"West-East Conversation"

With their work "West-east conversation", the two Iranian and Russian animation and video artists Soheil Seraji and Nadira Madreimova try an effort to represent the east inspired thoughts and ideas of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The video should be a visual poem, which is based on the poems of "West-östlicher Diwan" and tries to form everything according to the poetic concepts and meanings.

Trailer Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv "West-east conversation"


Soheil Seraji and Nadira Madreimova are a team of animation and video artists from Iran and Russia.

About the location

“I imagine Goethe climbing these stairs, or Schiller gazing upon the trees from these windows; they would have been filled with a most pleasant feeling of satisfaction had they envisioned these rooms with their writings as a reflection of the future.” These words are attributed to Grand Duchess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach at the ceremonial inauguration of the archive building in June 1896.

Even today, those ascending the steps can experience “a most pleasant feeling of satisfaction” when they reach the stone semi-circular terrace of the classicist archive building on its hill perch. Surrounded by the foothills of the Ilmpark, the building and terrace offer a sweeping panoramic view of the cultural city of Weimar and the silhouettes of some of its most important landmarks.

The bike path along the llm River offers the reverse line of sight. From there, you can look up to the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv, which rise impressively above the city on the eastern bank of the Ilm.

Near the close of the 19th century, the Grand Duchess Sophie commissioned architect Otto Minckert for the construction of the archive. In turn, he turned his gaze westwards towards Versailles in his search for inspiration. Minckert’s architectural designs were eventually inspired by the Petit Trianon château. Unlike the palaces of Versailles, the building in Weimar was designed for the general public.

The Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv catalogues and conducts research into more than 150 estates of writers, scholars, philosophers, composers and fine artists, 14 archives of publishing houses, associations and societies, totalling five million sheets of archival documentation for visitors and users from all over the world.

The collections broadly represent German-language literature as well as music, the fine arts and science with a focus on the 18th and 19th centuries. The most valuable items in the archive are probably Goethe’s manuscripts and letters. In 2001, his estate was included in the UNESCO World Document Heritage.

In the 21st century, the Goethe and Schiller Archive is going digital in its cataloguing, reproduction, publication and research. For exhibitions and in the reading room, the oldest literature archive in Germany will continue to display the precious original manuscripts – Goethe and Schiller, Wieland and Herder, Liszt and Nietzsche, alongside numerous other artists who are ready to be discovered all over again.

Use of the photos of the location only with photo credits: © Christian Rothe, Genius Loci Weimar 2020