Victor Burgin’s Parzival in Leuven

Reflections on the "Uncinematic"

Edited by Stéphane Symons and Hilde Van Gelder

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Edited volume - paperback

In-depth analysis of Victor Burgin’s video installation Parzival (2013).

In commemoration of the destruction of the University Library of Leuven (Belgium) in August 1914, the projection work Parzival, created by Victor Burgin (°UK, 1941) in 2013, was installed within the rebuilt Library. The installation uniquely marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, which left its profound traces on both the consciousness and physiognomy of the city of Leuven. Parzival is a montage piece combining digital images of ruins and bombed out cities with audio-visual and literary material that references, amongst other works, Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal (premiere in 1882), Roberto Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero (1948) and Milan Kundera’s novel Identity (1998). This publication provides an in-depth analysis of Parzival, a work that is inspired by the period of seven months that Wagner spent in Venice (1858-1859). Burgin’s Parzival raises questions about some of the most fundamental elements in Wagner’s operatic work: the longing for a savior, the complex connection between violence and catharsis, and the presentiment that destruction awaits humanity in the future (Götterdämmerung). In an associative manner, Parzival brings together various artistic and political features to confront the romantic ideal of the ruin with the horrors that might result from such a myth. In addition, this book contains a reprint of Michel Foucault’s essay “The Imagination of the Nineteenth Century” (1980).

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Contributors: Geert Bouckaert (KU Leuven), Victor Burgin (University of California, University of London, University of Southampton), Alexander Streitberger (Université catholique de Louvain), Stéphane Symons (KU Leuven), Hilde Van Gelder (KU Leuven)
Geert Bouckaert

Part I
Collaborative Reflections on Parzival

Victor Burgin's Parzival in Leuven
Stéphane Symons and Hilde Van Gelder

Victor Burgin's Parzival: A Monument of Melancholia
Alexander Streitberger

Victor Burgin in Conversation with Alexander Streitberger, Stéphane Symons, and Hilde Van Gelder on the Occasion of a Symposium on Parzival

Part II
Contextualizing Parzival
Uncinematic Time
Victor Burgin

The Imagination of the Nineteenth Century
Michel Foucault

A Note on Parzival
Victor Burgin

Parzival Wall Texts
Victor Burgin

Part III
Parzival in Leuven


Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 230 × 170 mm

158 pages

15 color illustrations, 29 halftones

ISBN: 9789462700994

Publication: March 27, 2017

Series: Lieven Gevaert Series 23

Languages: English

Stock item number: 116177

Hilde Van Gelder is professor of contemporary art history at KU Leuven. She is director of the Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, Art and Visual Culture.
Stéphane Symons is professor of aesthetics and philosophy of culture at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven.