culture’s shadow

Der lange Schatten von Kultur
Tonight the opening of this year’s EthnoFilmFest in Munich (16 through 20 November 2011) will take place at the Völkerkundemuseum [Ethnological Museum]. The festival, and Munich meanwhile being renowned for visual anthropology, is largely due to the work of my colleague, friend, and teacher Frank Heidemann. Now that I have duly paid my compliments, it’s time for an anecdote.
    Frank’s not only active behind the scenes, but had his own television series, starring himself, ‘Der lange Schatten von Kultur’ [Culture’s long shadow], which aired on BR-alpha, but unfortunately isn’t available online at the moment.
    While the series was still in pre-production, Frank one day strolled into our little kitchen at the institute, beaming all over his face. He was so happy, he told us, because finally he had found the right title for his television series—culture’s long shadow.
    At this moment Paul, another colleague present, coffee-mug in hand, intentionally displaying a bit of a thousand-yard stare, began to quote Viennese satirist Karl Kraus (1874-1936): ‘When culture’s sun has sunken low, even dwarfs are casting long shadows.’ [‘Wenn die Sonne der Kultur niedrig steht, werfen selbst Zwerge lange Schatten.’]
    It was for the very first time in ten-or-so years that I saw Frank at a complete loss for words :-)

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