DasArts Day 11.

The Garden of Crossing Tiger Cubs

This ain't no tiger cub...

...and this ain't no garden.

Piss and Vinegar

Today: 3 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago.


DasArts Day 12.

Tom's Proposition.


Blanchot: "The disaster takes care of everything." The acknowledgement of this dictum, the recogniton of its truth, the realisation of what it might mean for us (a swallowing motion, a quick brave smile, an acquiescing nod of the head) scares the hell out of me. Please. Do not go there. Disaster must never ever (either consciously or sub-consciously) be coveted or courted for its (however needed) relief.

What does one do after such knowledge?


DasArts Day 13.

"He could see himself lying on the ground near the crushed car. Under him, on the ground, were the doctors and historians observing the bruised body from which they will extract, like a black box, the camera they inserted earlier in his brain, which recorded not only the accident but the flash review of his life..."

(Jalal Toufic)

Lying sleepless in Amsterdam I try to focus my breath, label my thoughts, do a bit yoga (in bed) etc. but it's no use, I'm just not sleepy. So I get up, pull on my favorite Patagonia fleece jacket, grab a book and read until it's time to go to the gym (and then DasArts).

Re-enacting a moment of extremely high stress. Choreographed by Sato, two dancers step through a scene from Dan Bodner's story (the figure on the right is 'carrying' Dan's bicycle).


DasArts Day 14.

3.10.01. Dress rehearsal (DasArts participants and their dancers learn to fire the Walther P5).

"Through the instruction of his guru he will recognise them as his own projections, the play of the mind, and he will be liberated."


DasArts Day 15.

Speaking of things generous did I mention that the Hotsy-Totsy Club has reinvented itself as the Bellona Times? And that Ray has gone on to generously reinvent the old Generosity portal at

The new, improved Generosity portal. (Ah, finally an easy way to see when Demian's Upside-down Cow site has been updated... Thanks a million Ray!)

Oh and elsewhere R. reports that C. reports that Dr. John Lilly has died. (He died on September 30th at 86 years of age. John Cunningham Lilly was one of my teenage heros and a scientist in the absolutely best sense of the word, the father of man-dolphin communication, sensory deprivation tanks, ketamine experiments, altered states. While I've never really stopped to acknowledge the fact, it seems to me now that John Lilly drew many of the maps which have guided (and still guide) my life. I never met the man in person but I feel I owe him a lot. So much so that I'm thinking of going to the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk on Wednesday to offer his memory a piece of cake...)

Lust, Aversion, Indifference

This week at DasArts has been an extraordinary experience. Extremely intense, everyone working incredibly hard, with many brilliant (beautiful) scenes and conversations. Filled with special moments like the other evening, when Tom and I, kicking leaves and walking in the dark, found ourselves discussing the relationship between a perpetrator and his or her victim and this poem by Yeats:

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

(William Butler Yeats)

(Swans float deep in Dutch ditches.)


Since the U.S. declared the 'War on Terrorism' this page has been seeing lots of action.


Yep. I think you could call it a 'love attack'.

Oh. oh. I uploaded the above statement several hours before the US started its raid on Taliban positions this evening. Believe me, I was referring to something other than world affairs.

(But yes, I'll admit it's as uncanny as my entry for September the 10th: "Is nothing sacred?" "No.")


DasArts Day 16.

The Garden of Crossing Tiger Cubs

Dawn is happening, always happening, somewhere. (While you read this the sky is lightening somewhere on earth.) This morning the dawn finds me bicycling as fast as I can down the De Clerqstraat (like a bomb). It's windy and clear. Out of nowhere a pigeon swoops past low over my shoulder and settles itself on the road in front of me. There is a moment of sharp focus, a flash, a convergence of air, movement, shadow... Then...

... One of the two-man (two-boy? two-girl?) crew of the jet black stealth bomber passing overhead. Once we were two kids, friends, walking arm in arm across an ancient, paved, playground. Tracing circles and figure-eights. Yelling to others: "Hey! Hey! Get out our way! We just got back FROM the U.S.A!" Now we are on our way back from Afghanistan. Tracing the big circle. On our way back to our base in Ohio, Kansas, or Missouri. On our way back to... We are somewhere in the middle of a 24 hour round trip across a couple of dawns. No. We do not need to sleep. We have been trained. We have been specifically selected to do this.

(A journalist at the Pentagon: "Do you use pills to stay awake?" "No sir. But we've got some Gatorade.")

