October 12, 2009

Obsession of the moment: Antikörper / Antibodies

Antikorper/Antibodies, by Dirk Huelstrunk and BrandStiftung

Antikorper/Antibodies, by Dirk Huelstrunk and BrandStiftung

Antikorper/Antibodies, by Dirk Huelstrunk and BrandStiftung

Back when I was a writer myself, one of the highlights of my career was my chance to do two big book tours of Germany, real life-changing experiences that forever altered the way I look at the arts; and one of the people who helped out the most during those tours was Dirk Huelstrunk, one of the founders of the Frankfurt Poetry Slam and the host of a local radio show dedicated to experimental projects. I had the luck to be able to return the favor when Dirk did his own book tour of the US in the early 2000s; and now he's coming back for his second tour, and has put together a new experimental book of his own to mark the occasion. Named Antikörper (Antibodies in English), it contains both the German and English versions in the same publication (translations by Fred Bergmann), with the reader flipping the book either rightside-up or upside-down depending on which language they prefer; reflecting this playing-card layout, then, is a series of bizarre medical illustrations by Mainz artist BrandStiftung that go along with each piece, symmetrical in nature so that they look the same no matter which direction you hold the actual book.

The entire thing was put out by yet another Frankfurt friend of mine*, visual artist Kerstin Lichtblau, on her new small press Lichtblau Verlag ("Light Blue Publishing" -- and yes, "Light Blue" actually is her real last name); you can stop by the website for more details and ordering information, and of course Frankfurt residents can find the book around town at a series of locations and live events. Like I said, Dirk is just about to go on a major American tour this fall, and will be performing all over the US midwest; definitely check out his website for more, and I encourage you to check him out if he ends up performing in your town. It's a great little book by friends I admire very much, and I recommend picking up a copy if you ever have the chance.

*Why yes, I made a lot of artistic friends in Frankfurt during my two trips there in the early 2000s; and in fact, I found the city itself to be a real hotbed for the experimental arts, despite its reputation within Germany itself for being the home of bankers and other boring yuppies. If you ever find yourself in Germany and on the lookout for cities with great art scenes, I highly recommend stopping by Frankfurt for at least a short visit.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 12:38 PM, October 12, 2009. Filed under: Arts news | Literature | Profiles |