Portrait of Nico by Guy Webster.

11 Himmelschreierinnen

on c’s terms. heroine and sister by Swantje Lichtenstein
August 29th, 2018

Ralph H. Christoph, Head of Program at c/o pop Convention in Cologne, invited me to give a laudatory speech at this year's c/o pop opening ceremony. They will unveil a sculpture to initiate the Nicoplatz [Nico Square] at MAKK (German for Museum of Applied Art, abbreviated MAKK).

Christa Päffgen (1938-1988) known by her stage name Nico was born in Cologne, and since 2006 a large group of artists and musicians from Cologne have tried to convince the city council to name a square after her, but the motion was finally denied.

So, I thought crying out to heaven in a group of female artist and musicians for whom Nico's music means a lot would be even more appropriate, and asked my wonderful friend Swantje Lichtenstein to write a text for a choir of 11 female crier.
Frauke Berg, Julia Bünnagel, Suzie Kerstgens, Elisa Kühnl, Linn Meissner, Elisa Metz, Angela Spizig, Sarah Szczesny, Britta Tekotte, Marie-Claire Delarber, and me will perform Swantje's wonderful, amazing text on August 29th to open the 15th edition of Cologne music festival c/o pop. Cologne fashion designer Eva Gronbach will initiate our performance from Nico's grave in Berlin.

Our opening lines are:

"c is for christa und wir
sind der chor, die chora
ihr mund und ihr ohr.

c is for colonia und wir
sind himmelschreiende
schwestern der stadt."


Write me if you'd like a PDF of the complete text.

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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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"Dusty Boots Line, The Sahara" by Richard Long (1988).

Do smart people have better intuitions?

We hypothesized that intuitive processes may differentiate high- and low-capacity reasoners
July 29th, 201

Via  National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine: "There is much evidence that high-capacity reasoners perform better on a variety of reasoning tasks (Stanovich, 1999), a phenomenon that is normally attributed to differences in either the efficacy or the probability of deliberate (Type II) engagement (Evans, 2007). In contrast, we hypothesized that intuitive (Type I) processes may differentiate high- and low-capacity reasoners. To test this hypothesis, reasoners were given a reasoning task modeled on the logic of the Stroop Task, in which they had to ignore one dimension of a problem when instructed to give an answer based on the other dimension (Handley, Newstead, & Trippas, 2011). Specifically, in Experiment 1, 112 reasoners were asked to give judgments consistent with beliefs or validity for 2 different types of deductive reasoning problems. In Experiment 2, 224 reasoners gave judgments consistent with beliefs (i.e., stereotypes) or statistics (i.e., base-rates) on a base rate task; half responded under a strict deadline. For all 3 problem types and regardless of the deadline, high-capacity reasoners performed better for logic/statistics than did belief judgments when the 2 conflicted, whereas the reverse was true for low-capacity reasoners. In other words, for high-capacity reasoners, statistical information interfered with their ability to make belief-based judgments, suggesting that, for them, probabilities may be more intuitive than stereotypes. Thus, at least part of the accuracy-capacity relationship observed in reasoning may be because of intuitive (Type I) processes. (PsycINFO Database Record."

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Jury @ Academy of Art and Design Basel

Diploma / Final exams
July 23rd, 2018

Prof. Catherine Walthard invited me as a member to their diploma jury at the Academy of Art and Design in Basel. From September 10th until 13th 30 students graduate in Postindustrial Design at one of their institutes called HyperWerk. At HyperWerk the students are trained in complex process design to initiate and shape the social changes of the future.

"Study freedom, shape society. So the mission statement of HyperWerk, the Institute of Postindustrial Design. Here Design is seen as a procedural strategy which influences, and thus communicates, our lifeworld.
HyperWerk is a learning lab. It sees itself in a process of permanent change and responds to the ongoing changes in postindustrial society by developing innovative experimental designs, taking economic, ecological as well as social dimensions into consideration. The aim is to develop a wide range of competences that bring to bear as best as possible specific interests and individual skills, advancing them with the help of creative freedom, flexibility, initiative and teamwork."