(We are two, just-out-of teenage vampires.) We two, just-out-of teenage, vampires, are alone with each other's thoughts. We pass like thoughts in the night.

There are moments of great beauty up here. We watch the lights blink in the cockpit and listen to cool symphonic rock (Sigur Rós over Iceland). We feel like gods. We look out the windows and see the stars pass below us.


DasArts Day 17.

Hey everyone, I think congratulations are in order. This evening's 'Shooting History' presentation was a success. I'm totally happy with the work and the discussions. You are a great group!

Some Thoughts

(on the collecting of data and the re-enactment of past events...)

  1. It would seem that we measure events (collect data) in order to find patterns (also known as habits or behaviors). Patterns emerge, re-enacting themselves like heartbeats, more or less regularly (some occur more commonly than others) in dynamical systems. To experience the pattern is to see its sense (the act of seeing itself being a form of pattern recognition). While every event is unique in its birth, and a moment later, its death, every event is sensible to the extent that it retraces some past event. The singularity (events at the event horizon) being the exception to this rule.)

  2. While it is true that the data produced by our artistic re-enactments of the 'Rose event' were not 'properly' measured and/or analysized for patterns (in Tom's original concept it was hoped that the data could be 'turned over' by actual forensic experts) interesting patterns did emerge. Patterns of loss and recovery. Patterns of artistic insight. Aesthetic patterns. Patterns of articulation. Patterns of artistic expectation. Patterns of practice. Patterns of confusion etc.

  3. I wonder at times whether we are correct in assuming (for this block at DasArts) that death is an event horizon (or singularity) when the state of death itself can be described as a pattern (or better, a 'pattern of patterns' or metapattern) in the Bardo Thödol and other sources...


Pure Barbarism

How appalling that they paint proper names (ie. the names of groups of victims) on their bombs and missiles. Somehow this news shocks me even more than the fact that they've started throwing them.

Clever Marketing

From the New York Post article Timex Gets Wound Up (via R.T.):

"Timex officials are ticked off that Osama bin Laden may be wearing one of their popular sports watches, saying it's "unfortunate" a bad guy would favor their product."


"A screaming comes across the sky..."

Maudlin Music for 21st Century Wartime

Sigur Rós: Agaetis Byrjun. (Yes, I know you listened to this last year. Listen again...)

That Workshop

In the workshop nothing is happening. There are no results. Results are the work of the workshop turning into works or happenings because someone walks into the workshop and Sees. Someone walks in; but of course doesn't see everything. Only the whole world walking into that workshop could see everything. But the whole world does not see and so it does not walk into. If no one walks in nothing is happening. If someone walks in something is happening. The rest is the sentimental background, or god, of the something, as authors, for instance, are the sentimental background of literature.

Eyes are to come closer than feet. Feet are the whole world. Eyes are someone. The whole world walks into that workshop and sees nothing and so does not walk into. Someone walking into that workshop leaves his feet outside. What of his eyes, which do not see everything? He leaves these outside in the workshop.

(Laura Riding, A Progress of Stories)


from the 'Why I'll Never Be Capable of Thinking Consistently Department...'

Re: yesterday's warning from the U.S. government to the television networks that Bin Laden's broadcasts may contain hidden messages. Rest assured, there are NO secret messages hidden in this weblog.

(My friend Stewart was right... artists and architects have absolutely nothing to say...)


DasArts Day 18. Tim Etchell's proposition.


as in God, Extreme Context.


as in Yuko Hasegawa and the Istanbul Biennial.

Franz Erhard Walther (Thanks Joke!)

as in this page and this page.


(You decide.)

Aaarggh. How can one make a measured decision about an issue when -- in the moment -- one always feels either 'up or down'? (Especially when neither up nor down feels particularly 'real'?)

Three years ago I noted: 'Locations exist within the map'.

Fermi's pile design: balls of uranium within a graphite moderator.

Nuclear Garden II

(a.k.a. The Garden of Crossing Tiger Cubs.)

Robert Smithson writes in The Cryosphere (1966): "66 2/3% of the entire work is invisible." Ha. Ha. If Bob was alive today I'm sure he'd have loved the fact that in Nuclear Garden II (2001) 0% of the 'real' work can will be seen.


DasArts Day 19.

"Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself."

