Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Opening of Wieland Museum June 25, 2005

Christoph Martin Wieland (1733 - 1813)



"Religiös völlig indifferent. Politisch reiner Betrachter, bestenfalls vorsichtiger Kommentator. In der Philosophie nicht nur Kant, sondern überhaupt jeder Metaphysik abhold. Ein blitzender Intellekt, der mit verwegen geballten Worten manchmal steife Ideale umkegelt; im Praktischen jedoch katastrophenfeindlich ist: der typische, geistig allem, körperlich wenigem, gewachsene homo sapiens."

                                              - Arno Schmidt: Wieland oder die Prosaformen

"Completely indifferent to religion. In politics only mere observer, at best a careful commentator. In philosophy he avoids not merely Kant, but altogether any kind of metaphysics. A bright intellectual who bowls down at times stiff ideals with his powerfuls words. In practical matters he is an enemy of any apocalyptical and catastrophic thinking: the typical, all spiritual, less physical, mature homo sapien."                                    - Arno Schmidt: Wieland or the Prosa forms


Cultural heritage policy of the Classical Foundation of Weimar: the Wieland museum

The purpose of the museum is to promote Wieland within a space in which he used to live and be active. By having converted it into a museum on the outskirts of Weimar, it contributes as well to the cultural and regional development of the area near Weimar. At the same time, it highlights the existence of a European poet besides Goethe and Schiller.

At his estate numerous discussions took place; writers found there an inspirational place to complete their own manuscripts or how to refine further their own poetry.

Of interest is, therefore, that the museum's concept entails aside from its technical or media features. It includes as well work with the archive in order to gain insights not only into the life and work of this poet, but through him the time he lived in. 

Thus museum pedagogical work applies specifically to tasks, courses and presentations which help especially young people gain in social competences. The latter is needed for they grow up in an ever more complex world.

The pedagogical concept includes course offers in following categories according to information provided on the official website:

1. Visit to the castle Warthausen:
The former court of the muses of the count of Stadion

Zaim is to familiarize the youth with class distinctions which existed at that time (18th century), and this on hand of getting to know manners, hand gestures, and social norms. On hand of this can be understood the significance of Wieland's works as a way to understand and to transgress the social codes of his times.
2. Reading-, language- and dialogue competence
Together with professional actors texts and works of Wieland can be recited, in order to help improve the literarcy of the youth.
3) Getting to know Wieland by walking through the museum

Five topics will be communicated: the biography of Christoph Martin Wieland (room 1); the impact of his writings and poetry (room 2); the time Wieland spend in Biberach where the estate is located (room 3); Wieland's relationshop to Sophie von La Roche, Julie Doneli, Christine Hogel and Anna Dorothea von Hillenbrand (room 4); and the life of Wieland in the mirror of the biography by Arno Schmidt's dialogue-essay „Wieland or the prosa form“ (room 5). This is at the same time a demonstration of how to convey the life and work of a poet.
4) Wieland-Archive
Zielgruppe: Klasse 11 – 12
Archivwork means to trace living memory and to learn how to work with references. This is a prerequisite for any youth wishing to gain in literacy.
5) Wieland and die Französische Revolution
What provoked, haunted and harmed many poets is what positions they took with regards to the French Revolution. This matter shall be examined onhand of the works by Wieland.
6) Wieland, the European period of the Enlightenment and the „Weimar Classic“
The aim of this course is to read signs of a time through what position a poet like Wieland took when discussing and writing with others. Social competence means here to judge the culture of a certain period of time in a much more differentiated way than what is usually the case.

