Listening session @ NRW Forum Dusseldorf

Theatre and Technology congress
October 30th, 2018

Prof. Dr. Swantje Lichtenstein and I have been invited by Dr. Kathrin Dreckmann and Prof. Dr. Maren Butte to perform at the Theatre and Technology congress of the Society for Theatre Studies at NRW Forum Dusseldorf on November 10th. We asked fabulous composer Brigitta Muntendorf to join us via Skype from 4:3 Kammer Musik Neu festival in Hellerau.

Via NRW Forum Dusseldorf: "In the 20th century, so-called new or contemporary music has been influenced by composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Mauricio Kagel, György Ligeti, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and others. For one of her seminars at the Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik und Medien, communication designer Heike Sperling and artist Swantje Lichtenstein started to research the outstanding female composers of the 20th century (post–World War II). Their list exploded quickly, because an incredible number of great female composers can be found in the last century – but unlike their male colleagues they are not yet part of the 'canon'.
The Listening Session invites you to give those composers a (listening) space and to talk about their music. The two Düsseldorf professors will exchange thoughts with the renowned composer Brigitta Muntendorf via Skype, about those unheard composers, their aesthetics and techniques."

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bell hooks and Beverly Guy-Sheftall in a discussion that reflects on feminism and their own legacies in popular culture today.

bell hooks

Take me as I am or watch me as I go
October 14th, 2018

Via Wikipedia: "Gloria Jean Watkins (born September 25, 1952), better known by her pen name bell hooks, is an American author, feminist, and social activist. The name "bell hooks" is derived from that of her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks.
The focus of hooks' writing has been the intersectionality of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published over 30 books and numerous scholarly articles, appeared in documentary films, and participated in public lectures. She has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism.
In 2014, she founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky."

Watch this discussion: "Join bell hooks and Beverly Guy-Sheftall in a discussion sponsored by Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School that reflects on feminism and their own legacies in popular culture today. 
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is a feminist scholar, writer and editor, and the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Spelman College.
bell hooks is an author, activist, feminist and scholar-in-residence at The New School. This fall is her fifth and final week-long visit in a three-year residency."

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Film still from "Beuys" (2017) German documentary film directed by Andres Veiel.

How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

Joseph Beuys
Oktober 3rd, 2018 (German Unity Day)

Via Wikipedia: "At the beginning of the performance Beuys locked the gallery doors from the inside, leaving the gallery-goers outside. They could observe the scene within only through the windows. With his head entirely coated in honey and gold leaf, he began to explain pictures to a dead hare. Whispering to the dead animal on his arm in an apparent dialog, he processed through the exhibit from artwork to artwork. Occasionally he would stop and return to the center of the gallery, where he stepped over a dead fir tree that lay on the floor. After three hours the public was let into the room. Beuys sat upon a stool in the entrance area with the hare on his arm and his back to the onlookers." [...]

"Beuys explained:
'Für mich ist der Hase das Symbol für die Inkarnation, Denn der Hase macht das ganz real, was der Mensch nur in Gedanken kann. Er gräbt sich ein, er gräbt sich einen Bau. Er inkarniert sich in die Erde, und das allein ist wichtig. So kommt er bei mir vor. Mit Honig auf dem Kopf tue ich natürlich etwas, was mit denken zu tun hat. Die menschliche Fähigkeit ist, nicht Honig abzugeben, sondern zu denken, Ideen abzugeben. Dadurch wird der Todescharakter des Gedankens wieder lebendig gemacht. Denn Honig ist zweifelslos eine lebendige Substanz. Der menschliche Gedanke kann auch lebendig sein. Er kann aber auch interellektualisierend tödlich sein, auch tot bleiben, sich todbringend äußern etwa im politischen Bereich oder der Pädagogik.' "

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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 President @ Academy of Art and Design Basel

Diploma / Final exams
July 23rd, 2018

Prof. Catherine Walthard invited me to chair the 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)


"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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