Sunday, November 25, 2012

HERE'S HERR RICHARD KÜNZEL! (First of five parts) (October 03, 2011)

Last 28 August, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe turned 262!

And we celebrated his birthday by centering on the cultural center named after him -- Goethe-Institut -- whose Manila office has every reason in saying dream on and danke!

This year, Goethe-Institut Philippinen is enjoying its 50th anniversary as theGerman language ranks among the ten most widely spoken in the world with 120 million mother tongue speakers and 17 million foreign students.

In January, Goethe Institut launched City Scapes – Reports from the Invisible City wherein monthly updates were given by a journalist, a blogger, and a photojournalist. There was REELtimeREAL, a documentary film workshop from February to November for 25-40 year old Filipino filmmakers.Translating Hip Hop gathered hip-hoppers from Manila, Bogotá, Beirut, Nairobi and Berlin. Philippine rep rappers included such Tribu artists as Shielbert Manuel, who did our “Magtanim Ay Di Biro Rap” in our Palay, Bigas, Kanin project with Joey Ayala. The said German-Franco-Japanese collaboration catapulted to Rap in Tondo 2 last 16 to 26 May at the Museo Pambata. Then, there was Composers' Lab, a portrait concert last March 5 to 11 at the University of the Philippines College of Music with German composer Prof. Dieter Mack of the Musikhochschule Lübeck and the Ensemble Selisih.For the Leipzig International Art Programme, a Filipino artist Leslie de Chavez was chosen. May, too, saw Thunderstorm, an audio-visual exhibition at the Ayala Museum. Lakbayin Natin ang Europa at the Museo Pambata is designed to experience a European cultural summer from April to June.

Last 7 April, Goethe-Institut celebrated its 50th birthday here with the German Ambassador Christian-Ludwig Weber-Lortsch. In honor of 150-year old Jose Rizal, the Philippine Postal Corporation came up with the Goethe Institut's 50thanniversary stamps last 19 June with designs paying homage to Rizal’s legacy with Gerardo de Leon's Noli Me Tangere (1961) being shown from 16 to 21 June at SM Cinemas. It was followed in 26 to 28 August by the 5thInternational Silent Film Festival at the Shang Cineplex and, from 8 September to 2 October, by the 14th Cine Europa. Literary Whisky Tastingat the German Club in Makati City served as a prelude to its participation in the 32nd Manila International Book Fair last 14 to 18 September at the SMX Convention Center.

Now, all 18 winning titles and 164 nominees of the German Photo Book Award 2011 are on exhibit at the National Library until 20 October. Also, ongoing is Germany For Beginners, a showcase of 26 life-size letters as an alphabetic promoting of the German culture at the 400-year old University of Santo Tomas. On 7 October, Mabuhay Germany, an annual flagship event, will take place at Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City.

On 31 October, its collaboration with Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Arte (LIRA) will end. Tulaan sa Facebook 2011, subtitled Rizalstrasse, or “Rizal Street” in English, focuses on Rizal's life and works in Germany using diona, an indigenous Filipino poetic form. For details, please check We will reveal the Tulaan sa Facebook winners, as we wait for the 2ndScience Film Festival on 8 to 23 November and Das Vertraute im Fremden / Foreign- Familiar, an exhibition in a European context curated by WolfgangBellwinkel, on 10 to 20 November at the Shangri-la Edsa Mall.

Oktoberfest is high time to propose a toast and roast the unassumingÜbermensch behind the Goethe-Institut Philippinen.

Prost, Herr Richard Künzel!

Vim Nadera: Mr. Künzel, what are the things that can make stay in our country?
Richard Künzel: A low degree of negative bureaucracy (compared to all countries of my former postings) – A pleasant climate and – more than “things” – the humans in the Philippines. - The good quality massages that keep me healthy.

VN: What are the things that can make leave our country?
RK: Unnecessary exhaust by cars (especially jeepneys) as a result of wrong city planning according to the American idea of giving priority to car traffic. I do miss Europe’s urban and long distance rail traffic, which allows me a comfortable moving around, knowing when I’ll be arriving and generating an infarct-free road traffic.

VN: What are the things that make you feel at home away from home?
RK: My house with garden in Urdaneta Village. May work in the Goethe-Institut.

VN: Please tell us something about your beloved Leverkusen.
RK: Leverkusen to me is not really a beloved city: it’s an industrial city without an exciting landscape around except for the river Rhine. But Leverkusen is the place where I was raised (no doubt about it) and where my parents and grand parents are resting in peace. I love the forest in and around the eastern part of Leverkusen; hear I learnt to appreciate the “sound” of trees swaying in the wind.

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