April 13, 2016

Open Letters: A Correspondence with Chilean Art Critic Ignacio Szmulewicz, 14

"Haydn would supposedly wear a ceremonial wig when he composed."
Jonathan Cott in The Complete Rolling Stone Interview

Dear Ignacio,

How beautiful to hear about your travels. I’m traveling too. I’m leaving in an hour, so I’m writing this quickly, in between. The difference between your traveling and my traveling is that you seem to travel with time, whereas I’m doing it in haste. I’m awfully busy lately, and it makes me think of Siegfried Kracauer who wrote in 1928: “Nobody as boring, as those who are never bored.” Am I getting boring, Ignacio? 

Yet why I write to you in such a hurry, is because I read the The Complete Rolling Stone Interview with Susan Sontag, and it inspired me to answer on your last question about writing about art out of experience. I hadn’t read Sontag since university, and it was such a delight to read her again. How light she can be, easy to read, thinking deep and at the same time not forgetting about the surface. 

So in this interview she talks about how she beliefs that your writing style changes when you change your body, your bodily experience.  Let me quote her: “Don’t you think you’d write differently if you were all naked and wrapped in velvet? [laughing] There are all these stories about Goethe, or maybe it was Schiller, who used to write with his feet in warm water. And Wagner, who only composed in silk robes with incense and perfume in the room.”

I want to try this out. Maybe we can do this during our workshop “Playground. A Place to Write about Art with Fun” that we’re organizing here in Berlin while you’re visiting in May. Like put our feet in warm water (being all naked wrapped in velvet might make art writing too erotic?). What do you think?


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