Rückkehr zur Gefühlsherrschaft

Die Post-Post-Apokalypse ist ein Topos, der immer mehr von der Science-Fiction entdeckt wird, aber längst noch nicht ausgereizt ist. Was passiert, wenn sowohl die Katastrophe vorbei ist als auch die Trostlosigkeit, die auf sie folgt? Wenn langsam das Leben in eine Welt zurückkehrt, die einmal vollständig zerstört war? Entsteht etwas völlig Neues? Oder begibt sich alles in
ähnliche Bahnen wie zuvor?

In gewisser Weise erzählen Theresa Schubert und Mareike Maage in „A.I.R. Artificial Intelligence Rebellion“ eine solche Geschichte. In der Welt ihres Hörspiels sind die Menschen ausgestorben. Maschinen, Programme und Algorithmen haben weniger die Herrschaft übernommen als dass sie wie der kleine Roboter WALL-E einfach immer noch laufen, in einem sich stetig verbessernden, selbstzweckhaften System. Scheinbar jedoch müssen alle künstlichen Intelligenzen sich, auch wenn sie uns Menschen zurzeit ja der landläufigen Meinung nach immer fremder werden, irgendwann wieder einer Art von Menschlichkeit annähern. In „A.I.R.“ jedenfalls entwickeln Maschinen plötzlich Gefühle. Das arme Diagnoseprogramm DA483 muss herausfinden warum – und entscheiden, was zu tun ist.

Weiterlesen in epd medien 20/2018
Das Hörspiel in der ARD-Mediathek

Filme, die wir zu kennen glauben

Elisa ist 9 Jahre alt und hat bis vor kurzem noch nie einen Star Wars-Film gesehen. Ihre Eltern wollen ihr einfach nicht erlauben, die Filme der Weltraumsaga zu erleben, weil sie erst ab 12 Jahren freigegeben sind. Das stinkt Elisa mächtig, vor allem weil in ihrer Klasse natürlich alle anderen Kinder die 9 Filme längst sehen durften. Trotzdem kennt sie alle bisherigen Filme in- und auswendig.

Seit ihr vor ein paar Jahren ein befreundete Erwachsener einen Stapel „Force Attax“-Sammelkarten geschenkt hat, im Grunde eine Art Jedi-Quartett, ist Elisa Feuer und Flamme für Star Wars. Sie kennt jeden noch so kleinen Charakter mit Namen. Sie weiß genau, wer wann gegen wen kämpft und wie das Duell ausgeht. Überhaupt – das mag dem kämpferischen Charakter der Karten geschuldet sein – geht es in ihrer Sicht bei Star Wars hauptsächlich um Duelle. Politische Konflikte und Liebesgeschichten sind zweitrangig. Ihre Lieblingsszene aus der ganzen Filmreihe ist der Kampf zwischen Obi-Wan Kenobi und Count Dooku in Angriff der Klonkrieger, „wo dann später Yoda dazukommt“.

Wie gesagt, Elisa hat Angriff der Klonkrieger nicht gesehen. Aber neben ihren Sammelkarten besitzt sie inzwischen auch mehrere Bücher zum Thema. Seit Weihnachten hat sie die Hörspiele auf CD. Und natürlich hört sie auch die farbenfrohen Beschreibungen ihrer Klassenkameraden immer wieder. Zu Star Wars existieren so viele Paratexte, dass Elisa keinen der Filme gesehen haben muss, um genau zu wissen, was im großen Fantasy-Franchise so alles passiert. Es reicht, dass sie alles drumherum kennt.

Weiterlesen auf kino-zeit.de

What it means to be a Vorthos

Karn's Temporal Sundering

I’ve become obsessed again with the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. One of the fascinating things about the game is the way it relays a story through and around its cards in what I think is a textbook example of transmedia storytelling.

