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Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller

The Poetry Machine

Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg

© Courtesy of the Artists

On the occasion of the award ceremony of the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize of the City of Duisburg and the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (Rhineland Regional Council), the Lehmbruck Museum is presenting the interactive sound sculpture “The Poetry Machine” by the Canadian artist couple Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, who are being honoured for their outstanding life’s work this year. With their 2017 work, that is being exhibited in Germany for the first time, Cardiff and Miller pay tribute to the late works of the Canadian writer and singer Leonard Cohen (1934-2016).

The haunting voice of Cohen, who recites numerous poems from his “Book of Longing”, published in 2006 and his first new volume of poetry since the “Book of Mercy” published in 1984, resounds from a multitude of loudspeakers. An old organ placed in the middle of the loudspeakers invites the visitors to combine the individual recordings in a poetic symphony, creating new connections between the individual poems. Often highly original and new poetic works are created by the keyboard playing.

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