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Image from the pilot episode from the 1960's TV show "Mission Impossible!" (1966)

Sawubona

"Today, too, I experienced something I hope to understand in a few days." –Jørgen Leth: The Perfect Human and The Five Obstructions
June 16th, 2018

Via Africa Knows: "The Zulu greeting, Sawubona means I see you and the response Ngikhona means I am here. Inherent in the Zulu greeting and in the grateful response, is the sense that until you saw me, I didn’t exist. By recognizing me, you brought me into existence. A Zulu folk saying clarifies this, Umuntu ngumuntu nagabantu, meaning A person is a person because of other people."

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“The Inflammatory Essays” (detail) by Jenny Holzer, (1979-1982), offset posters on colored paper, 17 x 17 inches.

Brand New

The Decade that Changed the Art World
May 13th, 2018

Via Hyperallergic: "If there’s one work emblematic of the entire show, it is surely Gretchen Bender’s (1951–2004) extraordinary 1984 installation Dumping Core, an 'electronic theater' of rapidly cut and cascading film footage, corporate logos, computer animations, and crashing noise presented across 14 television screens. The work debuted at The Kitchen in 1984, where the artist described it as a response to the 'corporatization of culture.' Bender operated beyond the sphere of fine art, editing music videos for New Order, R.E.M. and Megadeth. She also produced the frenzied and nightmarish title sequence for Fox television’s America’s Most Wanted. 'Today legal questions concerning movies are generally related to pornography' a female voice declares during Dumping Core, '… but the violent cry over movie content continues.' The voices sampled in Dumping Core are frequently interrupted by audio glitches and violent sounds including crashing glass, broken synth music, and gun shots. The work is as engrossing as it is unnerving.

The primary takeaway of Brand New is how high the stakes of representation became during a decade of proliferating imagery and technology. Much of the work on display sought to disrupt the mass media’s ability to perpetuate and normalize discrimination. Julia Wachtel’s 1983 painting, Love Thing isolates cartoon characters from two separate greeting cards: a young Native American woman with an arrow shot into her buttocks, and a well-coiffed white woman brandishing a pair of scissors. Each are bent over suggestively, with their buttocks prominently raised. The decontextualization of each character emphasizes their respective stereotypes while also amplifying the underlying violence of each image. [...]

It is extraordinary how current Brand New feels, whether it’s the ongoing relevance of Holzer’s The Inflammatory Texts or the remarkable prescience of Bender’s Dumping Core. The ’80s were a political decade and Brand New is a political show. The art world as we recognize it today was largely manufactured by the decade’s commercial prowess, and we’re still grappling with its fallout. Jetzer’s exhibition is by no means perfect. It stumbles with its coverage of collectives and often foregrounds blue-chip work whose thematic relevance is obvious. It remains however, an engrossing exploration of art and commerce that deserves far more critical attention. The exhibition indelibly contributes to ’80s scholarship by foregrounding the talents of the decade’s less-appreciated artists."

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Peter Saville on Richard Hamilton's "Toaster" (1967).

The game

Also known as the White Bear Principle
April 28th, 2018

Via my favorite blog the new sheldon wet/dry: "‘The trouble with comparing yourself to others is that there are too many others.’ –Sarah Manguso"

Via Wikipedia: "The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which must be announced each time it occurs. It is impossible to win most versions of The Game. Depending on the variation of The Game, the whole world, or all those aware of the game, are playing it all the time. Tactics have been developed to increase the number of people aware of The Game and thereby increase the number of losses. [...]

The origins of The Game are uncertain. In a 2008 news article, Justine Wettschreck says The Game has probably been around since the early 1990s, and may have originated in Australia or England. One theory is that it was invented in London in 1996 when two British engineers, Dennis Begley and Gavin McDowall, missed their last train and had to spend the night on the platform; they attempted to avoid thinking about their situation and whoever thought about it first lost. Another theory also traces The Game to London in 1996, when it was created by Jamie Miller 'to annoy people'. Journalist Mic Wright of The Next Web recalled playing The Game at school in the late 1990s.

However, The Game may have been created in 1977 by members of the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society when attempting to create a game that did not fit in with game theory."

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Talk @ CVM Symposium 2018

Teaching Visual Music
April 14th, 2018

The fabulous Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles invited me to talk about Teaching Visual Music at their Exploring and Preserving Visual Music symposium (August 14-16) in Sonoma, California.

