tv Charlie Rose PBS July 20, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT
vich. >> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with tom friedman, he shares with us his insights on egypt, syria and much more. >> and so if you step back, charlie, there was a concept my friend atalked about before and i think with you, which is that it is the concept of positive and negative freedom, freedom from and freedom to, so what we see in the arab spring so far is all the freedom from, i want to be free from you, i want you out of my life, but the freedom to, if you construct that freedom to do what, there is no agreement. some people want to be free to be more sectarian, some people want to be free to be more islamist, and some people want to be free to be more democratic and real citizens. and what is missing in the arab world today is he common vision of what to be free to be, to do. >> rose: we continue and also have a return to our conversation with irish novelist
colin mccann he talked about ireland writing and new novel, transatlantic. >> and this is the beauty of fiction, not that, you know, the history is fantastic and sociology is fantastic and all of these things together i will never prioritize one or privilege one over the other, but fiction can get into the small moments, where whatever it happens to be, leopold bloom, furnish of the corner, somebody brushing their teeth, somebody, you know, feeling a hand on your face, these things that history doesn't necessarily write about, but they are small moments that build-up and they make the large moments, and so i believe that fiction can create history. >> rose: we conclude tonight with an encore presentation of our conversation with artist james terrell on his major new exhibition at the guggenheim. >> ideas and thoughts are cheap, you know, you can have many of them but it is actually pulling
it off and making these things, realizing them, and, you know, as an artist you have to manifest, you don't get to count the things you haven't done. but that you thought of that were terrific. >> rose: friedman, mccann and terrell when we continue. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following. >> rose: additional funding provided by these funders. >> and by bloomberg, a provider
of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: tom friedman is here, hhe is a columist of "the new york times" and a best selling author, his recent trips to the middle east included visits to egypt, syria and turkey, egypt for one is facing uncertain times after the military toppled the government of mohamed morsi, questions remain about where the country is heading, and who will lead the process. pleased to have tom back at this table to talk about all that and more. >> so let me begin talking about the middle east first, egypt, syria, iran, the arab spring, egypt first. >> what is going to happen? >> the military wants to see some kind of elections held, we
think. we don't know exactly what the muslim brotherhood is going to do. and there are a whole group of people who were part of the protests originally, prepared to vote in part for the muslim brotherhood, to give them a shot, were disappointed, then came back and the army supported them. what is going to be decisive in egypt? >> well, let's start with where we are, what has happened, obviously, june 30th, massive protests by opponents of the muslim brotherhood, the army decides to use that as a spur or justification to oust the democratically elected muslim brotherhood president mohamed morsi, let's start with why, where did that protest come from. you know, i am a big believer, charlie, that morsi won, you remember the first round of voting by 25 percent of the vote, i think that is his true base of the ms. limb brotherhood, 20, 25 percent of
the country, then there was a runoff between him and a number rec holdover and morsi won the presidency 51 to 49, what does that mean? it means 25 percent of his vote, he got 25 percent more from nonmuslim brotherhood supporters. but he didn't govern that way. he promised those people who voted for him, because i had a lot of friends in egypt hshs is a hard vote for them, they said vote for mubarek's guy after the revolution or muslim brotherhoodly take a chance because the muslim brotherhood leader and morsi said we would be inclusive and you will be a part of the future, we are not going to cram our philosophy and vails on your women. >> the revolution you started. >> finish the revolution you started instead morsi won and he behaved like a major tarian like i won and how it is mine for the next four years, i can do whatever i want, and oh, you more liberal, you know, nonmuslim brotherhood people, too bad. okay. an so what you found growing
there, it didn't happen overnight but this grew by several acts that he did where i really felt, charlie, something i never felt, a powerful sense of theft, a sense that we started this revolution, i took a chance on you, i did something, i am a lifelong democratic and i voted for nixon, that was really what they were doing, and suddenly, you took that permission slip i gave you and you just ran away with it for your old agenda, so that is really what blew this thing apart, and that was by the way a lot of people, and it wasn't just secular, liberal, you know, upper crust living, there were actually a lot of poor people pelt the government was incompetent and not delivering. so you did have, i think, a really ground swell that the army was acting on, it was a democratically elected government, egypt's first so the big dilemma we have now, egyptians, how do you swear that? our aid requires us not to continue giving aid to a country that has had a military
coup, so that is the big dilemma that washington faces right now, here is how i look at it, if you think about something really remarkable happened in egypt over the last two years, they had two revolutions, first was a revolution in in tahrir square to unseat mubarek, the second revolution was the military then, because they took over, the second was the revolution that came by way of an election where the muslim brotherhood over threw the military and how the third is military coming back and over throwing the military, muslim brotherhood, we had three elections, the egyptian people are sending a message about mubarek, they said we do not want your dead hand anymore, you have been in power 30-year and half the women in egypt still can't read. and we as young people have no chance to realize our full potential. you, must b mubarek, out of herd the military came, in utterly incompetent, and the old defense minister, almost a mummy didn't know what they were doing, they said you, military, incompetent,
out of here, then morsi came in, with his muslim brotherhood agenda, which turned out to be a complete dead end. and the people said, you, morsi, out of here. but i think there is a message in this bottle. we don't want the dead hand of mubarek anymore, the country was going nowhere, we want a government that has some kind of progressive vision for the future. we certainly don't want the incompetence of the military. a lot of people are competent, can do these jobs in government and certainly don't want the dead end of political islam right now. and so i think that is really the message, and so from an american point of view, charlie, i think our position should be, we will judge this next government, not on whether they have elections in three months, five months or six months, but whether we see them moving on all three of these tracks, do they have a new horizon? that says egypt can be a great country again, that we don't have to tolerate half our women not reading do, they have a progressive agenda? number 2, are they appointing competent people to the cabinet, people
who can really do these jobs and, three, do they, you know, are they going to be inclusive in a way that the muslim brotherhood was not, so you don't drive egypt into a dead end. early signs are, nixed, really competent people appointed to the cabinet, i think they do have a vision, but there are no islamists in this cabinet and that means it is not legitimate, even remotely in the eyes of all those people who supported the muslim brotherhood. >> and morsi seems to be under some kind of house arrest. >> they have some charges against him and you can come up with any kind of thing, you want, i am sure, the country, charlie is so polarized. it truly needs a national dialogue, i mean it is a country that needs a weekend retreat, i have never seen egypt this divided. >> rose: syria. of president seems to have changed a little bit, but he is very fearful of getting engaged in something in which to be drawn into and he believes it
will be difficult to extract yourself. >> so, you know, syria is really broken. and it is almost literally sort of broken in half and then in half and then in half, because assad controls about half of the country and let's call him how mayor of greater damascus, governs a lot of square miles but basically the country side and the second largest center, the wall street of syria, is now largely in rebel hands. >> rose: and that is the northern part? >> the northern part of syria but the rebels are also fighting among themselves between the secular and religious rebels. >> they are really at it, so if you step back, charlie, as berlin had a concept that my friend and i talked about before, and i think with you, which is that it is the concept of negative and positive freedom, freedom from and freedom to, what we have seen in the arab spring so far is all the freedom from movements i want to be plea from you, i want you out of my life, but the premium to, if you construct
that freedom to do what, there is no agreement. because some people want to be free to be more sectarian, some people want to be free to be more islamist and some people want to be plea to be or democratic and real citizens and what is missing in the arab world today is my common vision of what to be free to be, to do. >> i look at iran, new president. >> yes. >> rose: says some interesting things, yes at the same time he was the nuclear negotiator and we don't know if we will see any difference in his position and we always know the supreme leader in the end makes all of the decisions. >> so, you know, if you step backing, back, in the middle east extremists go all the way and moderates tend to just go away, and whether it is in israel or the palestinians or in the arab world, if you want look for a silver lining in the moment, charlie you, what you could kind of say is interesting. iranians had a choice between what is it six guys allowed to
run, six ayatollahs, i don't remember, and one guy, one guy was perceived by people as they were all black, and this guy was kind of gray, you know, none of them were liberal or what we would consider, you know, any kind of true democrat, but millions of iranians turned out and said that guy is just a little lighter gray than the others, we are going to vote for him. and that was moderate pushback. i think you saw moderate pushback in egypt here, sorry, we were ready to trust you guys but we are not going down that rolled of the vail and the whole thing back to the future, we are not doing that, turkey, wait a minute, argon was righting high and suddenly millions of turks turned out, hundreds of thousands in istanbul and ankara alone and they have one message, what do they get out of office which happened in egypt, it is get out of my pace, stop telling me how many kids i should have, what kind of abortion or what kind of deliveries whether it is a c section, i mean he was into all of this, a want, or.
>> a are a want. >> even though it was about a building project. >> right but it was built up, it was get out of my face, an so what you are seeing .. and even israel-palestine we have kerry, you know, there are signs of some progress happening there. >> rose: i will get to that. >> so it is kind of interesting you are seeing a moderate pushback across the region here. maybe not -- i don't know how long it is going to go but it is kind of interesting. >> rose: two things i am interested in, is one, secretary kerry and what he is trying to do with respect to israeli-palestinian conflict and possibilities. i mean what is his plan? and is it feigning some resonance on both sides? >> well, it seems, kerry has not talked about his plan much at all. >> rose: i know. >> and by the way the parties haven't talked about it much but what we can divine he is trying to line up the arab world behind the arab peace initiative which basically says when you israelis and palestinians agree to a
peace deal mutually accept to believe the two of you, we arab countries will all open full trade, economic and diplomatic relations with israel. >> rose: with both of you. >> with both with both of you. >> so get arab leverage to indo you see the israelis back to the table, he clearly was trying to get something from the settlements, he doesn't seem to be getting that from what i can tell, because palestinians today rejected the latest deal on the table. >> rose: and netanyahu says i have been down that track before. >> and i am not going to do that. so this is hard work, you know,. >> rose: but you have seen this a thousand times and been disappointed one now, 1,000 1:00. >> absolutely. >> but it seems there is desperation that are holding on to. >> you can't really tell how much of this is kerry's doggedness and god bless him for that. >> one thing i learned covering jijim baker. >> rose: doggedness. >> doggedness but also, charlie, i have my issues with six trips to the middle east by the secretary of state, i mean
senate lot, i mean, really to the detriment of other parts of the world, but on the other hand i want to say in kerry's defense, you know, success breeds authority, and authority breeds more success. if he could, as secretary of state, get israelis and palestinians back to the table, shows you how low the bar is, not an agreement but get back to the table that kind of success would breed authority he could leverage into other areas. >> rose: the reason i ask is because you and i have both heard him talking with middle eastern people, we want the united states to play a role, we are looking for leadership, we are looking for something. i don't know what. >> here is the problem with that, which is that, you know, when i look become at the middle east that i have covered, you know, all of these 30 plus years there is something that stands out, charlie, the middle east only puts a smile on my face when it starts with -- camp david, started, we came in and difficult an and israeli, oslo,
oslo is not called oslo for nothing, it is not called west virginia or dayton, because israelis and palestinians. >> they were in oslo for a career before we were even brought into it, the uprising that turned the up rising in iraq started with them, what does that mean? it means they have ownership and when they have ownership, what does that mean is it can be self-sustaining. right now you feel like kerry, that all that energy and urgency is coming from him, and these are two very reluctant -- >> rose: what do you think thees you thinks about the middle east? >> i think he thinks one thing, i will be darned if i am going to hostage my four -- eight years in power basically dealing with that part of the world. that is not -- my legacy is going to not getting in. >> it is going to be immigration and healthcare and dodd frank, it is going to be the economic recovery.
i do not measure myself by middle east agreements, that region is broken too many hearts and too many presidents. >> rose: in your judgment is the big idea in foreign policy environmental? >> it is one of the big ideas. i have a different big idea, you know, and i know you and i have talk about it a little before, which is, you know, one of the things that has been missing from the obama administration lo these years there is no narrative and whenever has been -- a serial achievements and aspirations. >> rose: a big narrative about what this government is about? >> but not just that. >> rose: a moon shot? >> yes, what we should be doing today. what is our aspiration, what ties all of this together? and to me, it is that my vision, you know, what i would love to see the president articulating is, i want america to be for the 21st century, for the world, with, what cape canaveral was for americas in the 19 sick at this,
what do i mean by that? we launched our big moon shot, the whole country rallied around that and drove so many things from scientific research to the internet. we are not going to have .. one big moon shot anymore, charlie, what i would love for america to be is we will be the launching world for anyone in the world who has an idea to start something, come here, this is where you should launch your moon shot. okay. and why? because we are the best infrastructure, we have the best education, because we have the most stable currency, because we have the best intellectual property laws, because we have the best k to 12 education, do, do he we have all of those things? no but that is the reason, charlie the days forbes will shut down with 25,000 person factory is over. okay? what we need are seven people starting jobs for 12, 12 people starting jobs for 20, you know, three people starting jobs -- >> rose: silicon valley. >> we need more startups and everybody starting everything, if we can be the platform where american the world wants to come to start something, there will
be jobs not only for the high end college grads but the butcher, the banker and the candlestick maker and that to me is the unifying -- and that's why we should be focusing on education, that's why we want a great environment because knowledge workers are mobile and they want to live in nice places, it is why we want to have the best infrastructure now. so to me that is what is sort of mismanage the kind of union buying theme of how we can be great in the 21st century. >> rose: it is good to have you here. >> always a pleasure. >> rose: tom reid man from "the new york times", back in a moment, stay with us. >> tom friedman. >> colum mccann is here, he came from the united states from his native ireland in 198 sick, his ambition was to live in america and write a novel, seven books later his novel let the great world spin won the national book award in 2009, his new novel is called tran atlantic, transatlantic, it expanse two continents and blends the real with the imagined i am proud to have colum mccann at this table,
welcome. >> i am so happy to be here. >> let me just confess, i am in love with this because of characters i know on the one hand, characters i am familiar with, and ireland. >> this is such an old question, but. >> rose: what what does it mean to be irish? >> that's the original question. that's what we are asking ourselves all along. i mean, i suppose what it is that obviously we have this age shun and deep history, and we have an ability to sing and an ability to tell a story and an ability, i suppose, to live our lives out loud, and nothing quite like that and the irish go everywhere, and we seem to embrace a lot of different experience. also, we have that sort of lurking sadness around. i know you used to interview frank mccord, and frank had all of that, he had the big brawling enthusiasm for the world and at the same time you could always tell there was something behind
there that recognizes history, that recognizes difficulty, and we are sort of together as a nation. it is good to be over here and to be irish. >> rose: i never missed interviewing an irish man or irish woman, for example i just had graeme mcdowell from northern ireland, the great golfer. >> fantastic. >> rose: fantastic golfer. >> right. >> rose: and constantly we have had, which side they are on, it didn't matter to me, to talk about the conflict, to talk about people who tried to solve the conflict like george mitchell who is a character here, like tony blair, like. >> like graham himself. >> all of these people, i mean, the fact of the matter is, that for 800 quearz, we had difficulties in ireland, and it came about in the late 19 nineties that everybody decided after 30 years of complete flareout of the troubles that this was enough, but money knew how we were going to come together, and it took, well,
president clinton to a point, senator mitchell and it took senator mitchell to go in there and listen to us, because you know how we clatter on, it is like for 700 years -- >> rose: you can talk. >> exactly. we just go. and he went in, and for two years, he sat and, and he listened to us and he listened to every side, not just two sides, but four sides, six sides, sometimes eight sides, he listened to the women, he listened to the children, and his beauty was that he embraced -- he allowed people to tell him what they pelt and he didn't make any pro announcements. until, pro announcements until, pronouncements he had a son, son andrew and five months into the peace process .. he said i have to go home. it is time we have talked for years and years and years, it is not 198, on good friend, easter time, let's use the symbolism and let's have a peace agreement and lo and behold, he worked it,
lots of people worked it, the canteen ladies worked it, you know, the people who were driving cars worked it, blair worked it, hearn worked it, jerry worked it, mcguinness worked it but most of all the glue that held it together was this american glue that was provided by senator george mitchum, and incredible man. >> rose: and he has become, i assume, a friend of yours? >> he has become a friend. originally, funnily enough, i went to him and his wife heather i said i would like to write about them and would they give me their blessing? and they said sure enough, fair enough. >> rose: right, right right. >> and then heather said to me, well when would you like to meet the senator? >> i said i don't want to meet the senator. and that was at the beginning of a strange process, like you want to write -- >> rose: you want to learn before you meet. >> yes, exactly. so i wanted to intuit what it was to be someone like that, i hid in my cubbyhole and i imagined what it was to be him for about six months, and then i sent it to heather and she, you
know, she sent some stuff back to me, some fantastic notes including the fact that he didn't wear brown shoes but black shoes which was a great one, but, you know, all of these fantastic details and we built it up and built it up until eventually she said to me, okay, we are ready to show it now to her husband. and then i had a five hour interview with him in his home. >> rose: right. >> and then later, i spent three days with him in maine and my admiration for him increased each time. and, you know, i was looking for something to find, something, you know, off kilter. >> rose: give you a little edge? >> yeah and this man is too mice, you know. >> rose: and he said to you in the end, you are much too nice to me. >> this is the thing. this is a perfect response from a man like him who is involved, who is con she believes and graceful he said you flattered me too much, he wouldn't say anything else, it was the perfect response, but i think, and i hope i caught him, because history needs to
catch him, and history needs to learn from people like him, because it is not just about northern ireland as you know, i mean, it is about columbia, there are three storylines here, at least three, the second one is frederick. >> that's right. >> rose: why was he interesting? because in 1845, the great man went to ireland on a tour -- >> you know, i only learned about the story a few years ago and at first when i heard it, that is incredible, frederick douglas, the great abolitionist, still a slave, in 1845 takes a ship, she not even allowed to do first class although he has must have money to pay first class, takes the ship and lands in dunn leary in the port in dublin .. and i thought without, a black man going to ireland in 1845, what was that like? well, he was taken in by the establishment and the age flow irish and they took him all around the country, where he gave these fantastic lectures and to great halls of people, daniel mcconnell, a great er, a huge
crisis of conscience for him, and i in think is where the story becomes really propound and powfl and contradictory, and where depiction can sort of enter, at the same time, the famine was unfolding in our country, and he saw worst poverty than he had ever seen in the south, the 3 million people enslaved in america, he thought, well, the irish had it much worse off and so his dilemma was, do i spec out on behalf of the poor irish when my hosts are the ones who are sort of holding this undemocratic moment in place, or do i cleave to my people? and i was annoyed at him, because, you know, publicly he didn't speak out on behalf of the poor irish, at first i was annoyed at him and then i began to realize what a beautiful gesture it was to his own history and to his own people, and also that he can't hold a will -- you can't take on the conscience of the whole word.
douglas was a most incredible person, you know, doug douglas and mitchell both, as you know, he spoke out on behalf of women's rights, 100 years before anybody else, and he gave birth to the civil rights movement over here, and he was fantastic, and what he did in ireland was profound too. >> rose: the third leg of this is, the people who from newfoundland went transatlantic to ireland. >> right. >> rose: the first, before charles lindbergh, transatlantic flight. >> yes. >> rose: why them? john alcott and arthur whitten brown? >> i was just on a flight coming from dublin a couple of weeks ago and i was thinking, this chicken here is very tepid. >> then i had to remember that the very flight, the very first flight was 2 rap men who had come out of that bath of dying that was the first world war, 25 million dead, an they took a
vickers and they redesigned it, replaced the bombays with petrol tanks, in other words, took the war out of the machine and they flew across the ocean for 17 hours, open cockpit, freezing, and shivering, a little bit of brandy and a couple of sandwiches, and here i was thinking, yes, this chicken is a little tepid. >> i was, how spoiled do we get it was a beautiful journey and a propound journey, and it was a linking of the continents through the air. they also carried the very first transatlantic mail. >> rose: do they have fabric, really, as far as -- >> cloth. >> cloth made in northern ireland, linen, linen cloth held together with wood, a couple of screws and two huge rolls royce engines, if you can imagine, two rolls royce engine in front of you 16 hours, going, tud, tud, think what your ears would feel
like at the end of that. >> rose: now these fictional characters, women, family. >> four generations. >> rose: so what are you doing here? >> what am i doing? >> rose: what is this art form? >> oh, well, sometimes i say people an ask me what is what is your novel about? >> i say it is about 300 pages, because the think is, that they come to it and they interpret it for you, and sometimes you leave these landscapes open so that people can walk into it, and if i am too conscious of what it is i want to say, if i alec picturing or being didactic about my themes, they suddenly become uninteresting, because what i want people to do is to live in the pulse of the moment, in other words i want them to be on that flight, i want them to be in on mitchell, i want them farming ice with a woman in missouri in the 18 its and 1860s, but if i were to talk about what i really want to do, i want to question what is real,
question what is imagined, and then talk about history, and talk about empathy and decency, and also the role of women in all of this, which i think is incredibly important, because for a long time, we have as described history to men, the women have, the men have taken over history he were the perpetrators in most of our historical events, but what about the women who were there? they are really the proper glue between all of these events and they are the ones who, you know, got out in the streets and, you know, her the women in argentina who are walking with the photographs of the disappeared, they are the women who, you know, got out in the mean seven the advertise in ireland that said, enough of this slaughter, enough of this blood and bone all over the place, i want my child back home. and mitchum knew this, mitchum was really well aware that he would, he would prefer to have
3,600 mothers talking about northern ire lan, because 3,600 of them lost their sons and daughters. he didn't want to listen to the men rattling on and on and on, and part of his beauty was he gave back our peace, our country to the people who were right my -- >> and he hugh they were tired of war. >> oh, yes. but everybody is tired of war. i mean, and in particular, women though up their hands and say, but it seems to me that her the ones to whom we must listen. if you take irish history and even recent irish history, mary robinson and mary mclee have been so fantastic about like excising the wounds and saying, okay, come on, let's put a candle in the wind, though, let's look at ourselves. let's have a more new answered, you know, thing about who we happen to be. and, you know, i hike actually, strangely enough, i don't know what this means, and i don't want the psychoanalyst to put me on the couch with it but i love writing about women.
and i love -- >> rose: it is said you write more -- that you more than anybody, a, they say that you can write in a women's, woman's voice better than you can even write in a man's voice and that no one, no man who writes does it better than you. so let's assume some of that is right. >> i don't think so but -- >> but let's assume it is right. why do you think it is somewhat gives you the talent to hear the experience and the voice of women and put them in a novel? >> i love the idea of otherness, and i also, you know, i have a good life, i have a really good life, i have not three kids, you know, i live in new york, i come from ireland, and i have got a wonderful appeal, and but i wake up in the morning and i don't necessarily want to be me. i like the fact that i can step away and become other. when i wrote -- >> rose: right here. >> inside -- shy my head and inside a book.