Aikido War

We're not really fighting a 'new war.' We're fighting an old war. If anyone is fighting a 'new war' it's the other guys. They don't have magic powers modern weapons, so they use ours. Aikido war: the point at which the enemy turns our strengths (our open society, our media (our hunger for information), our imaginations, our technology, planes etc.) against us.


(Given every situation is workable...) It is purely a matter of RECEPTIVITY whether one maintains his or her autonomy through heat dissipation (Question: "How can a complex machine maintain its identity in the middle of turmoil?" Answer: "By dissipating heat.") or its opposite,'tonglen' (a Buddhist practice whereby one breathes in difficulties and chaos and breathing out good will and order).

Event Horizon

We think of 'survivors' as those who walk away from events. We think of anti-survivors as those who disappear by either falling over the edge of the event (Celine's Journey to the End of the Night?) or who are drawn inexorably into the hole in the center of the event (Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth?). Anti-survivors may reappear later as survivor-look-alikes. But they don't walk away.


DasArts Day 20.

Sunday 7 October 2001. (Swans in front of my studio.)

Conference of the Birds

(Saturday, 13 October, 21:00 hrs. Cafe de Jaren Amsterdam.)

Around the table starting on my right: Jalal Toufic -- Frank van de Ven -- Tom McCarthy -- Dan Bodner -- Tim Etchells. We've gathered together to eat and talk. I order the salmon, Jalal and Tim order the enchiladas, Tom and Dan each order steaks, while Frank (who's brought the minidisc recorder and who has already eaten at home) smokes a cigarette. Tom, fiddling a bit with the controls of the minidisc recorder, kicks off the session: "Let's talk about event structures, event fields and the event horizon. What have we learned the last couple of weeks at DasArts?" Ha, Ha, I think. Language is a virus from outer space and now we're all infected. Frank talks about the 'singularity' of his own work as a dancer (a body without history?! a body without organs?!). Jalal remains silent. Dan and Tim talk about a number of films, including one where the protagonist may be possibly be dead. I talk nonsense.

Later I think that consideration of the horizon may be more fruitful than trying to consider the nature of the event. (Concerning 'the event', I'm left with the idea that it's best to picture events as generic patterns or Venn diagrams, expanding and contracting, nested here, overlapping there -- autonomous by definition (that is, as autonomous as the 'self' -- that is, not autonomous at all). Perhaps Jalal's 'radical closures' offer us a clue to this. I am still not clear on Lyotard's definition of the event.)

(Sunday, 14 October, 13:30 hrs. DasArts.)

(Sitting together outside on Kawamata's bridge sculpture) Désirée speaks to me about the feeling that she's walking behind herself. (Literally in Dutch: "Ik heb het gevoel dat ik achter mezelf aanloop.")

(Duplicate. Click and drag to create two overlapping circles, a Venn diagram.) Normally one carries one's horizon along with themselves, but there may be moments of 'self' walk-about when one circle leaves leaves another, when one leaves one's body, one's mind, one's sex behind, or even more eerily, when one is left behind by one's body, mind, or sex, in other words when one crosses or is crossed by one's own horizon. The latter situation may produce considerable distress especially when one does not immediately understand what's happened. (In this case one will probably need to tell the story in an attempt to recover and/or explain to oneself 'the event.' When it is understood the need for the story will cease.)


DasArts Day 21.

Jalal's syllabus for his first week at DasArts: Vampires/The Undead.

Proposition I:

  1. If I accept the idea that biological death is not the only form of death... (where human biological death is similar to, but not the same as, 'animal death')

  2. And accept the idea that the realm of death neither contains nor recognises linear time (such as I am alive today and will die sometime in my future...)

  3. Then I am (always) already dead.


DasArts Day 22.

Press Release

Paul Perry
Immortality Suite

Rond de thema's dood en onsterfelijkheid presenteert het Groninger Museum drie nieuwe werken van Paul Perry (1956). De tentoonstelling is van 22 december 2001 t/m 17 april 2002 te zien in het Coop Himmelb(l)au paviljoen.

Het werk van Paul Perry beweegt zich op eclectische wijze tussen kunst, wetenschap en filosofie. Een bijzonder aandachtsgebied hierin is het spanningsveld tussen cultuur en natuur. Perry's projecten zijn dan ook in de eerste plaats onderzoekingen naar de fundamentele vragen over het leven, als identiteit en transformatie.

