[january 03, 2004 - lately i find myself out gazing at stars, hearing guitars like someone in love, sometimes the things i do astound me, mostly whenever you're around me...]well, whatdoyouknow! 2004 already! i'm home, it's saturday afternoon. i've got a bad cold and i'm a bit irritated by the form and feeling of the keys of my keyboard - i've gotten used to the ibook-look during the past week. i'm just back from x. we met yesterday night and watched "casablanca". when we woke up this morning (or rather: this noon) she was kind of sad and desperate because of her ma thesis that she is currently working on. i wish there had been a way to cheer her up a little but all i could say was: it'll gonna be all right, knowing that things aren't always as easy as that.
new year's eve was fun! x had come to herford and we stayed at tara and cedric's place and i think the two really like x. it's night already, a quarter to ten. the princess will come by at ten and we'll exchange christmas gift and i'll show her a couple of photographs. my parents kept an album of photos of me and my sister and i took it with me to cologne so i can scan some of them and digitalize them. this one shows me (sitting) and my sister (standing). when x saw it she burst out laughing saying that this was probably quite a typical gesture how i was guarding the sweets from my sister. pft! as if i wouldn't be willing to share everything with everybody. but i was just scared! i mean take a good look at the fierce expression on my sister's face! she was two times bigger than i was, although she's two years younger, and when she came running at you with that look on her face it would scare you out of your pants, too! i'm really feeling ill. x is sick as well. i felt dizzy all afternoon and i've slept eleven hours straight tonight. it will be quite lonely tonight in my bed without her. how fast you get used to smells, touches and company. i REALLY have to go to the hairdresser next week! my hair is all fuzzy at the temples and x has already started to call me "guineapig".
[january 4, 2004 - god must be a boogie man...]it had snowed when i woke up this morning. everything was white. the light was milky and bright and it reminded me of bielefeld. worked all day on improving the text for the lecture on new media. went for a small walk in the afternoon. will spend the night at x's place. yesterday night the princess visited and we exchanged christmas gifts. she asked me whether i have a gift for thomas. she had asked this three times before so i got sort of suspicious. "well, i don't think that he has something for me. if he had you would probably know about it and you had warned me..." i paused for a minute and then added "would you advice me to have a gift for him?" and she said "i think it would be a good idea if you had..." so i've got to get a gift for thomas.
i'm unhappy and restless and somehow unzufrieden. something doesn't seem to be right: there are some strange concerns about the future which won't really surface but keep nagging at me underground. my job, money. and i think i'm acting a little bitchy, directing those semi-aggressions against other people. on new year's eve we tried to tell the future by pouring liquid lead into cold water and then interpreting the outcome. i had a flower, a small flower that hadn't opened its bud yet. x had a heart. cedric had a shark and tara a dragon. actually to me all four forms looked like aliens, but then what do i know? about hearts or aliens, anyway? x had a great christmas present for me: a day at the zoo! i can't wait for spring to come. i wanted to see the zoo in cologne ever since i started to work here, but i didn't manage to go yet. i don't know. somehow it feels like today was the last day of the summer holidays and it's back to school tomorrow morning. i'm off to x now. see you tomorrow.
[january 5, 2004 - so bad, so bad...]jesus christ!!!! what a fucking bunch of idiots have i voted for in the last election!?! first they cut down on welfare and the health system and now they are talking of creating an elite universität. helloohoo?!? anybody home?!?! what's wrong with them? do they have crap for brains? obviously. one of them said we need hochleistungsuniversitäten. what a laugh! of course what they REALLY man is: we need universities that make inventions that you can sell and market. universities that cooperate with the economy, that work closely together with the industry, that exchange their humanistic ideals of education for capitalism. universities that make money. university as a business. education that makes profit on the market. zum kotzen!
better news: it's tara's birthday today. so HAPPYBIRTHDAY! i'm still feeling like something is wrong. i'm angry at myself. listening to music and wishing to write songs. reading articles and wishing to do my dissertation. reading novels and wishing to write prose and poetry. silver lining: i'm going to see x tonight. decided to copy the kate bush cds i have for thomas. i don't think that he has all of them, and he has mentioned a couple of times that he really likes her music. i don't know. it feels like there IS something that i CAN do, some thing i'm good at, something i can contribute. but it isn't needed. do you know what i mean? it's a very blurred feeling of being weird. like a freak. i don't seem to fit into any slot, i can't be coupled to any machinery that would be of any value. there's nothing that i CAN do that anybody could profit from. it's a strange feeling of uselessness. although i am making things, doing things, having ideas - but they are too idiosyncratic. they only produce, they do not make any profit. i wouldn't go so far as to say that it's like being a body without organs. although it sometimes feels that way. i'm producing, but without aim or plan or value for anybody else. parasitic almost.
