johannes k.

now in dark mode!

or rather, some of the books i've acquired over the years and which have somehow survived the great culls, for example wagga wagga, 2011 and the books i lost when i split up with k. in 1994.

there is a rather dull but very famous essay by walter benjamin called unpacking my library in which he says that ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have with objects i.e. books but 'not because they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them'.

of course, there is great value in being able to make use of things and having them to hand, which ownership can afford, but for me there is no intimacy in ownership of books or anything else. i am no bibliophile — maybe a bibliotheekofiel 🙂 — but what makes a bunch of books in twenty or so boxes a library?

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dear arnon

before you and i knew each other i used to read your blog and sometimes wonder about those mysterious friends you have who send you articles. now that i seem to have become one of them, what i love is finding out what you think about an article by sending it to you and then reading your response to it on your blog.

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after i stopped making art fifteen years ago i became interested in whether there was a space between making art and being an artist as such. i found i was still having lots of ideas for artworks but no interest in executing them. (in this way being an artist is very different to being a baker for example since what is the point of a baker who never actually bakes any bread but only has ideas about bread?) i had an idea for a work which i offered to the unsound festival, actually a series of works called TrueArt. this particular piece was a live video/sound feed of a 1960s plastic clock (made in japan) on my mantlepiece at home in wagga wagga that they could project on screens and/or the sound of which could be incorporated by other artists in their performances.

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i am noticing dutch grammar creeping into my sentences and it is somehow more pleasing to me than what i know to be the more correct english grammar. for example i wrote, not 'i am going to the forest for a few days', but 'i am going for a few days to the forest'.

what is happening to me?

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From The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge

In “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins,” Jose Luis Borges describes 'a certain Chinese Encyclopedia,' the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, in which it is written that animals are divided into:

those that belong to the Emperor, embalmed ones, those that are trained, suckling pigs, mermaids, fabulous ones, stray dogs, those included in the present classification, those that tremble as if they were mad, innumerable ones, those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, others, those that have just broken a flower vase, those that from a long way off look like flies.

Michel Foucault wrote that it “shattered all the familiar landmarks of his thought” — see the introduction to Words and Things. (Thanks Eva Meijer/Trouw).

the dutch translation is a little different, and, at least to my mind for some reason, funnier : a) toebehorend aan de Keizer, b) gebalsemd, c) getemd, d) speenvarkens, e) zeemeerminnen, f) fabeldieren, g) zwerfhonden, h) die welke in deze classificatie zijn opgenomen, i) die welke te keer gaan als dwazen, j) ontelbare, k) die welke zijn getekend met een heel fijn kameelharen penseel, l) enz., m) die welke net een vaas hebben gebroken, en n) die welke in de verte op vliegen lijken.

in old age, just as my ears became very sensitive to sound (i developed first tinnitus and then hyperacusis — and then realised i had suffered for many years from misophonia which recently graduated from being a negative character trait to an actual recognised condition :) my eyes became very sensitive to light so although i am usually reluctant to update software because of the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it principle there is one reason why i eventually moved to mojave (which is by now a fairly ancient version of the macintosh operating system) and that is dark mode.

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some people tell me they never watch the news or read the newspaper because what goes on in the world troubles them too much. my position on this is unclear to me at the time of writing but the first thing i do everyday over coffee is read the times online, the guardian, de volkskrant and several other dutch newspapers. (i would love to include the age in the list as i used to when i lived in australia but this once venerable serious newspaper has become a joke, at least online.)

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dear arnon

weird how 'manifesto del futurismo', which would just be 'manifesto of futurism', is so frequently mistranslated as 'futuristic manifesto', i thought as i read your post. but probably it was just mistranslated once and then that mistranslation was reproduced over and over. but checking in the dictionary i do find that 'futuristic' was sometime used in connection with futurism but it's 'dated' the dictionary says. so there goes my idea of writing to you suggesting 'futuristic manifesto' be changed to 'futurist manifesto'. it was certainly always referred to as the latter in my spectacularly unsuccessful fine arts teaching career and anyone who referred to it as 'futuristic' would be have been mercilessly teased — unjustly, as i now discover.

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You might say the idea of cataloguing all the stupid things human beings have done and said would be a fool's errand worthy in itself of being included in the catalogue and Matthijs van Boxsel, author of the Encyclopedia of Stupidity, would probably agree. He is currently up to the second volume and one expects there is an infinite number of volumes still to come. It rather reminds me of Borges's Limited Catalogue of Endless Things mentioned in his story The Aleph.

