Remember, remember, the fifth of November

If you’ve been to Great Britain during the first few days of November, you might have noticed fireworks going off and maybe even come across a few bonfires in the evening hours.  Like me, you might have had trouble finding out what it’s all about. People don’t always know why or what they’re celebrating. They just go and join the fun. But I usually like to know the reason for these kinds of festivities.

Westminster Bon fire2

A guy named Fawkes

It all started with a guy. To be precise: with Guy Fawkes. This fellow was “caught in the act” when guarding barrels of powder that had been placed in a cellar beneath the Parliament in order to blow up King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic King. But let’s see how the story began.

Guy Fawkes had presumably been very easily influenced by others all his life. In May 1604, he and other conspirators agreed to join in the now so-called “gunpowder conspiracy”. Fawkes then assumed the name John Johnson, as a servant of Thomas Percy, one of the conspirators. In early December 1604, he started to supervise work in a mine to prepare the gunpowder barrels. In 1605, they hired a cellar beneath Parliament. Fawkes helped to fill the room with barrels of powder and, because of his munitions experience, he was given the task of setting light to the powder. One day before his capture authorities discovered him, but let him leave because they hadn’t seen the barrels yet. But on Tuesday, 5 November, when he once again returned to the cellar, he was arrested. A Westminster magistrate had previously found the gunpowder during a meticulous search. Fawkes was tortured and finally gave away the plan as well as the names of the other conspirators. On Friday, 31 January 1606 he and three others were hanged.

Gunpowder Treason Day

firstRhymeThe very first celebration of the failed gunpowder treason took place right after Guy Fawkes was arrested. The King’s Council had allowed the public to celebrate the King’s survival with bonfires. The following year Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act (also known as “Thanksgiving Act”) in order to remember the failed attempt to murder King James I of England. What the celebrations were like during the first years can only be speculated, though we know that at least in some communities music and artillery salutes were part of the festivities. The events were mainly for local dignitaries to start with, but were extended steadily.

While at first the celebrations demonstrated an anti-Catholic sentiment – very early on, effigies of hate-figures, e.g. the pope or the devil, were burnt -, it gradually changed to large organised events, centred on bonfires and extravagant firework displays.

Guy Fawkes Day
NurseryRhyme_Today, every kid knows the name. “Remember, remember…” is a nursery rhyme every kid in Great Britain is bound to hear at some point. Still, when you ask people about the reason for bonfires and firework – more often than not the question results in puzzled looks. People do have a vague idea, of course, but nowadays people seem to be more interested in partying than knowing what makes this date special in the first place.
Partly this might be because society and circumstances change over time. There still might be the odd resentment between Catholics and Protestants, but they’re mostly well concealed in history. What’s more, the name of the day changed in the late eighteenth century, which might have helped to keep the true reason for the celebration in the dark. Even though the story is kind of known, people are lost regarding the specifics. 

Maybe we should not only celebrate festivities, but also try and remember the story behind the party. Otherwise we might lose part of our culture and customs that we wouldn’t want to. After all, even the nursery rhyme says “Remember, remember, the fifth of November…”.

Text: Angie Czygann | Pictures: Manfred Czygann

 

Augsburger Sommernächte

Thousands of people in the streets. The streets turn into stages. Different squares turn into dancing areas. In the centre of the city people, feast and dance to various sounds. Well, let me tell you what I’m talking about: the Augsburger Sommernächte. This event took place for the second time this year from Thursday June 28th until July 1st. For those of you who participated this year it should be crystal clear why it’s definitely worth a visit. For all those who don’t know why they should actually go there, I’ll givAS5e a few convincing reasons. But first of all, some of you may not even know what the Augsburger Sommernächte are…

What is it?

Augsburger Sommernächte is probably the largest party in the whole of Augsburg and the surrounding region. Some restaurants and bars spill into the streets, and sell all kind of foods you’ve never dreamt of. The nightly entertainment also keeps the place bustling: all over the city thirteen areas present nearly every imaginable kind of music! From mainstream to HipHop straight to Indie – everybody of all ages get their money’s worth. From the Königplatz over the Maxstraße to the Rathausplatz – the whole city is a party, and takes place from 5pm to 1am.

A few reasons why..

It’s not just like one party, but many morphed into one! You can spend quality time with your friends under the clear night sky, because who doesn’t prefer a party under the stars instead of spending the night in a muggy club? AS3The Sommernächte also gives you the chance to meet new people. Everybody’s in a good mood and always ready for a chat! Apart from this social aspect, what is really cool is that the Neue Szene presents newcomers. Not only young bands try to entertain the people with their music, but also poetry slammers who try to catch the listener’s attention with their own texts.

