Gernhardtscher Osterspaziergang 2017

Ballade von der Lichtmalerei

Leg etwas in das Licht und schau,

was das Licht mit dem Etwas macht,

dann hast du den Tag über gut zu tun

und manchmal auch die Nacht:


Rühmkorf(f)scher Osterspaziergang 2017

Vom Zielen und vom Zittern

Das Leiden denkt, es würde ewig währen.

Im Gegensatz zu unserer lieben Lust –

Die ist sich ihrer Endlichkeit bewußt

und andererseits geneigt,

sich mit Bedenken zu beschweren.


Badewanne der Träume. Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, 5.12.2015

Gestern Abend im Hamburger Schauspielhaus die Premiere von “Schiff der Träume. Ein europäisches Requiem nach Federico Fellini” in der Regie der Intendantin Karin Beier gesehen. Was in den ersten 60 Minuten konzentriert als Schauspielkunst der kritischen Selbstreflexion des Künstlerischen begann, soff in einer über mehr als zwei Stunden ausgewalzten Peripetie in einen postpubertären Multikultiklamauk ab, der sich für keine Platitüde und keinen Griff in die inszenatorische Klamottenkiste zu schade war. Weiterlesen

(English) Weaponizing the Digital Humanities

Today is the last day of the DH 2014 conference at Lausanne – a marvellous event both intellectually and socially! For those who don’t know the acronym: the annual “Digital Humanities” conference is the largest and most important conference for the international DH community and this year attracted a record-breaking 700+ delegates from all over the world – so the bar has been raised once again.

Unfortunately, the DH no longer attracts scholars only. Today I sat in a session that was also attended by a delegate wearing an unconspicously-conspicous affiliation badge identifying him as belonging to “US Government”. That’s a designation commonly known to be long-hand for NSA and the likes. Just ask such a person for a business card or their contact details (though I’m sure that by next year they’ll have resolved that issue as well).


(English) re-mapping the body

“re-mapping the body” was a dance performance which I saw on 9 July 2014 at the DH 2014 in Lausanne. The show was a performance by Company Linga, with choreography by Kataryna Gdaniec and Marco Cantalupo. I found this a very moving expression of how the human body interacts not only with the topographical space around it, but also with the soundspace in which our doings are embedded. This Facebook clip shows a solo piece danced by Ai Koyama.


(English) Flann O’Brien, “The Third Policeman”

If ever you grow tired of pondering life’s miracles, read Flann O’Brien’s “The Third Policeman” (written 1939-1940; first published post-humously in 1966). It’ll re-instill in you an inexhaustable trust in the absurdity of being!

“Never before had I believed or suspected that I had a soul but just then I knew I had. I knew also that my soul was friendly, was my senior in years and was solely concerned for my own welfare. For convenience I called him Joe. I felt a little reassured to know that I was not altogether alone. Joe was helping me.”
Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman

Flann O’Brien was one of the pseudonyms of Brian O’Nolan (Irish: Brian Ó Nualláin; 5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966)

For a lot of exquisite & hilarious quotes from the novel, see here.

(English) Edwin on the dreamline

27 June 2014.  At the end of a long day – which isn’t quite accurate as it’s 1:15 am and thus already the next day – and as I’m about to drop into my hotel bed in Berlin after a REALLY long day and then a couple of beers and cocktails with Thomas in the spaced out, Lost-in-Translation-like hotel bar at the Park Inn  (what were we talking about? John Willams’s ‘Stoner’; W.G. Seebald; the fact that most contemporary German literature doesn’t speak to us; ah yes: Heidegger and Gadamer and the strange obsession with professing allegiance to a ‘teacher’ that is characteristic for German academics. I will never get this: supposedly grown-up individuals regressing into primary school lingo and idolizing their intellectual heroes, most of whom were clearly as bright and original as they were troubled, pretty much like all of us are. Anyway, that’ll be another blog…  but you’ll see the connection just now) I check my mobile and there’s a message from Angela. Our friend Edwin is dying. He’s been in the ICU at George Provincial Hospital in South Africa for three weeks, in an artificial coma, and now his organs are packing up and someone’s about to act courageously and compassionately and switch off the respirator.



