Interview with Magnus Torén
by Maria Garcia Teutsch
MGT: Tell me about how you got started thinking about the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge project?
Magnus Torén: I have had this in the back of my mind for a long time--it isn't exactly a great big novel idea! Miller grew up in Willamsburg and it seems we should go there to show off what we do on behalf of the homeboy who did good! Specifically what clinched it this time was when I spoke with my friend Peter (Hale) about coming over to do this and he mentioned the City Reliquary, a place we had visited together some years back, being right around the corner from 662 Driggs Ave, (where Miller grew up) I thought 'OK, this is it--it is meant to be!'
MGT: What will your participation be in this event, you know, besides running the show?
MT: I look forward to meeting people, getting a chance to share in ideas about what it means to celebrate art and writers, what it means to support freedom of expression, and perhaps find out if we can get a place to have a Miller Library on a permanent basis in Brooklyn.(!) You know it'll be a busy time, I'll have a bunch of little things to tend to . . .
MGT: What are you most excited about seeing in this event?
MT: The streets of Brooklyn in May!
MGT: What role do you think artists have in the 21st century?
MT: Since our ability to communicate is undergoing a paradigm shift, artists play an increasingly important role; the facility with which good and bad ideas can spread to the peoples of the world is astounding; therefore, it is ever more important to populate those airwaves and microwaves with humanism and the arts!
MGT: How does the Henry Miller Memorial library support artists?
MT: We propose the idea that art matters to all that come by.
We have a place where we attempt to celebrate just being in the moment, no frills, some tea, coffee, books and green grass!
MGT: Why does this matter?
the 'art' is the vessel we use to share our common humanity, a way for all to communicate across borders, time and space.
Seriously, I think art is so very, very, important and sometimes when you talk about it out loud it sounds like hyperbole.
But, I don't think you can overstate the importance of supporting artists, it is in part through art that we arrive at an understanding of one another and our place in the world.
MGT: How will the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge extend this role?
MT: It seems a natural extension of what we've done for the last 20 years - Paris is next! Aller Retour Big Sur!
For more on the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge Festival (Williamsburg May 12-19th) go here for list of events