The other song of the earth

A project for photography and music

Just as Gustav Mahler’s »Lied von der Erde« gave new meaning to Hans Bethge’s poetry, the synthesis with the photographs of J Henry Fair also opens up a new dimension. His work underlines: the earth is in danger because human mankind itself is ruthlessly destroying his world. While Mahler’s work is played, J Henry Fair’s photos are projected on a large screen. A new medium is created – an interactive space calling out for active action.

[This text has been translated electronically] The belief, that the earth and the gods provide bountifully and benevolently, has been a theme in cultures and religions since immemorial times. Even Gustav Mahler based his “Das Lied von der Erde” on it. Inspired by the poetry of Hans Bethge, which in turn goes back to Chinese poems, the composer created a work full of world-weariness, which at the same time also conveys the exact opposite: Namely, the beauty of life and the confidence in the future.

Pain and beauty are displayed within the contrasting work of J Henry Fair. For just as music can make our souls vibrate, so can photography. Together, these two media can contribute to the emotional opening of society even more deeply than the intellect alone can. Of the artist is convinced of this. It is the beauty of his pictures that attracts attention and offers itself to the full devotion of form and pattern. But on closer inspection, one discovers fertilizers that dye the earth's color. Excavators creating bizarre patterns, and colorful rivers of toxic waste. Suddenly, abstract patterns and playful colors become intertwined... ...with a shocking reality. At this point, it is no longer possible to turn away and to unsee. J Henry Fair pursues a clear goal, namely to leave the viewers with a pressing question: What can I do?

The idea behind his »Different Song of the Earth« is to combine the different forms of art – music, photography, and text – in such a way that they speak to each other to speak to each other and open up new interpretive ways to face mortality. Ultimately, it is about hope: in a world increasingly plagued by industrial pollution increasingly overwhelmed by industrial pollution and overexploitation, his synthesis of photography and music synthesis of photography and music, perhaps a collective action can come about. When the effects of our various activities are understood and acknowledged, there is a growing awareness of what we need to need to change. Collectively great can be done.

With our artistic director Jochen Sandig, photographer and environmental activist J Henry Fair about the creation of his multimedia presentation »The Song of the Earth for the for the 21st Century«, about his efforts to implement a more sustainable lifestyle and about the hope lifestyle and about the hope that the protest actions in the Hambach Forest have given him.