Photo by Swantje Lichtenstein. Taken in March 2020 on a bike ride through Berlin during Corona crisis related lock-down.

Alvin Lucier

I am sitting in a room, 1969/1970
March 26th, 2020

Via Wikipedia: "The first performance of the work was in 1970 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In collaboration with his partner Mary Lucier, the performance featured projections of Polaroid images that had been degraded like the voice. [...]

The text spoken by Lucier describes the process of the work, concluding with a reference to his own stuttering:

I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have."

Every year since 2005 I play this piece to my students and ask them to not leave the room for its duration. Every year I experience something new. Every year I come out of the experience really happy.

Thanks for introducing me to the piece, and for reminding me of its birthday today, Marcus Schmickler!
Thanks to introducing me to Alvin Lucier, Phillip Schulze!


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"Nidānas | Bhava" by Karl Dmitri Bishop.

bell hooks @ The New School

Teaching to transgress
November 2nd, 2019

To watch bell hooks converse with other brilliant people is always a treat and inspiration. From bell hooks in an Open Dialogue with New School Students - Whose Booty Is This? I learned about Emma Amos, and from bell hooks and Arthur Jafa Discuss Transgression in Public Spaces I learned about Equinox1600, an amazing collection of found images.

Via Medium this is a quote from bell hooks' book Teaching to Transgress: "If we really want to create a cultural climate where biases can be challenged and changed, all border crossings must be seen as valid and legitimate. This does not mean that they are not subjected to critique or critical interrogation, or that there will not be many occasions when the crossings of the powerful into the terrains of the powerless will not perpetuate existing structures. This risk is ultimately less threatening than a continued attachment to and support of existing systems of domination, particularly as they affect teaching, how we teach, and what we teach."

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From Greta Thunbergs Twitter account on 3:56 PM · Jun 15, 2019: "Yes we can. #FridaysForFuture #schoolstrike4climate #ClimateStrike"

What would you like to do if money were no object?

Listen to Alan Watts
August 19th, 2019

"Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, 'we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do'. So I always ask the question, 'what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?'

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track. See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch and no vomit. It never gets there. And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question: What do I desire?"

Talks and Lectures by Alan Watts

Related: I am in awe of Greta Thunbergs journey on an Open 60 sailboat.

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Split shots are made half over and half under the surface of the water. To get a nice split you need a so called "dome port" in front of the underwater housing. The shots are no collages. Photos: Tobias Friedrich.

Fab Serenity

What Being Sober Has Meant to Me
June 10th, 2019

Via Brené Brown: "This last one is a quote from Mary Karr. I read it in an interview she did for The Fix. I recommend you read the entire interview – it blew me away.
'That schoolmarm part of me — that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober — that was actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself.When I got sober, I thought giving up [alcohol] was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.' "

Via The Fix: "There’s this idea of the tortured artist, or of a link between depression and creativity—is that true and necessary? If so, how do you make meaningful art after recovery, if you’re no longer tortured?
Mary Karr: Well, I don’t know, maybe you don’t. I’ve been sober almost 25 years and anything anyone’s ever bought from me has been written when I was sober. If I hadn’t been, I would’ve been like David, swinging from a fucking noose. That really cuts down on your creativity. [Laughs]
When I was super depressed, I wasn’t working—I was always too depressed. Hemingway did his best work when he didn’t drink, then he drank himself to death and blew his head off with a shotgun. Someone asked John Cheever, “What’d you learn from Hemingway?” and he said “I learned not to blow my head off with a shotgun.” I remember going to the Michigan poetry festival, meeting Etheridge Knight there and Robert Creeley. Creeley was so drunk—he was reading and he only had one eye, of course, and had to hold his book like two inches from his face using his one good eye. But you look at somebody like George Saunders—I think he’s the best short story writer in English alive—that’s somebody who tries very hard to live a sane, alert life.
You’re present when you’re not drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel’s every day. It’s probably better for your writing career, you know? I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist. It comes out of that Symbolist idea, back to Rimbaud and all that disordering of the senses and all of that being some exalted state. When I’ve been that way, I’ve always been less exalted than I would have liked. [...]

