Arts Night

GSA ARTS NIGHT October 3, 2019, 7.00 p.m. – 11.00 p.m.

Hilton Downtown, Portland, OR

“History begins when there are no more people to ask, only sources:” Reading and Discussion with KATJA PETROWSKAJA

7.00 p.m. -8.00 p.m.

Katja Petrowskaja is a Ukrainian-German author, literary scholar, and journalist. She studied Slavic studies and Literary Criticism at the University of Tartu in Estonia, spent the academic year 1994-1995 as research fellow at Stanford University and Columbia University, and received her doctorate in Moscow with a dissertation on the Russian writer Vladislav Khodasevich in 1998. She moved to Berlin in 1999, where she has been regularly contributing to Russian language media outlets as well as German language newspapers such as Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the taz. She is well-known for her column “Die west-östliche Diva” which has appeared regularly in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung since 2011.

She garnered wide international acclaim with her book Vielleicht Esther (Maybe Esther), which was published in 2014 with Suhrkamp Verlag and has been translated into more than twenty languages. “An unfinished family history” in which Petrowskaja “writes about her journeys ... reflecting on a fragmented and traumatised century, and placing her focus on figures whose faces are no longer visible” (Suhrkamp). For an excerpt from its fifth chapter, titled “Vielleicht Esther,” she was awarded the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2013. For Vielleicht Esther she also received the Ernst-Toller-Preis and the Aspekte-Literaturpreis in 2014, and the Premio Strega Europeo (for its Italian translation) in 2015. In 2014 Vielleicht Esther was also nominated for the prestigious Leipziger Buchpreis.

Lutz Dammbeck: ART AND POWER

8.00 p.m. -9.00 p.m.

The DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst hosts (East) German film director and media artist Lutz Dammbeck, with the support of the Deutschlandjahr program. Arts Night will feature three short films, introduced by Seth Howes, author of Moving Images on the Margins: Experimental Film between Media in Late Socialist East Germany (forthcoming with Camden House) and followed by a Q&A with the artist.

Metamorphoses I

(Metamorphosen I, GDR, 1978, 7 min., color, experimental, no dialog)

In 1976-1977 Dammbeck and painter Frieder Heinze planned Tangenten I, a mixed-media exhibition, for which they would collaborate on a film combining non-camera animation with 35mm footage of a train ride in Dresden. When the exhibit was banned in 1978, Dammbeck continued working on the film alone. Metamorphes I was one of the first experimental films to be shown publicly in the GDR.


(GDR, DEFA, 1981, 15 min., color, animation, EN ST)

Mutants live on a hermetically sealed, devastated planet. The Dominator, a huge black birdman, celebrates free-falling. Other creatures, including Einmart, try to imitate him, but their flight is restricted. With a rich visual world supported by musique concrète and masterly references to Buñuel and Tarkowski, Einmart set a new bar for East German animation.

Homage to La Sarraz

(Hommage à La Sarraz, GDR, 1981, 12 min., b&w, experimental, EN ST)

The Leipzig-based Herbstsalon artists’ group is relocated to La Sarraz Palace in Switzerland, where leading European avant-garde filmmakers met to discuss the philosophical and political potential of independent cinema in 1929. Alongside this avant-garde film history, Dammbeck’s images and sounds from both the Nazi past and the socialist present suggest certain analogies.

Chervona Concert

9.00 p.m. -11.00 p.m.

With cash bar and snacks.

CHERVONA, Portland’s best Central and Eastern European party band, is a unique multicultural ensemble with Russian, Armenian, Jewish, Italian, Brazilian, German, Argentinean, and Kazakh roots. Three band members hail from the former USSR, and the rest were born in the United States. In old Slavonic, “chervona” means red and beautiful, something obvious in their play and sartorial choices. Mixing the best Gypsy, Russian, Ukrainian, klezmer and Balkan musical traditions, Chervona brings the fire of Eastern European carnivals to the land of America.

The band started in November of 2006. Public appearances in and around Portland gained them popularity in their hometown and beyond. They have since played thousands of shows at street fairs, clubs, and on big stages throughout the US and Canadian Northwest

Chervona’s repertoire includes traditional 19th-century hits with a Gypsy, Russian and Eastern European flavor. They easily adapt pieces from a diverse number of cultures and are constantly composing original material as well. Their songs have been described as “funny, sarcastic, educational, socially conscious and beautiful.” They sing in English, Russian, Spanish, Polish and German.

In Deli Magazine Pat Moran writes, “Chervona is what happens when you blend Soviet Bloc drinking songs with American punk and throw in an accordion” and “what stands out the most about the band is Chervona’s lack of reliance on flimsy kitsch. They are adamant about being seen not as another band that uses its Eastern European heritage as a gimmick. Rather, they set out to make the best possible music they know how, regardless of their background.”


*** All Arts Night events are free of charge and are made possible with generous contributions by the German Studies Association and the German Academy in New York***