Focus Redemption

Grafik Erlösung
© Julia Praschma

Since September 11, 2001, faith has been back with a vengeance and has once again punctured the boundary between the private and the public. Since then, religion has been instrumentalized again from various sides.

Redemption is the focus under which Burg Hülshoff - Center for Literature deals with questions of religion.

Sometimes this concerns one's own faith - as in the case of Droste-Hülshoff, in whose poems her doubt is powerfully expressed.

Sometimes it is about the faith of others. Who, if not literature, could lead the conversation between different religions as an open one? A conversation, at any rate, that has nothing to do with the identitarian demarcation that determines our current sociopolitical debate.

In literary speech, such fictitious boundaries become recognizable again as fiction - and thus fluid: "Who do you think you are? Who do you think we are? Why do we wear beards, curls, hats, scarves, pants, skirts, rings, crosses, bands around our arms, tattoos? Why do we cover the head? Why we do not cover the head? Why do we take off the shoes? Why we don't take off the shoes? Why do we ask you to take off the shoes?" (Björm Bicker)

CfL also uses its transdisciplinary power in Focus on Redemption. For religion thrives on rituals. How can artists*ing play with existing religious practices? How to dissect them? And how to use them? What masses and prayer sessions emerge when writers write, sing, whisper the sermons? When the incense pendulum is replaced by a glitter pendulum and the iconostasis shows moving images? And when the priest is a priestess - and she in turn is a drag queen poet?

With the help of art, difficult ethical-religious questions are played out. In a 1:1 performance, where someone sits across from me in bed and talks about their own suffering, I start thinking differently about euthanasia. How do we start talking differently after that? And what do we live for as a society? For creation? Redemption? Both?
Under this keyword, Burg Hülshoff - Center for Literature is launching a long-term investigation involving everyone who comes or accompanies us from afar, via the net.

We deliberately mistranslate this focus as Poetics of the public. "Public" would be more like "audience" in English. "The public" invokes the public, that is, the question of what public spaces are like today in the first place.

Audiences are changing. In the past twenty years, the so-called CLASSICAL audience has dissolved, which perhaps only existed for a relatively short time in the still young Federal Republic - and already looked quite different in the GDR.

In no way is something decaying here. On the contrary. Audiences have become more demanding, they are often better educated than they were decades ago, they no longer all have THE SAME background - and they don't just want to be invited to listen and watch.

Burg Hülshoff - Center for Literature researches how literature can be negotiated in a public setting. To do this, it must be presented differently than through water glass readings, where the omniscient poet sits on the podium with a representative of the feuilleton.

Together with artists, partner institutions and visitors, the CfL invents formats that function differently from the outset, that do not shy away from dialogues: neither between the arts and social spheres nor between the people involved.

This is how the Lesebürger*innen project started in 2018: a group of people from Münster and Münsterland who meet regularly - sometimes at the Rüschhaus, sometimes at the castle. BÜRGER*IN also originally comes from BURG. Before an author's reading, the group reads into her novel and talks about the text and biography. The reading citizens then also accompany the event in different roles.

In this way, questions are raised: How can literary events create a public space? And how a conversation about the quality of this public? And - last but not least: Where and how are we public today? In the marketplace? Or on Facebook? Is our data more public than we want to be? Where we are completely public, are we private at the same time? Or only fiction?