Blake said, '...we are put on Earth a little space / That we might learn to bear the beams of love.' And I think, 'bearing the beams of love' is where the freedom is, actually. Every drunk is an outlaw, and certainly every artist is. Making amends, to me, is again about freedom. I do that to be free of the past, to not be haunted. That schoolmarm part of me—that hypercritical finger-wagging part of myself that I thought was gonna keep me sober—that was is actually what helped me stay drunk. What keeps you sober is love and connection to something bigger than yourself."

Grant me
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

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Hilma af Klint Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece(Grupp X, nr 1, Altarbild), 1915, from Altarpieces (Altarbilder).

Hilma af Klint No. 2a, The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas (Nr 2a, Mahatmernas nuvarande ståndpunkt), 1920, from Series II (Serie II).

About Hilma af Klint

Planetary objects
April 22nd, 2019

Via Hilma af Klint Foundation: "The collection “Paintings for the Temple” encompasses 193 paintings, subdivided into several series and sub-groups. It is one of the very first pieces of abstract art in the Western world, as it predates with several years the first non-figurative compositions of her contemporaries in Europe. [...]

Hilma af Klint understood the uniqueness of her works. Working intensively with herself, and with her personal development, she wanted to understand the process in which she was taking part.

This aspect became the main quest all through her life: “What is the message that the paintings convey?”. She would actively seek the answer through philosophical studies, by taking part in various religious movements and by researching in their respective archives – all in vain. [...]

Hilma af Klint had a vision that her work would contribute to influence not only the consciousness of people in general, but in its extension also society itself. However, she was convinced that her contemporaries were not ready to perceive them. She had received strict orders from the “High Ones”, her spiritual leaders, not to show the paintings to anyone. Not even Rudolf Steiner could interpret Hilma af Klint’s paintings. At their first meeting in 1908, Rudolf Steiner consequently advised her to wait fifty years before exhibiting them. This is one of the reasons why Hilma af Klint never aimed at exhibiting her esoteric and abstract works during her lifetime. The works of art belonged to the future and would only then be understood by the public.

When Hilma af Klint passed away in the autumn of 1944, she left behind around 1300 non-figurative paintings that had never been shown to outsiders, and more than 125 notebooks and sketchbooks. In her will, Hilma af Klint specified that her life’s work should be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death. Her last wish was also that the collection should never be split up."

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Experiment Inside a Portable Glass Laboratory, 2018, colored pencil and graphite on paper, 25 x 31 cm (9.8 x 12.2 in) by Davor Gromilovic.


Death Inside the Laboratory, 2017, colored pencil and graphite on paper, 17.5 x 23 cm (6.8 x 9 in) by Davor Gromilovic.

Superior Beast, 2017, colored pencil and graphite on paper, 25 x 31 cm (9.8 x 12.2 in) by Davor Gromilovic.

Enter the Surreal, Monster-Populated Realm of Davor Gromilovic

Stay away from the brown acid
January 12th, 2019

Via Juxtapoz Magazine: "Davor Gromilovic's surreal, strange almost psychotic drawings place us in a world where there are no rules and all that is the unnatural rules.

Although contemporary drawing represents the primary field of his creative exploration and development, Davor Gromilovic also shows creative abilities and genuine commitment to other artistic forms such as painting, illustration, graphics, murals, art fanzines, etc. His work is narrative and often inspired by fantastic motives of fairy tales, folk-art, pop surrealism, sci-fi, and even by north renaissance masters of painting, as well as by his personal experiences and inner world. In his work one notices a dominant use of symbols, his inner world and complex reflections from which he develops ideas and specific intimate aesthetics. Complex, but at the same time purified, strongly imaginative but well-thought-out works adorn this artist’s rich oeuvre. He currently resides in Sombor, Serbia (born in Yugoslavia, 1985)."

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bell hooks and Beverly Guy-Sheftall in a discussion that reflects on feminism and their own legacies in popular culture today.

bell hooks

Take me as I am or watch me as I go
October 14th, 2018

Via Wikipedia: "Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, feminist, and social activist. The name "bell hooks" is derived from that of her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.
The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.
In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky."

