A bit more on Friedlaender

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#1 Mon, 1996-10-28 05:03
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A bit more on Friedlaender

Salomo Friedlaender's philosophical journey takes us to the centre of human existence and to the sun he wishes to see at its centre, in keeping with the Copernican worldview. Sun Ra's NO POINT, on the other hand, has Utopian characteristics (Greek: u = no, and topos = point). His philosophical itinerary describes the "nowhere-home" of outer space by leaving the Earth far behind ("this is not my planet"). Sun Ra moves as naturally in the omniverse as do mere mortals between the suburbs of their hometown. The motto of the Art Ensemble of Chicago establishes a connection between the oldest rituals of African cultures and such Utopias: "From the ancient to the future".

Although Friedlaender and Sun Ra have followed opposite directions in their thinking, they arrive at the same destination. This is apparent even in the titles of their works: the "I-heliocentre" of Friedlaender and Sun Ra's "Heliocentric Worlds", or Sun Ra's poetic work "Immeasurable Equation" and Friedlaender's polaristic opus "Creative Indifference", or "The Magic I" (Sun Ra) and "Das magische Ich" (Friedlaender).

Although the text material in NULL SONNE was largely written by Friedlaender, and that of NO POINT by Sun Ra, there are many analogies between the two plays. This, however, is not intended as proof of congruence between the two philosophical systems. Yet it is a fact that both of them stem from a deep dissatisfaction with the state of the world: Friedlaender the Jew, in the era of the Holocaust, Sun Ra, a black man in a society distinguished by a repressive tolerance. Friedlaender and Sun Ra have drawn their conclusions by declaring the Earth a meaningless battleground which they rise, self-assuredly, above, assessing the world by their own standards from an individual state of suspension (Friedlaender: "Only by floating can one trust the abyss"), and refusing to acknowledge death (Sun Ra: "Give up your death"; Friedlaender: "I am the death of the death").

Thus, in every creative moment, NULL SONNE NO POINT becomes a funeral rite for a shoddy death and a celebration of the life lived. The score encourages each musician to begin from point zero and discover something new.

Salomo Friedlaender/Mynona (1871-1946), - philosopher, poet, bohemian

Until 1933 Friedlaender lived as a private scholar and well-known eccentric in Berlin. The Nazi take-over forced him to flee to Paris where he died penniless. Only a fortuitous coincidence prevented his deportation (and that of his wife) to Auschwitz. As a philosopher, he is an adherent of systematic Neo-Kantanianism. Influenced by Stirner, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, he arrived at a strictly polaristic worldview outlined in the principal work of his Berlin years, "Schoepferische Indifferenz" (Creative Indifference, 1918). His most important works after his emigration, "Ich-Heliozentrum" (I-heliocentre) and "Das magische Ich" (The magic I) are unpublished.

In the area of fiction, he is regarded as the inventor of the grotesque tale. Until the 1930s, he published hundreds of his grotesque stories under the pseudonym Mynona, the inversion of "anonym" (anonymous), in all the relevant Expressionist and Dadaist magazines. He is regarded as an important forerunner of the Dada movement and an influence on its development. His bibliography includes some 40 philosophical and literary publications.

NULL SONNE commemorated the 50th anniversary of his death.