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Stifter's Dinge

Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868) is hardly known in the English-speaking world, but in Germany his novels and stories are prized for their descriptions of the natural world, which are almost painterly paint·er·ly  
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a painter; artistic.

2.
a. Having qualities unique to the art of painting.

b.
 in their vividness and detail, like the literary equivalent of Caspar David Friedrich's canvases. Stifter's writing is the starting point for Heiner Goebbels' latest theatre piece, in many ways his most extraordinary so far. It is being presented in the cavernous space of P3, now part of the University of Westminster The University of Westminster is a university in London, England, formed in 1992 as a result of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992, which allowed the London Polytechnic (Polytechnic of Central London or PCL) to rename itself as a university. , which was built in the 1960s to test materials for motorway construction and the Channel Tunnel.

That industrial background is very apt for Stifter's Dinge dinge  
n.
Grime or squalor; dinginess.



[Back-formation from dingy1.]

Noun 1.
 (Stifter's Things). Goebbels' work seems to be about ecological catastrophe - Stifter has been hailed as an early green prophet of doom - and the way industrial processes encroach upon and despoil de·spoil  
tr.v. de·spoiled, de·spoil·ing, de·spoils
1. To sack; plunder.

2. To deprive of something valuable by force; rob:
 the natural world that the writer described so meticulously. Goebbels describes it as a "composition for five pianos with no pianists, a performance without performers", but it is also an installation of huge technological intricacy in·tri·ca·cy  
n. pl. in·tri·ca·cies
1. The condition or quality of being intricate; complexity.

2. Something intricate: the intricacies of a census form.

Noun 1.
. There are visual projections of paintings by Van Ruisdael and Uccello, and pre-recorded elements: a typically eclectic Goebbels collection that includes readings from Stifter's novels, songs from Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (păp`ə, –y  and South America, and interviews with Claude Lévi-Strauss and Malcolm X, mixed with bass-heavy rock riffs.

Most of all, there is the "set": five pianos mounted like a wall, which move with menacing slowness over pools of water. The digitally controlled keyboards play individually (Bach's slow Italian Concerto is heard at one point) but they finally join together in a manic toccata toccata (təkä`tə, tō–) [Ital.,=touched], type of musical composition. Early examples were written for various instruments, but the best-known form of toccata originated about the beginning of the 17th cent.  at the climax, before receding to leave the pools bubbling and polluted. Totally mesmerising.

· Until April 27. Details: artangel.org.uk
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Apr 19, 2008
Words:285
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