[january 7, 2004 - i was driving across the burning dessert when i spotted six jet planes leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain]wow, what a day. went to the university at nine, returned at eight. when i opened the office door i saw something big lying on my desk which had been empty when i left yesterday night. it was thomas' christmas present for me: a cool bag which had a sticker on it that said in thomas' handwriting: "dear philipp - it was either the bag or a remote control - but i didn't want to take away your last chance to work out! merry christmas!" [i had told him quite some time ago that the remote control for my tv set is broken and that i always have to get up to change channels.] the bag is very cool, actually. i would never have dared to buy it myself. it's in a kind of silvery-gray and it has a cartoon rabbit on it and a little text that says [and thomas said: "of course i have only picked the bag for the text!"]: Mashimaro feels neglected because he is different from other rabbits. due to this, he has become a bit twisted and chooses to act in strange ways.
[january 8, 2004 - it's not going to stop, til you wise up...]it's 22:24 already. when i got home from the office this evening i started to watch magnolia. but my bad conscience made me switch on the ibook and work on the lecture. i'm still trying to make it better and more listener-friendly: it seems to be an endless enterprise. this afternoon i got a strange fit of apocalyptic happiness: i was singing loudly while i was sitting at my desk, realizing that there is no way to get all things done properly by wednesday: i have to prepare the lecture, prepare the corresponding seminar ("rhizome"), prepare my seminar (stanley fish), help thomas with the exams on monday, make the hypertext for thomas, go to the lectures for the people who have applied for the job of prof. wurmbach, which will be held tomorrow from nine to six at night. also sahand is visiting this week-end i have promised the princess to accompany them to a persian bar. i also have to finish the hypertext i need for the media lecture and see whether all the equipment is working in the room in which i will have to speak, which, by the way, is one of the biggest auditorium the university has: it has 500 seats. finding this out did not REALLY reduce my nervousness. i will probably wet myself.
when i arrived today thomas came storming into the office and said: "i need you! you have to do something for me!" great! i thought, finally i am good for something, finally i can contribute to the quality work of the department for american studies as well! what will i have to do? proofread an article? give my opinion on a book? write something on deleuze?!? "what you have to do for me..." thomas said "...is a sticker for my door that says: 'Before entering press thumb on designated field'. and it must have a fingerprint next to the text!"
good news: thomas and i are quoted from our texts accompanying chaos/control:complexity in an online article by joe tabbi on hypertexts! hooray! the first time i'm quoted!
by the way: have i told you about thomas' new hypertext project yet?
he came storming into the office yesterday [hm, he ALWAYS seems to come
"storming" in, but actually he really does!] and he said: "i've got this
lecture next week on materiality. and i need a powerpoint presentation
or a hypertext. you know, a hypertext that looks like a powerpoint presentation!
it's supposed to run all the time during my talk. you know, randomly. it
must have the film clips by marylin monroe and madonna. it doesn't have
to connect to what my talk is about. it only has to be about materiality.
you can come up with your own ideas. you know; some barthes, grain of the
voice etc. and maybe some musical piece. singing in the rain. or from dancer
in the dark. also architecture: stones and signifiers. lots of pictures
that appear and than vanish again. randomly. some texts by deleuze. and
ka ching! i need some music from ka ching! and a scene from a(rtificial)
i(ntelligence). and you know: language and materiality, you can add some
zürn. and images. and texts. and some music that starts automatically...."
"but how is this supposed to work?" i objected "the music will start playing uncontrollably, interrupting you in your talk..."
"yes" he said "it's supposed to! i don't mind. and also medical images: heart and liver. medical images are always good..."
and he went on for some minutes, brainstorming and enumerating and enumerating and brainstorming. so basically he wants me to put together a multi-media performance on "materiality" by wednesday. the bad thing is that i have to give my own media talk on wednesday plus the seminar plus my own seminar on tuesday plus the exams on monday... i don't really know how to manage all of this but i will try my best.
sometimes i think that thomas is far crazier than i am...
[january 11, 2004 - the only two things that could sooth my soul: a cold beer and a remote control]the lecture is ready. at least i hope so. it's sunday evening, x will come over tonight and tomorrow another packed week will start. on friday morning thomas came storming into the office and he threw a flyer onto my desk and said: "i know this is JUST what you have been waited for!" it was a call for paper for a workshop on hypertexts in heidelberg. :o( i don't think that i have any chance to NOT go there. maybe i'm lucky and the list of participants is already full.
friday was marked by the talks of the people who have applied for the job of prof. wurmbach who will leave the department in a couple of weeks. dagmar was there, too, but unfortunately she didn't quite make it on top of the list. all in all there were six talks, each followed by 20 minutes of discussion. it started at 9 in the morning and went on until five in the evening. afterwards i was working on the lecture until half past eight. luckily the princess was in the office, too, so we went out to have dinner together afterwards.
got a mail from the people who compile the annual "soundz of the city" sampler in bielefeld. 200 lurkers will be on it with "headcrash". hooray! unfortunately it will take some time before the cd will be released in the summer. in other musical news: haven't touched my guitar in three weeks :o(
thought about politics. this whole elite university business is really ridiculous. i mean it's ridiculous that i get so agitated about it. i don't know. but it's so stupid: the other day in the news they said that the chancellor will meet with representatives from the industry and the universities to discuss the matter. and this was, of course, exactly what i thought would happen. because what is this very unclear elite university supposed to mean: "a university that can compete on the international market". since when is education and science about competition?!? a university that makes money. a business. a system that runs according to capitalistic structures. but education as we know it doesn't work that way. especially not for the human sciences. because this is of course my main fear: you will never be able to make money with findings of philosophy or literary science. they will be neglected. they will become unimportant. and then they will become a problem. because they don't make money, because they are then "parasitic" because they cannot deliver products that you can turn into money. and then they will vanish.
