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February 29, 2004

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February 29, 2004
a possible connection... The air looks as if it could cary the weight of a careful swimmer. Maybe two, moving their bodies in a smooth motion in a synchronized rhythm. They could move slowly over the Hudson river, up the valley, more and more acquiring the color of their surroundings. One of the great advantages of swimming in air is the simplicity of breathing. One never needs to surface, never needs to hold the breath... There are no careful swimmers out there, not right now, not humans, only pilots and passengers and insects and birds. (And some other natural aviators...) We took off the pillows. We waited for the sun to slowly set. It was nice to try to take the last picture, before it became impossible because the light meter told me that the film would not be able to see... It is good to take that last picture for the day... slowly... as if it were a really long stroke of a swim, high above a river... Oh, and the image below has not much to do with the entry above... it is a completely different story... maybe... because there must be a connection between the shadow of the invisible object (which is an organ, i think), the missing pillows, and the unconnected electrical outlet... and the scratched negative... And maybe, just maybe, maybe the picture itself is the actual connection of these and more elements...
February 28, 2004

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February 28, 2004
bubbly When I was maybe 8 he told me that she was trying to kill him with air put into his vanes, and I barely understood what he was saying because of his stroke, not long before they came to visit us on an afternoon when I was home alone. She told me that he tried to kill her by locking her into the back room, where she survived because of the package she had hidden from him and under the bed. I was 8 but I did not really believe either story. I saw him again in their apartment, two days before his death. She had him brought back from the institution, so he could die in peace after they remarried on his deathbed. I remember her with his name as her last, though she died having a different name, the one of the man who followed... I never got to meet the last husband. This marriage had been a rather short one... oh well... those were different times and places, they were a tougher breed of people... and there is so much more to the story that I can even tell... and even the things I saw, were seen from the perspective of a rather interested listening boy. And what does happen to the blood when we move on, start turning to dust... I know a lot happens... maybe I should read some more Damien Hirst...

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February 28, 2004
less fluffy... some of the best moments probably drove through me when my eyes were closed, even if the things around me were the ones I so much hoped to see. With the eyes closed, turned into a single point, focused, there, here now. Feeding the eyes is really a great luxury... pulling the stimuli to a darker chamber might be another one... I wonder what it would feel like to dim the lights in the city, my maybe just 20-30%... would we be more scared? Would we be more focused? Maybe just stay at home... I remember walking through Kraków a few years ago, at night, and I remember that there were some serious gaps between the islands of light cast by the little lanterns... And even more recently, when it was clear that it was time to leave my old apartment on 73rd street and to move one express train stop further uptown... I remember perceiving the new area here as much darker, much more quiet... I had to walk carefully, slower, the place here was a bit foreign to me... Another time, when I walked into an actually closed gallery at the guggenheim... or when I entered the completely dark staircase of the woolworth building in october of 2001... Oh, and it is beyond Junichiro Tanizaki's shadows... it is beyond that... I wonder how much time of our lives is actually spent with our eyes closed... and how much of this time is pleasant... or at least somehow... oh, I don't know...
February 26, 2004

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February 26, 2004
a few words on hobbylogging and tree culture in general... He had been cutting down trees since he was maybe 5. Around this age his father gave him his very first toy-axe. It was completely carved out of one single piece of oak. He eventually grew up to afford a better axe, a much heavier one, a sharper, more lethal, metal one. He went on to study wood carving... thus it was very natural that he was presently into logging. Cutting down trees was not his main profession though; he dealt with clocks and their elaborate inner workings to make money... This money allowed him to travel. Wherever he went, he brought with him his newest: a neat, foldable, beautiful, polished, Japanese chain saw. He loved to chop down trees for fun, he even got to sell some freshly sliced wood cubes now and then, some of them had even been used to build some modest homes out on the island. He liked that some of his logging had opened some views on some valleys, cleared out some paths and nicely shaped some hills. It also inspired others to sharpen their axes and to go out into the woods... He ideally wanted to run a successful clock repair business, maybe even a watch factory, then wanted to spend much more time cutting his way through fun international forests, maybe Borneo, Brazil, Papua New Guinea. He hat learned, that a mundane tree can be turned beautiful, if only cut off at the right angle, at the right height, at the right time of day. One could play with a tree, by cutting only half of it off, or maybe just the branches, or maybe chopping out the center, or by stripping down the bark. Like the professional loggers in the commercial forests, where logging was permitted, he liked to place his saw at a good angle and pretty close to the ground, then he would fire it up and just tear right through the bushes. Oh, and one more good advice: try to cut the trees nobody had carved or cut in before... An old unwritten rule among all new chain saw loggers... How did he possibly manage to find mahogany trees in a city parks and jersey forests? Stains and sometimes furniture polish could be very helpful, when applied in the right amount... (mixing with imported material is a no no.) ........ Not all loggers are created equal. Some do not even cut the trees... Some enjoy the creation of intricate carvings, some leave behind the legendary trees. There are legends of saved herds of engangered species, lost puppies and kittens. There is the magnificent blue sky. (And lightning, or whatever the devil uses to brighten up the world at night...) And yes, some loggers like to cut only at the roots... I personally like the ones who take their work quite seriously and slightly slower, paying attention, letting it ripen, grow, unfold. It might be some an secret, but some of the most beautiful trees grow the slowest and are infrangible in many ways. Some of the most beautiful landscapes are not actually created by cutting trees, just by feeding them the right food, exposing them to the right light, providing the right kind of soil... and yes... time... time is so incredibly important...
February 25, 2004

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February 25, 2004
FDR and beyond... FDR feels like a videogame tonight. The pieces of London under the wheels of our cab make the ride feel like flying a Spitfire through a heavy storm at night. My pilot has a conversation with the base. I am making sure we will not be followed by any one of the other fighters. We are flying really low, to avoid serious trouble, radar and such nasty stuff. We are fighter 2N12 he is Rahman Saipur. Our landing flaps are a little rusty and so whenever we slow down, there is a screeching sound: metal on metal. Will we make it to the home base? Did Rahman make sure we have enough fuel? I am trying to make look over his shoulder, just briefly, don't want to distract him. We will soon fly through the park. There will be tunnels and bare shadows of trees. We will fly very closely between old stone walls. They will be so close I will be almost able to touch them... so close... My pilot is the best. He will bring us home safely. The machine might be howling as if it were a slightly injured horse, but I know we will make it... Go Rahman, go... It will be 15.70 +˘50, because it is a night by night... How does one properly tip a pilot?
February 24, 2004

