Focus Poetics of the Public

Grafik Poetik des Publikums
© Julia Praschma

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. "Publikum" 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?