Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Icarus again

I depart
again as planned
everything is now arranged
I guess one gets accustomed
I guess one gets his fair pay
the distance he wished for
the constant doubt

What one may call "here" and "there".

But the aforementioned one starts losing his shadow.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Honoris causa

Honored with a trouble: As it tends to happen with/to inspired artists. Yesterday evening Daniel Barenboim, the famous music conductor, received at the conclusion of a concert in Ramallah his honorary passport offered by the Palestinian Authority, for his ceaseless efforts to produce hope in the West Bank, by means of his mixed arabo-jewish band. The project is known as "West-Eastern Divan Workshop",and these days it hosts 80 young and talented musicians. Barenboim, an Argentinian breed of jewish descent is not allowed to perform in Israel as the word goes: the reason might be that he once presented work of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer, but this is just nonsense for massive consumption, because it was a mixed Judo-Germanic public that made Wagner a big name during the late 19th early 20th century. And how could the father of a whole musical tradition be cast away? I guess it is his collaboration with Edward Said and his pro-palestinian credo that made him persona non grata in the halls of Israel.
I just hope that he will not try to cross the borders using his honorary passport or, perhaps, I hope he will try to do it, and that this experience will appear at some turn of his baguette during a concert. Somewhere await for us the images that embittered us.

I like how it is presented in his official website the concept of the mixed orchestra. Because, no matter what we say, both nations are capable of producing some of the best music and misconceptions.
In the early 1990s, a chance meeting between Mr. Barenboim and the late Palestinian-born writer and Columbia University professor Edward Said in a London hotel lobby led to an intensive friendship that has had both political and musical repercussions. These two men, who should have been poles apart politically, discovered in that first meeting, which lasted for hours, that they had similar visions of Israeli/Palestinian possible future cooperation. They decided to continue their dialogue and to collaborate on musical events to further their shared vision of peaceful co-existence in the Middle East. This led to Mr. Barenboim's first concert on the West Bank, a piano recital at the Palestinian Birzeit University in February 1999, and to a workshop for young musicians from the Middle East that took place in Weimar, Germany, in August 1999.

The West-Eastern Divan Workshop took two years to organize and involved talented young musicians between the ages of 14 and 25 from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Israel. The idea was that they would come together to make music on neutral ground with the guidance of some of the world's best musicians. Weimar was chosen as the site for the workshop because of its rich cultural tradition of writers, poets, musicians and creative artists and because it was the 1999 European cultural capital. Mr. Barenboim wisely chose two concertmasters for the orchestra, an Israeli and a Lebanese. There were some tense moments among the young players at first but, coached by members of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Staatskapelle Berlin, and following master classes with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and nightly cultural discussions with Mr. Said and Mr. Barenboim, the young musicians worked and played in increasing harmony. The West-Eastern Divan Workshop was held again in Weimar in the summer of 2000 and in Chicago in the summer of 2001. It has since found a permanent home in Seville, Spain, where it has been based since 2002. Each summer, following their workshop, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra gives public concerts; to date they have performed in Europe and North and South America, including at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh Festival and the Lucerne Festival. In 2004, they performed a historic concert in Ramallah, the Orchestra's first concert in an Arab country. In 2006, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performs in Madrid, Seville, Peralada, Santander, Cádiz, Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Cairo, Berlin, Weimar and Milan.

Edward Said passed away in 2003 but his partnership with Daniel Barenboim lives on through the West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra and through the Barenboim-Said Foundation, which promotes music and co-operation through projects targeted at young Arabs and Israelis. In January 2005, Daniel Barenboim delivered the first Edward Said Lecture at Columbia University in New York City
And I believe that E.Said last night received the news with a smile behind his glasses, in the crystal realms of memory/forgetfulness.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Επίσκεψη φίλου

ِΑνάμεσα στα ψυχρά,
ουράνια της ποίησης Κελτών,
όπως στην Ιρλανδία, ας είναι έστω κι άνοιξη,
θαλάσσα με αφρούς χωρίς κοράλλια
όπως στο αρτεσιανό μου εντός.

Ανάμεσα στα θερμά,
ο ίδιος ουρανός του ίδιου Κέλτη
στην επάλληλη Ιρλανδία που ραψωδεί ο μετανάστης,
η ίδια θάλασσα χωρίς κοράλλια
όμως κόκκινη, καθώς τραβιούνται τα νερά
στον ταρσανά που έφτιαξε το νήπιο χέρι μου.
Πότε καστροσωριάζοντας, πότε καστροχαλώντας.

