Archive for November, 2007


I´m only half way through but here are my favorite quotes:

The more I thought, the clearer the moral landscape appeared. There seemed to be two worlds. One was basic and sensual, a human-scale place of small tasks and pleasures, building things and eating good food, lying in the sun, making love. In this world, human relations were very simple. The desire to dominate, to own and to control, just didn´t arise. The other world, the world of Law and War and Institutions, was a strange and abstract place. In this mirror-world I was a violent person and had to be punished because violence was a monopoly of the state. I´d somehow authorized the British government to distribute violence on my behalf, which it did through various branches of officialdom – the army, the police, the Pentonville screws.The problem was that I couldn´t remember giving my consent. What paper had I signed? Where had I said I wished to regulate my habits and govern my sexual behavior and strive for advancement in various abstract games whose terms had been set before I was born? The state claimed it was an expression of the democratic will of the people. But what if it wasn´t? What if it was just a parasite, a vampire sustaining itself on our collective life, on my life in particular?

If you believe in free love – not in the sense of promiscuity, but in its true sense – as the release of libidinal energies from any restraint, any check whatsoever, the barrier between desire and action becomes terrifyingly thin and permeable. I take my desires for reality because I believe in the reality of my desires. How many of us could actually live like that? Is that even possible?

November 24, 2007 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

Depeche Mode – Lilian (Special Video Projection)

November 16, 2007 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

The day I almost made it to Istanbul!

This is about one very long night when I finally got around to read excerpts of the Holy Bible!
I was excited to see Istanbul for the first time; the only city that spreads into two continents and 60% of the population is young. But it turns out, that the only smell I got of it was the one from a Marlboro pack with Turkish writing on it – that has to be rationalized just like in war times – and a cold Turkish meal at the Ataturk Airport customs.

It´s true! I was locked away in a c. 8 x 4 m room, under surveillance, with no windows, no mirrors, together with 7 other women mostly from Cazaquistán, and having a vague idea for how long. I thought (wrongly) that just like my German friend I was able to enter Turkey with my identity card for three days, as we all belong to the very same European Community – the one in fact, that Turkey wants to join in. It turns out that rules for EU citizens don´t apply equally and there are side treatises between countries. And so, I found myself in a limbo, 5 meters away from Turkish ground, in a place where human beings are detained under questionable dignity conditions. It was my mistake in the first place but, I don´t understand how come I was controlled by the Turkish Airlines and allowed on board if they know that I would later not qualify to enter Turkey. Despite all the controlling, searching, scanning I was accepted on board with it turned out to be the “wrong” document.

So, when I got to Ataturk Airport my documents and ticket were taken away from me for what I supposed to be verification procedure as, despite Istanbul being one of the most multicultural cities in the world and though I fluently speak four languages and understand six, no one at customs spoke anything except for Turkish. Finally, when the airport official returns, he manages two words in English: ticket back. Fortunately, a woman working for the concurrent company of Turkish Airlines shows up and finally communicates with and understands us. And so I am told, that I would be shipped back home first thing in the morning but, must be detained in customs for the whole night. The person I was traveling with had been given permission to enter Turkey but had decided to stay with me until I was safely sent back home. This turned out to be illegal. He was obliged to enter Turkey with no delay, with the option of re booking his ticket and also to go back if he wished. But, when we asked in which flight they were to ship me back, the official answered that it was not possible to reveal such information (though he had the papers in his hands). With some persuasion it was only possible to know that I would be leaving around 8.40 in the morning as a policeman came to separate us and take me away.

So, let me tell you what else happens in no man´s land, if you happen to make the same mistake as I did. Your documents are taken away from you, you are separated from the people you are with, you are searched once more and your things listed and some objects apprehended (though they represented no problem when you went on board!). You are told that someone will take care of your luggage, though in the end it was lost!
In no man´s land, you are addressed as a criminal in a authoritative, aggressive way, you are mocked for the things you carry with you as they empty your personal bag and you are mocked for the answers you give to their questions. When I answered what my profession was, the women officers rolled their eyes and exchange comments in total amusement and disbelief, later I understood why. Furthermore, sleep becomes impossible, as you are stuck in 24hour illuminated room, under camera surveillance, with no windows, you are vaguely told that you will get a flight (but not the details, though they know it). Whenever you ask a question or information regarding what´s happening and your situation you are only told not to worry in a condescending way!!!
Despite all this – in clear violation of how you should be handled in a decent manner – I was still feeling sort of confident as I kept saying to myself: “Here am I, in a country that wants to join the EU. There´s absolutely nothing to worry about!” But, once I entered the room and the door was locked behind me, and as I addressed the women sitting and waiting there, a vague feeling of panic started to grow in me. Though I don´t speak Russian, I realized that some women were there for ten, six, two days already. The room was stinky, badly ventilated, dirty and the walls were ironically covered with “welcome-to-Turkey” posters! I saw no towels and no products for personal hygiene, except for hand soap. And so my confidence of sorting the misunderstanding quickly, was shaken. I though to myself, how many stories have I heard on the news about “lost” people, bureaucratic papers, and impotent embassy work… A strange thought crossed my mind, for seconds I wished I was an American citizen… so you see how shaken I was, I was loosing confidence on getting a safe flight back home and of having my documents returned to me.
I tried not to think too much, to settle and “make friends”. There was water and the Holy Bible to read, in case one wanted to reflect upon one´s live, I assumed!
Fortunately, I ended up, without knowing, friends with the woman controlling the “cigarette distribution”. Thank god!!!!!! One was at least allowed to smoke and I was definitely on the right side of the gang, otherwise I would have gone totally nuts and might have trashed a couple of things around! And so my friends, this is how I got to smoke at the expenses of the Turkish government!!! After a couple of smokes, I started to see things a bit different! This was in fact a great experience, how many people get to live it, what doesn´t kill you makes you stronger, etc, I was working on cheering myself up again. God bless Marlboro! (even if I usually hate it and absolutely don´t smoke it) Well…
Conversation – through mimic and in a mix of languages – was rolling and this was pure gold experience! These women… there were all there for “business”… I said my name and asked one her name and she said I could call her Sabrine, Natasha, Joana, I could choose, because she had many names and three passports!!!! I begun to understand a bit more about the world… This was definitely not boring at all! Though, in Turkey´s eyes, I was a second class citizen and a sinner in urgent need of moral rescue, I was definitely not bored!

