FUTURE WAGNER

Two artists and one scholar, three perspectives on Richard Wagner’s legacy for German and Afican diasporic futures. The cooperative project of Philipp Khabo Koepsell and Susan Arndt scrutinises an often neglected part of the reception of Bayreuth’s most famous citizen: Wagner’s colonialist fantasies. Just as much as Hitler’s adoration of Wagner’s music was in line with its völkisch agenda and his antisemitistic brochure “Das Judenthum in der Musik”, Wagner’s  being a leitmotivic soundtrack of colonialist films corresponds to his colonialist visions of conquering places in Africa and the Americas.

After knowing about his devastating visions of the future of African and Jewish peoples, could we ever feel comfortable again with listening to his music as purely beautiful? What about confronting his visions with a future Wagner did not have in mind? Black scrutinies, abrogations and appropriations of his work?

Philipp Khabo Koepsell’s revisits Wagner’s future, making odd smells and new colours scrutinise and silence Wagner’s wordings and their futures. Afro-German voices, spoken word meets opera, have the last say. A poem by Philipp Khabo Koepsell and a Wagner aria by Lara Sophie Milagro as new „Zukunftsmusik“.

On the outside wall of the room, posters by Paul D Miller continue the project of Black remixing of Wagner. Imagination as intervention into historical truths and their futures. Cards are shiffled anew. Accordingly, motifs from Wagner operas are remixed with the iconography of card games — in itself a citation of popular culture.

This spectacle of Black remixing of Wagner finds ist close in DJ Spooky’s electronic rearrangement of „The Ride of Valkyres“ – another must have heard!

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