this is obviously good for politics because humanities have so far tried to keep up a meta level on which one can reflect about society and politics. on which one can question and describe structures. each party in power is of course not interested in questions or criticism or even reflection. so this is a smooth way to get rid of any kind of "having to think about oneself". get rid of humanities, restructure the remaining sciences according to the market and what you will get is a machine that will not contradict anymore.
what i don't understand is that the humanities are not intervening. because this is where their power lies: they have control about discourses: the media, magazines, public opinion, tv and the internet. i don't understand why there isn't a cry of outrage, why people don't use the discourse to fight against subjecting every branch of cultural life to capitalism. oh well, i don't know. maybe i should just relax a little bit...
anyway, i have to design the hypertext for thomas now. see you!
[january 12, 2004 - money for nothing...]went to work at nine. returned at ten pm. thomas urged me to write to the organizer of the hypertext conference in heidelberg. they wrote back. i'm accepted. which means that i will have to go to heidelberg for three days in a month. :o( had two and a half hours of exams with thomas today. well, i only had to write the protocoll, but it was tiresome anyway. from six to half past nine i started to work on the photos for the hypertext. they are far from finished. didn't have any time to prepare the seminars tomorrow and the day after. sahand was there! he's on visit. actually we wanted to have a drink tonight but my head feels like exploding and i've got to be at work early.
[january 14, 2004 - the freaks will stay together...]what a day! was at the office from 8 in the morning to ten thirty at night yesterday and from seven in the morning to six at night today. the lecture went well. trhe seminar as well. gonna write more tomorrow. i'm just too tired.
[january 15, 2004 - pages made of days of open hand]phew. what a week! i'm worn out and tired, actually i don't really feel like writing. the words were pouring out of me yesterday night, but i was sitting in the underground on my way to x. i made a couple of notes, though. maybe i manage to type them tonight.
when i came home tonight i fixed dinner and then watched "to catch a thief" and i must say that the likeness between cary grant and me is just...uncanny! not only his good looks but also his aura and his humor. in some former life i must have been cary grant. and if this isn't a great chorus line then i don't know what is! fell asleep during the film, though. i was just soooo tired.
but i think i still owe you an account of yesterday's events: went to the university at seven because i still wanted to prepare the seminar. now, just to deconfuse you: the regular seminar was on tuesday. and it was gruesome! we talked about "is there a text in this class" by stanley fish - a pretty straightforward, easy text. but the students didn't say a word. i saw that they had read the text, because most of them bore some markings, but they just refused to talk about it. at the end of the session i asked them my questions had been too confusing. and they said: "well, the text was so difficult!" hm, i guess we will run into trouble next week because then we will do roland barthes!
anyway, this was on tuesday. on wednesday i had to give the lecture on new media from 9-11 and from 11-13 a seminar on new media, in which i discussed "rhizome". and after that thomas gave a talk for which i had made the hypertext which i had sort of to "supervise". and after that a colleague had a habillitation talk in front of all the 80 professors of the humans science department. and because i had to design the hypertext for thomas' talk i didn't really manage to prepare the seminar on "rhizome" thoroughly, which i wanted to do on Wednesday morning before i had to give the lecture. the room was an auditorium with 600 seats. gulp! there were about 50 students. and it went okay! luckily! it could have easily turned into a traumatic experience, but it was all right. i had the ibook with me and projected some images and quotations onto the screen which felt weird because they appeared in my back in movie size. apparently i was talking too fast again. two times students had to intervene and ask me to slow down. when i had arrived in the morning thomas came to work soon after me and he asked whether he could come to the lecture. "i don't think so!" i said and he asked three more times but each time i told him i would prefer if he would not do. but it was sweet, still, that he wanted to come and encourage me.
after the lecture - in which i was talking for 90 minutes straight, which is a weird experience in itself - i did the seminar with the students who had come to the lecture. the seminar went well, too. they all hated the text, but at the end of the session most of them saw its beauty and potential, i guess. after ten minutes i knew that i could throw away my plan of how to structure the session - but it was okay, because the students were interested and asked all kinds of questions and engaged in discussions with each other and so i more or less improvised. after the seminar one student approached me when i left the room and said: "i think this was the most interesting part of the lecture series so far!" which i took as a big compliment, because they had seen a different lecture and seminar by a different professor each week. yes: teaching is a little bit like singing on stage. it's different but then it's the same.