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February 24, 2004
1+2=3... It was a very clear picture of the situation at first. It was a very clear thought, a monolithic idea, a one direction kind of thing. Then, looking at it a bit longer, it somehow appeared that what I had seen before so clearly was a mere illusion. We were looking at several things, intersecting, some real, some just a reflection of the others. Maybe the great idea only appeared great because there were others, giving it the illusion of greatness? What if they all were rather small, just pretending that their presence is greater than a mere sum of the three...(or one rather small one?) what is we did not appreciate the greatness of things, only their size in comparison to others. Were we possibly blinded by mediocre ideas, only because they were surrounded by things much worse? This somehow worries me... Hmm, not sure I can really explain what I mean... I just found myself looking surprised at the photograph below. I know where I took it, and the knowledge of it is important... but, well, how many buildings do we see here, what is their height? Can we understand their construction by merely looking at this "objective" photograph? And no, I did not make any adjustments other than cropping the picture, so the composition works a bit better... and if you know which (much disliked) building this is, please do not just say it... though the illusion here is part of the fun of the name of the building(s?)... It is snowing... I better get out of the house. Oh, and tomorrow, let's discuss trinity....
February 23, 2004

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February 23, 2004
closing eyes, for now, again, as usual... clearly the last entry can not be the last one for today. good night...

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February 23, 2004
Just some silly technical remarks... Well, kids, my iPhoto4 crashed again. It left behind neatly organized folders of doubled and trippled images, neatly organized by imaginary dates. I went through the rebuilding process of the database once before, it was a tough one, I ended up finding that many of the images I was suddenly awarded were indeed a mere 0x0 pixels in size. Extensis Portfolio was another software I had purchased. Here the attempt to upgrade brought me to a page that did not exist... iView looks like a really beautiful solution. There seems to be some tiny thing not quite going my way as it seems. I just deleted some of the images that were clearly and very obviously marked as doubles, just to discover that they have taken their originals with them into their virtual grave. I basically just deleted about 100 images or so, thinking that I was deleting some redundant data... oh and the catalogues I had created are now considered "hidden," any attempt to make them "visible" just shows me some completely different collection. I shall probably just wait and see what happens next... will all of my right socks disappear? Will all of my shits come back from the wash sporting a single sleeve? Will there be no more uptown train service? Will the sun just set and never rise again? I will need some rest, I think... let me not delete or organize for a little while... I am going to backup and not write, just watch... hmm...

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February 23, 2004
hey there little sister... "It was a bright cold day in February, and the clocks were striking 1:00 PM. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him." Reality will not unfold as if it were written to teach us. It will be influenced by those who do not have such intentions. Certain images will probably be avoided, yet others, others do work really well. Or actually, even better.
February 22, 2004

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February 22, 2004
simpler the things I'd like to do right now are rather simple. i would like to be face down on a thick carpet in an almost empty room somewhere in the middle of a continent. i would like to hear the wind on the net that is placed outside of the open window, so i stay alone in the room and am not joined by a little army of moths. i would like to not have to worry about what i think or say or write. i would like to maybe draw a little, maybe write a little, maybe sleep a little, maybe just turn around and stare at the underside of a table, or a chair... maybe just wait for the next day to come, the blue palette of the sky to come back, for the wind to push ever new clouds over the house. and it might all be incredibly selfish and these might not be the right thoughts to have right now... it will all be good in the end... all good... and we will all laugh... right now the things i think of are some very simple ones... and the world collapses into another ball of crumpled up aluminum foil... or the steady sound of a hammond organ... or the light from a really strange lamp, that was left behind by a man whom i never met... or did i?

