Berlin, 8th July (letter2 #siegmar)
Dears, dear Bettina, dear Silke,
The atmosphere feels charged, maybe because it will rain soon. This is the last day of our writing residency and the last day of the festival. I rediscovered letter writing. Celine says it’s something poetical. Not so much because it is poetry but because it puts something into the world.
I feel what we have put into the world here are monsters. Creatures of proximities that want to show themselves. That come out into the light of our field. The performance field. And sometimes with these monsters it seems even work to keep themselves together. So diverse are the parts the are made of. I like the idea of our letters crawling, flying, sitting, sleeping, being and lettering.
Thank you Bettina and Silke for inviting us and making this possible.
Thank you everybody for this time. The Atmosphere feels charged in this room. And not just because it is thundering outside.
Berlin, 8th July (letter1 #siegmar)
Dear Litó, dear all, dear programmers, dear politicians, dear fellow citizens,
Dear Litó, you write: What we need is already here. What we want we are already doing.
NO and YES. I agree that each of us is individually sometimes collectively even doing things we have described here. This is why we write it and write about it, because we are doing it. And, I don’t think that what we need is already here. A friend, who I would like to see more, but we are rarely in Berlin at the same time, recently told me that she had a few weeks of paid residency here in Berlin. For that to happen she had to enroll in a master program abroad, pay a tuition fee, convince the program coordinators that it was important for her to be in Berlin for this part of the program and finally enjoy her work in Berlin. Isn’t that outrageous. Isn’t it outrageous that sommer.bar, a structure that was exactly working on creating conditions of exchange and sharing, doesn’t receive the appropriate support, isn’t it outrageous, that ALL applications that focused on research and communication of this research to a public did not get supported by the HKF with the argument that they don’t finance research.
Dear Litó you ask me if I don’t value what I do in Berlin?
I DO. AND I WANT TO GET PAID FOR THAT. So I don’t have to go away to earn money, so I can stay here and contribute to the entanglement, so I can spread the confetti and water the garden, my own and ours. This is exactly why I’m so interested in contributing to a discourse on performance practice, that finally becomes heard and finally cannot be overheard anymore. Until creating conditions for our work becomes an option here in Berlin.
Berlin, 8th July (letter #nina)
Keywords: confusion, Zarathustra in a storm, about, yes and no
I must admit: I am confused today after reading your letters.
I don’t know what to write. I feel disconnected. My thoughts are too unspecific.
So I’ll try to find it whilst writing.
There is one “episode” though (I especially like this explanation of “episode” that Litó mentioned: “an incidental narrative or digression within a story, poem, etc.,”) I feel responding to. It’s Steffi’s Einar Schleef-episode.
I saw Einar Schleef twice. It was in 2001.
First I saw him in his last piece at Deutsches Theater (I forgot the name of the piece but it was about five hours long and Schleef was performing a monologue from Nietzsches Also sprach Zarathustra for at least one hour, and as he spoke he became, for me, the contrary of what I imagine the Übermensch Zarathustra to be like: Schleef seemed vulnerable.
Later that summer one afternoon I drove by bike close to Leipziger Straße and I saw Schleef passing the street. What an appearance! His grey hair stuck out into all directions. Zarathustra going through a storm!
One day later Schleef died. I read it in the newspaper.
Later someone told me that Schleef had a heart attack whilst he was walking through the streets of Berlin. I was told that Schleef had managed to reach the hospital Charité where he apparently was not being treated immediately because he was considered a homeless person.
Zarathustra going through a storm. Vulnerable.
Coming back to my beginning of the letter:
I feel I am running away from something I should address but I am too unclear.
Maybe this is what I want to say: I love ‘about’! Litó, I don’t see what there is wrong with ‘about’. I don’t know what the problem with and the difference between the ‘about’ and ‘not about’ is. Aren’t these letters all ‘about’ and ‘not about’?
A new letter by Siegmar just came in. It sais “NO and YES” = “About” and “not about”?
“NO and YES” as an answer to the questions if things are already the way we want them.
Within these letters: yes
In berlin: NO!
Would we being treated in the hospital?
We are Zarathustras going through a storm. Vulnarable.
Berlin, 8th July (letter2 #litó)
“I will now stop and enjoy the atmosphere in this room.”
Nina wrote and did this. Yesterday. I read it. Yesterday. I wrote it a few seconds ago. I will do it. Now.
Still doing it.
Now I want to describe. I would like it to be delightful in detail, not tedious.
A description of the conditions of this being together. Or perhaps just some left overs to include before we end this residency.
Across the table from me, Steffi continues to smile behind her computer. Yesterday she said and wrote how she loves to write “the Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Robert-Koch-Platz Berlin”. I wonder what she’s smiling about now. Maybe Simone Weil.