Fortunately, they did manage to ship me back home first thing in the morning, though without my luggage, which they lost!!! But I was so happy to set foot in Germany and to be fetched from the plane in a polite and friendly manner by the German Police, you couldn´t believe. And once home and after Korinna´s full “welcome back” treatment which included Schnitzel with Kartoffeln, a Becks and Kuchen for desert I was completely healed and feeling home again!!! Still, I wonder about all those women, and what has happened to them…

November 4, 2007 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

The Kitchen Diaries – Leipzig

November 3, 2007 at 6:35 pm Leave a comment

The HORRIFC – Joe Coleman “Internal Digging” at the KW Berlin

Joe Coleman

Occupying three floors at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), “Internal Digging” from Joe Coleman, curated by Susanne Pfeffer, was the first exhibition to encompass all aspects of Joe Coleman´s work. Joe Coleman (born in 1955) paints, draws, performs, makes music and collects. According to the text that accompanies the exhibition, he has been collecting relics, specimens, documents and oddities in his apartment in Brooklyn for more than thirty years and these are his own source of inspiration and reference for his wax figures, paintings, drawings and films.

Though he states he has no idea how the whole image is going to look like when he starts it, his dense visual cosmos combines the compositional principles of icon painting with those of comic strips. He mostly portrays bikers, serial killers, hillbillies, escape artists, and elephant men, curiosities that both remind us of former cabinets de curiosité and fairgrounds, mixed with contemporary reality at times, directly dealing with perversity, mental disease, obscenity, pornography and murders.

Coleman´s wax figure, depicting himself inside a coffin – asks us: “Has it occurred to you that this may be your last farewell?” and then his laughter sounds just like an horror movie. There are in fact, some pretty horrible things to see and read throughout the exhibition and at the end of the visit one is reminded of Coleman´s disturbing question at the beginning of the show.

At some point, in one of his paintings, he compares himself to George Grosz and his country situation to the one lived in Weimar / Germany in the past. He says: “With a great savage cruelty Grosz attacked with pen, brush and paint what he hated and what he feared… humanity. I have always felt a strong kinship with him. I live in a society not unlike Grosz´s Weimar Germany just before the rise of Fascism. The disillusionment of the Vietnam war, the decadence of the sex and drug revolution all seem to mirror the world of George Grosz”.

The exhibition is truly a plunge into Coleman´s private obsessed and tormented world, where all the vicious and sick aspects of human kind are depicted in a detailed and propagandistic way, just like sensationalist press but on painting. Because we feel no empathy nor compassion, his work doesn´t qualify as grotesque, it´s purely horrifying. His vision is totally pessimistic and by the time we leave the show we are totally convinced that there can´t be no salvation! Specially disturbing is his painting on child murders, stressing how people, and even children, always took pleasure in performing the most horrifying acts.

Coleman´s paintings force the viewer to bring his own moral judgments into play, there is no possibility of detached contemplation nor visual pleasure. Coleman confronts us with your our own general desire to watch and observe but return us the sickest of visions. One is forced to speak and think of “evil” with no chance to understand it or, making it rational by framing it within a given social context. It is just there with no possible explanation. There´s no doubt on his technique but, one questions the pertinence of being confronted with such a vision. Why should his work matter?
He is emphasizing something that we all know that exists but, for in order to keep on living, we forget and trust that it is under control through laws, penalties, jail and in some countries death sentences. Unfortunately he only shows and explores it and takes no stand. Still, it could be argued that he is forcing the viewer to think about it. In this sense, his value would then be, by exploring our sick desire of looking into horrifying things, he would intend to make us feel something and force us to make a judgment. But is this strategy really of worth, when we are subject to violence and cruelty in other media on a daily basis? Has such an exposure really made us more political?

Coleman has exhibited at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2201) and in Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2007) and is represented in many important art collections, specially in the USA.

November 3, 2007 at 6:06 pm 1 comment


November 2007
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