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February 22, 2004
Time travel and the risks of visiting real time New York. My watch was about five minutes ahead of everybody else's at first (I mean here). Then I made it fifteen minutes, then something in the proximity of thirty. Then I was not sure about the actual difference between my time and the time on the wrists of people who wanted to meet with me. I started missing meetings by hours, some did not really appear on my radar. Some things just never happened... at least according to my time perception... Many of my best friends are not in my time zone anyway. Was I calling at 12, 12:30?... Was it AM or PM?... It appeared I would always wake them up. But even in New York, in the street, it felt very nice to be somehow around 12:30 while everybody else was just going through their high noon high. And how nice did it feel to arrive at a store that was supposed to be closed for 20 minutes already and the security guard would just wave me in as if I were some time traveling VIP. How nice. Same thing with movie tickets. I would barely make it (according to my watch), and there were still minutes in the real time to spare. The 30 minute thing on the watch was a bit of a blessing for somebody who might sometimes arrive a little late. (I am sorry, I tend to do that at times.) It was on Friday when I had to adjust my clock to be in real time. I had to be at certain places at a very particular and very specific time, there were too many people waiting for me. I could not leave one location too late, not arrive at another one too early. Setting my watch to the real time felt just like a simple turn of a little hand, but... I think my conclusion now, on Sunday is: I do not like this "real time" thing... The New York Saturday in real time was just horrible. There were lines and masses of (I guess gentiles) everywhere I went. The bank was a mess, the subway was just packed. Two guys next to me even had a discussion about "Flatland" and how time, yes time, was the third dimension for its protagonists, the flatlanders... "So she just took one of the guys out of that prison, by taking him through time and then setting him down at a completely different place. How cool is that. Imagine somebody traveled through time to take you out of here and put you down at a completely different location." (For the rest of the ride we all experienced two Columbia Students performing "deep thought simulation." I really wished some sphere had taken me out of that train car, right there, right then.) Strand books was even worse than the subway "either somebody is going to move forward or back, over here!" (Yes, imagine this sentence screamed with a heavy New York accent.) Some of the shoppers were barely visible behind their piles of yellowish paperbacks and other special semi rare classics. The only quiet island in the entire store seemed to be the table with the title "erotic books." Who would want to be caught looking at some bare skin now in the age of war. The Photography Books section was packed as tightly as a roll of film. A man who looked as if he has just escaped from an early episode of "Colombo" was standing next to a man dressed up in a Strand-can-I-help-you blue apron looking at the last copy of "New York 1960" as if it were a victim of a homicide. The man:"Do you have a copy of this book?, I mean, do you have a copy of this, beyond the copy here? I mean, do you have a non display copy?" As I was leaving the store, picking up my bag (it was #25) somebody asked for the rare book department. "It is out the door and then right and up the stairs on the second floor," said one of the bag check guys... and then to his friend: "I saw Jane Fonda's workout in rare books yesterday. Apparently it's rare." St.Marks books did not seem to have anything new on their greatest and finest new arrival table. There was a new believer on the shelf, but I did not feel like standing for it in line. Sunrise Market was the next logical stop for me, their timeless offerings could maybe save me from the curse of being trapped in real time. Yet, no, my favorite Ponzu product has been probably discontinued, they were out of my favorite kind of natto and I did not even go so far as to try and explore anything new (no time). Again, so many people, all in one place, I was a bit afraid someone might panic. (Perhaps even I might be the one?) In front of the elevator (sunrise is on the second floor), a guy with a Russian accent received a call from what must have been his broker. "A one bedroom with an alcove for twenty eight hundred? Oh, this is far too much! No way... let me think about it." He held the phone away from his ear and stared blankly in the air for about five new york seconds. "Okay, can we see it? Okay, maybe in 10 minutes?" His female companion, who might have been from Japan, judging by the context of the entire conversation, asked very shy and pretty brilliant questions. "Don't you think $2800 is too much?" Our Russian boyfriend must have continued his phone conversation in some other dimension because his answer was: "Oh, it is not so much, besides, it is probably negotiable." ("You are holding a phone my friend, not a gun," was my silly thought...) Her second question was even better: "What is an alcove?" "Oh, from what I know, it is some extra space, almost like a room, you know, private." He clearly had it all very wrong. "It is something, like, 1200 square feet." (This is when I knew that they would be soon looking at some deep east village basement.) I took the bus uptown, I could not handle the masses of strangely bizarre real time people. I spread myself out all the way in the back of the articulated bus, right under that huge star-spangled window sticker. The trip went up third avenue, for maybe an hour or so of wild Manhattan traffic adventures. Whatever I had done on that back seat, I would like to reenact it at some later time. I was like that Erotic Book Section at strand. All by myself, on the back seat, eating some hot japanese green peas out of a bag. (Oh, and some buckwheat tea as well... can you imagine?) The bus was packed, but not for me. Some of the riders glanced into my direction from time to time. I did not smell, I did not scream... maybe the entire back side of the bus was some sort of time portal, invisible to all the other New Yorklanders? We eventually arrived at east 96th... The sun was slowly setting... I could not handle waiting for the bus on 96th street and cut down on my transit time, by hailing a regular yellow cab. It was not until we were already in motion when I realized that I had left a group of people waiting for the bus. I could have taken at least two of them with me, maybe the oldest, or the nicest, just to get them quickly across the park... but I failed to think about this at that time. The cab was taking me into the time ahead of their time. I was back on my way to setting my watch at least three minutes ahead... Yes, I was paying for it, just the idea of it was $2.50... but it was somehow okay, my excruciating excursion into the world of real time had been quite rough. My first stop on the west side was the previously packed bank (from one of the previous entries), now completely deserted, I had arrived. Then there was a little package for me downstairs. (Issue 13 of Parkett Magazine, one I was missing, since 1987) I think I was back on target, somehow a survivor... I made it, made it through the day. I know this might sound incredibly silly, and very narrow minded... but somehow the photograph below reminded me that maybe some of us are just supposed to have their watches set about five minutes ahead... while others... probably should not try such "experiments...", ever in their predetermined lives... Oh, and please let me know if I can take you, carry you through time... and then set you down at a completely different place... I think I found a hint of a possible way... though it is still all very experimental.
February 21, 2004

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February 21, 2004
eat that paint, just not in California and chew that toy, just not in Canada... "The vapours of the substances contained in this tube are known to cause cancer in the state of California." (Boy, am I lucky to be on that other coast, nothing can happen to me here...) This reminds me of the one time when I called the 1-800 number that was on the back of a little toothing toy I bought in a pharmacy a few years ago. (It was for a co worker friend, so she would finally stop chewing on my ball point pens, making them look like... no I can't write that here.) Witold: Hello, I bought this toy here, and it is a very nice toy, it is filled with water and has little animals floating in it. It is cute and soft and most definitely made out of PVC, now I am a little worried if the chemicals that make the toy soft might in some way harm the child if they decide to actually chew on your cute little toy? Operator: Are you in Canada, Sir? Witold: Ahem, why are you asking? Operator: Are you in Canada, Sir? Witold (looking out the window onto downtown Manhattan): Oh, let's say I am in Canada... Operator: Sir, please take the toy away from your child immediately. Witold: Right now? Operator: Yes, please, Sir, please take away the toy. Witold: Wow, these are very strong words... Operator: Sir, please take away the toy. Witold: Okay, well, what if I am not in Canada... let's say I am in New York. Operator: Then it's okay. Witold: Wow Operator: Yes, the toy is harmless. Witold: But not to Canadian children? Operator: Not in Canada Sir. Witold: Is it a different toy for Canada? Operator: No Sir, it is the same product. Witold: So the children in Canada are just more sensitive? Operator: It is a legal issue, Sir... ... Maybe Canadians read Something like this, while in the US one would visit a site that is a Phtalates Information Centerďż˝ (Why is there a ďż˝ on Information Center?... maybe it is time to call Canada...) Have I posted this story once before?... or twice?... did I chew on that toy?

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February 21, 2004
$7,975.85 The Coin Arcade at the Commerce Bank branch down the block is a real blessing to all the homeless guys and me. It does not charge some exorbitant percentage as those coin* machines used to charge and they are very much made for kids, so the interface is fun and happy. A cartoon girl asked me if I would like to estimate how much money I have with me, and if I manage to guess it within $1.99, then there will be a little present for me (yeah, a Commerce Bank Logo savings bank, I guess...) The amount I estimated was $7,975.85. Okay, I had not estimated the amount, it was when the estimated amount appeared on the screen that I noticed that the machine had a 2.5 year old operator, well, she might have been 3.5. Her father was about my age and he just remained in the background to whack me over the head if I said anything not appropriate to his precious daughter. Well, not really, I thought it was somehow cute. The cartoon girl was really impressed that I had so many coins. That was before I even put a single one into the machine. The little girl, at her child interface at the hight of my knees was obviously pushing all possible buttons... (All huge and on this happy little touch screen.) I had brought my change in a fabric bag this time, I've learned my lesson from having layers of zip-locks explode on me and coins en masse fly all over the place... The girl (the real one) was really very impressed by the actual coins I was throwing into the machine. "Where do you get the many money?" she asked... I explained to her that it was really easy and that it involved a little plastic piggie-bank. I actually collect my coins in little banks that are shaped after mailboxes of Great Britain (the pillar) and Canada, but I think such details would have probably freaked all of us out. (There is also this ornate Japanese tin cookie jar, my previous wealthy neighbor had donated to 73rd street about 7 years ago... but this really does not matter, does it?) I had to tell the girl not to try to grab the falling coins. (I had to tell her, not her cheerful beta dad.) I was lucky enough to get my little cashworth printout before my little helper got her little hands on it... Not sure she understood completely what was actually happening there... with that little piece of paper popping out at a child appropriate height, me looking at it and just going away waving to her and her silly dad. The line at the bank was simply ridiculous... it was not worth the wait, really, oh and of course we did not win the prize.
February 20, 2004

