(Just one moment)

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“Was Ist Kunst?”: On Bureaucracy and a Work of Art I May Have Imagined

I recall going to an exhibition of dissident art from the Soviet Block at the Centre Pompidou in Paris when I was 18 or 19.

I only remember one of the pieces of art I may have seen there: A video installation made to look like a recording of a cross examination. The camera was pointed at a haphazard angle at the face of a woman in a plain room while someone in the role, I assume, of a Stasi officer, interrogated her from off camera. He kept repeating the same question: Was ist Kunst? Was ist Kunst?

Being There: Thinking of Slouching Towards Bethlehem at the Aix-en-Provence Opera Festival

At the end of this June, I traveled to the Aix-en-Provence festival as one of nine young writers and opera makers to take part in a cultural journalism residency under the tutelage of critic Shirley Apthorp and dramaturge Willem Bruls. We spent six days attending the dress rehearsals of the 2021 festival program, writing about the productions, and talking about both the tradition and the future of opera.