Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The Birth of Tragedy”

July’s reading: An excerpt from Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy

Wednesday, 13 July 2011
LIFT (1137 Dupont)
7 PM

Tomonari Nishikawa in attendance

In conjunction with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto’s summer residency, visiting artist Tomonari Nishikawa has been invited to select a reading in relation to filmmaking practice. Nishikawa’s 2003 film Apollo will be screened as part of the evening’s discussion.

One of Friedrich Nietzsche’s earlier works, The Birth of Tragedy mines classical Greek theatre and the music of Richard Wagner for a life affirming theory of being. Nietzsche was working in response to a pervasive social nihilism that had risen up in the gap between traditional religious ways of thinking and modern science as ways of explaining the world. In art, Nietzsche believed, there was a possible “key to renewed human flourishing for a humanity bereft both of the consolations of religious faith and of confidence in reason and science as substitutes for it” (Richard Schacht).

Apollo is a hand-crafted film made by various techniques to obtain photographic images on celluloid, and it showcases Nishikawa’s interests in medium, materiality and cinematic apparati, especially the film projector and human visual perception. Nishikawa cites Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy as an influence on this early film work, wherein he attempted to conjure Dionysian characteristics in moving images without a narrative. However, viewing the film as a failure, Nishikawa named the film Apollo. A particular emphasis on the evening’s discussion will be placed on the potential for non-narrative moving images to embody Dionysian qualities.

Participation in No Reading After the Internet is free and open to everyone, regardless of their familiarity with a text or its author. Texts will be handed out at the salon. No pre-reading or research is required. However, if you’d like to preview The Birth of Tragedy beforehand, you can do so here.

Tomonari Nishikawa is a filmmaker and installation artist whose works have been presented internationally, notably at Berlinale, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, EXiS: Experimental Film and Video Festival, MoMA P.S.1, Disjecta Art Space and San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. Nishikawa works as a guest adviser/curator of Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions in Tokyo, and he is one of the co-founders of KLEX: Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film and Video Festival in Malaysia, for which he works now as a festival adviser. He currently teaches at Cinema Department, Binghamton University.

The event is presented by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto.