January 20th, 2020
Kindness – Intuition – Integrity
Presence – Openess – Humor – Love – Trust – Sobriety.
Take another step toward what matters.
January 20th, 2020
Kindness – Intuition – Integrity
Presence – Openess – Humor – Love – Trust – Sobriety.
Take another step toward what matters.
Weird news and MythBusters
January 17th, 2020
Via Wikipedia: "Ripley's Believe It or Not! is an American franchise, founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims. [...]
At the peak of its popularity, the syndicated feature was read daily by about 80 million readers, and during the first three weeks of May 1932 alone, Ripley received over two million pieces of fan mail. Dozens of paperback editions reprinting the newspaper panels have been published over the decades. Recent Ripley's Believe It or Not! books containing new material have supplemented illustrations with photographs.
Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz's first publication of artwork was published by Ripley. It was a cartoon claiming his dog was 'a hunting dog who eats pins, tacks, screws, nails and razor blades.' Schulz's dog Spike later became the model for Peanuts' Snoopy."
Via Wikipedia: "MythBusters is an Australian-American science entertainment television program created by Peter Rees and produced by Australia's Beyond Television Productions. The series premiered on the Discovery Channel on January 23, 2003. [...]
The show's hosts, special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, used elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, Internet videos, and news stories."
Ten memories I treasure
December 31st, 2019
Being present On a weekend trip with a friend and her 2,5 year old daughter I forgot to put my backpack into the car after a hike for mushrooms. Later, when I looked for it it was gone. The next day I thought about going to a lost and found in the next city. Instead I remembered that the city had a huge hospital which is now owned by the Thich Nhat Hanh order, and called European Institute of applied Buddhism. We all went and got invited for lunch. Everything was to be done in silence – getting the food from the buffet, sitting down at a table, and eating. The little girl did it beautifully. For me it was a moving experience in mindfulness. A few days later I got a message from a lady who found my backpack – including my keys and diary. I just love when things like this happen.
Ceremony An ultra inspiring, and brave friend of mine initiated and orchestrated the most beautiful, cathartic, and heartfelt ceremony for her family and friends to say goodbye to her brother, who had just died. I have never experienced anything like this before. A lot of feelings flooded the room, many tears, and sobbing – deeply felt connection and love, straight from the hearts. I was totally overwhelmed, and am still so grateful to have been invited.
Conversations In preparation for my Transformats seminar for our Klang and Realität master program I watched many of bell hooks' conversations. She is a great, kind, beautiful, honest teacher, and an important inspiration for me. You will find many of the conversations here: bell hooks at The New School. The New School says, "hooks (née Gloria Watkins) is among the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Her writings cover a broad range of topics including gender, race, teaching, and contemporary culture. During her residencies bell hooks has held conversations with Laverne Cox, Cornel West, Gloria Steinem, Melissa Harris-Perry, and New School students." Watch them all!
Comedian I think it was the first warm day of spring when I still had a lot of energy in the evening, and looked up the local newspaper to find something to do. I saw that Hagen Rether was doing his Liebe program at the Cologne philharmonic and went although it was sold out. The lady at the tickets told me that someone had just left their ticket for her to give it away for free. It seemed like a sign saying I made the right decision. The show was truly mind-blowing. I laughed and cried for three hours straight.
Concert A friend discovered Angel Bat Dawid in Den Haag where she played her European premiere at Rewire this year. The Guardian calls her debut album The Oracle "one of the year’s best releases in any genre, where swelling vocals, warm organ chords and lilting and freaked-out clarinet lines combine in a profoundly affecting whole". In November I saw her in Cologne on a slow Monday night. She was truly living her process, I think. After the concert I bought her record and asked her to sign it. She gave me a deep hug. Later that night I saw her ran and scream through the place like thunderbolts. I am still in awe.
Thanks to Swantje Lichtenstein!