when i wrote let the great world spin" i remember i was writing about a 38-year-old hook her the bronx and my kids would come knocking on the door and they would say, come on dad let's go for a game of football in the park and i would say, you know, in my imagination i would say to myself, hold on a minute i am just turning a trick here. give me five minutes and i will be out playing football in the park. in other words, what i liked to do is go in and imagine what it men's to be that person. and the more sort of anonymous that person happens to be, the more attractive they are to me, so the small little corners of human experience, if i can get in go so it is not hard for me. >> it is not hard for me at all. well. >> rose: to write in a woman's voice. >> i am tired of writers telling me how hard it is and that they have to hide away, and, sure it is hard, but a lot of things are hard, it is hard to do this, it is hard to be a cop on the street. it is hard to drive a subway
train,. >> rose: to do it well. >> rose: all of them. >> exactly. so wrote like to talk about how difficult it is. i eagle that i have a pivot and i have got to run with the gift and if i can imagine what it feels like to be a woman living on park avenue or to be a woman like particling ice in missouri and then let it be. and i don't want to examine -- because i know the secret behind it and i think i might be able to do it again. >> rose:. >> you have become a huge sort of apostle for story telling. >> yes. >> doing what? >> well, i am involved with this brand-new charity which is called narrative power, and, four, and basically what we want to do is bring kids from all different parts of the world, from high at that, from belfast, from new orleans, from chattanooga, from chicago, bring them together and not just have them tell their stories .. but have them inhabit the shoes of others so that they exchange
stories with one another in what we call a leap of radical empathy, so that we are hoping that we can expand the lungs of the world by having these kids get together, telling each other their essential stories and then trying to understand one another. and maybe in that way, we will, you know, see a new george mitchell gulf o come along, we e a new douglas come agent, and, you know, there are lots of people doing really good things in the world, as you know, and this is just one small thing where we bring lots of artists together, salmon rushdie is involved, sting has been involved, we have .. all sorts of writers like helping us out, ian mckuehn. >> 106 writers came together and gave us a free piece of fiction to use .. alexander harmond, all of these great people, my partner in crime is a mexican novelist who lives in chicago and we created this -- with a
number of different people, and it is -- it is working, it is really working. >> rose: finally there is this. a teacher from newtown connecticut, after the terrible tragedy there .. contacted you and said that he had assigned let the great world spin as a reading project. that's right. >> rose: pick up the story. >> this man's name is lee key lock, probably -- you know, i have a huge regard for teachers, my wife is a teacher, you know, my great friend frank mccourt was an incredible teacher. this man is an incredible teacher, he teaches at the high school in newtown, and he saw firsthand what happened to not only the young kids but the older kids, the ones who survived, the ones who baby-sat the kids, the ones who lost their brothers, their sisters, and he is interested in healing, he is interested in this notion of empathy. and he feels that he can do it
through literature, and which is an incredible thing, the fact that literature can matter, your story matters. and so amazingly, and i have to say, you know, it was one of the ratest days of my hit rare hive, he pot in touch with me and he said he wanted to use let the great world spin for the kids in order for them to navigate their brief in relation to what had happened, and so he could talk to counselors, talk to themselves, talk to other people, and when he invited me up to the school, where i sat with -- >> rose: were you ready to go in, go in the beginning or ready to go? >> i was ready to go. the minute he said it to me, i was ready to go. i was scared, i didn't know what i would say, in the end, write have to say all that much. this kids all said it. they said, we were in the -- we were in a dark miss and looking for a bit of light and, you know, how do we achieve a modicum of light? how do we he our way out of this? how do we act our way out of this? how do we become better people? and it
was extraordinary, electricity in that classroom, as i listened, so i was lucky, i wasn't talking to them i had nothing to say, i learned how to listen to them, and it broke my heart, and but it healed it too in certain ways, they got a chance to talk and they will keep on talking and they will be talk forget the rest of their lives, this he will have to but as long as somebody is there to listen to them, i think that is the big achievement. >> rose: literature plays a roll transatlantic a novel, colum mccann, win over the national book award, let the great world spin. back in a moment, stay with us. >> rose: sam terrell is here, his work as an artist explores perception, light, color and space. chuck close has said of him he is an okay strair of experience, not a creator of cheap effects and everybody knows how cheap an effect is and how revolutionary
and experience. first major museum show in new york since 1980 is currently on view at the guggenheim museum, it features a new project called adam rain, i guggenheim is transformed into a large volume filled with shifting and natural light, i am pleased to have terrell at this table for the first time. welcome. what a pleasure it is to have you here. >> it is terrific to be here. >> now you got three exhibitions at the same time? >> actually more than that. one. >> rose: big ones, though? >> yes, large ones. three museum shows. >> rose: was that planned that way? >> yes. >> rose: in order to do what? achieve what? >> well, after 48 years of working, to do retrospective, i am representing it with only 23 works so that would normally be done with more works as a painter or most other artists so this is just work that luxuriates in space and uses up quite a bit of it so it took
three museums to do that. >> rose: let me go back to the beginning. growing up, quaker appeal? >> quaker family, yes. >> rose: not much, in your own family a sense of art is crucial to life? >> they don't believe in art, they think it is a vanity. >> rose: art is a vanity? >> yes, of course now, art fairs and auction prices and all of this, maybe it is. >> rose: yes. >> so. >> rose: how did you escape from that into this perception of light and its thingness the thing i want you to describe for me. >> thingness, that it occupies space, that it has presence, that it is something that you peel, to be there not -- >> rose: it is a thing unto itself, it is just not something you use to observe something else? >> it has mass, so it is some thing. it is passing through rather quickly, so i do make spaces that seem to apprehend light for our perception, and these are
