Long and boring bla ahead, sorry. If you like, skip the artsy fartsy stuff & go to the music at the end of this post. It is not that much uplifting.

The ever venerable Dianhmow posted about a kind of contest here, gently providing a link to the winners here. Here is the link to a pdf showing all entries / finalists of the “2016 LIBRIS AWARDS”.
Dinahmow had photographed one of the entries – please see it at the bottom of her blog post. It is described as “Winner of the Regional Artists’ Award. May-Britt Mosshammer. “Tapping the Knowledge.” Books, bronze, paper”. I steal the pic and put it next – wait a minute …


Mosshammers Tap


… here we are. “Tapping the Knowledge”.
And there it drips. Or flows. Or whatever.

For me – do I have to declare that here on my blog I talk about meself only (btw I know that it’s the wrong form, I stole it from Søren Knudsen) – books are tools. Books are a lot of things to a lot of people, even for those who do not read. They are means of escape, they are respected as holy, persecuted as and understood as dangers to faith, virginity, public order … a text, written or printed, distributed in a bound form, hence transportable and most of all reproducable can be seen as dangerous, as revelation, as simple means for “fun” and “recreation”, as transport for knowledge (what ever this may be) … it is a book.
I grew up with books, and some dogs, but at some point the dogs had to go and the books stayed. Reading was in the household of my parents a normal activity, regardless whether it was the newspaper, a more or less funny novel for distraction or a historical text, regardless of the latter’s quality. My parents were not historians. Education, what translates in visiting a “good” school, was seen as the means to better the situation in general, and reading was apart of it, of the job. My education was very good, I went to a traditional humanistic German Gymnasium, and of course we were reading, well, books. History was (my) the main topic (I was fortunately in one of the early years that could pick out their individual topics – if I had to do the last examination (Abitur) in something like chemistry I would have ruined all of my grades, so it was Latin and history and I survived) and our teacher (all of them, but especially the last) was very good. In fact when I went to university and attended the first obligatory “Einführungsseminar”  / introductionary seminar I thought I was in 12th grade again.
Reading books was always essential. Using a real library at a university, where you could have texts at your hand within some hours, where you could see images with a short delay – and this was all before the digitalisation and the web – was a great experience that in this form will never come back. Best was – in the eighties – that you could even have originals sent from Munich or the HAB (a place I still today, despite my anger over the scientific business & all, would crawl on my legs & arms to to have a job in the depot) within days : You actually had’em in your hands !
And of course the magazines. They held a lot of printed stuff you never knew existed until you found it in a catalogue, or somewhere cited. All this was done by grey sheets of terrible printed paper that you filled out, either by hand or with a type writer – and all this became better and better with the digitalisation : Nowadays you can read stuff at a workstation within the campus that was unreachable twenty years ago. (There is a large danger to it too, but I am not willing to talk about this now.)

The book as it is, is first of all a tool for me. Then it is also an object – I do not want to say of desire. There are no books I really wanted to possess simply because they are books. But there are objects that come in the form of a book that I very much like – because of the paper, the binding, the typography. A car can bring you from place A to place B. It can be a Dacia 1.5 Diesel, it can be a … Dodge Charger SRT – no I do not want to digress on cars, the Dodge has to be enough. Paper alone is such a large and rich field – in the region is a papermill, and the man (whom I know of course) makes some very fine examples of paper for different uses ; printing – oh my ! – ; binding – there is so much nonsense that can be done in this respect – and who ever invented the glue-thing shall rot in hell eternally ! And I will not start about typography – I keep venerating some housegods like TSCHICHOLD, and that is enough.
A friend is an acknowledged artist, one of her techniques is printing, I stand in awe about the possibilities – and I dare to say sometimes that I do not like the outcome. But this is a very rare thing to occur, and I basically know what to do different. (And we once were invited to take part in one of her œvres, so I reclaim something of a “Vorschuss” !)
My taste is conservative regarding typography – I f.e. always try to use something that is Garamond-related as font – I know that one of my most favourite readers (‘a friend’) does not like this type of font family, but I am sorry, can’t without.