One of the people included in the Encyclopedia is a bloke called Jan Gerardszoon from Gorp en Beek (1519-1572) who changed his name to Johannes Goropius Becanus. He was a lecturer at Leuven University who believed that the language spoken in Paradise was Dutch — or Flemish/Brabants — and that Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and so on were all Dutch, or rather Brabanders. His views were not uncontroversial even to his contemporaries.


cooking for people who enjoy eating what you've made is really fun! go here for recipe


exquisitely tender

this is from july 2016 just after arriving in europe. i may have posted it before at some point but today i made a small but crucial edit in the final para — and i am still looking for the right dutch word for 'gentle'. someone suggested zachtmoedig.

laurie anderson and lou reed rules to live by (it's good to have a few catchwords to fall back on when there's not enough time to think.)

The first one is don't be afraid of anyone. And second is get a really good bullshit detector and learn how to use it.
 And third is be really really tender.

yes but 1. how? 2. where do i get this bullshit detector? 3. yes yes yes – but why am i uncomfortable with the word ‘tender’ in this context? because it’s used for meat? :p or because it’s used for sensitivity to pain? do the americans use ‘tender’ in a different way?

my book was originally called ‘exquisitely tender’ which was what a doctor wrote in the file notes about how a patient presented on admission.

i changed the title to ‘i am here’ because i thought it was more direct. such a simple straight forward statement. but i do still wonder sometimes if ‘exquisitely tender’ would not have been a more evocative title?

so i think the association with of pain and fragility is the problem with the word ‘tender’ for me. tender in the sense of the opposite of tough. 'delicate' does some of the same work but ‘susceptible to injury’ is not what springs to my mind when i hear delicate. tender can also be used in the context of age to mean immature.

gentle, caring, compassionate, affectionate, fond, warm, loving, as well as delicate that's what laurie and lou mean i think – and i would add ‘respectful’ to that because there is no love without respect...


Godfried Bomans op Rottumerplaat:

Omdat ik voortdurend als een stip in een onafzienbare vlakte zit, groeit de behoefte aan houvast en denk ik vaak: heeft dit allemaal een bedoeling? In een soort horror vacui zoek je een spil, waar die onbegrijpelijke wereld om draait en ik begrijp nu opeens waarom vele zeelui godsdienstig zijn. De gedachte dat heel deze wilde barbarij alleen maar zichzelf betekent is voor mij even raadselachtig als het aannemen van een super-intellect. Ik zit in een soort oer-verbazing gevangen. De zee schuimt tot aan de horizon. De tent siddert en brult, maar houdt het nog steeds. Midden in dat geweld zit een meneer aan een tafeltje, die schrijft.


human beings have a problem : they have a relationship with what is not. one might say, they exist in relation to what is not.

of course they exist in relation to what is as well but this relation is less complex, less troubling, and often less compelling.

and one might say, their relation to what is not is more important in terms of what they are and how they are able to be, than their relation to what is — and it is more complex because what is not is infinite.

you can imagine what is not you can desire what is not you can (try to) predict what will be you can mourn what was, regret what was not, never was, will never be — can not be.

ha ha ... what a predicament!

so now what?!


dear arnon

even if i did believe in god or gods it would be quite difficult to believe in the materialisation of a god such as is proposed by the christians, but the part of the story i am most incredulous about is that a god would materialize as a man.

surely if you were a god and you could came down to earth in any material form whatsoever you would do so as a woman, possibly one that looked like kristen stewart — or, say, as a melancholy thistle, tall and upright and topped with gouts of pewter down that blow freely in the lightest breeze.*

what form would you choose if you were a god (not that i am, by saying that, implying that you're not) if you appeared on earth in a material form?

anyway i do my best to ignore the festive season except that if you have a mother who is still alive and kicking and who loves chanel no.5 products, it is impossible to do so completely.

love johannes

* apologies to melissa harrison of the times nature notes.

 


she is a massive, luminous globule of plasma only just being held together by gravity which, once it reaches a sufficient density of matter, will begin to collapse under its own gravitational force.


the problem is not lunatics taking over the asylum — they're usually too preoccupied with being crazy — it's that organisations and institutions set up by well-meaning people end up being run by those who believe that systems are more important than people (and animals and trees and rivers and stones) that is bureaucrats, beancounters and people with degrees in organisational management.