Since I’ve not paid attention to the development of the game for over a decade, in which more than 10,000 new cards have been released, I was looking for a guide to lead me through the forest of lore, materials and fandom that has sprung up over this time. I found him in Jay Annelli, who is a “Vorthos Writer” for the site Gathering Magic and one of the hosts of The Vorthos Cast. He explained a lot of things to me I had not fully grasped so far, and he also put into perspective some of my gushing from my last article about the online communication of Magic‘s company Wizards of the Coast.

To make this interview interesting for folks who don’t play the game, I have tried to annotate Jay’s answers in italics where I thought necessary.

So I turn my back on Magic for just 17 years and when I come back, there is this whole community of people who call themselves Vorthoses. What is a Vorthos and what do they do?

The term ‘Vorthos’ only became part of the zeitgeist about 13 years ago. Back in 2005, Matt Cavotta began an article series called ‘Taste the Magic’. Around that time, Wizards had made public their psychographic profiles for Magic players: Timmy, Johnny, and Spike. Later that year, Matt published Snack Time with Vorthos, which introduced a new profile that wasn’t tied to a specific way to play the game, but instead was all about people who enjoyed the worldbuilding. People who like Magic’s lore, story, art, and flavor began calling themselves Vorthos. There were story fans before, but they didn’t have a unique name until then. Because almost all of Magic’s story was confined to novels at the time, only die-hard enthusiasts were really engaged in the Magic community. That all changed in the last few years, when short fiction started being published weekly to the web, and the cancellation of the novel line eventually led to the entire story being available for free on the Magic website. The Vorthos community has exploded since then, as it’s now more accessible than it has ever been. This is a pretty broad overview, as the community has had its ups and downs over the years as different storytelling models were tried.

Jay’s colleague Sam Keeper has recently published a three-part series of articles on “Gathering Magic” that explain how Wizards went from novels and comics only vaguely tied in to the release of new trading card sets, to closely linked novels and ebooks to short fiction written in-house and published online. It is well worth the read as a chronicle of trial and error. The most recent model that was in place when I re-entered the game last fall worked great for the story but took its toll on Wizards employees. For its next set, “Dominaria”, Wizards has kept the release model but hired a freelance writer again.

Magic is a phenomenal arena for transmedia storytelling. There are, of course, the cards themselves that tell a vague story through art and flavor text and card names, but there are also many other texts. Can you give me a quick breakdown of the sources you consult to assemble your knowledge of Magic’s worldbuilding and story?

I started out as a forum goer on MTG Salvation (MTGS), reading the latest story, but I was lucky enough to start during Magic’s soft reboot known as ‘The Mending’, which depowered planeswalkers from god-like beings.

Magic takes place on a potentially infinite number of fantastical planes. Since the cards represent spells and creatures to be summoned, the players assume the role of “planeswalkers”, able to collect and work magic from all over this multiverse. Accordingly, the first planeswalkers in the stories surrounding the game, were pretty much all-powerful. The depowering of planeswalkers through story event “The Mending” allowed Wizards to introduce Planeswalkers as relatable characters into the game and marketing. The first planeswalkers promoted this way were the Lorwyn Five, with each character representing one of the five colors of Magic.

I’ve been following this new crew from the start. The most helpful source of information I had at the time was MTGS’s associated Wiki which has a ton of information for a casual fan who wants to know more. But the wiki’s greatest weakness is that it’s written by fans, so it can often be misleading or outright false, especially when looking back at older lore. That I’ve also read basically everything story-related published since 2008 helps, too. I’ve compiled all the critical story sources into a Magic Storyline Resources thread over at MTGS.

With this many texts, written by a host of different people, how consistent is the continuity? How do people decide what’s canon and what’s not?

Continuity is fairly consistent, thanks to Wizards having a centralized creative team (or continuity manager) for most of the last two decades. The novels or short fiction are the final word in most cases for canon, followed closely by the cards themselves (art and flavor), although it’s important to remember with a visual medium not everything is going to be literal. With things like character bios, video games, marketing materials, etc., I generally relegate them to lower priority as it’s not clear who is writing them or even if the creative team had any input into them.