Paul Perry's grootste fascinatie op dit moment is het grote geheim des levens: de dood. Dood en onsterfelijkheid zijn de centrale thema's van de tentoonstelling in het Groninger Museum. Om nog verder door te dringen in de onbevattelijkheid van de dood, onderging Perry door toediening van het artificiele middel ketamine een bijna-dood ervaring. Deze ervaring is vastgelegd op video die het Groninger Museum tijdens deze tentoonstelling presenteert.

Nuclear Garden

Het belangrijkste werk in de tentoonstelling is het werk Nuclear Garden. Dit kunstwerk is gestoeld op het idee van een Japanse tuin. Een tuin van eenvoud en orde die esthetische rust en contemplatie uitstraalt. Een van de weinig elementen in de tuin is een met zichtbaar zorg gekozen en zorgvuldig geplaatste stukken rots. Perry's interpretatie van deze tuinkunst, is onzichtbaar voor publiek. In een van de rotsen is een gat geboord waar een kleine hoeveelheid uranium rust. Het van nature radioactieve uranium (op geen enkele manier schadelijk of gevaarlijk voor publiek), staat symbool voor het principe van oneindige energie dat de basis vormt van al het leven op aarde. Perry ziet dit kunstwerk als een soort miniatuurzon en als de tuin van Eden.

Naast Nuclear Garden en het videoverslag met de bijna-dood ervaring toont het museum een installatie met een muzikale component. Ook hier komt het thema dood aan de orde. In dit kunstwerk dat onder andere uit een mobile bestaat, is een skelet van een kleine dolfijn verwerkt.

Voor de geïnteresseerden kan men surfen naar het weblogboek van Paul Perry.

Tentoostellingscoördinator: Sue-an van der Zijpp
Inrichter: Mark Wilson
Publiciteit: Josee Selbach, Gryt Beerda
Groninger Museum

Dear Josee,

That's fine. The only point I'd add is that the 'kleine hoeveelheid uranium' is itself, like the rocks in the garden, structurally organised, in this case as a 'sub-critical' nuclear reactor. If all goes as planned I'll be using not one but eight pellets of uranium oxide (reactor fuel) separated by a graphite moderator (perhaps pencil lead?) in an arrangement similar to Enrico Fermi's. (Fermi built the first man-made nuclear reactor in an unused squash court at the University of Chicago in 1942.)

P.S. I've just added an simplified sketch of Fermi's Pile to today's Alamut entry.


DasArts Day 24.

Anti-Propp Narratives

According to Nancy Mauro-Flude and Hans Bryssinck in the underworld blue chairs never encounter obstacles.


DasArts Day 25.

Lise (Leslie Caron) in An American in Paris reminds me of someone. Who?

(Is (Vampires) a guide book to certain 'aesthetic facts' or a dictionary of (undead/undone) forms? I mentioned to Jalal that I think of it as a collection of tropes (etymologically: tropos, turn, way, -- literally: figurative (metaphorical, ironical) use of a word) and he agreed.)

Nora van der Ziel writes:

"...At present I'm working with mentally and physically (blind) handicapped children. There's always something to experience in this, from sadness to seeing its beauty and humour. Especially when its absurd. Last week I had to swim next to a boy. He could swim on his back but not turn around so I had to swim in front of him, turning him like 60 times..."


Elegance: buddhist mind, taoist body...


Today. The somambulist (he who "does not move while moving") is walking behind the automobile (which "moves on its own").


If the accident has already happened the only thing left for the senses is the comforting stroke of the hand. (*Even more than waiting for its impending shatter-dom*) the recovering body appreciates those small, circular motions of the fingers against the shoulder, the light glide of a hand along the edge of the railing.



Resting and assembling...

"Sighing, he turned and made his way up the path toward the front porch of his house. Lights gleamed friendily in the window. Shivering, he put his hand out and groped for the railing."

(PKD, Recall Mechanism.)


DasArts Day 26.

Review This Life

Gover, Mark. The Narrative Emergence of Identity.

Murray, Kevin. Narrative Partitioning: the Ins and Outs of Identity Construction (Narrative Psychology).

Murray, Kevin. The Construction of Identity in the Narratives of Romance and Comedy (Narrative Psychology).

Todorov, T. The Two Principles of Narrative. Diacritics, vol.1 no.1 (Fall 1971).

Immortality Suite

Damn! It appears that dolphin skeletons are CITES listed (you need a special permit to obtain one and a separate licence for exhibition purposes). A watery impasse. Why is it that each of my artistic projects since 1997 -- no matter how 'innocently' envisioned-- runs into problems / obstacles?