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February 20, 2004
the newer jersey Yes, I know, I don't get out of the island much. There is just not enough time, and maybe there is not enough car and there is not enough reason to leave. So I stay, in the city, which is probably worse than what most of the New Yorkers do, who at least cross a bridge a day... (No actual data was used to make this statement, it is pure speculation of the author...) I had to go across the Hudson (which I think is a fjord, at least here, west of Manhattan), for a press check. It is funny how this would still be called press check, as there are no printing presses involved, just gigantic ink jet printers and some vast amounts of vinyl. Oh, and those "happy vapours." (I am afraid if I spit, it will be in CMYK.) Oh, and the printer has this huge statue of a green lady holding the torch, just around the corner... though I have the feeling she stands on her own little island, which she leaves even less often than I leave Manhattan... And not sure she has ever even seen New Jersey, but that's a completely different story, of course.
February 19, 2004

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February 19, 2004
definitely not a walk in the park some days are (supposed to be) just like a wast landscape; maybe like a well manicured, sculpted landscape. Maybe the days are not really like the landscape, but the experience of them should be like a walk through a calm and soft spring setting, with birds singing, maybe the occasional fly... I take it back... with the occasional butterfly. Today was not one of those happy walk in the park kind of days. Today was more like a free and unsecured climb. It was more like delivering five little eagles to their nest. And no, they did not really ask for it. It was just time... Because of the nature of the work I can not really write too much about it all. (Not what you think...) It was a wonderful day after all, packed with work and great experiences; fun moments and fear and joy and some of the good things that make a life worth living, I guess? I mean there will be enough rolling lanscapes and golf courses in other people's lifes. now and later... . I took many more and better pictures today, but the one below is somehow the right one for this post... and yes, I know that something is not quite "right" with it... but please, I think every single element of this image is man made... and I guess it is okay as well. Just turn your head... slowly... yes, this is what it felt as well, at times. : )
February 18, 2004

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February 18, 2004
A certain state of mind is required to achieve a certain outcome, I guess? There was a reflection of the sign above me glowing in the building in front of me. Slight changes of color made the marble look blueish, then reddish, then a glowing, morning-white. The dow jones ticker repeated bravely messages of death and failure. The billboard on the building suggested I could print my own postage, on my own printer, now. (wow, like, now?) I was welcome in the Surfer shop on 42nd street. The door handle, a brass surf board had a sign on it that apparently welcomed me. It also welcomed me as I was leaving the store, to go back into the street. The subway was incredibly packed, a recorded voice repeatedly "apologized for the unavoidable delay." The man right next to me kept coughing into the crowd, as if he were a new biological weapon. (Was he a superspreader?) The supermarket charged me $9.99 for a bottle of Pomegranate Juice. (I will live a longer, poorer life.) Broadway is honking outside of the window. I wonder why police cars have syrens that sound like a pack of wild monkeys. It would be nice to look at some starry sky tonight, maybe somewhere in the desert, from the roof of a slowly cooling car. As the metal cools off, it makes these cracking sounds. Yes, this would probably be what I would like to do tonight. And I would probably never write about it... as writing about it would probably be the last thing on my mind... It is strange how the reporting about anything we do requires a certain mental infrastructure. One needs a particular interest about a situation first, the moment needs to be special enough and somehow fit the expectation to be put into words or pictures or sounds. Then these need to be chosen wisely... somehow... Maybe the very best moments of one's life are really the unrecorded ones. The best moments usually do not happen when we have a pen ready or a camera... or whatever it takes to record and store outside of us... What makes us think that we can find beauty on the pages of books, or in the frames of images if these were written and made somehow far from the actual moments of beauty?... I know I will never write about my most beautiful moments... and I certainly did not take any pictures and I probably will not... Oh well, one could still try to reinvent these moments, stack up some words in some language... take or make pictures in a way known to the contemporary (wo)man... make these re-inventions of something that could resemble something that is close to the actual experienced moment... hmm... does not sound very easy to me... If this is such a difficult task, why would anybody waste any time (re)inventing anything else but beauty? I wonder if anybody here is going to tap me on my shoulder some day and just tell me that what I am writing here is utter nonsense?... (And I wonder if it mattered...)

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February 18, 2004
Familiar landscapes... (x) As a boy, I would sometimes get my eyes very close to the carpet and look at the legs of chairs and tables and imagine them being large modernist buildings on the vast planes of Carpetia. At other times, I would imagine that the ceiling of my room were the floor and that the crazy mess of my many started playful experiments just glued itself to what was now the ceiling. At other times I would look at things with one eye, objects placed on a table, and I would play with the depth of field of things. The pepper would be in focus, then salt, then these became blurry and there was my dog, looking at me with the very clear message that it was time to go outside... It might be time to revisit some of the experiments of the weightlessness of the observer, (sans dog,) and see what happens when we explore a bit more of what appears to be the familiar, in ways that take out of the equation the little fragments that give away the source... Let's hide the source, let's make proportions disappear, let's remove the sense of location from the shots. Let's explore some familiar landscapes... and reduce them to just that... landscapes... can this be done without making the images appear like yet another silly photo-experimentation?... Hmm... does it matter?... Also... how much different will images of seemingly familiar landscapes be from any image of any thing... How much do we assume to know about what we see in photographs and how much is really there? Can we escape the urge of the mind to put whatever we see into some box of things we already know? Does our overly saturated, daily trained visual mind play tricks on us anyway? Do we always only see what we know, in any kind of photograph, or even in general? Let's see what happens next...

