Introduction: How German Is It?

Mike Hoolboom

Printed in MFJ No. 30/31 (Fall 1997) Deustchland/Interviews

There are some moments for the traveller which are planned -- having consulted the oracles, exhausted the libraries, committed the maps to memory -- one is prepared as never before for that terrifying apparition we deem the future. This issue was not one of those moments. It was occasioned by accident, an unexpected invitation, a sudden flight, and proceeded via Lucerne, Berlin, Bielefeld, Munster and Braunschweig according to a wandering muse. Along the way there were encounters, secret passions, and the old dream of the undiscovered cinema, brave new emulsions raised in barren soil, flourishing in the hot house of its solitary imprimatur. This issue, this chorus of dissent, is the trace of this unschooled journey. So while its residents are joined in a common tongue, each in his and her own way calling Germany home, they are not members of the hit parade, neither exemplars nor the shape of things to come. For few countries can boast an alternative imaging practice as varied or decentered as Germany, which has maintained its margins, and hence its frontiers, in cities large and small, east and west.

There is one of their number, unheralded here, whose restless passion for the motion picture has done much to lift its marginal constituents into the public sphere. His selfless dedication has served as both model and guide, imparting to these small moments the rarest and most unexpected of qualities -- grace. For these and other debts too numerous to mention, this issue is dedicated to Jurgen Bruning.

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Last revised on 03-15-08 by GW