Focus Dark Magic

Grafik Dark Magic
(c) Julia Praschma

The 21st century is here, and yet the Enlightenment still seems incomplete. Is it ever? Rather, it is making volte-face. Mysticism seemed to have disappeared for a while and is coming back to us.

In Dark Magic, the Center for Literature confronts the dark, magical forces that guide us, sometimes invisibly, sometimes visibly. And are often enough the flip side of the light.

Not least through technologies: our smartphones, tablets, watches connect us to a sphere we can't even see. Data are transmitted, spied on, evaluated/re-evaluated and come back to us - as SPAM mail, shopping recommendations, hate postings. "There is something occult about the Web, a physically affective and telepathic space, reminiscent of the spiritualist movements," writes Kenneth Goldsmith.

Consequently, 19th century séances and tarot games with motifs of the Weimar Republic will be among the formats on Hülshoff.

The dead always seem close to us in our individual daily lives and in our dreams, sometimes almost closer than the living. Yet haunting and horror in literature, film, and other arts have always been crystallizations of social anxieties as well.

In both artistic and scholarly research projects, the Center for Literature explores the haunting of the present. How can our cultural heritage, which was most recently restaged in the European Year Of Cultural Heritage, be understood at all without its shadowy sides, the many dead, colonialism, wars, concentration camps? How can we talk to the dead? And why should talking to the dead preclude us from celebrating our lives?

In participatory writing projects, hauntological music workshops, and the remaking of silent and other haunted films, these questions will elicit more answers from us than we have. I beg your pardon? "Is it possible to give what one does not have?" (Jacques Derrida)

But also falling under the focus Dark Magic are loneliness and - associated with it: Depression. How does literature delve into the anxieties, the tunnel vision of depressed people?