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February 18, 2004
Chewing gum on my sofa. this one is short. somebody must have spit out their chewing gum in the cab i just took home, because it was on the seat of my jeans and now on the sofa. well, for a while it was on both, the jeans and the sofa. i managed to get it out of the sofa up to a certain degree, but it still smells like very well chewed strawberry chemical bubble gum. and the jeans are just covered with the sticky stuff. They are quite seriously soiled, my friends. How many pieces of gum are floating around the streets of New York? How many of them per square foot stick to the walkways? Why did somebody have to leave their chewing gum (it is pink) on the seat of the cab I chose to take home? At least it is not as bad as 1994 when I must have sat in a puddle of some unknown chemical, which then slowly but surely completely dissolved the back of my pants. Yes, yes it did. Fun...
February 17, 2004

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February 17, 2004
And now something completely different. A soft kitten under covers on a spring afternoon in Vermont. Puppies in a basket out on the porch protected from the rain in Eureka, California. Monkeys solving complicated puzzles alone on live camera in Borneo. Robots making little clay kittens while playing Franz Liszt. Bloggers fixing their von Dutch hats in their Dumbo lofts around sunset. A sweet puppy rushing through fluffy snow in slow motion in upstate New York. A beautiful looking stranger on a plane reading the same book, just an earlier page. Warmth in a good place in the middle of the night. The little grain of sleep under the eyelids after a long day of successful work. The funny joke. Reflection of water ripples on the ceiling of the hotel room in which the sheets are no longer anywhere near the bed and in which every smell is most familiar though now much cooler. The 5th gear in an SL 55 AMG. A slow walk through the forest at sunrise. The hug from a long lost friend in the dark. The water. The "little water." The first touch. A solved puzzle. The chirp of a bird sitting on an outstretched hand in the summer of a Mediterranean vineyard. California. Paris. Sylt (the northern part.) The last words your mother told you just before she hung up the phone last time. Long exposure with a new camera. Long exposure with an old camera. Long exposure with no camera. A very secret touch. There. Here. Then. Now. tbc...
February 16, 2004

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February 16, 2004
More thoughts on photography, image worship, and a short observation that even the most sophisticated of information can be turned into a guarded moment of original magic, if only placed into the apropriate context. "...(...) There arose a universal consciousness of history that extended even to people in those strata of society who had previously lived a life of magic - the peasants - who [with the introduction of cheap printing and a universal education in the 19th Century] began to live a proletarian, historical life. This took place thanks to cheap texts: Books, newspapers, flyers, all kinds of texts became cheap and resulted in a historical consciousness that was equally cheap and a conceptual thinking that was equally cheap - leading to two diametrically opposite developments. On one hand, traditional images finding refuge from the inflation of texts in ghettos, such as museums, salons and galleries, became hermetic (universally undecodable) and lost their influence on daily life. On the other hand, there came into being hermetic texts aimed at the specialist élite, i.e. a scientific literature with which cheap kind of conceptual thinking was not competent to deal. Thus culture divided into three branches: that of the fine arts fed with traditional images which were, however, conceptually and technically enriched; that of science and technology fed with hermetic texts; and that of broad strata of society fed with cheap texts. To prevent culture breaking up, technical images were invented - as a code that was to be valid for the whole society." Flusser in "Towards a philosophy of Photography" (Für eine Philosophie der Fotografie.), pages 18ff, Reaction Books ISBN 1 86189 076 1. "Technical Images" are images created by machines, of course, many are camera generated photographs, the images that work as a very nice "glue" across groups of culture feeding on various accessible (popular) or less accessible (hermetic) texts... complex cultural ideas feed photography as successfully as science as successfully as political messages as successfully as low end down dirty gossip (though often there is no strong distinction betwen some of them, of course). Photography is the universally accepted way of objective visual communication. Flusser continues: "...technical images were to introduce images back into daily life; second they were to make hermetic texts comprehensible; and third, they were to make visible the subliminal magic that was continuing to operate in cheap texts. They were to form the lowest common denominator for art, science and politics (in the sense of universal values), i.e. to be at one at the same time 'beautiful', 'true' and 'good', and in this way, as a universally valid code, they were to overcome the crisis of culture - of art, science and politics." Yet, photography is not only cheap to produce, it is becoming cheaper and faster to produce. It is becoming more and more accessible, thus saturating more and more all of the branches of culture. Photographs are the perfect filler, the perfect validating document, the perfect illustration, the perfect memory builder, because they appear to be so similar to what we perceive as our reality. They give us the illusion to be carriers of that thing called "truth." This is, of course, an incredibly tempting quality about them. "Technical images absorb the whole of history and form a collective memory going endlessly round in circles. Nothing can resist the force of this current of technical images - there is no artistic, scientific or political activity which is not aimed at it, there is no everyday activity which does not aspire to be photographed, filmed, videotaped. For there is a general desire to be endlessly remembered and endlessly repeatable. All events are nowadays aimed at the television screen, the cinema screen, the photograph, in order to be translated into a state of things." How long will it take for us to realize that what we perceive as the magic of truth carried on the surfaces of photographs is as much of a subjective creation as many other forms of human expression. How long will it take us to realize that photographs as well are very highly manipulated messengers of a point of view of a person or a group? And to maybe try to ask this question in a different way: are we as fascinated by the magic of photographs as our ancestors were by the paintings and sculptures in (the trusted environment of) tempels? Are we turning into not just consumers but worshippers of technical images? Will the future be decided by those who can speak to us with more "truthful" and more powerful visual confirmations of their actions? Or are at this stage already? Are we far beyond? What does this all have to do with the strange title of this entry? (Or is the title not strange at all?)
February 15, 2004