there's so much i still need to write: about thomas' talk wednesday afternoon, which was brilliant as usual, and about the colloquium and my ideas about the grain of the voice and *a* life and unsubjective subjectivity. thought about the hypertext conference next month and that i cannot go to a conference and simply show them chaos/control:complexity (the hypertext i made) and say: "doesn't it look nice!?!" i need to have some kind of substantial paper to deliver. some theory that works as a fundament for the introducing the hypertext. and in the colloquium today we talked about deleuze's notion of the virtual and the actual and of course this could be mapped perfectly onto a hypertext. which would also fit to chaos/control:complexity, since one of the articles on the cd-rom deals with exactly these two deleuzian concepts. i got an email yesterday from the organizers which said that the talk should be between 30 and 45 minutes. which are a lot of minutes if you don't have anything to say. and in english :o(
anyway, here are some fragments of what i thought about yesterday night on ym way to x:
i'm feeling a strange kind of gratification. i'm dead tired, but sort of happy. the kind of feeling you've got when you've achieved something. when you've done something the right way- when you have pleased people and pleased yourself, fulfilled your own expectations and those of the people around you. i think the lecture and the seminar have fallen into this category. und dabei noch gut ausgesehen! it feels like i have done some steps today on a way that i had always been very hesitant to take: you know, academia and stuff. but without noticing i think i made a big leap today and with my decision to go to the conference next month and the conference in the summer. do you know what i mean? like when your doing something and you're so concentrated on what you do that you don't really realize where it gets you to and when you finally look up everything looks unfamiliar and you don't really know where the hell you are. how did i get here? this is not my beautiful house! and that's a little how it feels. and i haven't made up my mind yet whether i like it.
the writing on my bag says: "mashimaro feels neglected because he is different from other rabbits. due to this he has become a bit twisted and chooses to act in strange ways." i love this. "chooses to act in strange ways" i'm all for pro-choice. i think it's good if you can make a conscious decision to act in strange ways. i have. on my way from the university to the underground tonight i was listening to the walk-man and suddenly "breathing water" started to play, and the grace of the song blew me away. yes, i know i have written it myself and usually i'm pretty critical about my own stuff, but in this moment i suddenly felt that this was a really, really good song. really good. and it moved me. for the fraction of a second i was thinking: i wish *i* could write such a song. and then i remembered and then i was infinitely happy for a moment.
there's nothing like having written a great song. period.
thoughts and ideas tumbling around in my head. i wish i could take polaroids of them: or better: a film. to have their movement, save their dance. i'm tired. i'm sad- i'm happy. i'm relieved. i'm in love. with you. with me. with the world. but mostly with the urgency that winds me up like the clockwork of a music box. winds me up until you can hear the spring breaking inside. an urgency. i would call it an urgency. what thomas calls intensity. what barthes calls punctum or grain: it's an urge.
a mark knopfler song from the cd that tara and cedric have given me for christmas: a kind of dark mood. subtle guitars, great melody, haunting. "i'm going into town love. for what i need: chain for the ripsaw, killer for the weed...." this is *my* rhythm. how easily one says this: this rolling rhythm and the snare that pounds upon an urgency. "behind my back love, you've made a fool of me. so bad. so bad." good news. i cannot relate to the lyrics. anymore. i'm too tired to be tired. i'm all wound up.
thomas gave a talk on intensities and the grain of the voice today, about *a* life and an unsubjective (but not objective) state in which it feels. a pre-reflexive, material reaction to a sensual impression that you get from a song, a text, an image. the pre-discoursive cramp in your stomach, the feeling of being overjoyed, the bodily im- or explosion when you're overwhelmed by something beautiful. or awe-ful. an urgency. an "aching from longing". here's the difference between me and thomas in a nutshell: he want to describe this feeling and reintroduce it into the critical discourse. i want to evoke it. to make it.
ever onwards. i feel like i've been thrown into my life, so much is happening suddenly. there are so many virtual possibilities: university, music, writing, dying, eating, teaching, listening, coding, creating, consuming, thinking, sleeping. and so little time to actualize them all. from the infinity of possibilities i have i can actualize only so little. that is the most bitter thing about life. you lose more than you can live. every choice you make makes you painfully aware of the options you have dismissed. i don't know. i hope that there is a reason for the choices i made. i hope that the actualizations i have realized were the right ones. maybe there IS a plan. maybe there IS a g-d. maybe there IS a reason. i hope there is. sonst bin ich nämlich echt angeschissen.
[january 17, 2004 - sweetheart, they gonna talk about us. but i say: live and let die!]the sun is coming and going, filling my room with light and then emptying it out again. i can still smell x on my skin, in my hair. she's just left because the both of us still want to work. i have to scratch some ideas together how i could use deleuze for the hypertext conference. and only those parts of him that i have understood.
the princess made me speechless yesterday afternoon again. we were both sitting in the office, she was working on her exam paper and i was preparing a handout because a couple of students had asked for one after the media lecture. and suddenly the princess' phone rang and she answered it and said: "hm, yes. yes. okay. yes. okay. i'll be down in a minute" and she turned to me and said: "i'm meeting katherina in the cafeteria now. want to join us?" and i said "no, got to work!" and she said "what are you doing there anyway?" and i said "i'm putting together a handout because my reading tempo was a bit fast during the media lecture" and she looked at me with big eyes and said: "you have READ it? you didn't talk freely?! oh philipp! you've got to talk freely! if you're reading it it's just boring and it's no wonder that nobody understands it! jesus! when *i* am doing a talk in a seminar i *never* read the text: i've got some notes and then i talk freely! you've got to do this as well: make notes and then you improvise. it's much more natural and interesting this way!" there were only one or two moments in my life when i was closer to killing someone than in this very moment.