Next to the small stages that are spread all over the Maxstraße, you’ll find delicious food from all over the world. It’s like a mini street food market. These smells of freshly made falafel, curry and burgers make you think you’re on holiday in Ibiza. All of these new impressions are so overwhelming that you will need to go there again in order to see everything! Unlike an expensive holiday, the Sommernächte don’t cost anything (but you’re not allowed to take any kind of food or drinks with you).

Save the date!AS4

So, I’ve not completely convinced you? Take a look yourself! Next year the Sommernächte will take place from 28th June to 1st July. So what are you waiting for? Take out your calendars and mark the date!

Author: Chiara Leick

Pictures: CIA Veranstaltungs GmbH

What goes on behind closed doors?

anglistentheaterOn Thursday, 6th July, the Anglistentheater premiered their latest play “Speaking in tongues”, by Andrew Bovell.

Have you ever wondered how other people cope with their problems? How they seek a cure for their emotional wounds? This play starts by showing us a pretty drastic way of handling an unstable marriage: cheating. Jane is married to Pete and Sonja is married to Leon, yet here our play starts with everyone in a cheap hotel room with the other’s partner. But only Leon and Jane go through with it. Disaster unfolds and Pete leaves Jane and Sonja leaves Leon and as the guys meet each other in one bar and the girls in another, they find that judging and forgiving is harder said than done.

At this point, I was kind of bored, thinking “Great. Another modern play about adultery. So innovative…”, but as the play unfolded it left me speechless. It’s about so much more than just that. It’s a play about mutual love and unrequited love. About unconditional love and doubted love. About trust and betrayal. About therapist and client. About murder and innocence. About sanity and mental illness. About past and present. And about cruelty and kindness. It’s a play about Leon, Sonja, Pete, Jane, Valerie, Sarah, Nick, Neil and John. Each with their own story but still intertwined through all these elements.

I won’t go into further detail, since I don’t wanna spoil the fun, but let me tell you: it’s shocking and mysterious. I also found it devastating to see what horrible things people want to happen to their “loved ones”, just for the sake of their own convenience… enough said.

Andrew Bovell has written an amazing play about the depths of human relationships and the enormous impact apparently small acts can have. The Anglistentheater has done a great job performing it. The actors were marvelous and the stage design really paid attention to detail and came up with great concepts. You could really see how much time, effort and practice everyone had put into making a fabulous premiere.

I recommend you go and see the play for yourself – it’s amazing. But make sure to borrow one of the cushions (the play takes about 2:15 hours, and, let’s be honest, a lecture theatre isn’t that comfy.

Speaking in tongues will be performed on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th July 2017

At 8 p.m. in Hörsaal II

 

 

Author: Michaela Lappler

Picture: Anglistentheater

Biennale Arte 2017

Il 13 Maggio scorso si è inauguara la 57° Biennale d’arte di Venezia.

L’esposizione internazionale più antica del mondo  – la prima fu inaugurata nel 1895 – deve il nome alla sua scadenza “biennale” (=ogni due anni). Quest’anno la mostra è firmata da una donna: Christine Macel, chief curator del Centre Pompidou di Parigi, che ha intitolato la sua Biennale  VIVA ARTE VIVA, per evidenziare la centralità dell’arte e della vita stessa degli artisti come strumento per comprendere il contemporaneo, al di là delle ideologie  (molto più centrali nelle edizioni precedenti).

Padiglione Centrale

 

I LUOGHI DELLA MOSTRA

L’esposizione (che terminerà il 26 novembre) si snoda, come da tradizione, in tre diverse aree: I) i Giardini, con i loro 29 padiglioni nazionali e con il grande Padiglione Centrale, II) l’Arsenale (annesso alla Biennale nel 1980), il vecchio complesso rinascimentale di cantieri, officine e depositi da cui usciva un tempo la flotta di Venezia, e III) il centro storico della città che, tra i palazzi delle sue calli, ospita i lavori di ulteriori nazioni. I padiglioni nazionali, 85 in tutto, sono tradizionalmente allestiti dai curatori dei paesi stessi, mentre le due mostre internazionali nelle cosiddette Corderie dell’Arsenale e al Padiglione Centrale dei Giardini, sono dirette dal curatore della Biennale (Christine Macel).

Nonostante per molti addetti ai lavori le partecipazioni nazionali siano un elemento anacronistico (nelle altre “biennali” del mondo queste distinzioni non esistono!), per lo spettatore la visita ai Giardini rimane l’esperienza più bella. I padiglioni storici della Biennale sono infatti immersi in un meraviglioso parco verde (una rarità a Venzia!). Lo spettatore, tra un padiglione e l’altro, può passeggiare lungo i viali di ghiaia, tra il verde della natura o sedersi su una comoda panchina a riflettere sulle opere viste …ed evitare il faticoso tour de force tipico delle grandi mostre!