Levinas :

The 'small goodness' from one person to another is lost and deformed as soon as it seeks organization and universality and system, as soon as it opts for doctrine, a treatise of politics and theology, a party, a state, and even a church. Yet it remains the sole refuge of the good in being. Unbeaten, it undergoes the violence of evil, which, as small goodness, it can neither vanquish nor drive out.

last night tried to watch dirk de wachter give a talk at radboud university which wasn't easy because the technology was not cooperating. it's a rather weird little grab bag of bits and pieces, 'funny' personal stories and artworks the relevance of which were more than a little far fetched but nevertheless there were quite number of good things and if you understand dutch (or rather flemish) it's worth watching. for a start he looks like an uncanny cross between nick cave and charles aznavour.

more here ...


it should be a law of physics that any organisation or institution which claims to have the capacity to reveal some kind of truth, inevitably becomes corrupt.

ok so maybe it can be a law of metaphysics. 🙂  


nothing changes — only your relation to things changes.


According to Tomonobu Imamichi, Heidegger's concept of Dasein was inspired — although Heidegger remained silent on this — by Okakura Kakuzo's concept of das-in-der-Welt-sein (being-in-the-worldness, worldliness) expressed in The Book of Tea to describe Zhuangzi's Taoist philosophy, which Imamichi's teacher had offered to Heidegger in 1919, after having followed lessons with him the year before. link

ha! mind = 💥


ah buddhism. you can sell anything to alienated isolated humans in the west if you claim that what you're selling has something to do with it — from beauty products, to spiritual care, to cheap concrete fountains for your garden — or you can charge people serious sums of money to have your clitoris stroked in public. in the amerika god no longer loves, the latest cult to have been exposed is om or orgasmic meditation. their practice, which supposedly has origins in buddhist ritual, involves one person stroking the “upper left quadrant” of someone else's clitoris for precisely 15 minutes. om, or “ohming” as its adherents call it, is a technique propagated by onetaste, a sexual wellness company founded in 2004 in san francisco. a typically breathless times article describes its “messianic leader, nicole daedone” as “a charismatic art gallerist who claims she saw the light at a party when a buddhist monk persuaded her to try om on the spot.”

i guess parties in san francisco are a little ... different.

the bbc has all the guff in a ten part podcast.


last night :

so much is said and written every day but so much more is and remains unsaid.

this is the shadow of everything that is said : all the things you would like to say but feel unable to and everything you don't want to say — about what you did and didn't do and think and feel and hoped for but were disappointed and are now ashamed of allowing yourself to think.

how do i make it possible for you to tell me? why would you tell me? because i have magic powers?

because i can forgive you, i can give you absolution.

this does not come from an authority or a supposed supernatural being but it has come about (is ontstaan) in the course of living and seeing and listening — by knowing and speaking and being present — and by responding, by loving, and somehow, mysteriously, acquiring the capacity to love without expecting or demanding anything in return ...


i love the world and life and its mystery … het mysterieuze iets

for more on this and many other things, listen to my conversation with claartje kruijff.
it will help if you understand dutch.


there are many, one might say too many, different kinds of Tea-rex dinosaur mugs.


i like to read the times obituaries over coffee in the early morning. it's useful for being-towards-death. in today's obituary of the model isa stoppi, i learn that she had “two lakes in place of her eyes.” “aquamarine portals”, the times calls them, “allied to a glacial but regal elegance.”

and now she's dead. so it goes.

link | archive


What did Bill Murray whisper into Scarlett Johansson’s ear at the end of Lost in Translation? We'll never know. That is, we'll never know what Bob Harris whispered into Charlotte's ear. Bill Murray knows, and Scarlett Johansson — and of course Sofia Coppola knows, but she apparently said that at the time she was 'kind of stuck' on how to convey 'the epicness' of the moment.

“I didn’t intend for it to be silent and then in the editing we were, like, ‘Oh it’s better if it’s just between them and the audience puts in their own interpretation.’”

