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  "Avenidas" by Eugen Gomringer: Avenues to Nowhere – Culture | Bit Updates
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"Avenidas" by Eugen Gomringer: Avenues to Nowhere – Culture

Friday, January 26th, 2018 | bitcoin updates


In these atmospherically heated days, there will be people who see a direct connection between Eugen Gomringer and Dieter Wedel. Where some, they think, carry the blame of intellectual arson with their "Avenidas" poem, the other acted criminally in the air of sexism. Because of this every reasonable measure is lost, it is doubly bad that the Academic Senate of the Berlin Alice Salomon College just now decided to banish the eight written in Spanish lines of the Father of Concrete Poetry from the south facade of the building. In English they read: "Avenues / avenues and flowers / flowers / flowers and women / avenues / avenues and women / avenues and flowers and women and / an admirer". The Asta recognized in it, cute with gender asterisks, not just a "classic patriarchal art tradition in which women * are exclusively the beautiful muses that inspire male artists to creative acts, it also reminds unpleasantly of sexual harassment that women * face every day are". What began as a local farce has become a drama of national significance, and no one can be happy about its outcome. The Asta has shown how little he is willing to tolerate in his gender sensitivity: it has demonstrated a strength that is in truth a weakness. The university administration has shown how little it is willing to tolerate controversy, especially since it has awarded its 2011 Poetics Prize to the now 93-year-old Gomringer, who has never before had similar remarks. Now, other award winners will decorate the façade alternately. Sensitivity is sensitivity. You can objectify it only conditionally at the same time it is unlikely that the price will ever get back on its feet. The House of Poetry, which had previously hosted him, announced his cooperation; the entire jury, insofar as they did not belong to the university, resigned. Thomas Wohlfahrt, the head of the House of Poetry, was also shocked that Eugen Gomringer had neither apologized nor revised his sexism allegations. Who is helped? Sensitivities are sensitivities. One can objectify them only conditionally. But when it comes to the balancing of public goods such as the freedom of art, pure feelings are fatal. They have to be socially negotiated, more so than in private relationships. The ubiquitous suspicion of sexism in this regard is something like the secularized descendant of the blasphemy reproach – only that one can now go surprisingly far in the attack on religious beliefs. Into the inter-gender cohabitation creeps for more and more an illiberal ideological critical mistrust. To read the Gomringer poem also as a model of heteronormative tyranny completely overshadows the bow. The general dam replaces the concrete charge. This contributes more to the split between the sexes and sexual identities than any real personality.

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