2nd Chance

As I learned here Mr. Harold Camping came to the conclusion that the end of the world will come on October 21st – this time for reals. Kim Ayres linked – in a comment at Savannah‘s – to this nice list of doomsdays from 44 until 2011. I am not sure whether it is entirely complete. The Smithsonian Magazine had a story about doomsdays, expectations of the apocalypse, two years ago, still worth a look.
The Bamberger Apokalypse (Ger., Eng.) (images) was listed as Documentary Heritage by the UNESCO in 2004. I wonder whether in another five hundred years Harold’s billboards will be kept in a museum? I doubt.
As desirable the whole fire-brimstone-kill-them-a*holes-thing sometimes seems, it’s just another promise broken. I go and play lotto now, it’s more honest.


From Pidhirzi to Czernowitz

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
(Thank you xl)
As Hunter S Thompson put it, sometimes the energy of a generation forms a fine white flash, and it can be seen for a large distance. SanFrancisco in the middle sixties formed the epicentre of such a fine energy wave and somewhere in Nevada the momentum faded.
The middle 17th century in war-ridden Europe saw various centres from where a kind of cultural wave went out, places like Vienna, Prague, Rome. And in the middle of the Ukraine on a hill 400 meter above sea level you find “the high-water mark, that place where the wave finally broke”.  As you may already know, I talk about the village of Pidhirzi (Ger., Eng.)  in the Oblast Lwiw (Ger., Eng.), 24 kilometers southwest of Brody (Ger., Eng.), direction Lemberg (Ger., Eng.). Lviv, Lwow, Lemberg – it’s all Leopolis by the way, and Unesco world heritage.
In Pidhirzi we find the high-water mark in question, it is the castle “Koniecpolski” (my Polish being not good, but I think it can be given as “Poland’s end”), a palazzo in fortezza, that, according to Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann*, can be rated as culmination of the 1640s’ arcitecture  in Poland – the finest product of the socalled “Palastjahrzehnt”, decennium of the palaces. The total design is inspired by French architectural principles of the time, we find also a French symmetrical garden. Details of the decoration and interior planning are not French, the facade being influenced by Vicenzo Scamozzi (Ger., Eng.), also the design of the windows shows Roman influences, the loggie on both sides of the entrance situation point to Tuscany – in short we see a fine example of late Renaissance, of manieristic arcitecture (Ger., Eng.) as it was developed in the West, East of the Dnjestr ! (Ger., Eng.)
That is truely an example for radiation of cultural energy.
Looking North from the water mark one has a wide panorama of the Volhynian planes (wolhynische Ebene) . Turning South we are in Galizia (Ger., Eng.) and come to the foreland of the Carpaths, the Northern Bukowina (Ger., Eng.) with the main city Czernowitz. (Ger., Eng.) Czernowitz once was called “klein Wien / little Vienna” for its active, lively cultural scene, a lot of writers and artists are connected with this city. At its university a certain Schumpeter (Ger., Eng.) had his first professorship (1909-1911) – immerhin! – whose Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (Ger. only (!)) was written here (the first edition was published 1911 when he was (a disputed!) professor in Graz).
One day I will have the possibility to travel through Europe. A line North to South formed by the rivers Njemen, Bug and Dnjestr forms the Eastern border of my mindmap (Ger., Eng.) of Europe.
*DaCosta Kaufmann, Thomas: Höfe, Klöster und Städte. Kunst und Kultur in Mitteleuropa 1450-1800, Köln 1998, 274ff. Original: Court, Cloister & City. The Art and Culture of Central Europe 1450-1800, London 1995. Highly recommended reading.


Friday night

Friday night and rain. Rain when going through the city to the station, rain on the way, rain from the station to the bus, from bus to house. Cold rain. Last evening with thunder and lightning around the horizon for some hours. I can not remember having heared rolling thunder in this area, and I life here for 25 years – way too long.

Seminar went good this day. Last week we heared about the concept of “cultural heretidge”, the Unesco-thing, and what it’s consequences are. The idea of “culture” on which this is based is mostley and amazingly of an aesthetic nature. Always “beauty” as category, as if the ideas of beauty would not change …
This week’s theme was “cultural historiography” in western Europa, special Germany. The referents worked through their materials, understood something and could report, we had lively discussions. I like when they wake up even on a lazy and sultry Friday afternoon at five. When my job is to moderate the discussion and sip water it is a good session. Next week we’ll have a look at semiotics and frater Humbertus de Bologna.

This seminar can only give an overview, a tour d’horizon. It is meant to give a kind of map, they shall know some marks and have heared about persons, disciplins, theories they will encounter again and again. And because this map through the woods is drawn by me there are other and probably better ones and maybe I follow an individual road. It does not take away from them to look for themselves and for their own ways. But with knowing some points in the landscape its a little easier. I hope some of them will risk to travel on their own.