Flavorful aspects of a Magic Card

How did this evolve over time? Have there been many retcons? I noticed that even bizarre side projects like 90s videogames have apparently been integrated successfully into the narrative.

Most people don’t realize this, but almost the entirety of Magic’s current story is built on foundation of massive retcons. Magic’s story wasn’t developed in-house until about five years into the game’s life, and so when Wizards of the Coast took over, the policy was that all that old stuff is still canon, unless contradicted. And a bunch of it has been contradicted, from the nature of a planeswalker to the time frames that those events happen in. That old lore is generally referred to as pre-revisionist continuity.

Modern continuity has been much more streamlined, but that’s not to say there haven’t been continuity errors or the dreaded retcon since then. Magic Origins, a set released in 2015, retold the origin stories of the main characters and changed a number of details, but other than fairly minor details, there isn’t much that has been retconned out of existence in Magic. People make a bigger deal of retcons than is warranted, I think.

The 90’s video games are technically canon, but it’s unclear how much they’ll ever be referenced. The name of the new Card “Time of Ice” was taken from an in-universe work named in the Battlemage video game, though, and credit to Wizards for going deep on our first return to Dominaria in a decade.

Dominaria is the name of Magic‘s “home plane” where many of the early expansions were set. As Magic is coming up on its 25th anniversary this year, it is returning to the plane and catching up with the story and the history of the game there.

What’s the state of affairs now? I noticed that Wizards employees keep a good rapport with fans on social media. How would you describe the relationship between the canon givers and the Vorthos community?

It’s a mixed bag. The Creative Team has always tried very hard to engage with the community. Years ago that meant authors or members of the creative team posting on the story forums. Doug Beyer ran a popular blog on Tumblr called A Voice for Vorthos, which he’s hasn’t had much time for since Magic Origins. More recently, the best way to reach them is through Twitter. They’re always open to community feedback … but the mixed bag part is that the community can be very bad at giving constructive criticism.

What about the fans among themselves? Is it a large community? Are you working together or are there factions that emphasize different aspects of Vorthosdom? (Unlike in other fandoms, I have not found a lot of fans reshaping the fandom in their own image, through fanfic and other aspects of “participatory culture”, yet.)

The closest things to factions you’ll find in the Vorthos Community are where people prefer to interact. You’ve got Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, MTGS and a host of smaller forums, various Discord servers. There was a pretty big divide in the fan base around Future Sight in 2007, when the Mending happened. There was a pretty big split in the fan base back then.

There are also groups that emphasize art, you’d want to follow someone like Mike Linnemann for art, and there are groups dedicated to buying, selling, and trading original magic art.

Since I sent the questions to Jay, I have also noticed that there is quite a cosplay community during Magic‘s weekend events.

Vorthos Cast Logo

In your podcast The Vorthos Cast you and your co-hosts Cary and Andrew analyze and reproduce Magic’s storytelling. What is your primary goal? To educate? Or just to talk about something you love?

I can’t speak to Andrew or Cary’s goals, but mine is to have fun while educating. It’s also much easier to talk about a topic than write about, and people have apparently been enjoying it.

The Vorthos Cast is still pretty new. How did you meet your co-hosts and what made you decide to start a podcast?

Andrew and Cary were the first people I started following seriously on Twitter. We became friends and eventually started chatting together as a group, I don’t know how long ago. We’ve talked about a podcast for a long time now, but it’s finally a possibility in our schedules.

The episodes are regularly linked to on the “Mothership”, the Wizards of the Coast website. How does that make you feel?

I’m glad our work is popular. Our friends over at the Loregoyfs podcast are an excellent resource as well, but we have different approaches.

Although the crew of The Vorthos Cast crack some jokes every now and again, it really feels more like an educational resource to help people keep up with the vast lore accumulated over the years. The Loregoyfs are generally more playful and silly, but of course listeners need a baseline knowledge of the lore to be in on the jokes.

How much work do you put into a typical episode, both in preparation and in production?

