The events planned for autumn 2006 aim to make a topic both out of Beckettís perception of the city, as well as vice versa, Beckettís reception by the city. The »Beckett in Town« project encompasses two exhibitions, one symposium with a corresponding publication and further accompanying complementary events. The project is also interlinked with several other Beckett-events in Hamburg.
In pursuing the idea of examining the early twentieth century
major city as a source of inspiration to Beckett, we are devoting
ourselves to the overwhelming diversity of Beckettís
artistic interests: theatre, museum, cinema, music hall, radio,
architecture, etc. All his life, the author was an »eminent
pedestrian« (Leslie Stephens), who did not only walk
for hours through the town or the countryside (a popular pastime
in artist circles), but who rather delved into the dense tangles
of urban culture as the »Eye of Prey« (Beckett).
By turning our attention to Beckett as a passionately beholding and experiencing pedestrian, we would like to examine the process of artistic invention on the one hand, but on the other we also aim to increase our consciousness of Beckett as a critical observer of his time. Possibly this presentation of an immensely diverse and open-minded contemporary who was interested in everyday culture will refute the cliché that is still so popular today, of an ascetic Beckett who lived utterly detached from the world.
In his diary, he recorded all of his visits to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and he commented on the increasingly restrictive national-socialist culture politics in artistic circles, as experienced by the »Hamburg Secession« group, which was already forbidden in 1936. It was thanks to private contacts that he gained access to the closed-off sections of the Kunsthalle and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe. He was further confronted with national-socialist ideology in everyday life, on his walking tours through the city, in the boarding house, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper and while drinking his evening beer.
These experiences were to be examined from a variety of perspectives
in the »Beckett in Town« project.