johannes k.


Black Chocolate di Montebello Appassimento 2018

life is too short to drink bad wine but unfortunately also not long enough to drink all the good wine (in moderation of course) but yesterday brought a beauty, courtesy of new friends in rotterdam, a complex italian wine from puglia made with four different kinds of grapes 30% primitivo 30% negroamaro 20% nero di troia and 20% merlot. it's made by a method called appassimento where the grapes are plucked (not picked) by hand at the last possible moment. the grapes are then stored in a 'frutaiou', a special kind of drying loft with openings in the sides so the wind can easily blow through.

the drying process concentrates the aromas and the fructose. the wine that results is then aged in oak for six months and for another year in the bottle. as they say here, goed bezig! i love the sometimes poetic attempts by wine tasters to describe the flavours of wine which always rely heavily on references to other flavours, like 'cherries from a paper bag', or 'shaved pears', in this case : fragrant dark plums, blueberries and black cherries with mocha and caramel, full of juicy dark fruit with coconut, vanilla and chocolate. soft and creamy and endless.

it sounds even better in dutch :

Geurige donkere pruimen, blauwe bessen en zwarte kersen met mokka en karamel. Krachtig en rijk van smaak vol sappige donkere vruchten met kokos, vanille en chocolade. Roomzacht en eindeloos lang.

it's on sale at the wijnbeurs €8 a bottle — nectar from the gods for a bit more than a euro a glass, depending on the size of the glass :)

i can't remember why i didn't like melancholia the first time...

maybe the problem is, or one of them, that it's better if you see the beginning of the film after the end, not because then it 'makes sense' but you look at it with entirely different eyes. you are ready to see it. how much better would it be if you begin with part one justine, 8 minutes in? but yes, you also see part one with different eyes the second time.

but this is my second and third time, but the first time i didn't really see it at all. perhaps it was because after, or during, the miserable experience of seeing lars von trier's previous film, i decided i couldn't take him seriously anymore. i have rarely been more profoundly disappointed by a creative work, maybe tacita dean's installation in the turbine hall... but i looked at that and looked and looked.

what do i think of melancholia now? well i don't think 'like' is a word i could use in relation to it, but is it a good film with an astounding performance by kirsten dunst and an idea the size of a planet (ha!) at its centre. yes!

is it a masterpiece, on par with dogville and dancer in the dark? quite possibly. it depends on you and perhaps on whether you are able to see it.



let's try outline by hypothesis

you'll need an account tho' if you .. you know actually want to say anything.

individualism is a disease, like cancer or a virus. but where and how does it originate historically?

did it begin in the garden of eden? is socrates to blame? or descartes?

or yves saint laurent?!

this is an interesting op-ed in some ways in the vk by daniela hooghiemstra (in dutch) but it needs a serious edit, so that's what i started to do but then i got bored. this is my version and here is the original.

in any case the article tries to make the useful and important connection between 'individuality' and 'authenticity' (and how grotesque both have become) but it doesn't really drive the point home.

leaning on a book by a historian, Piet de Rooy, the article argues, that the widespread narcissism in the world of 2020 stems from the sixties, when authenticity, 'being who you really are' and the freedom to 'be yourself', to 'express yourself' became fashionable. the idea that you matter, that each individual human matters, indeed that you (which really means 'i') are important, and that what you want needs to be respected and taken into consideration when decisions are made.

but there are of course numerous historical markers for this idea, the beats in the fifties, the lost generation of the 1920s, the romantics, nietzsche, descartes, socrates (not to mention the serpent) but perhaps the sixties was when the idea that the individual matters and that all humans are equal and have the right to speak and to be heard became more widespread and generally accepted.

and over the following decades the parenting and education of children was adjusted accordingly. and now the world is being run by spoiled children and by those who know how to manipulate spoiled children.

unsurprisingly, i have more to say about this.

he says : i even tried to find god for a couple of years but i was unsuccessful. there was nothing.

i say : well (i think) you're either the kind of person that can find god or you're not.

i am tempted to jazz up this slight but true story by adding something like : but you found nothing and that may be better! but that would kind of spoil it.

instead of 'it is' the germans say 'es gibt' — it gives or it is given. there is also the sense of something becoming apparent or revealed — or unconcealed, as the old german philosopher insisted.