Ανάμεσα στα ψυχρά και στα θερμά
είναι αυτό τό πρόσωπο
ο άνθρωπος
και το ψιλόβροχο, οι λέξεις.
Ευτυχώς δε σκέφτηκα να πάρω την ομπρέλα.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Strange Portraits- Strange You and Strange Me

Now that Amman hosts a Rembrandt exhibition consisting basically of reproductions of the famous portraitist, my other source of echoes informs me that Diane Arbus's huge archive was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of N.Y. What does huge mean, when the person at stake is a great and suicidal inspired artist? 7,500 films, photographs commented by her before her suicide in 1971, some of her most famous pictures and a value which exceeds the 3.5 millions EU.
Born in 1923, she took the advice of her instructor Lisette Model seriously and she specialized her shots at people who live on the edge of societal acceptance.

People on the streets, in their homes, in the asylum, in temporary paradises of difference (or shall I write it differance now that Derrida is not among us?- parades, soirées, parks and masquerades), twins, dwarfs, manly women, delicate men, giant sons and minimal parents. The documenting and, simultaneously, tenderly humane eye of Arbus resulted in a classic value that the thirty six years and a half which have elapsed since her death did not harm the importance of her work, something rare concerning the art of photography.

She said:"What I'm trying to describe is that it's impossible to get out of your skin into somebody else's... That somebody else's tragedy is not the same as your own."
She also, presumably, said:"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.", something that may stand valid also in other accounts of life, in other forms of art.
I admire people who have an outlook,
I admire the ones who are geniuses with a cause,
I admire those who show me another world, beyond my hypnotized brains, in front of my lazy eyes.
I admire those who erase by their nails the definitions next to the term "normality".
Will I stick to them for the year to come?
Lucky N.Y. Metropolitan Museum.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

ِِΑρπαγμένος από το "αχ" της.

Από τα γράμματα, τα μηνύματα με το "Add symbol"/γελαστό προσωπάκι, από τις τηλεφωνικές γραμμές με την αντήχηση, τους σπινθηρισμούς και την πεντακάθαρη ηχώ της δικής μου φωνής σα να μιλώ στον καθρέφτη μέσα από σωλήνες στο χρώμα του υδραργύρου. Από αυτά αρπάζομαι αυτές τις μέρες. Ξέρω κι εγώ; Κάτι θα γίνεται με τις φαντασμαγορίες των άστρων.
Έτσι, δηλαδή:
Αρετούλα μου γλυκιά,
σ'ευχαριστώ, καλή χρονιά, το λέμε κάθε χρόνο κι όλο κάτι τετραψήφια μαζεύουμε νούμερα, σαν αριθμούς εξυπηρέτησης πολιτών-πελατών ή από γραφεία καταγγελιάς παρατυπιών, στα οποία απαντούν κάτι μικρανιψιές παρατυπούντων.
Ζύμωσες μελομακάρονα;
Θέλω να μάθω "με το σίγμα και το νίγμα" αυτές τις συνταγές και τίποτα άλλο να μην κάνω τέτοιες χρονιάρες μέρες, παρά να δουλεύω το γουδί και να έχω στο νου τη μυλωνού, την πολυλογού και ψεύτρα, που εχειρομύλιζεν στου Παπαδιαμάντη, όπως πέρσι. Τίποτε άλλο. Να μου χαιρετίσεις την Π., που την έχω ακόμα καλοκαιρινή στο μυαλό.
Σε φιλώ,

Η καλοσύνη των ημερών: η μποτίλια του γκαζιού με την οποία θερμαίνεται ο μεγάλος αριθμός των οικογενειών εδώ στο κούφο Αμμάν (που έλαβε το παγκόσμιο έπαθλο αναπτυξιακού σχεδιασμού), άρχισε από χτες να πωλείται προς 9, 90 δηνάρια, έναντι 4,25 που ήταν προχτές. Κι άλλοι αριθμοί. Όσο αυτοί ευδοκιμούν, μειώνονται τα τετραγωνικά στο σπίτι. Μια πόρτα κλειστή, λίγη ησυχία.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008 for beginners

with no resolutions do I set off
just the thankful gaze at the robber
at the robber tycoon
at Time, the robber tycoon,
who clinks a nickel
while passing in front of me.
In his fur and scarf, like always.

χωρίς τον Καζαμία ξεκινώ
μόνο το βλέμμα τρυφερό
γι'αυτόν τον μπαγαπόντη
γι'αυτόν τον Κροίσο μπαγαπόντη
γι'αυτόν τον Κροίσο μπαγαπόντη, το Χρόνο λέω

που ντιν-ντινίζει μια πεντάρα
καθώς με προσπερνάει
μες στο παλτό, το υφαντό φουλάρι του, σαν πάντα.

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