phases that are both protected and in some way formed but it is light you are looking at, light in the pace. >> rose: and what did you, and when did you discover this is what made you most curious? >> curious. being a child, everybody has -- i mean they even test your response to light and so children are fascinated by it, and programs i never grew out of it. >> you never grew out of it because most people don't grow up to be a artist of light. >> most children don't become a fireman because they -- some do, some do. >> rose:. >> but was there a moment, was there an object, something that said, wow, this is how i want to spend my life? >> that was kind of all along, sort of a bit of an assumption, but it was only as -- it became possible to do this in art, then it became that important. and that was sort of -- it came about in college, it came from very good teachers, james deme
trian, he was at dwayne art center, before that at the art museum and before that a teacher at college, but only two years and i happened to be there those two years. >> rose: you once said the world is hot one we receive, but one we create. >> well, that is the other thing is we are quite unaware of how much that we perceive, we are a part of creating. >> rose: yes. >> we are cocreators, i mean this is something that of course you hear about in eastern philosophies or how even in, you know, sub atomic particle physics where essentially we are finding what we are looking for which has to do with perhaps even making it, these are things that i think are really important today, and are very interesting, but how much of the world that we assume, it is amazing, with we have prejudiced perception or ways of seeing that we have ways of perceiving that we have actually formed that may not actually be that way. or not necessarily have to be
that way. >> rose: you want us to understand what? >> well, that we are part of creating that which we think we perceive. >> rose: right, right. >> just that that little part and so of course this is different in every piece, sometimes you are successful in doing that, other times not so. but i do work that tends to go to that point. >> rose: is guggenheim the perfect place for you? >> it is a difficult place. >> rose: but does the nature offer you possibilities other places might not? >> the staff, that is, those who do the work, and the director and the curators there, they give me the opportunity. because it is what you want to do and how much you can involve yourself in doing it, how much they are willing to spend and take on and what risks they are able to take on, it is really important. >> rose: but what i love about it, and this is me as a journalist, what i love is the
idea of the guggenheim is where frank lloyd wright meets james terrell. >> write meet frank. >> rose: or you meet frank. >> and i think it is a rather floors you combination. >> rose: what is it that you perceive, what is it that we want to understand about your genius? and pardon the use of these words, front range and genius, but what is it that you hope we get about what you are about? >> well, the joy of sensing, which is essential, and this is often missed in sort of descriptions of my work, that it is quite sensual, and even emotional, and that i like about it, but, you know, it has more to do with -- the description has more to do with describing how it happens or how it comes about or what it is. that doesn't seem to bother me. >> rose: and what is the hardest about it, the creation? for you? >> >> oh, in working with light.
>> rose: but is it the idea or the execution? >> it is the execution. execution. ideas and thoughts are cheap, you know, you can have many of them but it is actually pulling it off, actually making these things, realizing them, and, you know, as an artist you have to manifest. you don't get to count the things you haven't done. but that you thought of that were terrific. >> rose: yes. one thing that passates me too is when you hopped aboard that, aboard that little single engine plane and went from place to place, sort of with a sleeping bag and exploring. >> yes. >> rose: what was that about? >> well, it was about really herng about the earth. i mean the earth is line a rhinoceros hide, it is just folded and so crusty, and it is really beautiful and of course the west, you find it jammed together the most, of course it happened in the appalachians and that's why all of those ridges were made but you really feel that out west where you see the
history of gentlemanology, just bare, there for you, it is not overgrown with planting. so it is sort of exciting to feel the earth and then this idea of thinking how to deal with the earth, kind of getting into the sky, that's where i took this form or volume can thick form. >> rose: did you take a pilot or do it yourself. >> i am a pilot, so that was really exciting to do also, and i took seven months doing it. >> rose: and looking for what? >> i wasn't sure. >> if i had known it would have been easier to find. >> rose: but when you saw it you knew that is what you were looking for? >> yes. that's true. >> rose: and so what did you see? >> you can think that of art,. >> my art is and i know what i like. >> rose: i can't define it but i will know it when i see it? >> yes, but that does happen to all of us. that is wondrous when you can
get into that kind of zone. >> rose: so what did you find? >> well, i found something that was geologically interesting itself, it was a thing, this volcanic center cone, which is a strom goly type, type creator .. but it was off by itself and seeing it, you know, i liked the quality of, that it had, just like people who want to have an island or a volume kay know or some archipelago, that kind of thing, there are actually people that look for that when they are thinking of property or location or whatever. >> rose: yes. >> so this is trying to find a place where i could make this piece that was like a borabadeur or, you know, pregon has sites like that, a wonderfully located one is machu picchu, where brodeur is amazingly excited and the piece is a mountain made of all of these different stupas
which is quite amazing. >> rose: you call it the roden. >> rodan crater, because, it was a great nemesis of, you know, in terms of japanese war movies, so he was always the one who would take on this force and then have to sort of retreat but never came back, never was defeated. >> and you have been developing a network of tunnels. >> and i just had to put in the tunnels and the chambers. >> rose: yes. >> i look at it that way, that's how i described it to patrick lannon, he has laughed at that. after having supported it and it is a bit true, but i think that, you know, you can see this in herodium, which is near hebron, you can see it in silver hill and particularly some of the hill forests in england, like old sarum.