by the way: i have made a form for a feedback page that students can fill out. last semester we had those evaluation forms in a hard copy version, but most students didn't hand them back in because they thought it was too much work or because they were afraid that they could be identified via their handwriting. so i though that an online form might be a good idea. so maybe you can have a look at it and if you've got any opinion on it (which questions are crap or whether there are any questions missing) you can use the form to tell me. it's not officially online yet and can only be reached via this link: http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/englisch/berressem/hofmann/feedback2.htm
[january 19, 2004 - and for once in your life you've got nothing to say]it's raining cats and dogs. typical monday weather. it's seven thirty in the evening, i'm still at the office. tonight blaine, sirka, eva and i are meeting in a cocktail bar and i will get there straight from the university. you know, sometimes things are just strange. sometimes you don't see the most obvious things. sometimes it is as if you were blind. it was only this very morning, almost halway in my thirty-first year of life, that i realized (while i was sitting in x's kitchen, holding a cup of steaming tea in front of me) that the song "wann wird's mal wieder richtig sommer" performed by the semi-dutch show master rudi carell is a cover of the american folk song "the train they call the city of new orleans". wow! if THAT isn't an epiphany than what is!?!!
yesterday x and i went to see the final episode of "lord of the rings". it was visually overwhelming. contentwise i guess thomas was right: a little proto-fashistic. but we had a good time. today i helped thomas doing exams again and i prepared the seminar for tomorrow and i tried to come up with some ideas for the hypertext conference. well, i've got to run now. see you!
[january 20, 2004 - you have never compromised, i see the pain in your eyes, don't you worry, the game is won, i'll be there on the run]i don't know what i do wrong. it was like standing in front of 30 dead people today. i'm referring to the seminar. we did "the death of the author" and it's an amazing and exciting text but they didn't say a thing. i kept asking question after question, i was asking for the most basic information and in the end i was simply asking for lines from the text - but: nothing. i have taught the text for the fifth time now, but i have never experienced such a kind of wall of silence. i don't think that i want to have such a kind of one-way-lesson next week again when we will be discussing "rhizome". i think i will come up with four or five questions and divide the students into small groups and then they have to do group work.
in other news: "the online journal is getting boring" the princess said today. "i think i will stop reading it soon..." hey! what do you expect!?? when i was complaining and wining all day long it was too melodramatic and now it's too boring. but to be honest: there's not a lot of exciting things going on. and the exciting things that ARE going on are private :o) very private.
it was nice to have a cocktail with blaine, sirka and eva yesterday night. sirka asked a lot about x: what kind of person she was and what my relationship to her feels like now. and whether i'm still thinking about somebody. and i said: yes, sometimes she's still in my thoughts when i'm thinking: thank god that somebody had left me! but actually she still IS there, not she as a person but as the experience of the break up. i don't think that i will have this ultimate trust and the feeling of security ever again. now - in this new relationship, in this kind of unspoken realm that x is avoiding to describe or construct discursively - the fear of loss is inscribed into every moment. i cannot get rid of the idea of losing her again. it is lurking in the back of my head constantly. and i fear that this fear will make me act in strange ways. strange ways that are not chosen but emerge out of the panic of having to let go. and this fear, this panic, this - forgive me if i'm using too much pathos now - scar in my heart that keeps it from stretching all over my entire body spells her name. "now i can tell you: i saw somebody and oliver at the annie lennox concert last year" blaine said after his second cocktail and i was glad that he hadn't told me back then.
tomorrow it's thomas turn to do the media lecture (he will talk about film studies) and today he came storming into the office because i had to organize a couple of film sequences that he wants to show. today, not 24 hours before the talk. sigh. anyway, with the help of nina and the princess we managed to get every film that he needs. of course he wanted us to organize things exactly when i had office hours. so he was hanging around in our office when a couple of students came to see me (usually NO ONE comes to see me) and for some reason they all were talking in english to me and i had to talk back in english while thomas was sitting across the room and i really felt uncomfortable because my english is crap and i simply hate having to do a conversation in english.
[january 24, 2004 - i could paint you in the dark cause i've studied you with hunger like a work of art]it's saturday evening. sorry for being silent for so long. my legs hurt. i've been running through the park today. even though it was raining. when i woke up this morning i suddenly thought about thomas and about what his current project seems to be. i'm writing "seems" to be because i'm not really sure. i don't even know whether he knows himself. anyway, here's what i figured:
there is a text. (A) this text works according to the logic of representation. outside of the text there is something material. something real. however according to linguistic constructionism (lacan, derrida, butler etc.) these non-discoursive forces of the real or of "pure" matter cannot be accessed. they cannot even be talked about because by talking about them you instantly turn them into discursive objects and thus place them inside the text. thus there is no world outside of the text. everything is text and there's no way to perceive the outside. however, there ARE other discursive forces that operate WITHIN the text according to the logic of representation. these other "textual" forces influence and form the text and give it its original form. (B). so far, so post-structuralist. now, i think what thomas takes from deleuze is that there are non-discursive forces of the purely material, and these have positive effects on the text. and even though you might not be able to say anything about these forces themselves without making them part of the discourse you CAN say something about the effects they have on the text. because even though these forces are not discursive, they still shape the text and add to its original form. in different ways and according to a different logic, but they still form it. (C) they cannot be neglected in the discussion because their influence is important and not considering their impact would distort the picture. does this make sense? i think the effect these forces have is what thomas/deleuze calls "intensities". got to ask him on monday whether i got it right.