Ah serendipity.

i slept quite well but there was some acid reflux during the night. it might have been the red spicy sauce he put on my falafels. he did ask but it was lost in translation. i thought he was asking if i wanted a bag. and i did. and then he starts ladling the evil looking red spicy sauce onto my falafels and i am like, what are you doing?! and he said, i made it myself! it's good! and i felt sad for him, the palestinian man in the falafel shop, who, when he asks, with a slight grin, if you want spicy sauce, is so misunderstood.


watching a far right political party self destruct in slow motion is great entertainment. woa. comparing himself with johan cruijff, and the fvd with ajax! that will cost him several thousand votes.

i'll give him this though : he does a damn good impression of tommy cooper, no deep fakes needed. check this out :


when i first arrived back in europe in 2016 i knew about two people there and one of them hated me so i decided that, for one year, i'd be saying yes to any and all invitations — and i'd try to be nice.

i ended up in some mind-numbingly boring situations but i'd console my-so-called-self with the thought 'this is the Year of Saying Yes!'. these days i am very reluctant to say yes to things. the default is 'no sorry too busy or too tired' and, as of next week i will be adding : 'no, i've joined a monastery so i don't go out much' to my repertoire.

also, as most people who can be bothered reading this know, i am not much of a party dude anymore. never was really but 20 years ago, if you put enough booze and/or mind-altering substances into me (or i put them into myself), i was up for anything. but alas at my rapidly advancing age i have to use my ever diminishing reserves of energy sparingly.

so today the first order of the day is to decide whether, and how, to respond to a birthday party invitation.


als je niet mijn moeder bent bel me dan niet om acht uur dertig en zelfs al ben je mijn moeder.

en ook niet om negen uur dertig of tien uur — okee wel ná tienen als je me absoluut moet bellen bel dan maar, ik bedoel 's morgens.

en bel me alsjeblieft 's avonds helemaal niet tenzij je aan het doodgaan bent en je nog even gauw met iemand iets moet bespreken.


We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task.

Henry James — The Middle Years


all your computers are belong to us

i used to love computers and now i hate them — and they make me sad. here is why. (work in progress ...)


ik sta in de krant vandaag. [ ...previously ]

and, since someone asked, i'll tell the story about the violators one more time, but that's it...


ok so finally, after a couple of false starts, the verdict is in : de geeeeeekste falafel in eindhoven is from falafel masters!

an unimposing looking establishment it may be and in corona times the selection is not exactly vast but what do you want from a falafel place? you want the falafel to be freshly made in from of your very eyes? you want to eat houmos and when you close those eyes imagine yourself in palestine? you want a yummy little warm pita bread with it? you want everything to be vegetarian and most things to be vegan and no meat anywhere in the shop? you got it! you want vegetarian kebbe? oops sorry! you have to wait til monday. in fact you're probably better off not looking at the online menu because nearly everything pictured there they don't have, at least not today.

falafel masters is a few minutes walk from strijp-s. on the weekend they may have specials. check their facebook page. if you read dutch, the inimitable mooncake who is from eindhoven, waxes lyrical about the place here.

Edisonstraat 131-133 5621 HM Eindhoven 040 84 23 406 info@falafelmasters.com

and beware : on fridays falafel masters is closed until 14.30! and don't leave your glasses on the train.


den dolder. sauzenhart van nederland.

but it's ok. i'm just passing through.


trauerarbeit


Interesting interview in the NRC with Jacob Jolij, cognitief psycholoog en afdelingshoofd van het DataLab Sociale Wetenschappen aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Hij schreef een boek, Wat is bewustzijn nou eigenlijk? Hij interesseert zich voor parapsychologie en voor kwantummechanica – en voor de vraag of je daar iets aan hebt voor het begrijpen van bewustzijn. „Wie de woorden ‘kwantum’ en ‘bewustzijn’ in één zin noemt wordt meteen al met pek en veren het gebouw uitgejaagd”, lacht hij.


despite having a notebooks and general stationery fetish, i always studiously avoided filofax which seem to be ridiculously overpriced products associated with people who want to create an impression that they are busy, important and well organised. they carry around this fat leather-bound thing, or they used to. now it's been replaced by the latest model oversized iphone and/or ipad and i can't imagine filofax being a thriving business in 2020.

in an effort perhaps to be less filofaxy they made a thing called 'clipbook' which is like a more interesting budget-friendlier version of a filofax. what it's for even they don't seem to know. 'make of me what you fill' is the slogan the intern came up with.

i never buy anything white (except a white cotton shirt once when i went to cambodia at the height of summer there) but i was confronted with a sparkling white version of a clipbook in a moment of weakness in a bookshop on my first day in a new city, my life having crumpled and crumbled behind me for the umpteenth time, and i was like YES. i want to make a MARK on that pristine surface. it will be like an amulet, an object with special powers to protect me and to enable me to have the strength to face the time to come.

