Performance of Trimpin's Drama, The Gurs Zyklus

Saturday, May 14, 2011
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Stanford Memorial Auditorium 551 Serra Mall Stanford Univeristy Stanford, CA 94305

The Gurs Zyklus, performance of Trimpin's stirring and uncategorizable reflection on memory and remembrance, tragedy and renewal, exploration and wonder.From the astonishing mind of MacArthur "Genius Award"- winning inventor and sound sculptor, Trimpin: A stirring and uncategorizable reflection on memory and remembrance, tragedy and renewal, exploration and wonder.

Combining live performance with kinetic sculpture, and world history with personal biography, The Gurs Zyklus ("Gurs Cycle") represents the fruits of a lifetime of curiosity, investigation, inspired tinkering, and riveting invention on the part of Trimpin, the brilliant artist of one name and no definable genre.

As a youth in southwestern Germany in the 1950s, Gerhard Trimpin (as he was then known) was haunted by the fact that, in the Nazi era, the Jews from his town had all been deported to the internment camp at Gurs, near the Spanish-French border. Decades later, Trimpin worked with maverick composer Conlon Nancarrow, who revealed that he, too, had been interned at Gurs-during the Spanish Civil War. More recently, a 2006 New Yorker profile of Trimpin mentioned this Gurs connection. Trimpin was contacted shortly thereafter by Victor Rosenberg, a descendant of a family interned at Gurs, who, having read the article, offered the artist the use of more than 200 of his family's letters mailed from the camp.

These and other elements, united by history, profound coincidence, and the power of Trimpin's imagination, weave together in a stage performance truly like no other: Vocalists sing and speak texts drawn from the Rosenberg letters into "fire organs" of Trimpin's invention. Projections of historic images from Gurs meld with film from Trimpin's own retracing of the journey by train to the camp. The music of Nancarrow meets sounds derived from bark patterns of the trees near Gurs-among the last living "witnesses" to the camp's dark history. Throughout, Gurs Zyklus offers a novel perspective on an important story now at the edges of living memory, as well as a stage experience that is immersive and deeply moving.

POST-PERFORMANCE DISCUSSION with Trimpin and Jenny Bilfield.

This event is sponsored by Stanford Lively Arts.

For more information, please visit the Stanford Ethics and War Series website.