bad news: the fucking hypertext paper is getting more and more complex. and i haven't even started to write it yet. did i mention that i had planned to map deleuze on hypertext and that i wanted to apply his notion of the virtual and the actual onto what espen aarseth calls texton and scriptons?? the problem is that to do this i first have to understand what deleuze's notion of the virtual and the actual is in the first place. and i just realized that it seems to be connected to contingency and to the traditional philosophy of logic which i don't have a single idea about and if there will be a philosopher at the conference i'm REALLY screwed! anyway, walked on de landa's article on morphogenesis all day long to see whether this can give me some clue but to be honest: it just confused me more. hm, guess THAT is really interesting stuff, isn't it??
thought about cohen as well this morning. and i think that the two novels can be compared very nicely because they work according to different principles. The Favorite Game works according to the logic of binary opposition: I vs Other. Prose vs Poetry. Man vs Woman. Breavman as artist vs Breavman as lover. exclusiveness. in contrast: Beautiful Losers. it works according to the logic of multiplicities: multiple perspectives, multiple text forms, multiple languages, multiple lovers, dissolution of gender boundaries, dissolution of subjectivity. simultaneity.
by the way, i think i will get rid of the "song of the month" feature. i don't seem to be able to come up with fitting songs anymore and it sort of sucks that the pop up window appears each time the document is loaded.
here's something i wrote the other night:
sitting in the underground on my way to x. coming straight out of the office. listening to the colloquium that i've taped today: micro- and macroperceptions. it was a pretty good session today. i understood more than usual. the problem is that i always need lots and lots of examples or diagrams to understand a concept or theory. fortunately deleuze has a lot of examples and diagrams. the only thing is that his examples are always some mathematical formula that i don't understand and that his diagrams are always folded into the fourth dimension which i cannot picture in my mind. "the body perceives all the time". worked a little bit on the hypertext talk - but not enough. this afternoon thomas and nina started to discuss his neo-materialistic approaches for almost an hour. which was interesting. thought provoking. the weather: cold. mood-o-meter: 7.9. would be 8.5 if i had added two more paragraphs to the talk this afternoon. talked to cedric on the phone. he will have to give a talk in oldenburg to get the job next month on the 12th. so keep your fingers crossed!here are two links that were made their way from computer to computer at work this week:
what else can i tell you? hm, i'm worried. i'm worried about thomas and his uncanny alliance with a student. actually it's none of my business and i shouldn't really care about his private life but this whole affair is sort of: strange. i don't know. probably i'm only jealous. up until recently i was at least of *some* use for thomas for handling the technical equipment. i might not have been asked to say something at the deleuze conference that he's organizing in the summer, but at least i was needed to work the beamer when he wanted to project something during a talk or to program a hypertext when he was dj-ing. but this week i even failed handling the projector!! thomas had to do the media lecture and for that i had compiled a couple of video clips that he wanted to show. so we went to the auditorium to prepare the vcr and the projector but it simply didn't work! i tried for twenty minutes: i disconnected and reconnected vcr and projector. i switched off the projector, switched it on again. i disconnected and reconnected vcr and projector. i switched the input channels. i disconnected and reconnected vcr and projector. the projector said: "no input on video channel". i disconnected and reconnected vcr and projector. nothing. in the meantime thomas got nervous, walked up and down. finally a technician came. he disconnected and reconnected vcr and projector. and it worked. he didn't do anything else than what i had tried forty times before. but suddenly it worked. i felt like a complete idiot.
anyway, i'm off to x now.
[january 26, 2004 - just let one day move into two / i'm losing everything except for you / i would sing you a song of devotion / that's what i should do]he he! just updated my university-homepage [http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/englisch/berressem/hofmann] and added a picture of me. well, sort of me. otherwise it has been a most confusing day at the office. read here and there and everywhere about the virtual and the actual and tried to make up my mind about the relation between the possible and the virtual and the actual and the real. or rather: the virtual and the actual and the possible and the real. because this seems to be the vectors along which events and singularizations are working. from the virtual to the actual. from the possible to the real. the actualization works on the level of the singified (??), that is: in monads; and the realization on the level of the signifier (??), that is: in matter.
the question is now, of course, how to map this onto hypertexts. i would have to argue that BOTH movements occur: an actualization of a text in the sense of its totality as a novel or a poem, as already inscribed in the category of genre or of textform - the narration that emerges, the story that is told. and a realization of a text in the sense of its materiality, its dynamic signifiers, the moving letters on the screen. "The world is a virtuality that is actualized in monads, but also a possibility that must be realized in matter or in bodies" (The Fold, 104) now, i think it is feasable to say that the realization in matter or bodies CAN be mapped onto the material generation and production of a hypertext in the process of reading: a continuous becoming of the body of the text on the level of the signifiers that are appearing and disappearing, swapping places, following lines of flight and forming lines of articulation.
