LUDWIG VAN — BTHVN: Hommage à Mauricio Kagel (2020)

LUDWIG VAN — BTHVN: Hommage à Mauricio Kagel
Single-Channel, Duration: 3″ 01′ Min.


Beethoven war ein glühender Anhänger der Werte der französischen Revolution:
Freiheit, Gleichheit, Brüderlichkeit.

Das Jubiläumsprogramm setzt sich mit Beethovens gesellschaftskritischen Positionen auseinander — ebenso wie mit seiner universellen Bedeutung und den verschiedenen politischen Vereinnahmungen. Das Thema Völkerverständigung, das Beethoven wichtig war, wird auch das Jubiläumsprogramm prägen.

Migrant Hybridism versus Subalternity: Can the Subaltern Speak German?

The German-speaking discourse distanced itself from postcolonial theory for a long time with the argument that neither Germany nor Austria nor Switzerland were major colonial powers. Only recently, postcolonial theory has received academic attention in the German speaking context through focus on issues like migration, racism, interculturality, and globalisation. Consequently, there is an emerging discussion regarding the consequences of colonialism and postcolonial critique for the German-speaking context. This has given rise to a range of questions like: “Is postcolonial theory relevant and applicable to the German context?”, “Who is the subaltern in Germany and are there subalterns, who speak German?”

It has been proposed that migrants in the postcolonial German-speaking context can be understood to be subalterns, who cannot be heard by the hegemonic dominant culture. Migrants are thereby ‘subalternized’ and strategies are explored for bringing to ar- ticulation of ‘silenced’ minority voices. Here, the intellectual migrants from ‘subaltern groups’ become the spokesperson for the ‘margins’.

Hybridity as “migrant race-mobility”

In the face of international capitalism, Spivak cautions us against the privileging of metropolitan spaces, whereby in our enthusiasm for migrant hybridity and First World marginality, the gendered subaltern is once again silent for us. She warns that with global re-territorializing in the New World Order, migrant reality and globality are taking all the attention of the radical cultural worker in the metropolis. According to her, the trajectories of the Eurocentric migrant poor and the postcolonial rural poor are not only discontinuous but may be, through the chain-linkage that we are encouraged to ignore, opposed. According to her, migrant hybrid identity is an upper class migrant concept and provocatively calls ‘hybridity-talk’ as “migrant race-mobility” (Spivak 1993: 250), whereby she explains that the questions of race and postcoloniality are not necessarily identical. Thus, she emphatically distances herself from migrant hybridism. In an interview she remarks:

Hybrid identity is upper class migrant concept. You know to assume that you have ‘irreducible cultural translation’ in your identity. I have written about it elsewhere. Translation is not that easy. It is quite precise if you look where hybridity is described. In an interview of Homi K. Bhabha it is said that there is always an irreducible translated other culture in the consciousness of the ID and that is not just philosophically and theoretically but also practically and politically not at all an interesting concept and Homi and I are allies and very good friends and therefore based on that friendship we can also be critical and in this respect I am deeply critical of the political implication of it. If you look at it you would see it is quite precise. And in its precision it is, I think, indulgent towards a class subject. Subalternity has nothing to do with cultural translation of any kind. In its much more practical idea of not having access. (Spivak 2002)


Steyerl, Hito (2002): “Can the Subaltern speak German? Postcolonial critique in German context”.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1990): The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, Sarah Harasym (ed.), New York/London: Routledge.