Book Abstracts

The unique works of Andrey Tarkovsky, one of the most innovative film-artists at the end of the modern age, raises fundamental questions concerning the conditions, functions and potential of the medium film, especially its intercourse with music. They evoke reflections of the internal time within the mystery we call recalling. Tarkovsky's art is in an exceptional sense an art of recalling per se - a kind of origin-reviving recalling from which spiritual consciousness can grow.

"Either you live your existence as a consumer and a slave of pretended technological progress, or you find your way back to your own roots in conscience (...) I'm concerned now more than ever with the spiritual qualities, which live inside time..." (A. Tarkovsky)

The author tries to throw light upon what Tarkovsky calls the "sculpturing of time", the polyphonic intonation of all the elements of the medium - landscapes, actors, gestures, noises and silence, cuts and other elements - in a music-like manner. Based on studies, discussions and classes at the film-institute of Cologne University, the Bauhaus-University in Weimar and an intimate dialogue with Tarkovsky's Orphic works themselves, he makes a phenomenological introduction to this unique art.

How free we are? Like an air-ballon, which breaks off from the string, which the boy is holding? Where are we flying to? But are we flying - or not rather falling? The more we observe modern civilization with its abyss foundering between means and aims, between human visions and money-machine/economism, the more strangely does it look back at us... (from the introduction)

With the technological progress the deserts around are also growing. In the money-machine, everybody wants to be constantly and instantly loved by all, but everybody mocks at the same time the sacrifice, the devotion to another. You search more and more restlessly for instant happiness - and feel in every fulfilment only the denial, failure, suffering. Growing prosperity, it seems, fits at the same time with growing destitution. What's going wrong with human civilization, its entire break with nature, as we can observe it, for instance, in the biotechnologies? How could human beings unlearn living - and dying? Are we a superseded model of evolution, an one-track, a disproved trial and error experiment?

In a subterranean dialogue with Hölderlin (and Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, Ernst Jünger and Bataille as well) and in a tragic-erotic experience of existence, these polemical texts tries to show how superfluous our permanent and panic-stricken self-enslavings on the "Global Titanic" really are. Poetic works - "pan-calls and forest-voices" - complete the essay.

In Plato's PHAIDROS (274d-275d) King Ammon answers the great Theuth, the mythical inventor of counting and writing: "These inventions will cause memory to sink into oblivion. Because human beings will then only trust the external signs and forget to inwardly remind themselves directly..."

The art of memory and anamnesis as the source of art, philosophy and culture are the themes of this phenomenological treatise. The first part aims at a deconstruction of contemporary opinion that memory is primarily a technical matter, only a computer-like input-output-model. It is an attempt to revive the experience that Platonic anamnesis - the astonishing re-covery of something that we already knew about in ourselves beforehand - is the "spiritual eye" and as such the root of the philosophia perennis - and the heart of art.

Starting from today's mechanizing engraphic model, the study discusses the fundamental memoria and time experiences of Augustinus' Confessions, Hegel, the phenomenological school in philosophy and art-history (Merlon-Ponty, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Löwith, Warburg et al). An own chapter focuses on the anamnesis philosophy of Plato/Socrates and its sources in the early Greek arts and myths (Homer, Hesiod, Empedocles, Pindar, Aischylos, Sophocles).

At the centre of the second part of the study are the late poems of Hölderlin and his extraordinary experience of memory as the essence of religion as "re-ligari" and a reunion with origin, as the reality of being and the innermost centre of poiesis. His late "Andenken"-poems are given a detailed interpretation that could also throw light on the high status which Hölderlin is accorded in Heidegger's late "letting-be"-philosophy. With Hölderlin, this personalized transition from subject-idealism to a new Dionysian ever-new-coming to world, we can no longer think origin and beginning as a historical/chronological event, but - under the sign of anamnesis as kairos/poiesis - as an ever-present task.

Translation supported by: Thanks to Michael!

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