Much bla about nothing so far. Terrible introspection into an empty stomach, perhaps filled with hot air only. Ein Windbeutel.
So what about this object up there ?

Frankly, I … do not like it.
And, as already said in a comment on Dinahmow’s blog, I am not really sure about the “why”.
What do you have on tap – is a question one expects in a tavern. I have a problem with “knowledge” in general, as differenced from information. There are texts in the form of a book, like “Der Schattenfotograf” by Wolfdietrich Schnurre that in my humble opinion keeps a lot of insight and meaning – but that can not be “tapped”. There is a lot of knowledge, imho wisdom even, in this text (and this man), but there is nothing to be tapped – for all and everyone. There is nothing that runs out when you turn the spigot. There is no spigot. Even to the Bible or the Koran no spigot is attached.
Books create books, it can be a bit of an inbred, especially in historical matters. What runs out of the spigot depends always and only on the one who turns it.
Perhaps my idea of “art” is terribly outdated – I do not know. All I know is that Art is what one sees as Art. This thing above in my eyes is a joke, it is in my humble opinion a first involvement with the idea of the book and its history, given my education and more or less “intellectual” background”. This is a thing that is okay in the first-year-seminar. It is a joke, a light shot from the hip, more or less funny, but I would not give it an award. Yes, of course, it is just me, and my “idea” of what a book is and can be.
It is half-done. Put something under the spigot, like a bucket and fill it with something you like : A mirror (ach ja, die Selbsterkenntnis, good old self-awareness), a piece of crap if you like, overflowing shredded paper, or a flower – I am not the artist, and of course it is absolutely arrogant from me to judge this thing, but I am allowed and free to say what it causes in me. The initial anger is gone, but I do not take this thing serious, and I would not have given it an award.

Vanitas vanitatum – here’s the soundtrack :




13 thoughts on “Pux

  1. Well, shall we remove the tap and make it into a nice bedside table? I believe in recycling.
    When I first saw it I thought the implication was too obvious (as Dinah said, I think?) and I moved swiftly on. I am in awe of your analysis, and agree, this is sloppy art.
    Meanwhile, I like Garamond.

  2. Lovely MsScarlet !
    I always, always, have the fear to be too arrogant. There is always the definition of a critic as an impotent artist -and I am no artist, I lack this last “Quentchen”, the last grain that it takes, takes to step out !
    As a child I was forced on a stage, in a play, and I very well remember the fright, Angst, terrible fear. Later, still as a teen, I was playing in an orchestra, and I was given a not too unimportant part playing an organ, we even received an award – I will never forget this, the feelings when you are out on this damn stage, acting, or when you are part of an orchestra and and one point have to deliver.
    What I want to say is simply : I have deep respect for anyone, who has the guts to expose oneself, as an artist has to do, to the public. Be it writing, be it acting (the most unforgiving), be it anything else. One always gives away something of one self. And if it is only in the act of giving a piece of sculpture towards a contest : Every artist (even Banksy) makes her~ / himself open and vulnerable ! And it is always personal – don’t tell me otherwise.
    All this.
    I do not like that thing.
    It is not enough.

    Garamond is great, generations of typographers lived from him.
    There is so much to be discovered …

  3. Interesting critique Mr Maggs… you have missed your calling. If only more So called “Art Critics” could be so honest in thier opinions by qualifying thier approval/ dispproval whith such elloquence and honesty. Personally I could do with the tap to replace a leaking worn out one in the garden. Now, That would be practical recycling.

  4. You say yer dripping, Princess ?

    Thank You, Princess, for giving me “eloquence & honesty”, I try to be honest, mostly, around here. And of course I made some … twitches – ?
    I’m struggling with the “eloquence”-part a bit – The Mistress one said it absolutely right, its nuances, and I am not good at them.
    BTW do you think it is the whole spigot that needs replacement, perhaps a seal replaced will do it ?