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I PREMI

Quest’anno il “leone d’oro” al miglior padiglione nazionale è andato al Padiglione Tedesco, con la performance Faust di Anne Imhof. Il padiglione, nella sua conformazione attuale, fu eretto durante il regime nazista: un particolare che gli artisti difficilmente possono ignorare.

Anne Imhof (Gießen, 1978) ha voluto richiamare le atmosfere cupe, violente e intimidatorie dei regimi fascisti rinchiudendo fuori dal padiglione, in una grande gabbia, dei cani doberman, il cui abbaiare insistente e minaccioso fa da sottofondo alle performances all’interno. Dentro al padiglione un gruppo di giovani si aggira tra le sale al ritmo di suoni digitali, improvvisando movimenti che evocano violenza, autoerotismo e rapporti sado-maso. L’interno dell’edificio è vuoto e asettico: un espediente che accresce ed esaspera ulteriormente nel visitatore la sensazione d’angoscia. Il pavimento delle sale è ricoperto da una pedana di vetro trasparente, al di sotto della quale si muovono altri performers, dando allo spettatore l’impressione di calpestarli.

Photo Andrea Avezzù - Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

Ai giardini si trova anche una delle due sezioni curate da Christine Macel: il Padiglione centrale, con una parte delle opere dei 120 artisti selezionati.

Il biglietto della mostra permette l’accesso anche all’altro grande spazio (17.000 mq!) annesso alla Biennale: l’Arsenale, nelle cui Corderie si snoda la seconda (e principale) sezione dell’esposizione di Christine Macel. Per raggiungere l’Arsenale, dai Giardini si può prendere la navetta Giardini-Arsenale, il vaporetto n. 1, o fare una passeggiata di ca. 10-15 minuti lungo la laguna.

Quest’anno anche il “leone d’oro” di questa parte dell’esposizione, quello al migliore artista, è andato ad un tedesco: Franz Erhard Walther (Fulda, 1939) con le sue bellissime installazioni geometriche di stoffa colorata esposte all’Arsenale …. Insomma: quella del 2017 possiamo proprio definirla la “Biennale della Germania”!

 

Author: Francesca Talpo

Pictures:  Il Padiglione Centrale ai Giardini (©la Biennale di Venezia)

Le opere di Franz Erhard Walther alle Corderie dell’Arsenale (©la Biennale di Venezia)

L’Arsenale (©Photo Andrea Avezzù – Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia)

Do whatever you want – Mach halt was du willst

Summer is coming and it’s the festival season again! And everyone loves festivals, right? Of course, there’s the music, but that’s not all there is to it. It’s the feeling of being out with your friends, drinking beer in the sun with music all around you, escaping reality, almost like being on a holiday. So isn’t it great having a festival right on your doorstep? The Modular Festival has been taking place since 2009 and it’s been at the congress centre since 2012. Its aim is not only to bring international, national and especially local artists onto the stage, but also to offer workshops for the whole family and support local sports groups.

Modular-DachMusic

The music is probably the main (but not the only) reason to go. This year, over 50 artists and bands are going to show what they can do on four stages: two outside in the park and two inside the centre. There’s Kakkmaddafakka, Moop Mama, RY X, Hundreds, Maeckes & die Katastrophen, Megaloh, Faber, Sxn, Die Höchste Eisenbahn, Fotos and MC Bomber, just to name a few. You might not know them yet, but there’s a little info about them on the festival’s website and you can listen to the Modular Spotify playlist. And maybe after the festival you’ll have a new favourite band.

Modular-night

Workshops and other things to do
Modular is not only music: it offers art exhibitions by different painters, designers and sculptors and performance acts such as a rap battle, a poetry slam and a magician. There’s the Pop Convention, where you can make and discuss music with professionals and a ‘creative market’, where you can make art yourself. It’s also not only a festival for adults: there’s a kids’ programme with a whole ‘Modular Kids Village’.
Apart from the different kinds of art, there are two sports events you can watch: the ‘BMX EX&HOP (international contest series)’ and the ‘Bavarian Miniramp Mastership’, an open skateboard contest. No matter if you’re into those sports or not – it’s amazing to watch!

 

For the physical well-being
Even though you can’t bring your own food, believe me, you won’t starve! The festival supports local providers of food and drinks. You can get the local beer or free drinking water and to eat there’s everything as pizza, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, ice cream, crêpes and so on… No matter if you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or a meat lover – there’s something for you.

Info-box

Want to learn more?
Visit the festival’s homepage! www.modular-festival.de
Author: Sophia Brandt

Pictures: Stephan Brandt (roofop), Lukas Holzfurtner (night)

Gegen einfache Wahrheiten

How would you define home? Can you have more than just one? Have you ever read a text written by a refugee? Are there ways of helping refugees escape the madness of German bureaucracy – at least for an hour a day? What’s it like teaching your own language and culture? And what do you learn about yourself while doing so? Do you believe everything you hear, read and see in the news? What about fake news? Are social media a more reliable way to get informed? How politically correct do you have to be and should we accept a lack of it?