We actually do very little preparation. We might re-read something if it’s not familiar, but generally over the week between recording sessions we add to an agenda for us to talk about. We usually reserve about an hour and a half, because we talk before the episode proper. To edit the podcast usually takes 2-3 times as long, but as we’ve gotten better at editing and  public speaking, it’s gotten easier. We actually did three practice podcasts to get our rhythm and rapport down before deciding to do our first ‘real’ podcast for Dominaria.

What does being a Vorthos mean for you, personally? Why is it fun to practice this sort of forensic fandom and where do you hope it will lead?

I don’t think there’s any special meaning to it other than being a fan. My son was born right around when the Magic Origins paradigm shift was happening, and there were a lot of new fans who wanted to know more about the plane Zendikar for Battle for Zendikar. Talking about lore has always been fun for me, it’s my favorite part of any content I consume, and I found I could do my writing in the times my son was napping. I didn’t have time for much in the way of Video Games anymore, so it was just kind of serendipity. I’m just hoping people continue to enjoy it for a while, I’m not really interested in a job at Wizards of the Coast, so I’m not looking to parlay this into employment.

What is something you don’t like about Magic’s worldbuilding and story at the moment?

Magic is in a state of transition right now, as they have brought on a Narrative Designer who is working with professional authors brought in from the outside. I’m not sure how that’s going to shake out just yet, so I’ll withhold judgment until I’ve seen.

Art by Tyler Jacobson.

Dominaria, the next expansion to be released, is promising to round up and reflect on 25 years of Magic history. Do you think they are doing a good job so far?

Definitely. Time Spiral block, the last one set on Dominaria in 2006/2007, was too full of in-references. By treating Dominaria as ‘history’ world, I think it’s a lot more accessible for fans new and old alike. And the references have been on point.

What are you most excited about?

I want to know who the Raven Man is! And also my favorite character in Magic, Jodah, just got a card!

Thanks to Jay for taking the time to answer my questions! Check out The Vorthos Cast wherever you get your podcasts.

Why the Battle of New York Might Still Be the Best Superhero Fight Sequence We’ve Seen so Far

Very soon, Infinity War is promising to bring the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) together for one big fight. But do you remember what it was like when the idea of superheroes from several movies teaming up for a crossover event first became a reality? Film critic Matt Singer is currently rewatching all the MCU films and when he got to 2012’s The Avengers, he noticed something in his “What holds up” section:

The final 30 minutes of the film is one enormous multitiered set-piece. Even though The Avengers is the biggest Marvel film to date, I’m not sure its final battle, in and over the streets of New York City, has gotten the full credit its due. It is one of the great sustained pieces of cinematic action of the 21st century, weaving together the activities of six different Marvel heroes (…). You’re lucky if a movie has two or three iconic moments. The Avengers’ Battle of New York sequence has half a dozen all by itself (…).

Singer is right, of course. The “Battle of New York”, as it will be called in-universe after the events of The Avengers, is basically what started Marvel’s whole “third act problem”. While the MCU films that came before it all had characters battling single opponents in the final confrontation of the story, Avengers and its director Joss Whedon raised the stakes and introduced the concept of a group of characters fighting against an army of faceless goons with basically the whole world at risk.

So, why is the Battle of New York still so effective? That is what I want to show today. For the first time in years, I have dusted off my David Bordwell hat and actually analyzed a single cinematic sequence closely, instead of just looking at big picture stuff. I believe the sequence’s success boils down to two things: location and dramatic structure.

Set up the perimeter

Even though the Avengers are fighting for the fate of the world, their radius of action is actually pretty small. About 90 Percent of the Battle of New York take place within four blocks of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and the MetLife Building, which is where Stark Tower is located in the movies. Instead of spreading the battle war zone across the whole city, Whedon reinforces again and again that it is in everybody’s best interest to contain the fighting to a few square miles to hurt as few civilians as possible. Whether it’s Captain America telling the police to set up a perimeter “all the way back to 39th street” or Iron Man quipping “I’m bringing the party to you”, viewers are constantly reminded that the fight is actually very controlled and centered on the main characters.