Film One of my all-time favorite gurus is Laurie Anderson. In 1989 I saw her live for the first time, and went to see her concert film Home of the Brave shortly after. Everything about that film influenced me, and this year I thought about showing it in a seminar, and re-watched it by myself to see if it still has an impact. It did, and I combined the film with interviews about one of her recent project Habea Corpus. Some teachers just stick.
Guided tour In the middle of an extremely hot and dry summer I went for a guided tour to see why the opera building in Cologne has been in a building freeze for three years now. It was nice to walk in the cold basement floors of the amazing structure, which gets dismantle to it's original design by fabulous Wilhelm Riphahn. It was also hilarious to see the total construction madness -especially in the energy, ventilation and water infrastructures- that led to the halt of the renovation. A witty and fun tour indeed.
Loop The track I listened to the most in 2019 was [surprisingly] the ultimate 'pop' composition Allegretto of the Symphony No. 7 in A major by Ludwig van Beethoven. I heard many different conductors. The version I like the best is Liszt's transcription played by uber weird-sexy Glenn Gould. Karajan's 1971 version with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is of course beautiful too.
Tea After my last yoga lesson for this year my teacher placed a little gift next to my mat. I did not know what to say because only I got a present. I asked if I could open it, and it was a little bag with dried Linden flowers to make Limeflower tea from it. It also had a note which said that I can connect with nature and specifically the lime tree in our street through those flowers. The tree and nine others are about to fall for a new school building, and we are both members of a civic group, that wants to save the Linden tree and her friends.
TV The best reality TV I have seen -ever and by far- is Queer Eye. I agree with The Guardian when they write, "there is so much emotional truth going on here and not for a second does it feel manipulated. It sums up the excellence of this show: it has political nous, it has heart, it has style and it feels utterly relevant to now", and in another article, "it is kind and warm, and it is the most feelgood of feelgood TV, and it manages to entertain by crossing, for a time at least, boundaries of class, of race and of sexuality". My favorite fab 5? Of course the one and only Jonathan van Ness.
So, here we are... And what is next?
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."
Animator Who Created Magic With Scissors and Paper
October 22nd, 2019
Via The New York Times: "A decade before Walt Disney Productions came into existence, making its name synonymous with animated films, there was another pioneer of the art form — Lotte Reiniger.
Reiniger’s filmmaking career spanned 60 years, during which she created more than 70 silhouette animation films, including versions of 'Cinderella,' *Puss in Boots' and 'Hansel and Gretel.' She’s perhaps best known for her 1926 silent film 'The Adventures of Prince Achmed,' a fantastical adaptation of 'The Arabian Nights' that was among the first full-length animated features ever made. [...]
Reiniger’s editing was meticulous. Starting with more than 250,000 frames, she and her crew used just over 100,000 in the film, which ran for an hour and 21 minutes, each second requiring 24 frames. It took three years to complete, and premiered in the Volksbühne, or People’s Theater, in Berlin, when Reiniger was 27. [...]
Beginning with 'Prince Achmed,' she also created an early version of the multiplane camera, which gave two-dimensional animation a hitherto unexplored depth, movement and complexity. She called her device a tricktisch, or trick table.
Reiniger described her process this way: 'Figures and backgrounds are laid out on a glass table. A strong light from underneath makes the wire hinges disappear and throws up the black figures in relief. The camera hangs above this table, looking down at the picture arranged below.'
After taking a photograph, Reiniger and her team moved the figures into their next position and photographed the scene again. 'The important thing,' she wrote, 'is to know how much to move the figures so that a lifelike effect may be obtained.' [...]
She died on June 19, 1981, in Dettenhausen, Germany. She was 82. Though The New York Times did not take note of her death at the time, the Times film critic A.O. Scott recalled her in a 2018 article about the unsung women who had advanced the art of filmmaking.