>> it is very much like roatum, it has kind of a crater within a crater. >> rose: let's look at the first slide, okay? >> that is actually ronan, that is one of the 1969 pieces. >> rose: yes. >> and this is actually part of the collection of the guggenheim. this is -- >> rose: okay. there you go. just describe this. can you for me? >> this is the -- >> rose: this is already -- >> 85 feet high, it goes up and heighting all of the levels that prank made. >> rose: yes. >> and on the right you see where that level comes in. where it starts. >> rose: yes. >> and so these are the levels that are actually there. >> rose: and the next thing we will see is efrom, 1967, i think. i am a little bit -- >> well, this is a piece that is also owned, was purchased from the pomza collection, now this
is early works where i just had light on the wall, and. >> rose: coming up next is a prado. >> prado is the also -- these are ones -- here it attaches more to the floor and it seems in terms of its, of how it looks it seems to be from the floor and it puts the wall on the background, so here was manager just a shape on the wall, makes this plastic quality, where you realize that actually i am making the picture plane be the wall, like plato's cave and then i am putting things on this surface and it becomes very malleable, and i had pieces that come into the wall, like -- or into the room like efrom, the one before, and things seemed to be where the wall was and the wall seems t, seems to recede, other seemed to hole through and like there was an opening through the wall. so right from the start, i was
beginning to get on to the craft. i mean, how do you form it? it doesn't form like clay, where you form wit the hand. doesn't form like hot wax or you don't carve it away like wood or with stone. so getting to work with it is almost like making the instrument that helps you form it. so it is almost more like sound. like music. >> rose: this is way off the beaten track, but let me just ask it anyway. so architects who create museums, light is central to what they want to do. do people like that call on you and say, tell me, james, what do i need to know here? >> no, but sometimes i have been called upon to help fix the chapel where the light has damaged the paint tens and also when you look up there is this big dark presence over your head, so that is something that
i have been employed to fix. >> rose: what don't you know about light? >> well, i would always be surprised, i was surprised we were able to stop it, we found a medium where we could actually slow down light to the point it didn't move through it, tha thas very recently. >> rose: and how did that happen? >> through i guess a lot of experimentation. >> rose: trial and error? >> yes. and seeing that is quite amazing to me. also i am very interested in experiments where now we are suspecting that light knows when we are look sploog light knows when we are looking? >> absolutely. >> it changes when we look? >> yes. it has different behavior when we are looking. >> rose: ah. >> >> rose: how did we figure that out? >> well, i don't know all about the experimental process in deciding that, but basically, it has different by yours through fraction grading when we are looking than when we are not, a is quite interesting that almost embues it with consciousness.
>> rose: which is what everybody wants to understand. >> and everybody even feels that way. first of all here is this substance we drink as vitamin d through the skin, it is actually a food, and we actually are light eaters, and then of course it has very strong emotional effect, and even in film, where we are not really looking at light but we are looking at the narrative or story that is carried through the film, or by light, but it has a very powerful connotation there is as well, and then, of course, every time we talk about light, near death experiences, it is always described with a vocabulary of light. >> rose: yes. >> somati or enlightenment, all of these things have to do with the light filled void, the quality where we are achieving something on the light not to be held with the eyes open because when the eyes are closed it is full vision, if you think of a lucid dream, it is full vision
without eyes. and so is this memory? well, no, because often we are dreaming things that aren't even pieced together from memory. sometimes they are from memory but often, no memory at all. so where does this light and the dream come from? and how do we have this full vision that we access, you know, seven, eight hours a night? with eyes closed? and what is the light? where does light come from in the dream? easy those are very interesting thoughts. >> rose: they sure are. >> soy wanted to actually deal with the light that seemed to be a light that we knew but don't often see with the eyes open because we often see light this way but not that often with the eyes open. so i would like to have this sort of recognition of a light that is sort of known to us but, you know, it is a surprise to find it. like you go and see someone you have known in a certain context and now they are in a new
context and you see them and you can't remember their name and what they are doing here. >> rose: yes. >> that kind of thing is a little bit like i would like to achieve in my work, that you know this light, but it is not familiar with the eyes open. >> rose: james terrell, thank you, pleasure. >> thank you. enjoyed it. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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