All these questions were discussed on May 31st at the “Aktionstag: Gegen einfache Wahrheiten” held at the University of Augsburg and organized by the Faculty of Philology and History (http://www.presse.uni-augsburg.de/de/unipressedienst/2017/apr-juni/2017_090/).

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Asking

Twenty different seminars between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. provided new input and an opportunity to discuss the different topics with other students and lecturers.

The seminar “Ich habe manchmal Heimweh. Ich weiß nur nicht wonach“, organized by the Fachschaft Komparatistik, was all about questions such as What is Heimat? Does everyone have one? Can we have more than one? How do we define the term and how does it feel to leave? Can we somehow relate to refugees who have had to leave the place they call Heimat? Are there maybe even more similarities than we would’ve thought?

While – of course – there were no concrete answers to all these questions, the discussion, including interviews with people who had moved, both within and across borders, was characterized by different views, funny anecdotes and many personal experiences.

 

Listening

The cultural event between 12:00 and 14:00 in HS I, moderated by Prof. Dr. Martin Middeke, was a colourful mix of musical contributions, presentations and readings.

Sadly, the band Jammu Afrika couldn’t perform, since their refugee-lead singer had to leave the country and go back to Senegal. Still, the band’s founder Markus Fleckenstein presented the project and played some recordings.

Anita Heckel read from her ‘parallel biography’ “Gratwanderung durch Gestern” and Prof. Dr. Miriam Zadoff gave an insight into living in Bloomington, Indiana, and teaching at the university after Trump’s election. Although we all recognize the worries of those Americans that didn’t vote for Trump, this personal report was touching and shocking at the same time.

“Milch ist der Zwilling von Teer / in weiß oder schwarz kann man lügen / Mutter schiebt ein Bonbon im Mund hin und her / Vater telefoniert mit den Fliegen“

Christina Rossi and her students presented their collage on this poem by Nobel prize winner Herta Müller.

Opera singer Cornelia Lanz presented her project “Zuflucht Kultur”. Together with Mazen Mohsen and three other Syrian refugees, she performed Arabic folk songs with the German translations and the audience fell in love with this music. One of these refugees, a Syrian girl, talked about how she experienced their dictatorial culture even in small groups of refugees in Germany and how lucky she is – and we should be – to live in a free and democratic country like this.

 

Acting

Between 15:00 and 17:00 pm, there were various readings and workshops in the city centre and, for example, a walk around the city highlighting important places related to migration.

 

Watching

At 6:00 pm, the movie “Willkommen bei den Hartmanns” was shown in HS I, followed by a panel discussion about how the movie reflects reality. Does it reflect Einfache Wahrheiten? Since the movie is a comedy, it deals with the topic in a slightly exaggerated fashion; maybe this is the right way to talk about a topic that’s not funny, because at least it’s a way to start raising awareness.

 

Authors and Picture: Sophia Brandt, Eva Sitzberger

 

DIY stamped tea towels on Towel Day

– A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. –

( Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Today is 25 May, which means it’s Towel Day! Why should we celebrate towels? Well, I believe Douglas Adams could have given a more than satisfactory answer if he was still alive.

Actually, it’s thanks to him that Towel Day came into existence in the first place, as it’s celebrated as a tribute to the author’s famous book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The day was first celebrated two weeks after Adams’ death in 2001 and refers to the phrase that “a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”. Therefore, fans all over the world celebrate towel day by carrying a towel with them wherever they go that day. If you want to join in the celebrations and you want to have your own special towel, then here is a fun tutorial on how to make stamped tea towels:

You will need:IMG_5327.JPG

  • white bed linen (that you don’t need anymore)
  • foam sheet – use one of the thicker ones
  • fabric paint
  • carpet cutter
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue

Firstly, grab your bed linen and lay a tea towel on top. Then outline the shape of your towel and cut it out. Now draw your designs on the foam sheet and cut them out with your cutter. You can make whatever shapes you like, but if you’re as bad as drawing as I am, geometric shapes are just fine 😉

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Then cut out a small piece of foam and glue it to the back of your cut outs as a handle for your stamp.

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Now cover the stamp with paint and start stamping your towels.

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Once you’re happy with your towels, allow the paint to dry and iron them afterwards in order to prevent the paint from coming off when they’re being washed.

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Now you have your perfect towel for celebrating Towel Day, but of course, you can just use it as a regualar tea towel as well. I hope you have fun crafting and always bear in mind: don’t panic!

Author & Pictures: Ricarda Rosenbaum