Tag: art

Pux

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 …

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Mosshammers Tap

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… 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 :

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Get a Fix

As we all know – at least those of my venerable readers, who grew up listening to German Schlager (“hits”) -, es gibt kein Bier auf Hawaii, there’s no beer on Hawaii. XL may know better, and feel free to correct me please, but this is my level of information.
But there is (Bavarian) beer in Greece. The oldest trade mark is “Fix“. According wikipedia (Ger., Eng.) it is the greekisied version of the German name “Fuchs”. In the 1830s Johann Georg FUCHS started a small brewery in Athens, later the enterprise grew and became a de facto monopolist right through to the 1980s. The family came originally from the Bavarian (better : Franconian) Spessart.
Why Greece ? Because they followed the newly appointed Greek king OTTO (1815-1867) (Ger., Eng.), former Bavarian Prince & second son of king LUDWIG I. of Bavaria (1786-1868) (Ger., Eng.). OTTOs reign (1832-1862) was, after all, unsuccessful, and – with all due respect – I find his father the more interesting historical figure & personality.
But why would a Bavarian king put his second born, under-age son on a newly installed throne in a foreign country an der Schwelle zum Orient, at orient’s threshold ?
Because he loved Greece, or better : the idea of it.
This leads us back to Rome (where else ?) and in the Café Greco in the Via Condotti (Eng.). (Open bottle of red now.) *

LUDWIG went on his first major travel in autumn 1804. His youth had been a bit of an up-and-down, but he received a good education. He did not become a galant adventurer, a mercenary-type, or a glory-seeking condottiere (think of Friedrich II. of Prussia, who started a long war right after sitting on the throne, just because of his hunger for “Gloire” ; at least he had the insight to regret his deeds afterwards.) ; LUDWIG was a Schöngeist with a real interest in art, a serious Schwärmer, an enthusiast. Art became his escape – the politics he was thrown into were not to his liking, especially because his strong dislike of Napoleon BUONAPARTE. Sadly his father had made peace with NAPOLEON already in 1801, had formed an alliance with the destroyer of worlds, and was richly rewarded for this after the end of the old Reich – the more or less average Bavarian dukes were made kings.
The ink was not yet dry on the document when the newly made Kronprinz, crown prince, was sent to Paris in January 1806. And his sister AUGUSTA (Ger., Eng.) was married to the son-in-law of the French monster (at least it was a happy marriage). LUDWIG used the opportunity to visit the large (stolen) art collection of the self-styled “emperor”, and was impressed.
LUDWIG became a Philhellene  par excellence (Ger.,  Eng.) – WINCKELMANN had founded this new cult ; WIELAND had sung about a kind of “Rokoko-Arkadien”; HEINSE propagated an idea of Greek beauty; GOETHE (there is more to old Wolfie as just the nonsense they told us in school) projected an enlightened ideal of humanism back into the classical age ; HÖLDERLIN, well, was Hölderlin, and BYRON finally wrote travelogues & died romantically. The classical age of Greek art & civilization became a large canvas for ideals of the romantics of the day.

But it had a pretty material side too. Mr Thomas BRUCE, later Lord ELGIN (Ger., Eng.), had received a ferman (Ger., Eng.) that allowed him (or his agents) to measure classical sites, paint pictures of those sites, and make plaster casts of figures & statues in reach. Also the agents should have the chance to acquire “transportable antique works of art”. This went reasonable well at the first expedition of ELGINs people, namely under his main representative, the Neapolitan painter Don Giovanni Battista LUSIERI (Eng.). For the second expedition into the Greek wilderness ELGIN received a second Firman that basically allowed him to “help himself”. LUSIERI interpreted the term “transportable” now as “being possibly made portable” with the help of saws, levers, cranes and whatever needed. He filled some ships with the old stuff (more than thirty), the nasty French tried to capture them unsuccessfully, a commission was established. Finally they gave ELGIN thirtyfive-thousand pounds, what was not covering his expenses, and he had his place in modern art history. “Quod non fecerunt Gothi – fecerunt Scoti”, as BYRON put it. Roughly : The Goths did not dare, but the Scots.
This had happened in 1801. So when LUDWIG came to Rome in 1804 Greece was en vogue among all art enthusiasts ; 1806 he saw what NAPOLEON had brought from Egypt. Later (1807) the crown prince engaged the help of a certain Johann Martin (von) WAGNER (Ger., born in Würzburg) as agent, always asking for Greek sculptures, or at least drawings or casts.