but what about the virtual that is actualized in monads? obviously there is a kind of consciousness or subjectivity (??) needed for something to be actualized. the first question is, though: what does this mean: actualized in monads. does it mean it is actualized as monads (the actual equals the monad) or actualized by monads (the monad actualizes by perceiving and reflecting)?? and what exactly IS a monad?? can you just say "soul", as delueze does at some pounts in the text. i mean on what an abstract level of metaphoricity am i when i'm using terms such as "souls" in my talk? and here is the most difficult part. there seems to be a typo in the fold because the "actual" materiality of the signifiers on the page says: "The world is a virtuality that is actualized monads, but also a possibility that must be realized in matter or in bodies" ??? "...that is actualized monads..." thomas says: of course the "in" is missing! but maybe the IN isn't missing at all. missg. missing. a virtuality that is actualized in monads. or: the monads are actualized virtuality. is there a difference? is there a repetition?
either ways i'm screwed. because i would have to find a way to put the monad into the logic of the hypertext, the soul into the operations of the cybertext. however THIS could be the point where things are getting interesting. because espen aarseth (norwegian hypertext-theoretitian) has suggested two terms for the analysis of hypertexts: textons (stored text) and scriptons (text as it appears to the reader on the screen) and the critique from a guy whose name i've forgotten was that the term scripton isn't differentiated enough because it seems to apply for a) the single text parts that are changing and b) the overall text, the "complete" narration. he criticized that "scripton" denotes the single "pages" of a cybertext as well as the whole that these pages make up. it thus operates on two levels. i guess you're already guessing what i'm aiming at. now, maybe it would be helpfull to suggest the term actual and real instead of scripton. because then one would have a division of levels: on the one hand the purely material level, the "pages" and on the other hand the "whole" of narration that is actualized THROUGH the reader because it is the reader (=monad) who creates the history of the text in his head, who creates the narration by relating the various text-parts to each other, it is the reader who categorizes the "objective materiality" of the text-body into a genre: prose, poetry. good, bad. epic, poetic. does this make any sense?
hm, wish i could tell you more about this BREATHTAKING topic but i've just talked to x on the phone and i'm driving over to her place now and it's 21:50 already and i've got to get up early tomorrow and actually i also wanted to call cedric so bye bye now.
[january 27, 2004 - i'll be your mirror, reflect what you are...]hm, it's a pity that i don't have that "best of nico" cd that i once compiled. i think i left it with somebody when i moved out of our apartment two years ago. two years. two years with the length of two years. no - actually it feels like twenty years. hey! got another order for "the space and the sea" today :o)
talked to thomas today about his theories. well, about deleuze's theories and thomas' interpretation of it. i drew that diagram that i have sketched out two days ago (see above) onto a small sheet of paper when we were sitting in the cafeteria this morning. he enhanced it a little... but i think generally i got it right. well, sort of. anyway, it's night now. x is at work :o( i am tired and cold although the heating is turned on. the indigo girls are singing and i wish i had learned to play guitar. i haven't quite figure out why there is standing one in my room. actually i wanted to work on the hypertext talk, but then i was preparing the seminar all morning and afterwards i did other things like checking the original text of the fold. and it says: "Le monde est une virtualité qui s'actualise dans les monades ou les âmes, mais aussi une possibilité qui doit se réaliser dans la matière." ha! "dans les monades". IN the monads. hm, i guess all this fuss i'm making about this little word is really a kind of overacting. thomas said: "get rid of the monads for the talk. you cannot explain what a monad is at the conference anyway, it's way too complex... just talk of consciousness."
i haven't heard from the estate of linda mccartney yet. i had contacted them to ask for the publishing rights for the self portrait that i have used for the 200 lurkers cover. now, seeing that the publication of a "real" cd in cooperation with the small label probably will NEVER happen (as things stand now) it doesn't really seem important anymore to get the rights for the picture. but i thought about alternative images, anyway. and one was a photo that thomas had taken of his youngest daughter. so i tried to see whether it would make a good cover. but somehow i'm not really convinced yet. something is missing. something isn't as good as it could be. i also considered to rename the album "breathing water". although this is a song title, too, and actually i'm not really in favor of calling an entire album after one particular song. but it seemed to be such a fitting tile. i don't know. got to think about it some more.
i went to town after work today and i bought a new mirror for the bathroom. you know, this kind of kitsch-as-kitsch-can baroque gold framed thingies. it looks a little too big in my small bathroom, but it's definitely better than before. the mirror that was installed when i moved into the apartment had the charm of a public rest room. i haven't really had dinner tonight except for two slices of bread. i'm still hungry. which i had some salted peanuts. yummy. "i would sing you a song of devotion!!!" hm: it is not REALLY warm in my room! shiver! oh boy, actually i had thought that preparing the hypertext conference would be an afternoon's work, and now it's taking weeks. i'm really a slow learner. and slow writer. and slow thinker. but fast eater. missing x. "when i tried to make it more it was always less and it's a thin line between pleasing yourself and pleasing somebody else!" wish i could play guitar!!! here's the grain. here's the urgency. here's the punctum. here's the intensity. here's the bliss. but the bliss always leaves an empty space that one has to fill with one's own voice, with one's own words. does the intensity inscribe itself into the body? is it leaving traces? "a scar is what happens when the word is made flesh" leonard stated in the favorite game. an actualization? or a realization? or both? in any case a singular event. maybe intensity is the simultaneous movement of actualization and realization, a twofold event, on both planes happening at the same time, on the same moebial surface?
