transmediale buzz

The Berlin transmediale is, to my knowledge, one of the very best annual conferences (a “convergence” is more the appropriate word) which exist on Planet Earth.  I was very fortunate to have been able to attend the 2011 sessions, where, among other things, I was able to learn about “book sprints” (whereby a book, having been researched, is collectively authored and printed by 5 or … Continue reading transmediale buzz

Two New Essays on China Beat: Sino-German and Sino-Korean Relations

I’ve got a few more changes in store for Sinologistical Violoncellist in the new year (most of them involving the bass clef and Japan, not necessarily in that order), but in the meantime, readers may appreciate being directed to two longer essays I recently published on China Beat, cited here in modified Chicago style: Adam Cathcart, “Bow Before the Portrait: Sino-North Korean Relations Enter the … Continue reading Two New Essays on China Beat: Sino-German and Sino-Korean Relations

Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

In his compact yet epic collection of short stories entitled Men Without Women, American writer Ernest Hemingway describes an Italian major who, bereft of a limb and then his wife, puts his broken faith in the new machines.  Hope, after all, has to be garnered in some fashion, even when the missing limbs continue to tingle, when one only wishes to stare out the window, … Continue reading Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

New European Perspectives on North Korea

North Korea watchers are having a bit of a dry spell of late: the biggest stories of Kim Jong Eun’s succession are now a year in the rear view mirror, 38North is precisely unlike a good methadone clinic (it acknowledges one’s addiction but is frustratingly irregular in slaking it), the Daily NK keeps churning out pieces about rice prices, and the reliably crotchety, pro-rollback, and … Continue reading New European Perspectives on North Korea

North Korean Metaphor War: Whether Adrift or Storming Forward in the Post-Cold War Epoch, the DPRK Remains Not So Much an Enigma as a Deep Cultural Bunker Into Which One, Generally Speaking, Can Only Enter By Pounding on a Piano

If I had a nickel for everytime I read the words “according to Kim Jong Il’s former Japanese chef” I could buy enough rice to feed entire boatloads of squid fishermen in the sea whose name was called Korea by an Italian in Mongolia in the 1250s. Which is to say that the repetition of data, after certain repetitions, becomes not data at all, but … Continue reading North Korean Metaphor War: Whether Adrift or Storming Forward in the Post-Cold War Epoch, the DPRK Remains Not So Much an Enigma as a Deep Cultural Bunker Into Which One, Generally Speaking, Can Only Enter By Pounding on a Piano

Edward Said as Prose Stylist

I recently was confronted with the absolute revelation of the parallel career of Edward Said, comparative literature professor at New York University and famous analyst of the Arab world, as nothing other than a music critic and musicologist. His Music at the Limits: Three Decades of Essays and Articles on Music includes an introduction by Daniel Barenboim, but it is Said’s writing and grasp of … Continue reading Edward Said as Prose Stylist

Sino-Japanese Sehnsucht

This post is my own small commemoration of July 7 in the Chinese context; it is a bit of a centaur in that the first half is rather traditional scholar-style analysis of what we might call “the politics of memory” in the PRC, while the second half is a somewhat quirky story of frustrated Sino-Japanese love on the train tracks of Frankfurt, Germany.  The latter … Continue reading Sino-Japanese Sehnsucht

Notes on Sino-German Relations

Mark Siemons, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite correspondents in Beijing, has another piece in yesterday’s Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung.  Ironically entitled “Deutschland ist eigentlich ein zweites China in Europa [Germany is truly a second China in Europe],” it reveals a few things of note. Foremost, the Chinese domestic media gave less attention to Wen Jiabao (and his 13 fellow ministers) in Berlin “than … Continue reading Notes on Sino-German Relations

“Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

Today in Berlin, I was cruising through the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, the businessman’s preferred paper, for German response to the Wen Jiabao visit when I ran across an article so completely fascinating that I decided to translate it for inclusion on the blog, as it actually adds something new to the giant slapping waves of somewhat repetitious commentary in the area of China’s relations with Germany. … Continue reading “Hitler’s Stomach” in Beijing: A Review

News from Berlin

First, thanks to everyone who came out today to hear my Berlin recital.  I had a great time playing the Brahms Sonata No. 1 in E, and Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces and Five Pieces in Folk Style, with my pianist and collaborator Andreas Boelcke, at whose Piano Academy Berlin I have been in residence for the past few days for intensive rehearsals. I would anticipate having … Continue reading News from Berlin