Via CVM: "The CVM Symposium 2018: Exploring and Preserving Visual Music will explore the theories, histories and practices of Visual Music. It features two days of talks and presentations from international scholars, artists, students, curators and researchers, plus a final half day of special sessions. Set in Sonoma County’s wine country.

A series of screenings feature historical and contemporary visual music works. CVM is pleased to present this symposium in association with Sonoma State University at their Rohnert Park campus. Some of the special events are off-campus.The Symposium features talks on music visualization, sonification, color organs, visual music and art history, Oskar Fischinger, James

Whitney, Norman McLaren, Charles Blanc-Gatti, John Cage, Teaching Visual Music, 1960s psychedelic light shows, mapping, oscillocopes, preservation and more. Plus special video spotlights on Mary Ellen Bute and others, and screenings. A preview of the program is online."

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Jee-ook Choi for Rimowa.

It’s all about reputation now

Say goodbye to the information age
April 8th, 2018

Via Aeon: "Gloria Origgi is an Italian philosopher, and a tenured senior researcher at CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) in Paris. Her latest book is Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters (2017), translated by Stephen Holmes and Noga Arikha.

There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it. What makes this paradoxical is that the vastly increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous. Rather, it renders us more dependent on other people’s judgments and evaluations of the information with which we are faced.

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know. [...]

The paradigm shift from the age of information to the age of reputation must be taken into account when we try to defend ourselves from ‘fake news and other misinformation and disinformation techniques that are proliferating through contemporary societies. What a mature citizen of the digital age should be competent at is not spotting and confirming the veracity of the news. Rather, she should be competent at reconstructing the reputational path of the piece of information in question, evaluating the intentions of those who circulated it, and figuring out the agendas of those authorities that leant it credibility.

Whenever we are at the point of accepting or rejecting new information, we should ask ourselves: Where does it come from? Does the source have a good reputation? Who are the authorities who believe it? What are my reasons for deferring to these authorities? Such questions will help us to get a better grip on reality than trying to check directly the reliability of the information at issue. In a hyper-specialised system of the production of knowledge, it makes no sense to try to investigate on our own, for example, the possible correlation between vaccines and autism. It would be a waste of time, and probably our conclusions would not be accurate. In the reputation age, our critical appraisals should be directed not at the content of information but rather at the social network of relations that has shaped that content and given it a certain deserved or undeserved ‘rank’ in our system of knowledge.

These new competences constitute a sort of second-order epistemology. They prepare us to question and assess the reputation of an information source, something that philosophers and teachers should be crafting for future generations."

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Example for Stadtgarten's new corporate design by Christian Schäfer.

Redefining Stadtgarten's personality

European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music
April 4th, 2018

Via Stadtgarten: "The Park-Restaurant Stadtgarten was first opened in 1898 and is located within Cologne's oldest inner-city park Stadtgarten. After a colourful history, in 1985 the city of Cologne agreed to a long term lease contract with the Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e.V., both for the park grounds and its building. Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus is an association of Cologne musicians, founded in 1978. Also in 1985 Stadtgarten Restaurant Betriebs GmbH was founded, and reopened the restaurant after its renovation. [...]

On September 4th 1986, the concert hall was opened and in 1997 Studio 672 [former Schmuck-Kästchen] was reopened in its basement. Today the entire venue hosts up to 400 concerts per year.
In 2016, Stadtgarten received the Venue of the Year award by the German government as part of their the venue programming award Applaus. In 2018, the venue was transformed into the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music with support from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia and the City of Cologne."

Reiner Michalke, program director for the renowned Stadtgarten venue, hired me to support their executive team to reposition the Stadtgarten identity. Over the course of one year I led the team to reflect and brainstorm on the uniqueness of their concert hall, club, and restaurant. We also started a concentrated research into the different audiences to understand their values and interests.

This process finally resulted in a precise design briefing, which Reiner Michalke used to call a pitch for Stadtgarten's new corporate design. Cologne based designer Christian Schäfer won and created a striking visual identity, which is praised throughout the community and widely recognized.

The Stadtgarten team was one of the most engaged, and inspired clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And it is quite wonderful to see how they achieved a complete repositioning of this much loved venue. The endeavor of carefully refacing an identity is always quite a challenge, and achieving it in a group is even harder but if you succeed, you win on all levels.

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