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February 15, 2004
i want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everything, one on one, always, forever, now... It was last week, I think, that my iPhoto library forgot that it was one. I still have not managed to reorganize this portion of my photographs that were in it in a way that would make sense to me or anybody else. One of the things that happened is a little issue with the date marker on all of the files. All of the photographs seem to have been taken on January 20th 2004. It is very interesting. My new (and still very incomplete) iPhoto library looks as if this particular tuesday in January were quite possibly the most eventful day of my entire life. Not only did I manage to find myself on two continents, in about a half a dozen countries (or more?), some of the people in the pictures managed to change by years in just split seconds. A friend gave birth and raised a son. Buildings went from being incomplete skeletons to fully erected and inhabited complexes, while others, rather large ones, were simply erased (thousands of lives lost). It all happened in just split seconds, or so it now appears, all on January 20th 2004. Just like that. Weightlessly. The "objective camera" meticulously recorded a reality, now compressed into minutes, where there used to be years. On one hand it appears that thousands of photographs would probably only fit into a 24 hour day when taken by multiple photographers, wild professionals, with their cameras pointing at what was interesting, what mattered... but on the other hand, when taken as a simple mathematical exercise, if even my little Leica Minilux can shoot one single photograph per second, then I am not even touching its theoretical limit of almost 90 thousand photographs a day. (86400 if I really just kept the button pressed and never had to change the film...) So on one hand, thousands of images look like a serious amount of material. But on the other hand, how many images do we really see during a regular day? A two hour movie, for example, with its 24 frames per second, would contain 2880 images... Clearly they are only bearable to us because the differences between them are so miniscule that we can focus on "the big stuff", the large changes. Our brains must be somehow bored when watching movies, compared to reality. Not only are we in a shielded environment, watching a little color rectangle flickering at a frame-rate much lower than what we usually experience, the stuff is made to make sense to us. It is usually just a relatively simple story, connected, with a relatively predictable development, often just stretched between images we had already seen a hundred times in some previews on some other flickering screen. It is not just the number of images we look at, it is the logic between them that makes them easily or not so easily digestible. Watching a regular movie is probably not really a huge challenge. The number of images perceived is probably similar to the number of chapters that will eventually make it to the DVD (we just perceive as "moving pictures". Movies are written by people who want to sell them to other people, so there has to be a logic which can be pitched to that person that will eventually pay for each frame. There are, of course movies like "Memento", which also simple, challenge the brain by mixing up the order of some DVD chapters... How many injuries would a movie cause that were made out of 2880 completely different, individual frames? Each made to be there for a reason. At the current state of my iPhoto library I am basically looking at more than four full feature films which claim that everything in them happened at the same time, in the same location, in front of the same lens, shot by the same person. The idea of all of these things happening at the same time is a bit much to handle... And yet as much as it would be possible to watch a 2880 frame movie with different images, because of the ability of the brain to jut shut off whatever it is not interested in, (So for most of the audience, the experience would probably just get incredibly boring after a few minutes,) it is very possible to not think of everything happening at the same time,. There is a physical distance of the images, dictated by the mere fact that each one of them has a certain presence anyway... No two images can be even in an iPhoto library in the same location at the same time... But wait, how does it work in the world around us? Is there a movie operator somewhere that projects reality around us, just to make it palatable for us in some way? What is the frame rate at which reality happens? How many images are packed into a single second of the real real world?... Could one say that if each one of us perceived just one (moving) image per, let's say a second... there would be still billions of images per second rushing through just the human brains here on the planet. And clearly we are not the only seeing beings... The pigeon that just rushed here by my window did so with definitely very open eyes. Oh, and to top this all, I think only toddlers think that the world only exists when they actually look at it... (peek a boo...) No wonder that we want to see the same thing over and over again as a child. It is no surprise that we crave to see some thing others see and travel or go to movies or watch tv?... Is it in need to simplify the things around us? Is watching the oscars really like having a glamorous version of a collective memory about the past year of frames shown to the public? Much of what we look at, is somehow a memory of a past experience, something that happened in a controlled and known environment... Something that was created by a person, a committee or groups of those... Do we experience the world by comparing it to the one we already know?... Is this what makes it digestible for us?... Is the moment in which a character is introduced as important as the moment when the same character is familiar to us and blurry in the background of some real or movie scene? How do most of us perceive Museums? Are we at any point in time really truly aware that the images that happen to share walls in a room can actually be expressions of ideas that happened years and minds and continents apart? Are we ever truly able to see any image from the point of view of the person who created it? Are we ever able to see the image and the circumstances happening outside of the frame? What is the difference between what we think we see and what we think we would see... and see anyway?... I think I will go back to organizing my little image-library now... I feel as if I were the glue between the now so baked together frames. Each image stored in the database triggers at least a little hint of a memory, and in a different way in me than in anybody else. (After all some younger version of me was the one who made the decision to push the button.) By sorting the frames, my brain will be forced to give additional value to certain images... now, from the point of view of the more current me... Hmm... it feels as if I not only haven not answered anything... it feels as if I had not even asked the right questions... Should I read this entry again?... maybe not... maybe I should not... let's see how much time I can spend avoiding the present by sorting the glimpses seen by cameras I owned in the past... (oh, and yes, the title of this little entry is a just slightly modified version of a title of a book here on my shelf...) And what does one do with little glimpses like the one below?.
February 14, 2004

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February 14, 2004
No safety net here... No strings attached, no safety net. I turned off all of the spellchecking buddies and all of the warning lights in the browser. It feels about as dangerous as those times when I accelerated the car to run at full speed on the autobahn at night and then turned off the lights*. Okay... maybe not. This here is not quite as dangerous, I guess. The risks of getting hurt are just turning into less and less and less... if the pen is mightier than the sword... how mighty is a website entry?... how mighty is a link? How close are pleasure and danger? Is a word still the mightiest weapon... even if not even spoken?... And is it still one of the most healing devices as well? Happy Valentine's Day... the site should have probably turned pink... or maybe green or gold... oh happy day... what a perfect day to make more art... done with words for now. *do not attempt, professional storyteller on a closed course, based on a true event, not necessarily true as told. Might cause serious or fatal injury.
February 13, 2004

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February 13, 2004
The less friendly roll Not all rolls on all airplanes are Baked and Happy of course. Some happen to be a little angrier, a bit more demanding. This guy below really did not seem to like me. He wanted the window seat, he wanted me to back off, he wanted me to leave him alone, as he was under the impression of flying the machine by himself (we were not even near the front of that plane.) It was all a bit scary at first, since we rarely see attacks of baked goods on people (though I've heard of a nearly lethal pretzel attack on a president.) Who knows... was this a life threatening situation? Should I have called for help? Were we all in danger? I eventually had to use the good old "butter trick", which I had seen in some old movie. The guy ended up tasting not half bad with some cheese and some tomato....

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February 13, 2004
Rubberman... A man in a white coat just ran across 96th street, at full speed, he fell down, rolled about three times, losing his hat. He got up, to pick up his headdress, and continued to run... I have never see anybody fall with such a speed and so skillfully at such late hour so in the middle of a new york street... he did not seem injured at all... Glad I am home. The rubber people seem to be on the loose.
February 12, 2004

