Rainer J. Hanshe
Rainer J. Hanshe
Closing Melodies (2023)
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As the 19th century comes to a close, Friedrich Nietzsche and Vincent van Gogh unknowingly traverse proximate geographical terrain, nearly circling one another like close but distant stars as the philosopher wanders between Nizza, Sils Maria, and Torino, and the painter wanders between Paris, Arles, and Saint-Rémy. In the midst of their philosophical and artistic pursuits, simultaneously, the Eiffel Tower, symbol of artistic progress and industrialization, begins to rise in Paris amidst clamors of protest and praise.
Through intertwining letters written to (& sometimes by) friends, family, and others, the philosopher and painter are brought into ever-greater proximity as we witness their daily personal and artistic struggles. Woven between and interrupting this panoply of voices are a series of intervals, short illuminating blasts, like a camera’s exploding flash powder, of artistic, scientific, political, and other events spanning 1888 to 1890, drawing Nietzsche and Van Gogh in and out of the wider expanses of history.
As construction of the Eiffel Tower comes to completion in Paris and Elisabeth Förster, the sister of the philosopher of the will to power, tries to found a utopic race colony in South America, the lives of Nietzsche and Van Gogh come to their terrible denouements. Her brother now a full-fledged zombie, the former queen of Nueva Germania seizes the reins of his living corpse and rides him into the future.
With no deus ex machina in sight, and none possible, WWI and the terrors and the beauties of the 20th century crack the horizon.