For a Friday night in Leipzig it is not unusual to be overwhelmed with offers to go out. Two Fridays ago for example the city offered two events to those interested in the local music scene. The first was a gala taking place in Werk 2, celebrating the bands from Leipzig which were significant in 2015, among them Kafka Tamura, Lot and Safi (leipglo published a review for their album Janus). The second promising event was hosted in the small Reudnitz-based cafĂ© Helmut. It featured David WoĆșniak, a young poet I had met once or twice before and Julius Winterhalter, a local musician. I was drawn to the smaller literature and music event happening at the budding location which hopes to offer small yet sophisticated entertainment.
David, who is studying medicine in the daytime, has a knack for combining his love of words with the subject of his studies. That Friday he welcomed his publication debut, Juleika Lippenrot, a collection of short stories he has already read at various occasions during the last two years. He also premiered a short film called ‘Die FĂŒchsin’ which is also a tribute to Antoine de St. ExupĂ©ry’s The Little Prince. In the crammed rooms of the Helmut, you had to be really lucky to find a spot with a good view on the two artists as well as the wall on which the film was projected.
In order to “keep the ADHS kids in the crowd well entertained”, as David put it, every story was followed by a song of Julius Winterhalter, whose raspy voice lent his whimsical songs quite some maturity. One of them was a cover version of a German hip-hop track, another a cover of Lot’s secret Leipzig hymn “Warum Soll Sich Was Ăndern”. Apart from that he offered his own song “Normandie”, which thematically matched David’s first story about a long-distance relationship.
I spoke with David about his day job, his art and relationship to Leipzig.
1. You were born in Berlin and grew up in the Bavarian town of Straubing. Was Leipzig your deliberate choice of city to study medicine in?
Yes, Leipzig was a city I totally wanted to go to. For medicine you have to choose six of your favorite cities, but most of them have the criterion that you have to be a straight “A” student to even get into their selection process. As I totally fell in love with the city when I was here for the first time after finishing school I wanted to be here. It was my first contact with such a colorful, growing subcultural city and so far I’ve never thought it was the wrong choice.
2. How did you perceive your first months in Leipzig?
As I moved here after school and community service I had half a year of free time until university started. For the first time living outside my parent’s home, it was a lot of going out, clubbing, visiting all the places I still like, but in a clearly more excessive way than now. As I started an internship in the hospital and the medicine studies began I had to calm down, and now I think I’ve found a good balance between being at fun places and concentrating on studies that are important for my courses.
3. Working on your PhD in psychiatry is a very time-consuming task. Do you find it easy to balance daily work and artistic passions?
It’s definitely something I had to learn. As I had no ideas for efficient studying and no idea how to cut down on things that are pure fun, it took some time until it balanced out. But now I think it’s okay. When I have exams, I concentrate more on medicine; as we have a lot of free time in between the semesters for doing internships I mostly use these months to work on bigger projects. And as I am a total failure at sports or stuff like that I use the creative work for compensation as other people use their hobbies. But as you mention my PhD, I definitely should think about finishing my paper soon, haha.
4. You write poetry, short stories and you are interested in film. Which genres would you like to work in?
Oh, I think language is a beautiful thing and I like everything about it. I mostly concentrate on short stories but as some great people in my circle of friends work in film I started to become interested in using the medium of videos to extend my writing. For example, I love using video loop-projections when I have a reading or try to make short movies based on my texts. I guess this multimedial thing is something I want to try more often and learn from time to time.
5. The first reading of your stories that I attended was at the very crowded Krudebude at Stannebein Platz. Now we experienced a very crowded Helmut. Did you expect so many people?
I was totally overwhelmed by so many people having come to my readings. I am always happy when I see friends and well-known faces in the crowd but I am also very happy about the unknown people that come to my events. It’s a great feeling when someone you don’t even know comes by and says “thanks for a nice evening”. Or even when they criticize stuff, it’s cool to know what effects my stuff has and I try to learn from every evening. But did I was expect so many people? Hmmm, kinda. As Leipzig is my homebase and the people of the Krudebude or Helmut are all great, motivated and very well socialized people, I was hoping that they would motivate a few people to come. But that it would happen to the extent that the three rooms were full at once was something that surprised me very very positively.
6. Do you already know when the next event is taking place?
I will support a charity event of PFLITS on January 30th in the Schloss Agra, where a lot of artists will join to collect money for a great intensive-care project for kids. On top of that, I was invited to join the next Tapetenwechsel* in February, which will take place with other cool artists as well. Oh, and I will be reading a few stories at the Leipziger Buchmesse. More events will come, and I will promote them on my Facebook profile, so I guess everyone who could be interested should add me to keep in touch.
*Note: Tapetenwechsel is a cool event, in which 3 artists and 3 musicians visit 3 different private living rooms throughout the city.