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February 12, 2004
Two. The old man was not doing so well. He had done enough in his life, really. His thoughts now were rather confused, and contradicting, sometimes just bitter, sometimes very sweet. His eyes had slowly covered themselves with a layer of brownish sticky dust. His organs had grown thinner and weaker and his blood just barely resembled the substance it used to be. He had created so much in his lifetime, so many ideas had come from his tired head. There had been so many beginnings in him. Some even thought that the very idea of "beginning" was one of his inventions. He tried to remember some of the things that he had done. Some of his experiences were written in the deep layers of his skin, just for that reason. He felt that he was about to collapse, he was about to have another internal injury again, another implosion of one of his many weak parts. He wanted to ask for help, somehow, but the words that came out of his tired mouth were not as fresh and joyful and positive as it was fashion these days. He was not even sure. Or... oh it was just all far too confusing by now. Was it something in his diet? Should he eat something else? Should he drink some magic potion? Should he just put on another layer of makeup? Hide from the sun, somewhere? Pull up the pants higher? Sleep? Die? Therapy was decided on the other side of the room, behind thick glass, that probably looked like a mirror. There were young doctors, their methods rather experimental, their ambition endless, their brains freshly hatched. This one was bound to be quick. Just a nip here, a tuck there, some low carb diet, some botox, chemo, come viagara, some chemical peel, some laser eye surgery, fresh set of ceramic teeth, some quick and easy search for tumors... They spread him out on the table, it took minutes, no resistance. They sent their best to perform the surgery. They used the most advanced new methods, they cut right through the old and patchy skin, they grabbed the liver, they grabbed the heart. They removed the cataracts. They shaved the head, they cut the nails, they put in a new set of teeth, they declared their performance as a great success, live on international television... the process looked great. (Especially surrounded by happy tickers and those ever flowing graphics.) Yet for some reason... he was still an old man, with the same old habits, some much older than the doctors themselves. He was even older than the methods they were employing to sedate him. Some of the methods were even his very own invention. He would survive, of course... but he would be a different himself. However he would never become a young and dynamic surgeon who thinks that he needs to always cut in order to heal... But that was okay... he had been there, he had done this himself... in the past... pretty much the way they did it to him now... It was now just slowly coming back to him. Partially... in some ways... His body would eventually accept the medication, it would grow a new organ around the forgotten scalpels and tools. His body would eventually grow even older, there would be more memories drawn in the deep layers of the skin as well... In the end... it did not really matter... the bigger picture was far beyond the old man and the young inexperienced brilliant surgeons... in the end... there really was no end... just as much as there had never really been a beginning... (it was just one of those early ambitious inventions...)
February 11, 2004

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February 11, 2004
Invisible flight... It took pretty much exactly one hour to get home from midtown. Now please excuse me while I go to sleep early to practice dreams of unsupported flight. I am going to place myself onto a nice street corner, will first turn invisible and then slowly move up and higher and higher. It will be good, I have no doubts. I might actually swim in one of the water towers, perhaps, the cider ones. (Are they all made out of cider?) And the water will be perfectly warm and calm. It is interesting to want to go to sleep before 8:30... this is about six hours earlier than I usually would... at least recently. And this might be one of the reasons why I felt so distracted... recently... and before I turn this here into a haircut story, why don't we all just imagine the beauty of invisible, unsupported, self-propelled, safe and quiet... flight... Just like that. Who knows what happens next... will we all just disappear, one by one, who's first?..

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February 11, 2004
Fragments of thought about layers of memory of a present. The moment we realize that there is a present, it turns into past. So is our present a universe shaped by formations of memories, ours, those of others? Are we constantly shuffling around what we remember and does this make us blind for the world around us? Will the future be a present shaped from our memory gathering process? (Yes, dear anonymous... let's start with your comment... or a version...) Can we see the present? Here it was, just became replaced by the next present... and the next... could what we would like to pinpoint as a present just the process of current events becoming past, filled with the anticipation of things to come. (And in our jumpy, ballistic minds also a string of relevant events, glimpses of relevance, memory triggers.) We very often see the present as a confirmation of all of our learned experiences. It is rarely that we actually realize that there is a stream of new and pure time flowing through us, completely, aging every cell in our bodies, transforming us back into the planet. The moment we are born, we are destined to die. We might be the only species here that has the ability to express this awareness of finality common to each and every one of us. Culture is a way for us to help forget that we are so very incredibly mortal. We are constantly moving... ahead, backwards, sideways, in memories surrounding us, lika a cloud, a bubble... some of them personal, some of them collective... Based on these memories, on these preprogrammed filters for our world experience, we base the way we see the world... We need mutations in perception, from time to time, to wash clean our eyes, to extend the horizon, to revisit, to redefine... to help see again... Art is supposed to help here... but it is also man made, part of culture, the shy attempt to overcome mortality... so much of it just grasps to what is there, bases itself on what "works" not what might open new paths, avenues, or maybe old ones, those that have been closed because they did not fit in an image that might have been somehow correct in a mind? in a time? is it now? layers upon layers upon layers upon layers, moving...

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February 11, 2004
The perfect tea... Whenever I would wake up at night, in the living room of my grandparents on the corner of ulica Armii Czerwonej and Cmentarna in Swietochlowice (just skip the names, imagine they are numbers...) I would listen to the ticking of the wall clock, the snoring of my grandmother, the conversations of cab drivers on the other side of Cmentarna. Then the streetcars would pass by the window and cast their magic rays onto the ceiling, moving ones, loud ones too, metal on metal... I would get out of bed, walk barefoot on the warm parkett floor, my feet feeling every single particle of dust, the cracks between the wood, the threshold to the hallway, the linoleum. It was a long walk towards the kitchen. There, on the table with the drawer to which only my grandfather had the key, stood always a large coffee pot filled with black tea. I would not even look for a cup or a glass in the dark, as I really did not want to wake up the others. I would drink straight from the pot, the little me, the large, heavy pot. The tea was often warm, sometimes sweet, and always, always right. I would then sneak back, into the ticking living room, and I listened to the cars, the streetcars, watched the lights... I would then fall asleep (and usually dream of saving the lives of princesses...) It is funny to know that these connected rooms still exists, barely changed, guarded by my favorite uncle... while I am here, on the other side of the globe, watching the rays on the ceiling, made by cars going down broadway, listening to the sounds of the Subway being carried all the way up here... hmm... not sure why I thought of such a strange little moment just now... perhaps it is because I just finished the last glass of water in the house... and yes, it is getting a little late... (good night.).
February 10, 2004

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February 10, 2004
iCloud... There were about eleven thousand photographs in my recent iPhoto library on my PowerBook. It was a bit like scratching the surface of course, as the library only contained the more recent images, the ones from the digital camera as well as the not so long ago scanned ones. (The shop down the street offers affordable preview scanning.) The library today forgot that it was a library. It just forgot. It did not like to start up at first. It would just open up and then close itself again (rather quickly)... Once I began to somehow fix it, I ended up with an empty window, telling me that I had no photographs to be looked at using iPhoto. Well, there were still the neatly organized folders on my hard drive, of course. Sorted by year, by month, by day of the month, by preview thumbnails and original files and the new rotated ones. All in all about 23 Gigabytes of stuff... I am now, slowly, going to rebuild the library. I will slowly try to reorganize the thoughts and things... the good ones and the bad ones... some of them have a changed creation date, so suddenly there is an odd photograph of the World Trade Center, taken out of the crown of the statue of liberty, right next to a passing flower on a table... It is a very fascinating state... and I think I like it. It is like a soup of little information rich wafers floating in that little window and they just dance themselves into ever new formations... iPhoto is playing creative... Let's see what happens next... (oh, and it was all because I needed some photographs of clouds, really badly... hmm... now... maybe it is not a soup of information rich wafers... maybe it is more like a cloud... hmm...)