madness really but this is how it is : i now find myself in the filofax universe, cringing at their overpriced refills online. but behold! the six holes in the clipbook paper are not custom sized filofax holes. and there is a manufacturer here in nederland that makes reasonably priced paper refills for it.

an auspicious and propitious beginning.

those two words mean more or less the same thing but i only recently learned the second and i wanted to use it.


woke up this morning to a message from my friends at google :

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video letter to will johnson (2002) was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it may not be suitable for all viewers and it has been placed behind an age restriction.

ha ha ha well it is certainly not suitable for all viewers and it is quite possible that it is not suitable for any viewers at all, but i don't think their age has got much to do with it.

but perhaps i made this video before you were born, when i was at the height of my powers (such as they were) as an artist, eighteen long years ago, and you want to see it? well you can, on vimeo!

i wondered briefly why etc and then i moved on. but it did amuse me to see the bio i made for my vimeo account, probably when i was drunk, again.


i just had my 'de avond is ongemak' dwarsligger signed by marieke lucas rijneveld in a bookstore. she is developing an impressive 'authorly' look and she put a nice cow stamp into the book, at first i thought perhaps in lieu of a signature but no, i got a signature as well. asked if she had any advice for me on how to finish my second book she said 'doorschrijven!' which was slightly disappointing. the writing itself is not the problem for me. the problem is how to make it into a book with a beginning, middle and end, which is readable and publishable. maybe she doesn't know either. maybe she just poops out gold and when she has enough gold for a book she sends it to her publisher. some writers are just like that.


The overdose that killed Ronnie Scott in 1996 followed a long period of anguish caused by dental treatment that ruined his embouchure and left him unable to play the saxophone.


vogelbekdier (lit. bird-mouth-animal) platypus #teachyourselfdutch


we planned an antifascist evening. the evening came — it was not antifascist.

— tonnus oosterhoff

via 'als ze het over marokkanen hebben' by arnon grunberg (2020)


a lover is fragile, therefore being a lover (by which i mean a special case of a loving subject, a subject being loved, in a relation to an other which involves desire) requires vigilance.

for many years i puzzled over that idea of roland barthes that what is required, for a human, are three things : fragility, wisdom and vigilance, i endlessly photographed the semi-transparent green rubbish bags with VIGILANCE printed on them in black letters that are everywhere in paris.

and then today i found this.

(this is for you L. x)


leeds, 1974.

thankfuly not living in yorkshire it doesn't apply


not now

easy peasy cheesy oven baked pasta

ha ha this is the most forgiving dish in the world. you can't go wrong. even a fool like me can do it and afterwards you'll have four or five happy people with a belly full of carbs and if you want you can drink wine and not get sick because your guts are lined with grease and the wine will help break this down and not irritate your stomach lining :)

450g penne cooked al dente and rinsed with cold water 250ml kookroom (20% fat cream) and some milk 250g or more of grated cheese (what australians refer to as 'tasty cheese' ha ha) mustard the kind of mustard depends on the people you're cooking for. if one of them is a thirteen year old girl don't use a hot one. in any case the mustard needs to be just present in the the flavour spectrum, rather like the garlic in houmos.

cover the bottom of a good size ovenproof dish with kookroom and mix well with a couple of generous teaspoons of mustard (can thin with some milk) put in a layer of penne. cover with cheese. put in another layer of penne and top with cheese. add some freshly ground black pepper on top.

cover with aluminium foil or lid and cook for half an hour in a pre-warmed oven at 200 then remove lid or foil (can sprinkle on some breadcrumbs) then another 10 minutes or long enough to let it brown a bit on top.


i'd like to make this for my vegan friends so i'll have to experiment with nut milk (i fear coconut milk might make the flavour too coconutty) and non-diary cheese which is so-so but it's nice not feeling guilty about the exploitation of cows.

if however you feel guilty about serving a meal without any vegetables you can just as easily make a version of this with vegetables in it ha ha. some you can even put in raw, like spinach, mushrooms, capsicum or zucchini (which they call courgettes here) but pumpkin, potato or carrot etc you have to parboil.

or you can serve vegetable soup as a first course, for example, say if someone brought you a very large pumpkin from their garden as mieke did (she also brought a refugee without papers needing a place to stay but that's another story for a different time), my world renowned vegan pumpkin soup which a tasmanian shaman taught me to make in a forest there in 1985 ❤️ and about which almost everyone says the first time they eat it : this is a very thick soup! but they eat it anyway and then they say : this is really good! as if they're surprised. it's super easy to make. drop me a line if you want me to post the recipe.