DasArts Day 27.

"...These are the myths of an incarceration within the operations of a writing that constantly makes a machine of itself and never encounters anything but itself. There are no ways out except through fictions, painted windows, mirrorpanes. No rips or rents other than the written ones."

"...These novelistic or iconic fictions tell us that there is no entry or exit for writing, but only the endless play of its fabrications. If every event is an entry or an exit, then the myth tells the nowhere of the event or of an event that does not take place."

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life. ('Celibate Machines.')


DasArts Day 28.

(We're staying today and tomorrow at Duin en Bosch, a large psychiatric hospital near the sea at Castricum.)

Monday's narratology links prompted two Daniel Dennett links from Stewart:

The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity

The Origins of Selves

and a Chris Crawford link from Kenneth Liu:

Narrative Synthesis


DasArts Day 29.

Keys lost (forever it seems).

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). (Shot list.)


DasArts Day 30.

Keys (reportedly) found.

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943).


"You grabbed my hand and we fell into it. Like a daydream or a fever."

(Godspeed You Black Emperor)

Robert Wicks: The Therapeutic Psychology of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Five Versions of the Self

(Re-considering the game played with a child's hand or foot where one consecutively pulls each of the child's fingers or toes...)

  1. This little piggy went to market.

  2. This little piggy stayed home.

  3. This little piggy had roast beef.

  4. This little piggy had none.

  5. And this little piggy went 'Wee Wee Wee' all the way home.


I left early but stayed up late. (Here's to hoping that sleep returns sometime soon...)

No Plot a.k.a. Single-Minded Story-Telling

Tim Etchells writes:


I did a talk at the photographer's gallery in London this weekend about an exhibition of photos by Richard Wentworth and Eugene Atget. In thinking about the Wentworth I came across a couple of quotes from Peter Handke which, in turn made me think of the work we'd been doing in Amsterdam.

Please pass these on the students if you have time!

(Did u get my incomplete taxonomy?)



Kobal, the narrator of Peter Handke's Repetition, recalls a teacher who wrote fairy tales without plots:

"They were merely descriptions of objects, and each story dealt with only one thing, a thing which, as accessory or scene of action, must have been familiar to readers of folk tales. The subject of one tale was a hut in the forest, but without a witch, without lost children, without fire...; and beyond the seven mountains [in another tale] there was nothing but a brook, so clear that its bed could be mistaken at first sight for a road... According to the author, these 'one-thing tales' were supposed to be "sun tales' and manage without the usual 'moonlight of spooky adjectives', 'sun and subject' he thought were fairy tale enough; they were the 'situation'. A single glance at a treetop, he held, sufficed to produce a fairy-tale atmosphere."

And again from Handke, this time from The Story of the Pencil:

"The best thing, storyteller: get others, gently, to tell stories - make it your goal; and do it in a way that afterwards they feel that they had a story told to them (a wonderful one)."


DasArts Day 31.

Bad Swan

25 October 2001, Duin and Bosch Psychiatric Hospital. Leyna entices 'Bad Swan' with chunks of white bread.

Bad Duck

"How about me and you sharing a sandwich together?"

Leyna Papach, Bad Duck, 2000.


DasArts Day 33.

A blustiferous day. An awesomely blustiferous day.

We talked on the phone about how, often, when something rare has happened we immediately try to bury it (plough it under) with more of the same. At this point he said (and this is Mr. Lira at his very best): less is more than enough.


I liked the doctors quite well, and I did not feel belittled by their doubts. The annoying thing was that their authority loomed larger by the hour. One is not aware of it, but these men are kings. Throwing open my rooms, they would say, "Everything here belongs to us." They would fall upon my scraps of thought: "This is ours." They would challenge my story: "Talk," and my story would put itself at their service. In haste, I would rid myself of myself. I distributed my blood, my innermost being among them, lent them the universe, gave them the day. Right before their eyes, though they were not at all startled, I became a drop of water, a spot of ink. I reduced myself to them. The whole of me passed in full view before them, and when at last nothing was present but my perfect nothingness and there was nothing more to see, they ceased to see me too. Very irritated, they stood up and cried out, "All right, where are you? Where are you hiding? Hiding is forbidden, it is an offense," etc.

(Maurice Blanchot, The Madness of the Day)

September 2001

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