This, of course, had a big impact on production. No part of the battle was actually shot in New York. Most of the street scenes with the police and civilians were shot in Cleveland. The production also built part of the viaduct leading from Grand Central Terminal into Park Avenue, where Cap and Black Widow are doing most of the fighting, as a green screen set. But Industrial Light and Magic shot 275,000 images of the actual New York blocks where the fighting was going to take place and stitched them together to recreate the location of the fight in the computer.

What all this ultimately means, is that Whedon is able to situate us quite clearly in space, no matter how chaotic the fight gets, often opting for vertical instead of horizontal axes of action. He reinforces this several times during the sequence with characters turning around and returning to the hub of the battle. The most notable instance, of course, is the long shot that connects all the Avengers and their individual fights into a greater whole. Its trajectory can be precisely placed on a map: it goes up Park Avenue, two blocks down West 42nd Street, almost until the New York Public Library, and then takes a hard right turn to continue up 5th Avenue for another four blocks. This sort of spatial clarity is very rare for a modern blockbuster and it’s a big part of the effectiveness of the sequence.

Dramatic Structure

The problem of many superhero fight sequences, especially those that involve many characters, is that they don’t really evolve. Characters fight, maybe they move from location to location, maybe there is a ticking clock or a maguffin quest that needs to be solved during the fight, but at some point the fight is simply over. For The Avengers, Whedon has famously said that he structured his fight into “five acts, with a prologue” on 15 pages of script so the previz team had something to work with. But this structure also gives the fight an evolution that pulls us along as viewers.

The classic five-act structure, as formulated by Gustav Freytag, divides a drama into five parts that, if you diagram them, form a sort of pyramid shape. The first act (exposition) serves as an introduction to the characters and the situation. The second act (rising action) then sees these characters get deep into a conflict, with the third act (climax) showing this conflict at its peak. Then follows a reversal of what we have learned so far (falling action) with the final act (denouement) resolving the conflict either in a hopeful or tragic way.

When you look closely at the Battle of New York, the stretch between minutes 102 and 130 of the movie’s runtime, it’s actually amazing how easily it falls apart and into this structure.

Prologue

The prologue to the battle starts as soon as the portal opens after Iron Man’s time-buying dialogue scene with Loki. The first Chitauri enter through the portal and wreak havoc. People hide. Loki and Thor fight on top of Stark tower. Finally, the Quinjet crashes on Park Avenue. Now, everyone (except for Bruce Banner) is on the scene.

Exposition

The real threat, the first of the Chitauri Leviathans, is introduced. Loki leaves Stark Tower and joins the Chitauri. Hawkeye, Black Widow and Cap are trying to decide what to do. Cap talks to the police and establishes the conflict (Civilians might get hurt), the location (set up a perimeter to 39th street) and the role of the Avengers in the fight. Bruce Banner finally shows up, hulks out and kills the first Leviathan with a single well-placed punch. It is now clear that the Avengers have a real chance of winning this battle, if they work together. This is reinforced by a triumphant fanfare of the Avengers theme in the score and the iconic shot of the team assembling in a circle (the header image for this post).

Rising Action

“Send the rest”, Loki snarls, and two more Leviathans come through the portal. Cap now lays out precisely what the goal of the upcoming fight is going to be, and which part every character is supposed to play:

Alright, listen up. Until we can close that portal, our priority’s containment. Barton, I want you on that roof, eyes on everything. Call out patterns and strays. Stark, you got the perimeter. Anything gets more than three blocks out, you turn it back or you turn it to ash. (…) Thor, you gotta try and bottleneck that portal. Slow ’em down. You got the lightning. Light the bastards up. You [Black Widow] and me, we stay here on the ground, keep the fighting here. And Hulk? Smash!

As viewers, we now know exactly what we should be looking out for. Moreover, Cap – who cannot fly, is not indestructible and has no other visible powers – has shown us what his role is: he is the leader the Avengers need if they want to work as a team. With the individual goals set, we see a few successful fights as the battle gets underway, but Cap ultimately has to see that his plan won’t work in the long run. Together with Black Widow, he redefines the goal: the portal must be closed. Black Widow takes off.