Watch this discussion: "Join bell hooks and Beverly Guy-Sheftall in a discussion sponsored by Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School that reflects on feminism and their own legacies in popular culture today. 
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is a feminist scholar, writer and editor, and the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Spelman College.
bell hooks is an author, activist, feminist and scholar-in-residence at The New School. This fall is her fifth and final week-long visit in a three-year residency."

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Film still from "Beuys" (2017) German documentary film directed by Andres Veiel.

How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

Joseph Beuys
Oktober 3rd, 2018 (German Unity Day)

Via Wikipedia: "At the beginning of the performance Beuys locked the gallery doors from the inside, leaving the gallery-goers outside. They could observe the scene within only through the windows. With his head entirely coated in honey and gold leaf, he began to explain pictures to a dead hare. Whispering to the dead animal on his arm in an apparent dialog, he processed through the exhibit from artwork to artwork. Occasionally he would stop and return to the center of the gallery, where he stepped over a dead fir tree that lay on the floor. After three hours the public was let into the room. Beuys sat upon a stool in the entrance area with the hare on his arm and his back to the onlookers." [...]

"Beuys explained:
'Für mich ist der Hase das Symbol für die Inkarnation, Denn der Hase macht das ganz real, was der Mensch nur in Gedanken kann. Er gräbt sich ein, er gräbt sich einen Bau. Er inkarniert sich in die Erde, und das allein ist wichtig. So kommt er bei mir vor. Mit Honig auf dem Kopf tue ich natürlich etwas, was mit denken zu tun hat. Die menschliche Fähigkeit ist, nicht Honig abzugeben, sondern zu denken, Ideen abzugeben. Dadurch wird der Todescharakter des Gedankens wieder lebendig gemacht. Denn Honig ist zweifelslos eine lebendige Substanz. Der menschliche Gedanke kann auch lebendig sein. Er kann aber auch interellektualisierend tödlich sein, auch tot bleiben, sich todbringend äußern etwa im politischen Bereich oder der Pädagogik.' "

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Peter Levine's talk was given April 18th, 2015 at the Jung Society of Austin.

Peter Levine

Spirituality, Archetypes, and Trauma
August 24th, 2018

Via  the Jung Society of Austin: "The intrinsic relationship between trauma, archetypes, and spirituality is generally overlooked among the many pitfalls and tight corners of trauma treatment. But an understanding of this intimate relationship suggests therapeutic strategies that can help trauma clients maintain the resources needed to genuinely transform their traumatic experiences.

Indeed, the awe-full qualities of horror and terror may share essential structural, psycho-physiological, and phenomenological roots with such underlying transformative states as awe, presence, timelessness, and ecstasy. Our organisms are designed with primitive-instinctual proclivities—“slow-motion” perception, and intensely focused alertness, for example—that move us to extraordinary feats when we perceive that our lives are threatened.

When these survival capacities are bridged to or owned from more ordinary states of consciousness, an experience of timelessness and presence—sometimes referred to, in meditation systems, as the eternal now—is promoted."

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Journey in Satchidananda (1971) b Alice Coltrane.

Music on Good Friday

by the One and Only Alice Coltrane
March 30th, 2018

Via Wikipedia: "Discography as leader:
A Monastic Trio (Impulse!, 1968)
Cosmic Music (Impulse!, 1966–68) with John Coltrane
Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse!, 1969)
Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse!, 1970)
Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1970)
Universal Consciousness (Impulse!, 1971)[15]
World Galaxy (Impulse!, 1972)
Lord of Lords (Impulse!, 1973)
Reflection on Creation and Space (a Five Year View) (Impulse!, 1973; compilation)
Illuminations (Columbia, 1974) with Carlos Santana
Eternity (Warner Bros, 1975)
Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana (Warner Bros., 1976)
Transcendence (Warner Bros., 1977)
Transfiguration (Warner Bros., 1978)
Turiya Sings (Avatar Book Institute, 1982)
Divine Songs (Avatar, 1987)
Infinite Chants (Avatar, 1990)
Glorious Chants (Avatar, 1995)
Priceless Jazz Collection (GRP, 1998; compilation)
Astral Meditations (Impulse!, 1999; compilation)
Translinear Light (Impulse!, 2004)
The Impulse Story (Impulse!, 2006; compilation)
World Spiritual Classics: Volume I: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop, 2017; compilation)"

Thanks to Sarah Szczesny!

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