Official website: http://www.wieland-museum.de/


Concept and design

was presented by Prof. Jens Geelhaar, Interactive Design of Bauhaus University at the workshop in Volos 2005

and further details provided in an joint article:

Lars Wieneke, Tobias Weiss, Jens Geelhaar (2005), „From concept to implementation: the project 'Digitales Osmantinum'“ in: Practical Aspects of Cultural Heritage – Presentation, Revaluation, Development. Editor: Sebastian Schröder-Esch. HERMES Project, volume 1. Weimar: Bauhaus University, p. 57 - 73

Some comments to the opening of the Wieland Museum

on June 25th 2005

As presented by Prof. Jens Geelhaar at the recent HERMES workshop on museums held in Volos, June 13/14, 2005, the technical information design for the museum means an i-podster system of gathering and obtaining information. Visitors can go through the museum and be informed, click to get additional information and collect it for a later print-out at the computer terminal in the last room.

A similar system has been installed recently at MOMA in New York. I-podster will mean visual contact mediated by virtual reality in order to make possible experiences over and beyond immediate objects. With this kind of information system the museum wishes to provide insights into the works and life of the poet Wieland. It is clear that this will be made possible without any interference of a museum guides (there will be only one person sitting at the front desk to hand out the i-podsters). People can go through the chronological ordered rooms and acquaint themselves with the poet in his own estate where he lived more than 14 years.

The system has been tested already once and was considered to be a success. But as shown by the MOMA system, there are still some technical difficulties to be resolved. For instance, the Wieland system will have for the moment no video since it would require too big a broad band for the transmission of information, especially if there are many users at the same time. Difficulties may also be in the automatic system providing information according to location but only in a sequence with the visitor going forward and not back.

From an information system point of view much depends on the data bank and how it can be accessed. There are three stereotypes of visitors conceptualized: tourist, interested visitor and expert. The original text to be read in full is always at the bottom of the hierarchy of information (some asked if it should not be the other way around: first the original, then the contextualization and finally interpretations + discussions).

There is also the broader perspective linked to the location of the Wieland museum, namely outside of Weimar and therefore unlikely that many visitors will find their way to it. Unless something else is organized: scientists gathering for meetings (at ground level there is a conference room) or other kinds of study groups (see the concept mentioned by Burkhardt Kolbmueller), the place will not be easily accessible.

Moreover, the Wieland museum comes about due to the benefactor Jan Philipp Reetsma who has been ‘editing’ in particular the political writings of Wieland. Most likely the museum would not have come about without his kind donations. It means, however, that the benefactor had a great deal to say on how the information system was conceived and implanted in the museum by means of the i-podster system.

Mr. Seemann, President of the Foundation Weimar Classic said at the very beginning of the HERMES project attentive to the role of museums when it comes to preserving and promoting cultural heritage by using the new media, that the opening of the museum means a conscious shift away in terms of cultural heritage based on the concept of the Classics. Until now this period has been defined by leading figures such as Goethe and Schiller. In view of European integration, there is a need to give more emphasis to the European dimension as exemplified already by Wieland whose outlooks and writing convey such a tendency. Naturally this shift in cultural heritage policy was made prior to the no-vote in France and Holland to the Constitutional Treaty of Europe.

Still, the information system made available at the Wieland museum seems to suggest from a first impression to have but a very limited horizontal and vertical linkage to poetry, philosophy and political ideas in Europe. Of interest is, however, that there appear contemporaries of Wieland who were either house guests such as Kleist or else they were lecturing at the nearby university like Jacobi in Erfurt. The significance of Jacobi is that he was attacked by Hegel for giving the validity of truth to ‘sinnliche Gewissheit’: the certainty of the senses.

In a way, the Wieland museum could link up to discussions of equal importance to museums and the general public, namely how to face up to the new media world entering more readily and faster virtual reality than what can be imagined vis a vis such management systems of information. To those interested in reflecting the possible validity of Hegel’s denial of Jacobi as the senses not being a source of truth, here the Wieland museum may become a new place of contemplation about the role of our senses in modern life. There is a need for that before things, and in particular due to over emphasis of technical solutions compared with spirited poetic encounters like Günter Grass described in ‘Meeting in Telgte’, would lead again (Hegel’s influence upon political life a case in point) to a wrong development, but this time not merely in Germany, but in Europe.

Hatto Fischer

Volos / Athens 2005

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