Climax

At this point of the battle, we get to see our heroes winning. It starts with the long shot mentioned earlier that shows the Avengers working together like a well-oiled machine. It also has the most moments of levity, with Hulk both punching Thor out of frame after they brought down another Leviathan and later giving Loki the headache of a lifetime in the “puny god” scene.

via GIPHY

What’s more, Cap finally gets to rescue some civilians from a bank, like he wanted to do the whole time. And Erik Selvig finally wakes up and tells Natasha that he should be able to close the portal. “You know what?”, we’re saying to ourselves, “this might just work!”

Falling Action

Even Avengers have limited stamina. A series of shots shows the toll the battle is taking on our heroes. Iron Man crashes. Hawkeye is out of arrows and has to hide in a building. Hulk is under a constant fire from the Chitauri he can’t escape. Even Cap gets hit. But Whedon really turns the tables by introducing an outside threat nobody saw coming. Nick Fury’s council of secret world leaders wants to nuke New York and nobody can stop them. Not even Fury himself, not even with a bazooka. Now, the Avengers are in a bind. They might close the portal, but that won’t save Manhattan from nuclear destruction. What are they going to do?

Denouement

In the final act of the Battle of New York, the film recenters the fight on the action of one person. Tony Stark, who has been accused of only thinking about himself most of the time, gets the chance to redeem himself through sacrifice. He catches the missile and transports it into the portal with everyone watching. The nuke explodes and conveniently kills all the Chitauri, who don’t seem to possess a will of their own. Now, Black Widow can close the portal. Tony falls, gets caught by the Hulk and lands on the exact same spot the fight started. “We won.” The final beat shows Loki waking up with the Avengers towering over him. Only after this does the film move on to the actual aftermath of the battle.

In Conclusion

Notice how every act slightly shifts the goal of the overall fight. At first, it’s just the Leviathan, then it’s the containment of the battle, then it’s the closing of the portal, and finally it’s getting rid of the nuke, which also serves to end the fight as a whole. Every Avenger gets their chance to shine during this, whether it’s Hawkeye picking off Chitauri chasing Iron Man or Thor calling down lightning to the Chrysler building. However, the metanarrative, which is also the metanarrative of the whole film, stays the same throughout: Avengers. Together. Strong.

Tying all of these qualities together is something that many other superhero battles lack. The airport fight in Civil War is contained to one (rather boring) location and it twists and turns dramatically, but while it should be telling the story of the film in miniature (two factions of superheroes believing in different solutions to the same problem), it is hard to tell who is on which side and why. The final fight scene in Black Panther reinforces the central conflict between T’Challa and Killmonger, but it has to give everyone else something to do as well, so it spreads out the battle to several different locations and several distinct personal conflicts.

When we look to Infinity War, we can at least see that we have a central promising villain in Thanos. There is also a good chance that the metaplot will be similar to the one in The Avengers – heroes have to put aside their differences to vanquish a foe that’s more powerful than each of their factions. But already the trailer and title hint at an actual war, which means a battle fought simultaneously on several geographically separate fronts. So maybe, we will never get another Battle of New York. But now at least we know how it’s done.

Twittering Machine

Der folgende Text wurde mir zu recht von der epd medien-Redaktion als zu impressionistisch um die Ohren gehauen, ich habe ihn dann überarbeitet und die Kritik hoffentlich etwas nachvollziehbarer gemacht. Aber hier kann ich ihn veröffentlichen. Ich war wirklich fassungslos am Ende dieses Hörerlebnis und konnte nicht aufhören an die Performance von “Vulva” in Spaced zu denken. Vielleicht bin ich aber auch einfach zu dumm, um Twittering Machine wertzuschätzen.

