American author Ben Lerner and German filmmaker and writer Alexander Kluge come from two different generations but share a single passion: an interest in the long-term effects of things. A line from Lerner’s poem “The Sky Stops Painting and Turns to Criticism,” which Kluge was struck by some years ago, became the starting point for their first joint book project. Kluge responded to this celestial critique with a story about the technically controlled power of a squadron of bombers in the skies over Aleppo, which Lerner answered with a sonnet.
Step by step this dialogue gave rise to poems, stories and conversations in which the heavens reveal their bewitching and threatening qualities. A series of 21 photographs that Gerhard Richter took in Venice in the 1970s augments the interplay of texts and the principle of interconnecting poetic horizons, as well as images by Rebecca H. Quaytman and Thomas Demand.
Ben Lerner (born 1979) is the author of 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station as well as three books of poetry. He is based in Brooklyn and is a professor of English at Brooklyn College.
Alexander Kluge (born 1932) is the author and director of numerous novels and films. A student of Theodor Adorno and assistant to Fritz Lang, Kluge has won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival four times and nearly every major German-language literature award.