International News Digest

JULY 26

Over the weekend, Die Welt published an interview with Sir Norman Rosenthal regarding his longtime friend, the late Lucian Freud. “It’s the end of an era for sure,” Rosenthal says. “Few are left of the London school with their German-Jewish background,” he notes, adding, “I’d love to put on a show in Germany about Frank Auerbach, an important painter, about the same age as Baselitz. In Germany he somehow isn’t being recognized. Similar to Freud for a long time.” When asked why Freud is being called the “last painter,” Rosenthal retorted: “I hate such labels! Lucian wouldn’t have believed either that he was the last painter. He was not very interested in contemporary art, but he knew people like Damien Hirst rather well. He was a private man, and yet very present in London.”

Silke Hohmann reports for Monopol that Atelier Bow-Wow, an architecture firm from Japan well-known for its lightweight, bright, compact habitats, is building in Berlin. The firm will design the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a platform for urban discourse scheduled to travel around the world over the course of six years. It will open in spring 2012 at Berlin’s Pfefferberg, and will later debut in the US in New York’s Lower East Side. At the Berlin location, the mobile research lab will discuss, over the course of three months, and under the motto “Confronting Comfort,” the conditions and life potential in the city. Hohmann notes that the lab’s illustrious advisory committee includes Rirkrit Tiravanija and Daniel Barenboim. Participation is free of charge.

In The Guardian, writer Douglas Coupland dismisses “the Internet and all its spawn: YouTube, smart phones, Facebook, apps . . . and everything else that jackhammers away at the time we once reserved for books, newspapers, daydreaming and, ironically, TV.” He argues, “It feels wistful to imagine a time when people didn’t go about their daily routine with the assumption that at any moment another massive media technology will be dumped on us by some geek in California.” And when did this time exist? Exactly when Marshall McLuhan “entered the collective imagination and became a huge media star,” according to Coupland, who argues that, “McLuhan was able to cut to the chase. He stated that the point of much of technology, TV, for instance, wasn’t the content of the shows you were watching on it. Rather, what mattered was merely the fact that you were watching TV. The act of analyzing the content of TV––or of other mediums––is either sentimental or it’s beside the point.” And what about Google? “Let’s face it,” Coupland says, “Google isn’t making us stupider, it’s simply making us realize that omniscience is actually slightly boring.”

Fiachra Gibbons reports for Freitag that Jean-Luc Godard has put forth a solution for the financial crisis in Greece. The French filmmaker, who has been fighting copyright for a while, considering it a bourgeois-capitalist nuisance, argues that it was Aristotle who came up with the great word “therefore.” It is a word we use millions of times for the most important decisions, and it is high time we paid for it, according to the revered auteur. Godard posits that “If we transferred ten euro to Greece every time we used the word, the crisis would be over in a day, and Greece would not have to sell the Pantheon to Germany.” Obviously the eighty-year-old has not lost any of his talent for non-conformist provocation. Film Socialisme, which was released in British theaters last week, “is in all its confusing greatness a classic late Godard: A numbing attack on the eyes, brain, and butt, putting the viewer’s patience and power of concentration to a test, but of undeniable originality,” Gibbons says. Towards the end of Film Socialisme a piracy warning appears as well as the text NO COMMENT. Gibbons reports that many people are considering this a manifesto for a “new republic of images,” free of the inherited burden of laws of intellectual and artistic copyright.