Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer

Die cutting a novel

Conversation with Jonathan Safran Foer about his book and artwork Tree of Codes, a novel that has been carved out of another novel by one of Foer’s favourite novelists, Bruno Schulz.

The Times described Jonathan Safran Foer’s (born 1977) 'Tree of Codes' as a “true work of art”. His publisher calls it a “sculptural object”. To create the book, Foer took Bruno Schulz’s novel 'The Street of Crocodiles' and cut out the majority of the words. Foer himself explains that by removing words, he carved out a new story. In this conversation with the Danish journalist and publicist Synne Rifbjerg, Foer tells the story behind the book – that he was called by a publisher one day, offering him a free hand to do any book he liked. Foer further explains why he used Bruno Schulz’s book as a point of departure. In the end the conversation turns toward Foer’s Jewish heritage and how – against his own will – it engraves itself in his writing.

Jonathan Safran Foer was interviewed by Synne Rifbjerg as part of the Louisiana Literature festival in August 2012.
Recorded August 23 2012 at the Concert Hall of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Produced by: Kamilla Bruus

© Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art - 2012.

Supported by Nordea-fonden.

  • Salman Rushdie

    A line had to be defended

    "It wasn't only about me. It was a moment, when a line had to be held when you could not concede the fight", says the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rusdie, in this outtake from a longer interview about his life and work.

  • Darren Almond

    The landscape of the night

    The landscape of the night is like a Jackson Pollock painting - you know it's a Pollock straight away. You can read every mark within miliseconds, you feel the void, there is this calmness, that comes upon you. Interview with British artist Darren Almond about his series of full moon pictures.

  • Daniel Richter

    On Emil Nolde

    Emil Nolde was a Nazi - and so what, asks contemporary German artist Daniel Richter. "It's a moralistic debate. A debate, that mirrors the moralism and bigottery of a generation that seems to think, that the world is a moral playground."

  • Ian McEwan

    Reading from 'Sweet Tooth'

    During the Cold War CIA and MI6 funded cultural fronts. To promote the open societies agents had to operate in deep secret, an absurdity that drew Ian McEwan to write the spy novel ’Sweet Tooth’, which he reads from here.

  • Jørgen Leth

    Andy Warhol eating a hamburger

    Let acclaimed film director Jørgen Leth take you through the iconic scene with Andy Warhol eating a hamburger from his film, 66 Scenes from America.

  • Thomas Demand

    A world of models

    We realize how the world looks through models, says German artist Thomas Demand in this interview. And we live with models all the time - in science, media, even the weather-forecast is a model. Without models, we would go mad within seconds.

  • Shirin Neshat

    The power behind the veil

    "Nothing is ever beautiful without some disturbance or violence. That is why the melancholy of my works is so familiar to the people." Interview with the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat.

  • Bill Viola

    The tone of being

    Aside from a magical visual side, Bill Violas videos are always accompanied by marvelous sound. In this interview Viola talks about the importance of sound in his work and how he is guided by a kind of 'undersound'.

  • John Giorno

    Poets are mirrors of the mind

    Meet one of the great originators of performance poetry, John Giorno, as he looks back at his first meetings with poetry, his great influences, the importance of performing without a book, and where poetry is headed in the future.

  • Sarah Sze

    The meaning between things

    ”A sculpture is constantly growing and dying at the same time. It is a parallel process of construction and deconstruction.” Meet contemporary artist Sarah Sze in her New York studio.

  • Agnes Obel

    Diving into memory

    "Music is a sphere outside that of language. It's a different way of being present", says Danish singer-song-writer Agnes Obel. "That's why it is so beautiful to enter."

  • Chimamanda Adichie

    beauty does not solve any problem

    I am drawn to the beauty of sentences, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie confesses in this interview. Nevertheless it is important to keep a distance to your characters.