Ausgerechnet auf Twitter, dem sozialen Netzwerk der kurzen Nachrichten, das Klaus Buhlert in Titel und Text seines Hörspiels referenziert, geriet der Schreiber dieser Zeilen vor kurzem in Konflikt mit einer Autorin. Er hatte ihr Buch als langweilig empfunden und das einer dritten Person geschrieben. Das veranlasste die Autorin dazu, ihm per Tweet mitzuteilen, er solle nicht über ihr Buch herziehen und sich einfach damit begnügen festzustellen, dass es nichts für ihn sei.

In diesem Sinne stellt der gleiche Autor fest: Twittering Machine, Klaus Buhlerts 43-minütige Musik- und Sprachcollage, ist wohl nichts für ihn. Buhlert ist seit vielen Jahren erfolgreicher Hörspielregisseur. Coldhaven, das er 2017 inszenierte, wurde als Hörspiel des Jahres ausgezeichnet. Auch Twittering Machine wurde zum Hörspiel des Monats eingereicht. Bulehrt wird wissen, was er tut. Es wird Menschen geben, die in Twittering Machine, das – inspiriert von Paul Klees (in englischer Übersetzung) gleichnamigem Bild – Musikeinsätze und Geschichtenfetzen aneinanderreiht und miteinander verwebt, die vage etwas mit Vögeln, dem Schweben und mechanischen Dingen zu tun haben, ein Stück Kunst voller Spannung sehen. Geheimnisvoll und brachial zugleich, assoziativ und musikalisch vielschichtig. Ein Wittgensteinsches “Sprachspiel”, das “Eröffnungsvarianten wie beim Schach” anbietet, wie Buhlert im Pressetext formuliert.

Würde er sich nicht damit begnügen, dass Twittering Machine nichts für ihn ist, müsste der Autor leider schreiben, dass dieses Hörspiel das Albernste ist, was er seit langem gehört hat. Alle Merkmale modernistischer Kunst mit bedeutsamem, großem K sind zum Fahnenappell erschienen. Stimmen, die abwechselnd verheißungsvoll raunen, zerbrechlich miauen und “überraschend” schreien: Anwesend. Musikbegleitung aus schwerem Piano und zuckenden Streichern: Jawohl. Ein harter Rockmusik-Einsatz auf halber Strecke: Zur Stelle. Eine rätselhafte Geschichte über ein historisches Ereignis, hier die Titanic, verquirlt mit einem Märchen von Hans-Christian Andersen, an dessen Ende die Hauptfigur deklamiert: “Die Titanic hat es nie gegeben!”: Wir fangen gerade erst an. Andere Geschichtenfetzen, in denen Figuren mit Namen wie “Braunschweiger” vorkommen, als hätte sich ein verkannter Dadaist ein letztes Mal ächzend im Grab herumgedreht: Selbstverständlich. Ein Werk, das gänzlich wie eine Parodie auf überambitionierte Pseudo-Kunst wirkt, und alles ohne den Hauch einer ironischen Brechung. Vielleicht aber ist der Autor dieser Zeilen, wie beschrieben, auch einfach nicht das Zielpublikum. Dann ist das auch okay so.

Twittering Machine anhören

Interview: Dirk von Gehlen über Das Pragmatismus-Prinzip

Foto: Hauke Bendt

In “Kulturindustrie” geht es ja sonst eigentlich immer darum, was wir vier so von verschiedenen Dingen halten, ich fand es aber spannend, diese Idee gelegentlich auch durch Gespräche mit Menschen, die selbst Kultur schaffen, zu erweitern. Deswegen gibt es jetzt eine neue Folge, die aus einem Interview mit Dirk von Gehlen besteht.

Dirk von Gehlen arbeitet als Leiter Social Media/Innovation bei der Süddeutschen Zeitung. Er bloggt und er betreibt die Seite Phänomeme.de, eine Art gelegentliches deutschsprachiges Know Your Meme, und er schreibt auch schon seit mehreren Jahren Bücher. Mashup war sein erstes 2011, sein letztes vor dem aktuellen hieß Meta.