The bottom holds

youth, lust, bewilderment, and trust

the residue of all that was

the foreshadow of all that must

be lived.

In ten years time I will recall

the moment that is now and how

the joy it held has all been sieved.

Good luck, my friend, each one of us

a dweller of his future hell

spellbound to this, the well

of presence and its shining past.

The duskless dawn approaches fast

a flake sinks to the bottom

of my glass.

Zu Uwe Timms “Vogelweide”

Und auf die Frage, warum sie das alles so selbstverständlich entgegennahm, aber sich nichts von ihm hatte schenken lassen, sagte sie mit dem weichen polnischen Akzent: Weil du von mir dir kein Kind hast schenken lassen wollen.

Wie kompliziert dieser Satz war und das, was er bedeutete.

Uwe Timm, Vogelweide. Köln 2013, S.279

Treffender als jede wortreiche Herleitung eines Geschmacksurteils und als jede Umschreibung von Inhalt, Komposition und Thematik weist dieser kurze Passus, in dem sich die Stimme des sich erinnernden Protagonisten Eschenbach und die seines Erzählers berühren, auf das ästhetische Anliegen der Erzählkunst von Uwe Timm. In der Sprache seiner Texte begegnen und durchdringen sich die Dinge mit ihrer lautlichen wie gedanklichen Spiegelung. Die Sorgfalt, mit der ein Satz wie dieser von Timm gestaltet wird, verlangt zunächst ein genaues Beobachten dessen, was außerhalb seiner liegt, und dann ein Erkunden der Worte in jenen Dimensionen, die ihnen noch vor der Einpassung in die Syntax ein Eigengewicht verleihen. Dieses Eigengewicht schlägt sich in einer eigentümlich archaischen Dynamik nieder – einer Dynamik, die man zwar analytisch als die von Etymologie, Semantik und Prosodie kennzeichnen könnte. Aber das Analytische und seine trennscharfen Konzepte treffen es nicht; dem Phänomen, um das es diesen Texten geht, wird eine weichere Umschreibung – etwa als Wechselspiel von Laut und Bedeutung – gerade deshalb besser gerecht, weil sie eben keine unbeteiligte Objektivität suggeriert, sondern unser je eigenes Angerührtsein von den Worten mitdenken läßt.


reverse thinking: from NSA to BND

How about a little thought experiment:

Gerhard Bauden, an encryption specialist employed by, say, SAP who has been seconded to the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s NSA) flees to Iceland. Holed up at the Reijkjavik Hilton he leaks classified documents to the Swiss Newspaper “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” which, if proven to be genuine, uncover a huge digital spying operation conducted by the German secret service targeting, among other, not only the entire US population, plus that of Canada, Australia, and rogue nations such as Ireland and the UK, but also US embassies and consulate generals in Germany.  Among other they show in detail how a micro-chip was implanted in a Hamburger eaten by Barack Obama at a state dinner with Angela Merkel. (Do they serve Hamburgers on those occasions? Seems like I’m getting carried away here, but never mind, you get the point.) That microchop then recorded a private conversation between Mr. Obama and Wladimir Putin in which Obama referred to the Germans as “Fritzs and Krauts.” No, hang on, I got it wrong again: Angela ate the microchip, accidentally, and she, in a convesration with Putin, referred to the US as a rogue state. Somewhere along that line.

Meanwhile, from Iceland Gerhard Bauden flees to Canada from where he plans to seek asylum in, hmm, Taiwan?, Indonesia? – whatever; because the German authorites have revoked his passport he is eventually stuck in the Montréal airport transit zone.

When notoriously patriotic politicians and Bible Belt inhabitants in the US get a bit worked up about the incidient and demand explanations from Germany, the German authorities respond that they’ve handed over the case to the BND to validate the accusations leveled against the BND; we can skip over the detail concerning further reactions sparked in certain rogue countries such as, see above.

What’s more important is that the German authorities now issue a friendly request to their Canadian ally to extradite Mr. Bauden and send him back to German, obviously so that he can help the BND validate the documents that he stole from the BND.

You work out the rest of that story.