Things to do on a Sunday in Munich…

1. Find where nature and culture (river and engineering) slam into each other in a passionate wave. Ride it.

Observations: To enjoy it at all, you have to be good. Some of these guys (and women) are really good. If you stay up for more than the first couple of seconds, you’re in. 15 seconds, you’re good. 25 seconds, you’re great. A minute would be awesome; I didn’t see it, but some came close (into the 40s). Finally, when  you gotta go down, find a graceful way to do it.

2. Watching it is pretty captivating. I ask my film students, when we talk about affect, to pay attention to where in their bodies they feel a film event. Watching these surfers I feel my whole gut, throat and chest down to intestines and legs, tense and vibrate. If I went with it, I’d go into some altered, kundalini-activated state. But if you’re Bron Taylor and do surfing spirituality studies, this is a great fieldwork op. (Bron will be in Munich as a Rachel Carson fellow next year, so I hope he’ll do it.) More here.

3. When you’ve had enough, walk around the block to the Haus der Kunst and see the brilliant collection of film and video works on war and post-war trauma in the building’s former air raid shelter basement — by a star-studded cast including Harun Farocki, Mona Hatoum, William Kentridge, Marcel Odenbach, Tracey Moffatt, and others. Almost all are very good; some, like William Kentridge’s Tide Table, Sven Johne’s Tears of the Eyewitness, and Anri Sala’s Nocturnes (below), are excellent, and the curatorial decisions — like putting Oscar Muñoz’s Biografias — in the shower room, genuinely inspired.

Then see the Tierisch exhibit (of becoming-animal art) upstairs, the Theatergarden Bestiarium (Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall, Glenn Branca, and others) on the main floor, and if you still have anything left in you — money included (it’s 10 euros) — give obsessive-compulsive cosmologist Matt Mullican’s Organizing the World a try. The man really needs his own planet, preferably not too close to ours, but until then, when a huge gallery gives him as much space as this you can at least get a good sense of what that planet would look like.

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