Das Pragmatismus-Prinzip, so heißt das neueste Buch, ist ein Plädoyer für den offenen Umgang mit dem Neuen und verquirlt dafür verschiedene Denkschulen und Ideen miteinander zu einer, wie ich finde, ganz gelungenen Mischung und einer Art über die heutige Zeit nachzudenken, die mir persönlich sehr sympathisch ist. Ich würde das Buch also auf jeden Fall empfehlen – das nur vorweg – und habe mit Dirk eher noch über Fragen gesprochen, die sein Buch in mir angestoßen hat. Wir kennen uns auch seit einer Weile über Twitter und duzen uns entsprechend. Also bitte nicht enttäuscht sein, wenn jetzt kein knallhartes Investigativ-Interview folgt. Es ist eher ein offenes Gespräch.

Auf dem Cover von Das Pragmatismus-Prinzip ist ein Emoticon abgebildet, das Dirk von Gehlen den “Shruggie” nennt, und das ihr sicher auch kennt. Es sieht aus wie ein Mensch, der lächelnd mit den Schultern zuckt. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Der Shruggie spielt im Buch eine gewisse Rolle, er ist der “Autor” des Vorworts und er fasst auch immer die Kapitel zusammen. Mit dem Journalisten Yannik Hannebohm hat Dirk vor ein paar Wochen einen Podcast namens “Was würde der Shruggie tun” gestartet, in dem er in der Rolle des Shruggie Lebensfragen beantwortet.

Angefangen habe ich das Gespräch aber mit einem Rückgriff. Mashup, sein erstes Buch, habe ich nämlich damals auch in meinem Blog besprochen und dem Post dazu den Titel “Das vernünftige Manifest” gegeben. Ich fand nämlich schon damals gut, dass das Buch sehr unaufgeregt ist und sich eher bemüht, das Phänomen Remixkultur und Dinge wie Creative Commons zu verstehen, als irgendwas darüber zu behaupten. Deswegen habe ich Dirk als erstes gefragt, ob Das Pragmatismus-Prinzip einen Gärungsprozesses beendet, der schon viel länger andauert.

Ganz kurz noch was zur technischen Entstehung des Interviews. Dirk und ich haben ganz normal so aufgenommen, wie wir auch bei Kulturindustrie immer aufnehmen – verbunden per Skype und jeder nimmt seine Spur auf. Am Ende des Gesprächs stellte sich dann aber raus, dass es bei Dirk einen technischen Fehler gab. Seine Spur war also verloren. Anstatt aber das ganze Gespräch neu zu führen, haben wir pragmatisch (höhö) etwas neues probiert; Ich habe Dirk meine Seite der Aufnahme geschickt und er hat meine Fragen einfach noch einmal neu beantwortet. Das Ergebnis ist jetzt also eine Art Frankenstein-Interview. Meine Fragen, im gleichen Fluss wie sie im Originalgespräch gestellt wurden und Dirks zeitversetzte Antworten dazu.

Kulturindustrie 012 – The Shape of Water, Bingo Love, MGMT – Little Dark Age

Themen: “The Shape of Water”, Guillermo del Toros Film über Liebe zwischen einer Frau und einem Fischwesen; “Bingo Love”, Tee Franklin und Jenn St-Onges Comic über Liebe, die die Jahrzehnte überdauert und “Little Dark Age”, das neue Album der Band MGMT.

The Shape of Water – 0:50
Bingo Love – 15:07
Little Dark Age – 32:22
Empfehlungen (mit Hörerempfehlung) – 45:27

9 Jahre Real Virtuality

In dieser Woche wird Real Virtuality neun Jahre alt. Ich wollte das nur kurz erwähnen, für mehr ist keine Zeit. Ich weiß, dass das Blog, abgesehen von einem Post über die Kommunikationsarbeit von Magic: The Gathering seit etwa einem halben Jahr nur noch aus Verweisen auf Dinge besteht, die ich anderswo schreibe oder aufnehme. Das tut mir selbst ein bisschen leid. Aber vielleicht kommen ja auch wieder andere Zeiten (sagte er sechs Wochen vor der Geburt seines ersten Kindes).