Artist talk and concert: Markus Hoffmann in conversation with Elshan Ghasimi

Artist talk and concert: Markus Hoffmann in conversation with Elshan Ghasimi

Dear friends of all genders,

I am pleased to invite you to the concert and artist talk between the sculptor Markus Hoffmann and the composer and virtuoso Elshan Ghasimi on the 31st of March, starting at 7 pm.

The venue and occasion for the meeting is the exhibition Solstice and Clock: Humanity's exit from self-incurred immaturity by Markus Hoffmann, curated by Annalena Amthor at the HOTO Gallery in Berlin Kreuzberg. Hoffmann - full of intuition and with a sense for bridging cultural distances - invited Ghasimi to interpret his 2017 film Elephant Forest, shot in the nuclear exclusion zone of Chernobyl, in the language of classical Persian music.

We look forward to seeing you!

Julian Malte Hatem Schindele



Date: 31st of March
Doors: 7 pm / Start: 8 pm
Ticket price: 12 Euro (box office only)
Venue: HOTO Gallery, Bergmannstr 109, 10961 Berlin



Photo credit: Milos Djuric

Film still Elephant Forest, 2017

Elephant Forest
4k 2-Kanal Film
Cinematography Cornelius Diemer, Ton Julius Holtz

The 2-channel film which was shot in the Nuclear Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl completes the exhibition and brings the fundamental questions around mankind’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity back into mind. Shot in 2017, today, in light of the war unleashed by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, the film shows seismic sensitivity and recurring actuality as a fundamental quality of Markus Hoffmann’s artworks.

At the film's beginning, the artist is rubbing two coconut shells against each other while seemingly capturing or attempting to control the flames and sparks like a sorcerer indicating an omen or losing control of what the viewer is about to see. By looking directly at the viewer, he moreover projects their implication. The camera is leading us down a seemingly never-ending corridor, like a gateway to the yet unknown omen. The hallway is almost completely deserted, only the sudden appearance of abstract sounds and a few men in lab coats indicate an eerie element; this corridor inside the nuclear plant is the "golden corridor" that hundreds of people used to escape when the nuclear disaster occurred in 1986.

During the film, the artist approaches the site in a series of performative acts, such as the gambling-like ritual in which Hoffmann kneels in the middle of a circle and moves 3 coconuts, uncovering a fossil at the end, addressing that the fossils of the future are the radioactive substances we produce. The circle is also found in the modification of the Japanese flag, which symbolises the sun. According to astrophysical definition, the sun is a nuclear reactor and can therefore be read as its symbol. In the film, the human hand lets the flag fall to the ground like the sun falling to earth, an analogy of the Chernobyl catastrophe; what happens when this nuclear power slips out of our hands?

Other sequences portray the decommissioned power plant itself as well as the seemingly peaceful landscape, in which only particular posed objects like white coconuts hint at the fact that something is off. The coconut - a recurring object in Hoffmann’s practice – has lost its function due to the radiation that made it inedible and turned into somewhat of a scientific bio-indicator. The coconut with its 3 marks can furthermore be read as a representation of the Hindu trinity of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the protector) and Mahesh (the destroyer).

This triangle symbolizes the necessary energy and the catastrophic ramifications of the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. Switching between colour and black-and-white scenes, sound and silence, the film fathoms the place and time itself. Changing between film and video sculpture, the work shows the importance of when something is rather than merely what it is.

Photo credit: Milos Djuric

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Goethe in exile and Radīf at home

Goethe in exile and Radīf at home

Dear friends of high cultures,

On the 4th of March at 8:30 pm, Elshan Ghasimi will play at the finishing event of the highly recommended series and exhibition Tracing Movement(s) in Uncertain Times. This is organised by the Goethe in Exile programme of the Goethe Institute. It is nomadic and currently located at ACUD MACHT NEU in Berlin-Mitte.

The series focuses on Iran, our dear Persia, today, tomorrow and yesterday, reflecting and shaping the zeitgeist itself. The concert will be preceded by a reading of poetry by the Iranian poet SAID at 7 pm. Admission to both events is free - thanks to Goethe. Please come early if you are interested.


More information

More on the SAID reading

More on the concert by Elshan Ghasimi

Price: Free admission


ACUD Studio
Veteranenstraße 21
10119 Berlin

Video still (concert)
© Heiko Volkmer & Lou van Houtte // worksaboutcontact

Radīf at home

I am also very pleased to announce, that the concert recording of the world premiere of Elshan Ghasimi's Radīf interpretation on the 10th of November 2022 is available online. Enjoy the concert by clicking on the video above, or click on the video below, if you want to first listen to the introductory and contextualising speeches by the British music critic Michael Church and the director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art), Stefan Weber.

The first chapter of the systematic and comprehensive reinterpretation of the system of Persian art music has begun. As artistic director of the project and of Bublitz, my thanks go first and foremost to the composer and musician Elshan Ghasimi, who has set out to preserve and renew an important piece of world culture. Special thanks also go to the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art) as a partner, the Bode Museum and the State Institute for Music Research as hosts, as well as to all the sponsors and our wonderful audience.


With warmest regards,

Julian Malte Hatem Schindele

Video still (speeches)
© Heiko Volkmer & Lou van Houtte // worksaboutcontact

The concert series is a Bublitz project and a production in cooperation with the Museum für Islamische Kunst (Museum of Islamic Art) at the Pergamon Museum of the State Museums in Berlin.

The concert series is supported by:

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Obituary for Reinhard Knodt

Obituary for Reinhard Knodt

Dear Sir or Madam,


the philosopher and writer, our friend Reinhard Knodt, has died.

In recent years, Reinhard was an important companion. Parallel to the exhibition cycle MYTHOPOESIS, he designed the monolithic lecture series God laughs. On a Secret Polytheism of Our Time. Thus, under the playful, never entirely unserious title of in-house-philosopher', he became one of the first exegetes and commentators on our work.

We thank Reinhard for everything shared and the correspondence. Hand in hand with grief and loss, we stand at his epitaph on which may be written, "Well then! Once more!"

Copyright: Norbert Mebert and Thor van Horn

Gholam Reza Hajatpour and Harald Seubert have found the following beautiful words, at least suggestive of a life, on behalf of the Academy for West-East Dialogue of Cultures initiated by Reinhard Knodt. We would like to share them with you.



Dear Academy Members

Early in the morning of 20 December we lost our friend Reinhard Knodt. A short illness preceded him. No one had expected this death, at this much too early time. The death came shockingly abruptly, suddenly and painfully. Only a short time before, we had spoken with Reinhard. We wanted to meet each other. Some of his friends will have similarly abrupt waking memories. Reinhard had spoken about death and dying again and again, in the membranous opening to the world beyond, which is second nature to spiritual, artistic people.


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