Some night in 1810 (open 2nd bottle of red now) the regulars in the Café Greco had the idea of a “greek expedition” : Why not go there and look for themselves ? Why not go there and search for the wonders ? So they threw their Pausanias in the Rucksack, grabbed the pistols (all those robbers !), and visited the godforsaken village in the middle of nowhere called Athens in 1810 : Baron Karl Haller von HALLERSTEIN, Otto Magnus von STACKELBERG, Jacob LINKCH (Ger.), sorry if I forgot one. The Athens of these day was dusty, ugly and far from its former classical glory. Venetians had bombed the acropolis, in the Erechtheion the Pascha’s harem was established, magnificent ruins nevertheless, perhaps a bit like Rome before the Pope came back from Avignon. They lodged in LUSIERIs house, and two Englishmen joined the group, Charles Robert COCKERELL, an architect, together with his friend John FOSTER.
In April 1811 they had measured Athens and COCKERELL, HALLER, FOSTER & LINCKH deceided to visit a small island called Aegina – there shall stand a well-preserved temple (Ger., Eng.). They dig a bit around to be able to take the correct measurements, only to stumble over some very fine sculptures : They had accidentally found the crashed down gable with its group of figures. A lot of “Bakschisch” is handed to the local Turkish commander until the sculptures are brought to Athens unscathed – and it is clear that the “Aigineten” (pics) are a European sensation. There must be a solution found, and finally it is agreed that the sculptures will be auctioned off in Zante (Italian for Zakynthos (Ger., Eng.)) under the auspices of the colourful Georg Christian GROPIUS (Ger.), consul of this and that. HALLER lets LUDWIG know what they are sitting on, who in turn sends carte blanche (Zvgmv ?) to WAGNER in Rome, and a helpful bill of exchange over seventy-thousand Gulden. While WAGNER is on his way to Athens the director of the British Museum is also on his way, sending ahead the brigg “Paulina”, her captain ready to collect those old marble-stones. The group of friends who discovered the sculptures receive some unethical offers, remarkably none accepts, they seem – as a group – to be able to survive this and safe their friendly relations amongst each other.
The sculptures are brought to Malta – the greedy French again ! – while the auction is held in Zante. WAGNER arrives just in time, looks at the plaster casts, and slams the seventy thousand on the table – good enough for GROPIUS, and that’s it. WAGNER redeems the sculptures in Malta, makes it through a terrible storm near Stromboli, and finally reaches Naples. THORWALDSEN (Ger., Eng.), one of the regulars at the Greco, and assigned by LUDWIG for the reconstruction, is besides himself. The Russians offer cool hundred-thousand Dukaten, the English have a word with COCKERELL, but he had done nothing wrong. Today the sculptures are shown in LUDWIGs Glyptothek in Munich.

All this just illustrates the role of art in those days, the worship of the idealised Greece, and gives an idea about the world of ideas of the Bavarian king LUDWIG, who has a bust of HOMER in his study and reads the gospel in the Greek urtext every evening. When “Greece” all of a sudden is not just marble past any more, but becomes bloody present reality in 1821 (Ger., Eng.), he will not retreat in his library and write some poems – he does, yes – , but he will link the Greek fight for independence against the Sultan (Ger., Eng.) with the German struggle for unity, and he will use a lot of (own) money for equipment, ransoms (to buy back prisoners of war) et cetera, and finally he will sent his son to be king of Greece.

* I use for this scribblings the enjoyable and well-written book by SEIDL, Wolf : Bayern in Griechenland. Die Geburt des griechischen Nationalstaats und die Regierung König Ottos. Erweiterte Neuauflage, München 1981 (first 1965 ?), especially chapter one (17-42), and pages 337-355.

Things Found

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You may remember – or not, I do not like this vain self-referential guesture / ado – that I wrote about the “Futuro House” on this blog (here). Meanwhile there is something called the “Futuro House Net“. Thought I’d mention it.

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Chairman Bill came up with a Psychopath-test, weeks ago, I’m slow. I scored 15.

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While I’m at it – go and search for the next USB-thingy in the wall.

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There’s a new film about the Rendlesham Forest Incident (Ger., Eng.) – still a fascinating series of events. My personal guess is, it was a stress test.

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If you find some undeveloped film, perhaps from the eighties when you went into the woods, send it here.

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And if you are interested in a real riddle, a bit disturbing too, read about the thirty year old YOGTZE-murder-case, in German, in English.

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Sunday Music

It’s convenient (and laziness) that I do not have to think about a title for the Sunday post. At the moment it would be something like “Why can’t these asocial basteds downstairs not keep quiet ? Not even once a week, on a Sunday, they are able to shut up. Why do we sent people not longer in the quarries or the mines ? Or Australia ? Where is the inquisition when you need it ?”
So I put the headphones over my ears and listen to sounds – like Dick RAJIMAKERS’ (Ger., Eng.) (1930-2013) Song of the Second Moon (1957, together with Tom DISSEVELT (Eng. Nl.) (1921-1989), here) – while I sort through the files on my computer. It is time to delete the unnecessary items, keep & store other things ; and I always wanted to work through the tons of images – some are acceptable, some are just a waste of space.
RAJIMAKERS is a pioneer of electronic music, a reader about him was published in 2007, his works until 1997, are released on three CDs (here’s a link to the second edition). In his œvre we find experimental pieces (like Contrasts or Tweeklank) next to more accommodating, less unwieldy sounds, like the happy-sih Whirling (Electronic Movements, 1962). I hope you like it – and if you have nothing better to do, explore RAJIMAKER’s world of sounds and early electronica in general : It’s a beeping and scratching, a sheer delight.
I wish you a quiet & uneventful week !

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P.s
Google / Youtube seems to have installed a new auto-play, at least I encountered this the first time today.