist and are commonly used by Computer Scientists, both skill sets are often outside an architect’s skill and thus a broad application of a synthetic design method is a challenge. To be precise — on the one hand we have highly skilled people that can generate advanced workflow optimisations and artificial intelligence that can predict conditions and provide design options, but most architects are not in a position to make use of them for their respective projects.

We argue that a similar strategy of human/machine design needs to be applied for design in the 21st century.

This is why we developed Giraffe, as a synthetic design tool — a two-sided network platform that connects architects, planners and engineers with computational designers and software engineers.

A synthetic design method that assists humans with insights beyond data visualisation but with design options for a human to evaluate and select and thus write a new chapter in the relationship between the city and digital technologies.

In a nutshell, Giraffe is a browser-based modelling platform that allows architects and designers to either model and/or upload their designs to a global 3D model.

A synthetic design method combining machine learning with computational design for an optimised design workflow consumable for humans in and for architecture. Machine learning to study algorithmic and statistical models, to perform tasks without a specific pattern, and to develop algorithms that improve automatically through experience. Computational Design as a “process [that] starts with elemental properties and generative rules to end with information which derives form as a dynamic system”.2 All to link the predicted data to geometry using dimensions, as a measurable extent of a particular kind and parameters, as a measurable factor forming one of a set that defined a system or sets the conditions of its operation.

Yet while one can model via polylines on Giraffe, modelling in Giraffe is done primarily via automated tasks — ‘apps’ written as computer programs to enable automations. But where do these ‘apps’ come from? Similar to the iTunes store, ‘apps’ are written by Computational Designers, or anyone who can program in and for the architecture and are available either for free or to purchase on Giraffe. As all other app stores, Giraffe harnesses the power of a global crowd of Computational Designers and Software Engineers to provide the architects with custom-made, automated tasks specified by an architect needs. Comparable to a Google search interface one can conduct a search on the frontend without understanding the search algorithm and the programming that has happened on the back end.

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[A] Interface of Giraffe, a two-sided networked platform for the AEC industry © Giraffe Technology [B] Data visualisation of 3 million property sales transactions for Greater Sydney © Oliver Lock [C] Design of Western Sydney using a synthetic design method © Oliver Lock

Giraffe’s interface allows architects and designers, without programming skills, to use computational tools. Users can upload their design intent out of their preferred software, to Giraffe; select from the app store as they need, and Giraffe completes the task and visualise the results on the browser [A]. Consequently, we argue that a platform like Giraffe can better harness the power of real-time data and embed them into architectural workflows, all to foster architecture’s ability to respond to people’s need, but in a public forum accessible to all on a web browser. We are testing our proposed synthetic design method at the moment via UrbanAI, a partnership, powered by UDIA’s City Life Labs, between UNSW, FrontierSI, LendLease and Cox. It is one of the first applied tests of AI in real-world urban development scenarios and applying a synthetic design method. UrbanAI is tested in the complex greenfield development sites in Greater Western Sydney, and the future Aerotropolis, the development around the new Western Sydney Airport. We used Machine Learning (ML) for predicting the land value of non-existing properties to quantify the economic dividend of new rail infrastructure in terms of uplift in new homes and jobs. The ML model had access to over 3 million property sales transactions for Greater Sydney between 2001 and 2018. Beyond time and price, over 50 additional attributes inform the model, such as property, locational, transport access attributes as well as planning constraints. Using ML, we could develop a predictive model for property prices, and testing these values on a potential future market based in and around the Western Sydney Aerotropolis [B]. With now being able to predict the value of a property one needs to design a building for the property. Through the use of Giraffe,

we are able to potentially access thousands of ‘apps’ to ‘produce’ a city. Giraffe connects them to Machine Learning for urban design using a synthetic design method. To conclude, the presented research investigation into synthetic design methods with Giraffe as an enabling tool and UrbanAI as a test case might offer humans a helping hand in designing cities. For a machine no data set can be too big, time to compute and calculate will be faster each year due to improvements on computing and instead of a handful of design options one can generate as many as needed to produce design outcomes that can be discussed and evaluated by the public. Architecture and urban design might not only change due to the synthetic design method, but potentially also due to Giraffe’s browser-based nature. Citizens and communities can interact with and re-appropriate with Giraffe as a new urban design technology which might result in greater participatory design of our built environment. 1 Wikipedia — Advanced Chess (2019) available on:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Chess, accessed 10. April 2019). 2 Menges, A; Ahlquist, S (2011) ‘Introduction Computational Design Thinking’, in:

Menges, A; Ahlquist, S (ed.) Computational Design Thinking, Wiley Publisher.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR M. HANK HÄUSLER is the Discipline Director of the Computational Design degree at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, the world’s first Computational Design Bachelor degree. Haeusler is known as a researcher, educator, entrepreneur and designer in media architecture, computational design, and second machine age technologies and is author of seven books as well as more than 70 book chapters, journal articles and conference papers.

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For this project, Sven Marquardt spent a month at the GoetheInstitut in Sydney, working with his assistant Hardy Paetke on a new series of surfer portraits. This seemed like an unlikely

idea in the beginning, since the artist is usually associated with the noisy techno clubs and seedy underworld joints of Berlin. However, it quickly showed promise: an open call attracted a group of local die-hard surfers to be the subjects, which was perfect for the photographer’s approach of working with real-life people rather than models pretending to be something they are not. The results will be shown at an exhibition in Berlin and later, in Sydney.

© Gergő Pálmai

Berlin’s famous photographer and Berghain bouncer Sven Marquardt has worked with the Goethe-Institut in Australia on several projects in the recent past. In 2016 we invited him to show his works at Ambush Gallery in Sydney and Substation in Melbourne, and in 2018 we asked him to come back to develop an Australia-specific project.


Š Sven Marquardt


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A] Berlin’s Sonic.Art Quartet collaborate with Australian

musicians at Canberra International Music Festival, May 2019 © CIMF, photographer: Peter Hislop

[B] Jenny Erpenbeck with Michelle de Kretser at Sydney Writers’

Festival, May 2019 © Sydney Writers Festival, photographer: Prudence Upton [C] Schaubühne perform Beware of Pity at Sydney Festival,

January 2019 © Jamie Williams [D] LaBrassbanda touring around Australia, March 2019 © Goethe-Institut [E] Carolin Emcke presents her book How we Desire at the Wheeler

Centre in Melbourne, May 2019 © Wheeler Centre, photographer: Scott Limbrick [F] Gob Squad at Ten Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania,

March 2019 @ Gob Squad/José Navarro

Not even half of the year 2019 has passed and Australian stages have already been graced with amazing German talent. From large-scale productions such as The Magic Flute and Beware of Pity to panels with international AI experts, intimate talks and book launches — the diversity is astounding.

[G] Komische Oper Berlin performs The Magic Flute at Adelaide

Festival, March 2019 © Adelaide Festival, photographer: Tony Lewis [H] Capella St Cruics from Hannover collaborate with Sydney

Philharmonia Choirs for an Easter concert at Sydney Opera House, April 2019 © Sydney Philharmonia Choirs






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