A 21st-century golem
Festival revisits, updates Prague legend
By Matej Novak

In his essay "The Idea of the Golem," Gershom Scholem writes, "Golem-making is dangerous; like all major creation it endangers the life of the creator -- the source of danger, however, is not the golem ... but the man himself."

Argentine Ambassador Juan Eduardo Fleming had these words in mind when conceiving Project Golem 2002/5763, named after the respective years in the Gregorian and Jewish calendars. "The project's goal," he says, "is to rescue, revive and project the values enshrined in golem symbolism and tradition" -- a tradition that began in biblical times and has made its way through to the present day.

"Today's Golem," says Fleming, "means artificial intelligence, robots, cloning, the Internet, computers." And as Scholem indicates, these are not evil or destructive on their own but have the potential to become so based on what man, the creator, instills in them.

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was also inspired by Scholem when writing his poem "The Golem," which in turn provided the perfect point of departure for the project. Fleming says it was a godsend that the poem had never before been translated into Czech, a fact that prompted him to organize a competition among university students to translate the poem.

The winner of the competition was Jan Jicha, a fifth-year student at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University. While Jicha says it only took him one evening to translate the work -- his first attempt at translating anything by Borges -- he admits it was difficult, as there were many words and expressions he could not even find in the dictionary. These he had to deduce from context.

Maria Kodama de Borges, widow of the poet, granted permission for the project to use her husband's poem in all its forms and translations. As a result, the Czech version of poem was recorded by National Theater actor Boris ROsner; the release of the audio version will accompany the project. Mrs. Kodama will also be present for the Thursday, Oct. 3, exhibition opening at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design and will be a featured guest at the Wednesday, Oct. 9, seminar, "The Golem in Religion, Science and Art."

Bringing together graphic art, film, music, ballet and more, the project runs throughout the month of October.

Project Golem 2002/5763

When:Thursday, Oct. 3-Oct. 27

Where: Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design; Ponrepo cinema; the Education and Culture Center of the Jewish Museum in Prague; Jeruzalemska synagoga; Statni opera



Thursday, Oct. 3-Oct. 27

Five Argentines -- Five Czechs (Pet Argentincu -- Pet Cechu) Paintings, sculptures and installations by Pier Cantamessa, Romulo Maccio, Josefina Robirosa, Pedro Roth and Graciela Sacco from Argentine and Czech artists Federico Diaz, Marian Karel, Lukas Rittstein, Barbora Slapetova and Dana Zamecnikova. Regular screenings of the audiovisual program Buenos Aires and Prague, based on Jorge Luis Borges' poem "The Golem," and Czech Television's documentary The Golem and the Golems (Golem a Golemove) accompany the exhibition.


Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

The Baker's Emperor -- The Emperor's Baker (Cisaruv pekar a pekaruv cisar) Screening of a 1951 Czech film, directed by Martin Fric, featuring two stories about a baker who resembles the emperor of the land.

Thursday, Oct. 10, at 5:30 p.m.

The Golem (Le Golem) French film from 1936 by Julien Duvivier in which the Golem meets Rudolf II.

Friday, Oct. 11, at 5:30 p.m.

Prague Nights (Prazske noci) Jiri Brdecka's 1968 film features four stories about old Prague, one of which relates the story of the Golem.

Monday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m.

The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam) This silent German film from 1920 by Carl Boese and Paul Wegener tells the legend of the Golem.


Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The Golem in Religion, Science and Art (Golem v nabozenstvi, vede a umeni) Seminar, simultaneously translated into Czech and English, on the various aspects of the subject of the Golem. Speakers on topics of art, science and religion include Argentine Ambassador Juan Eduardo Fleming, Charles University rector Ivan Wilhelm, Jewish Museum in Prague director Leo Pavlat, Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rabbi Karol Sidon and choreographer Pavel Smok, who will discuss his work on Mateju's Golem ballet, which will be presented at the Statni opera Oct. 23.


Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.

Duo Sivak & Muller World premiere of Gabriel Sivak's "Homage to the Golem" for guitar and piano and featuring the taped voice of Jorge Luis Borges. Also performing works by Alfredo Gobbi and Horacio Salgan.

Mezzo-soprano, Baroque viola, baritone, lute and flute recital Jana Lewitova, mezzo-soprano, Baroque viola; Vladimir Merta, baritone, lutes, flutes. Performing Sephardic songs in the Ladino language in a program entitled "Songs of the Night and Loneliness."


Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.

Sinfonietta by Janacek, From My Life (Z meho zivota) by Smetana and Golem by Mateju. Three ballets choreographed by Pavel Smok presented during an evening held in his honor on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

Published in The Prague Post (http://www.praguepost.com), October 2nd, 2002

Home | About us | The forum | Articles | News | Links
© 2002 Celaforum.org | Todos los derechos reservados | All rights reserved