© Michiel Hendryckx

Vanish Beach

A trip to Venice Beach, California 1942. With rolled up trousers, in stiff, well tailored three-piece suits, they are sitting on the beach. A little uncomfortable, a little too hot, a little too European, sitting slightly askew in their American beach-chairs. Four great European beacons of culture, flying Germany’s nazism. Among them Arnold Schönberg, Thomas Mann, Berthold Brecht and Alma Mahler-Werfel. Their conversation on the influence of Goethe on Wagner halts, while they silently watch a Mickey Mouse-balloon floating by over the beach.

Hof van Eede is interested in the various ways German emigrants shaped their European identity in confrontation with the American culture that would become mainstream in Europe in the decades to follow. What happens when the European cult of depth and gravity intersects with the superficiality and fluidity of American consumerism? Did they find existential comfort in their mythical homeland of art and tradition? And did the culture they embodied prove sufficient to give them shelter on the quicksand of the land of opportunities?

Hof van Eede will present a many-voiced conversation – jest, joust, jam-session, lament.