Praising Reiniger’s 'blend of whimsy and spookiness,' Mr. Scott wrote that her 'dreamy images that seem to tap right into the collective unconscious suggest both an antidote to Disney and a precursor to Tim Burton.' "
Sounds that will define the highways of the future
September 28th, 2019
Via The New York Times: "Two years ago, Nissan hired the studio Man Made Music for what seemed like a straightforward task: Design a sound that its quiet electric vehicles could play to announce themselves on the road.
The automaker wasn’t just splurging on a flashy feature. It was preparing for a federal regulation set to take effect next year that would require all hybrid and electric vehicles, which are quieter than their gas-guzzling ancestors, to emit noise at certain speeds for pedestrian safety. […]
The team at Man Made Music, which is used to developing audio for TV, movies and radio, spent nearly half of 2017 working on the sound, a layering of sampled wind and string instruments, and analog and digital synth sounds [listen to “Canto,” the future sound of Nissan’s electrified vehicles]."
Defining the identity for a new music festival
September 10th, 2019
The successful collaboration on defining a new identity for Cologne's infamous Stadtgarten, a European Centre for Jazz and Contemporary Music, led it's musical director, Reiner Michalke, to contract me again for his most prominent recent project, the Monheim Triennal.
Via the Monheim Triennal's website: "The Monheim Triennial is an international music festival aiming to present ground- breaking artistic positions in current improvised, composed and popular music. The first edition of the Monheim Triennial will take place in 2020 and will be continued every three years on the last weekend of June. The Monheim Triennale will focus on telling musical stories at the highest artistic level. Artistic Director is Reiner Michalke."
In order to define the identity of the festival I worked in three concentrated workshops with a core group of decision-makers and consultants: Meryem Erkus (Curator for Gold+Beton), Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein (Artist, Curator for Monheim Triennal), Reiner Michalke (CEO, Artistic Director for Monheim Triennal), Melanie Rossmann (Head of Concert Office for Stadtgarten), Achim Tang (Artist in Residence for Monheim Triennal), Thomas Venker (Editor Kaput Magazin, Curator for Monheim Triennal), and Daniel Zimmermann (Mayor of the City of Monheim am Rhein).
The workshops resulted in a consice design briefing, which Reiner Michalke took to Athens, Greece, and invited graphic designer Vasilis Marmatakis to work on a series of posters for the festival. Today, Cologne based art director Christian Schäfer is working on the corporate design for 2020, and the Monheim Triennal's website is one of the first results of this cooperation.
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.
An experimental study of a virtual reality counselling paradigm using embodied self-dialogue
August 8th, 2019
Via Nature: "When faced with a personal problem people typically give better advice to others than to themselves. This has been termed ‘Solomon’s Paradox’, named after the biblical King Solomon who was wise for others, but not so when it came to making decisions that would have an impact on his own standing.
Suppose that instead of imagining a problem from the perspective of another you were actually able to have a conversation with yourself about it, but from the embodied perspective of another.
A previous study showed how it is possible to enact internal dialogue in virtual reality (VR) through participants alternately occupying two different virtual bodies – one representing themselves and the other Sigmund Freud. They could maintain a self-conversation by explaining their problem to the virtual Freud and then from the embodied perspective of Freud see and hear the explanation by their virtual doppelganger, and then give some advice. Alternating between the two bodies they could maintain a self-dialogue, as if between two different people.
Here we show that the process of alternating between their own and the Freud body is important for successful psychological outcomes. An experiment was carried out with 58 people, 29 in the body swapping Self-Conversation condition and 29 in a condition where they only spoke to a Scripted Freud character. The results showed that the Self-Conversation method results in a greater perception of change and help compared to the Scripted. We compare this method with the distancing paradigm where participants imagine resolving a problem from a first or third person perspective.
We consider the method as a possible strategy for self-counselling."
As mentioned by Laverne Cox in a public dialogue with bell hooks
July 31st, 2019
Via Amber-Allen Publishing:
"BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
The Four Agreements sound simple, even simplistic. But try keeping just one for an entire day!"