Alice, in the letter I wrote you today, I also wanted to say that I know my question is huge, especially when you’ve been specifically honoring practice in your program at Laboratoires dd’Aubervilliers. I wanted to pull out a beautiful sentence from your first day letter. “I often claimed coherence and clarity as major qualities I would strive to achieve. This has remained as a maybe less often told but still permanent fantasy in the background of my self-projections.” This a intuitive half-thought, but I wonder about the relation coherence and clarity have with constraint. Sometimes the constraints that support or bring me the most support or fulfillment are the ones that suspend certain coherence. So that I may discover something new, in something old or supposedly obvious or boring.
Céline (sorry I missed the accent in the last emails) When we worked together at SoDA in May you asked a question (I think you read it from your writing). I have kept hearing it since and especially with being in your presence these days. You asked “Why speak so loud?” I think I supposed you were asking me, as I was aware of the high volume of my voice. I was loaded when I met you all on that first day. First meetings always feel loaded to me, but also I had just been burning my head in my own research residency. Anyway, I had the thought these days that it would be nice, one day perhaps to write, or co-write, ‘a script for amplified whispers’ with you. Thank you for your letter yesterday. It was more of what I had hoped to do these days.
I want to read the letters that are piling up next to me on this table right now, so I must stop writing.
Thank you all for these magical times. Planting and cross-modifying thought-seeds with you has been a deep joy.
Berlin, 8th July (letter #céline)
I like prepositions.
They allow to shake to blend to tease stable meanings.
Although this one…
About sounds strict to me.
About is open but not malleable.
About is the little cousin of around.
It keeps you in the neighborhood, in the commentary.
About can be exaggerated, distorted, threatened with
with, from, under, beside, on, for, between, below, in front of, in, after, even to.
I write from my practice
I write under my practice
I talk with my practice
I talk for my practice
I tell to my practice
I tell between my practice
I write in front of my practice
I write after my practice
That poiein means to make makes me very happy.
That poiesis and praxis are entangled makes me very happy.
I am also very happy that
to say = to make
Boris Vian used to say from the act of writing – to the best of my recollection:
don’t use the adjective bizarre, make a bizarre image.
our apples hidden behind one image
or exposed naked and branded
face to face
during four days
during twelve hours
our apples blushed
our apples lit
our apples smiled
to the reception of the letters
from Hamburg London Nottingham Warrington
from Canada’s countryside
from the garden
Je vous embrasse.
Berlin, 8th July (letter #steffi)
Thanks a lot for your letter.
The first day when we met here at Sophiensaele you mentioned that you had brought some books and in that moment I wanted to ask you about them. What kind of books? May I have a look? But something else came up and later on I forgot about it. And I only ever remembered the books when you were not around like right now. It is just a small detail but I would still very much like to find out about the books. It feels a little bit like I missed out on a gift, because I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Thanks also for introducing your friend Alexis. It made me think about my friend Roxy who I’m writing letters with for more than half of my life, by now 17 years and still going strong. I’m wondering how many pages we created by now. I could actually check as I store all the handwritten letters I ever received in a big, old suitcase at home. Hm, this writing residency starts to feel like the narrative within a dream, everything overlapping, fading into each other. You waiting for your furniture, packing your suitcases, me using a suitcase as a letter-treasure-box-piece-of-furniture. Is it my tired brain playing tricks on me? Or is it something else? I don’t know, but I like it.
And it was nice to meet you Sheena not “just” through letters but “especially” through letters.
Berlin, 8th July (letter1 #litó)
On day 2 of our residency you asked if I could elaborate on what I was getting at with my letter addressed to Siegmar from the first day.
When you asked this, you added that you thought you knew, but weren’t sure. I thought I knew what you may have wanted me to expand on, but also wasn’t sure.
I will take a guess.
I wrote about being aware of the overlapping constraints that act as frames to my perception and agency as I sit around the table with you and the others, answering an invitation to write about work. And of how I could sense us tapping into this central nerve (Nina also referred to to a central core, you also referred to the necessity of loving and caring for the things you work with) of selection, basically, amongst the many perceivable frames and contents.
These days we’ve expressed the dizzying effect of accumulative, entangled production of concerns that build so quickly (even after the first round of letters to each other – and for me, even from the invite’s outset.)
This small reference caught my eye this morning:
“It is only by reference to the limit that what approaches it has a function: the limit is what gives the approach its effectivity, it’s reality. The reality the limit gives is movement or tendency.” (Massumi, 2002: 147 – Seite 42 Performance Platform Body Affects Newsletter)
My question to you, to expand on my ideas of how constraints and frames may function to support, is something like this:
Where is practice residing for you? And where is presentation? How and where is one active in the other? For you?
In your letter to us on day 1 you wrote:
“I want to think further about the production, the emergence, the shaping of the “object” (the artwork) and how we can follow it, sense it, trying not to precede it..How we imagine a structure and what is the space for searching, hesitating and changing directions within this. How the frame can be strong and thin in the same time.”
If you take out the “we” for a moment (my dear generous Alice). What is the strong and thin, possibly micro and multiple structure that can bridge your open probing searching with evolvement and observation of object? Maybe too big a question, but I think it’s one that relates to concerns we spoke also about when we worked together in Vienna with your Collective Sensations. Your quandary of how to bridge the excitements of the practice to presentable form.
To be continued. With love,