June 8, 2015

Literary Dining 2: Repetition with Craig Schuftan


A cruel enigma. Photo: Akane Kimbara

I've already told you about my passion for Gertrude Stein, I've already told you about Picasso's diet in Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, and I've already told you I'm a fan of the art writing of Craig Schuftan. Well, imagine these three together and that's what the second Literary Dinner at Entretempo Kitchen Gallery on Saturday May 30 was like! Plus you can understand immediately that there's a benefit to repetition. 

Remember, the first literary dinner was about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Wolfgang Müller and Goethe's mother's Grüne Soße. The second one was conceptualised as a homage to Gertrude Stein. Tainá Guedes food-curated the "Dishes for Artists" based on Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, preparing her recipe for Picasso. Here it is in Toklas' own words: "What sauce would Picasso's diet permit. I would give him a choice. The soufflé would be cooked in a well-buttered mould, placed in boiling water and when sufficiently cooked turned into a hollow dish around which in equal divisions would be placed a Hollandaise sauce, a cream sauce and a tomato sauce. It was my hope that the tricoloured sauces would make the spinach soufflé look less nourishing. Cruel enigma, said Picasso, when the soufflé was served to him." 


Ducks! performing The World Is Round. Photo: Akane Kimbara
As a Guest of Honour I invited art writer Craig Schuftan. For the special occasion Craig Schuftan together with Lani Bagley performed a song based on Gertrude Stein's children book The World is Round. They did so as their duo-band Ducks!, for which repetition is key as it is for Gertrude Stein's writing. I made a video in which the music is nicely mixed with the kitchen sounds of Entretempo Kitchen Gallery (you can almost smell the soufflé, can't you!) The first part of the performance is missing because of a technical problem of my very sophisticated equipment but you can read the whole story in Stein's The World Is Round




Following the Venice Biennial I told you about this little theory of mine that I developed and it is about how material in the arts is having its last surge at the moment before rhythm (and the immaterial) will take over. So after the dinner, I was eager to meet again with Craig Schuftan, whose writing focusses on the intersection of art and music, to talk some more about rhythm, more exactly its repetitive part. In the interview that follows Craig Schuftan talks about Gertrude Stein's use of repetition and the importance of repetition in the music of the 20th century. We even end up with a prognosis about the ongoing 21st century! The resulting podcast is my very first contribution to Soundcloud (and a transcript will follow soon). 


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