  5. We’re all free to interpret as we like.

    My first thought upon seeing the old tattered moldy books was: Ah! Mold! Get rid of it!

    My second thought was upon seeing the spigot: Call the plumber! We got clogged pipes!

    I didn’t get the piece until it was mentioned that it’s to do with tapping knowledge. Then I went, ‘Ah, of course.’

    But I usually don’t get art or follow along what most people say. People rave about Monet’s works, but to be honest, my first impression was : Geez, what a mess! Did a kindergartener paint this or someone with blurry vision? Turns out, I was right about the later part–Monet suffered poor vision in the later half of his life. And while those around me went on & on about how insightful & deep the color scheme was, I just saw a big old mess. But that’s art: Everyone is free to interpret & give meaning, if any, to whatever the art stimulates–or fails to stimulate. Art is subjective, & that’s the beauty & power of art! Art’s influence is powerful & immeasurable. I know what I like when I see it. And everyone should be free to feel the same.

  6. My study at university required one law class. So I spent a lot of time in the legal section of the university library researching case law mostly related to freedom of the press cases. Very intense, but actually enjoyable.

    I have Helvetica set as the default font on my word processor as I like that for letters, notes, recipes, and such. And also on my blog. But for a design project, I am open to using other fonts. Except Palatino, of course.

  7. You said, I have a problem with “knowledge” in general, as differenced from information.

    Good point. Information is not knowledge. It can, however, be a building block for knowledge.

    As for the video clip title, “Cake Thrills,” how very Infomaniac!

  8. At one point in history the painters decided that their pictures should be seen from a distance of three to five meters. That was long before Monet, but I think it works for his paintings too. Give it a try Eroswings, old Claude was not such a bad dripper !

    Dampfnudeln ? They are not unknown here dampfpunk LẌ, but are more at home in the Bavarian, Austrian and Bohemian kitchen. One of the “Mehlspeißen” they are known for. Either in a salty variation with a crispy outside – at least partly – or sweet, preferably with a sweet sauce and / or fruits. Goes well as a simple fast midday “snack” – but can lie in one’s stomach like a ball of lead too. Why not try to make one, it is a simple “Hefeteig” steamed either in butter & milk, as the rich Bavarians did, or salt ‘n water, as those poor sods in the Palz did. But they were used to this because they cooked stones and made soup from them – HA !
    (This should wake Foam up, don’t you think ?)
    Ah yes, Palatino – Zapf died last year, really did not know that he was still alive. He simply was always there.

    I don’t know nothing dearest Mistress !

  9. Dampfnudelen? My German is now very, very shaky, but that sounds like “damp noodles” which I’m sure would not be common at Mistress MJ’s place!

    And thank you, Sir, for your reasoning on why you do not like May’s Tap-on-some-books.There is rather a lot of work in this exhibition that grates on my nerves, too!

  10. I’m sorry I missed this post – My feeder thingy keeps unceremoniously dumping you, Dinahmow and Ms Scarlet to the bottom of my blog lists. I expect it’s having some sort of temper tantrum with WordPress…
    Anyway – and briefly – I agree. Tapping the Knowledge is a joke! Like both you and Ms Scarlet, I thought it was too obvious, but didn’t get that little bit further in seeing the (almost certainly unintended) humour.

  11. What ruthless critic you are IDV !
    I do not use a reader right now, but will do again. They are hard working pieces of code, so forgive ’em please : How would you feel all day & night out on patrol through the web ? Yes, edged, worn … you also would at one pint simply deliver – read : shovel the stuff at the master’s doorstep – and then go to sleep. Or on a bender. Whatever comes first. Even a digital slave needs some R&R !

    P.S. The “pint” is of course a mis-spelt “point”, but I think this is really a so called “Freudian lapse” or something …

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