in the english language, a given is a known, an immutable or established fact or situation, something which we do not have to discuss or negotiate : it is a given.

this seems like a waste of a word which has a lot more potential. i sometimes think in terms of the world giving things, things that are interesting or useful or beautiful — and events ... but also things/events that are the exact opposite and things/events that have a dark side, things/events that appear to be one way and then turn out to be another.

gift is not a good word for such things/events because of its association with giving presents. i wondered if the word 'givens' could be redeployed for such things/events. or would it be confusing?

let's give it a try :

yesterday there were a number of givens. argh ... it sounds stupid.

i am having frequent interesting conversations with someone who is formally undergoing psychoanalysis, striking differences between it and whatever it is that i do and equally striking correspondences.

for example transference and counter transference, which also happens in other relationships eg teacher student❊

there are disadvantages to my method such as it it, but one major advantage is that there are all kinds of continuities with other conversations with people, that are not and could never be sessions as such, and yet here you are engaged in a process which is more than a conversation — and it is being driven.

it begins as an ordinary conversation but it can turn at any moment ... or i can issue an invitation and then it can turn ... or not.

for a moment i am in the driver seat, my hands are on the wheel. we are idling. we were in neutral but i have shifted into first gear, the clutch is still depressed.

i look at you and say : wanna go for a ride? — where would we go? there is no way of knowing and we may never get to 'a there' ... but you won't be here any more ...

it's entirely up to you, from one session to the next. if you want to hide you can hide. you can avoid me for as long as you like.

ha ha ha ... i wouldn't be a psychoanalyst for quids ... sixty five for forty minutes ... what a rort.

oh! a quid is also a partly masticated lump of food that is dropped from the mouth?! it is apparently said of horses.

#work #psychoanalysis #conversations

on anti-realism

perhaps an appropriate something to go with that which i made almost twenty years ago :

one morning you wake up and, as the first of the sun's rays begin to appear on the horizon ... actually no ... wait ... it's a cloudy morning, deep dark clouds hanging low and at dawn, at first it begins to get light and then the skies darken again.

i imagine a different time, before the whatsapp, and too busy lives, and so many distractions, when people lived as nomads.

you notice he has pitched his tent in the distance. the flag is unmistakable. centuries later the design bots at apple would appropriate it as an icon for transparency mode on the airpods pro.

i am currently engaged in a highly speculative experiment with presence.

when i worked in the hospital i learned that sometimes all you can do for people is to be there, hence one of the reasons for the title of my book.

what are the different ways of 'being there' for someone? i have thought about that a lot in the nearly ten years i've been working with people directly as it were, existentially.

what constitutes a consoling presence?

what is presence?

this is not art but it is a practice, or rather a praxis — a process of practice being informed by theory and theory being informed by practice — and i would suggest, a theory and practice informed by ethics (and vice versa).

the most basic unit of ethics : respect.

a book like an action painting.

this is in part an action painting made with words and silences and ellipses and dashes, and partly a performance❊ with an audience of one — one who is not actually present in the space where the performance is taking place but nearby.

perfect for corona times. fuck one and a half metres. how about one and a half kilometres?

❊performance here in the sense of a kind of beuysian aktion but like i said, this is not art. so.


in the spirit of transparency — and also to undermine the possible power relationship — it is customary, in the world of narrative therapy, to give the person you've worked with the notes you took during the session at the end.

i was my narrative therapy teacher's worst nightmare (hi ron!) because there were all kinds of things i refused to do and one of them was to take notes during sessions. the wisdom was that taking notes shows the person you're working with that you are paying attention. my argument was and is that if you're taking notes it is impossible to give 100% of your attention to the person. you are not completely being there. and isn't the note taking like a performance then? also, at least for me, because i take words seriously, the fact that the notes are going to be read by the person i am working with (and possibly others) afterwards inevitably means that would be keeping the reader/s in mind whilst you are writing.

after 10 (or 28 depending on how you look at it) years of working with people i have become convinced that it is certainly valuable to share your thoughts/notes arising after a session with the people you're working with and indeed they may also be valuable (or of interest) not only for the particular person but for other people that you're working with (but if it contains personal information, only ever with permission) and i've started doing this slowly, haphazardly, as is my wont.

this morning a new experiment : voice recordings — because of course sometimes one does not have time and energy to write things down properly.


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