[january 28, 2004 - and jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water]wow, what a night. had the strangest dreams: i was jesus christ, or rather: i played jesus christ in a kind of performance. jesus christ with an ibook. thomas was there as well. he played one of the disciples (i think) and when the romans came to fetch me i had to print an image of a giant (those kind of images that bernd uses for his habilitation on the metaphor of the body in american literature) with corel draw. it was one of these pictures where the state is represented as the body of one man with the king as the head. and then thomas was pontius pilatus [don't feel like finding out the english names now] and to get the sympathy of the crowd that was choosing between liberating me or barnabas he told them my entire life story - and even i had to cry. x was there as well, i think. i woke up at 3:03. which was strange because usually i don't wake up in the middle of the night. but x's nightshift ended at 3. coincidence. then i saw that somebody had called on the phone but had left no message on the answering machine. since i slept with earplugs i hadn't heard it. i guess it was x. fell asleep again just to wake up at about 7:30 again, feeling a strange kind of unrest. and i said to myself: you can still sleep for an hour. go back to sleep, keep dreaming. but i couldn't. i woke up every thirty seconds. and when i then got up finally at 8 i looked at the alarm clock and saw that it had stopped. it said: 1:23am. so it wouldn't have woken me up and i had slept until twelve noon (which i usually do when there's no alarm clock to wake me). so somehow i must have sensed that something was wrong and i woke up on my own. very strange.
[later]bad mistake: telling thomas about my dream. he (and achim and the princess) made fun at me all morning. before thomas started the lecture he asked me whether he would have to say a prayer and during the lecture he was quoting from the new testament and looked at me and grinned. grinned madly. actually i wanted to really make something today but first it was the poetry lecture, then a lecture by prof. w. which i went to see because he will leave the department next semester and after that i had to help prof h. doing an exam and then monika (a colleague of blaine) had organized a little party because she had passed her habilitation the other week, so i spend the rest of the evening eating cake and witnessing blaine getting hopelessly drunk on two bottles of champagne. and once again i though: i really, really love working with all these people. i mean, really. honestly. a great bunch of people. some are more psychotic than others but all in all i really fit in there perfectly.
[january 29, 2004 -it has snowed overnight. the light was watery this morning and the air cool and moist. there are still patches of snow all over the lawn, roofs and sideways. princess superstar called me and since i was in the colloquium she talked to my mailbox or rather: she sang onto it. a children's song about the snow falling. which is cool because i transfered her singing onto the md recorder and you can soon download her little performance here as an mp3 :o)
[january 31 - 2004 - from opening to closing]it's saturday night, 23:50. outside there's a storm raging. inside philip glass' "closing" is playing. i want to write a song. realized that i have forgotten how to play my own songs. what happened to my promise to start performing again here in cologne? i don't know, i'm just all out of energy. or maybe not. maybe i have as much energy as i ever had but i'm just doing more things now? i'm at the office each day, from the morning until six or seven at night and when i'm home i don't really feel like doing anything else but fall into a dumb, catatonic state. i don't know. i don't want to complain. because right now work is so much fun. it really is. i've been working on the talk and it's making little, tiny little steps forward. i don't know. i don't know. i don't know. some guy from denmark wrote an email and ordered a copy of "start at the end". i don't know. i want to do everything at the same time. but i don't have enough fire within me. i don't have enough passion. i don't have enough will. i get tired too soon and i eat too much unhealthy food. i don't know. january is over again and i haven't written a single line about cohen. an entire month has passed, is wasted.
i tried to think back two years ago - but i couldn't really. back then i felt like a miserable pile of crap. it was the worst point in my whole life. i have recovered from that. i have grown. i have coped and i have overcome things. i have written. prose and lyrics and melodies. i have found new friends and i have strengthened ties to the old ones. i have found somebody who makes me forget time and place just by touching my lips with her lips. i feel like being in the end scene of a movie with a happy end and the credits are rolling and the exit music is playing: philip glass: "closing".
you see, i don't know. i'm not even d'accord with myself. with my selves.
i wish you were here now. i have too many thoughts, i have to many regrets.
i have too many dreams and too many resolutions and expectations and there
is something moving within me. something moving within me. it doesn't belong
to me. it feels alien. it's moving within me back and worth, like a wave.
it makes the fine hairs on my arm point towards the sky. it pulls some
unnamed portions of me into some unnamed places and i cannot follow. i
cannot follow. i don't want to die. i want an eternity to do the things
that have to be done: reading and writing and learning and singing and
loving and loving and loving. there's nothing like
/ you and i / baby! i've put on act III of satyagraha. wish
i had enough courage to embrace the future. that is what the online journal
is about: the future. it had been about the past. but now it's about the
i want you to be part of it.