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February 10, 2004
hopefully in good hands... Virgin Mary took my package the Rockefeller Center FedEx. How do I know it was her? She told me. It was in exchange for me having a name which even I can not pronounce properly here in the states. (I usually say it is a combination of Wit and Old...) Virgin Mary told me about the humiliating callouts via the PA system in her high school. She told me how the announcer would sometimes just leave out the "Mary" part of her name, calling for her, the apparently only Virgin in her high school. Being a virgin is one thing. Having it part of your name in high school is well... another. VM appeared to have survived the slings and arrows of the teenage years quite well (thank God). She had a voice much better (and clearer) than whoever was singing on the radio. It was good to leave the package with Virgin Mary, it somehow felt like a little pointer from somewhere... things would be just fine... the artwork would arrive on time... it would survive the inspection by the first set of eyes and the second and the hundreds that might follow... and hopefully more than 33% will like it... I somehow feel much better now. Even if I had to realize again yesterday, that my New York just rushed forward, while I was busy working away at the tiny and the large work. When asked about what one could possibly do here in the city, the first thought that came to my mind was... work... (pathetic, I know.) The window is open now and I am ready to go out where the yellow ones honk. Oh, and I am going to use the door, of course. Virgin Mary or not, let's not play lotto yet. I hope Stephan really received his package today after I had it ready for almost a year... (and let's hope John did receive his as well.)
February 09, 2004

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February 09, 2004
20 Minutes... At first the visitors spoke about the paintings... but just 20 minutes later, the paintings were remembering the visitors. Perhaps. How long do we remember paintings. How much do they become full members of our visual memory. How does it influence our collective visual memory that some of the paintings we get to see in our lifetime are the same that shaped the visual memories of generations before us and will shape the visual memories of generations after us. How fascinating to imagine pieces of art as time traveling members of the family... Damien Hirst’s shark did not look his youngest last time I saw him... The 1000 oaks grow towards an even more powerful image... The Redon paintings are hiding in the shadows... and Cardinal Richelieu?... and Philippe de Champaigne?... Paris or London?... hmm... Maybe it is not just about time...

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February 09, 2004
Calm now... More work, less time, more rushing, a new week... there should be more here than some posts about the struggle of struggle... For now, just a little idea of little (tiny really) pencil drawings of some fragments of favorite paintings... thought about taking the features of the portrayed and redrawing them to look as if they were our contemporaries... or at least characters from the last century... this might be interesting as it is not really a new idea... it would be just interesting to see how much of the human aspect depends on such silly accessories as expression, hairstyle and makeup... The example below is an overlay of such a small pencil drawing over the source painting from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam... Oh well... just a very early thought... first drawing... I know, the hair looks like a fur hat... but it is just an idea, a sketch... a first jot... just thinking... (oh, and I would not overlay the drawings back onto the source like in the image below. I would like to have them completely separate. They should be connected only by those feeling familiar with the original paintings... it should be like looking at family members... relatives, distant ones... still related... like that... not copies, just genetic rethinking of original features from other sources...)
February 08, 2004

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February 08, 2004
drawing... ahead... The floor is littered with layers of paper. There are some odd magazines, some bills, some receipts. I somehow decided to organize that box behind the sofa, just as an attempt to procrastinate a little, get a bit of a breathing room. The table is packed with layers of paper. There is a pile of books, some filled with drawings, some with other people's ideas. I wonder why I always select the challenging paper to work on. WHy don't I just stick to the paper I like? Why do I create little piles of seemingly identical looking sheets that happen to have a completely different tooth to them, and also a different thirst. The ink just either floats on the surface, waiting for my hand to touch it again, so it can smear into some at first unwanted shape, or there sheet just soaks up and bleeds and pulls in the blue liquid as if we were going out of ink so very soon. (and then we do.) I will probably just take the things that are in front of me on the floor now, pack them back into that "special" box, sit down at the table again and just keep drawing. The completion of the pieces is just a little step in the process. What follows is often a mixed game of love and hate. Some of the work is just adorable, it is okay, some is just pure bad habit, the easy way out, a shortcut, a cut corner. I hate the easy pieces. I do not like cutting corners in my work. It is like cheating myself out of the good stuff. Drawing should look easy, but it is not easy because of that. And maybe this is why I have this pile of various surprise papers and this is why I try to use some old and surprise filled pens... It is to make things more difficult, to make each line a challenge. It might all look as easy as possible, but it is just better when it somehow is not... On a related note, I opened a box with old drawings yesterday, just to discover that some of the ink that was exposed to air has oxidized in the paper, making the pieces look as if they were drawn by someone else... well, at least for me, they somehow looked as if drawn by someone else. I guess this is not so bad... If the drawings could see, and they saw me now, taking them out of the box... they surely would also think that I am someone else... Hmm... it is never the same person drawing... even the beginning of a line is often drawn by a different person than the end of it... the progression might be incredibly subtle... but it is there... as we are all moving father away from the first to the last stroke...
February 07, 2004

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February 07, 2004
About an attempt to filter out all outside influences to make it more likely to create many good drawings. (Or at least not many bad ones.) Today will be spent on writing less and drawing more. And so the entry here will be a little anemic, as if written by a tiny mind, suspended in a little resin cube, appearing to be multiple little minds, when only seen from the wrong, or right angle. Trying to imagine a world rather simple, with no distractions, no insane honking cars outside... it can be done... let's just imagine that this cube we are in is a really dense one... transparent but completely protective and calm... I guess this could be a good start... and now... please excuse me while I take that blue black line for some unexpected walks... (okay, some will be predictable, yes they will be...)

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February 07, 2004
About the attempt to experience vertical shopping and other activities at the (pka AOL) Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle in New York... (as a badly written first draft.) What does "limit intake" mean... does it mean that I am not allowed to drink certain beverages while under the influence of my freshly prescribed antibiotica? I wonder. I am not sure whom I could ask. I now drink mostly water and this new and excellent PomPom juice, the stuff that comes in this very cute double round bottle... (or tripple round when larger.) We are hanging in there... I just woke up again to take another look at all the beverages which I will need to limit for some time... but it is still the weekend... and I managed to survive a very odd week... Oh, and I went to take a look at New York's new vertical shopping experience. The AOL... ahem... Time Warner Center reminds me of some other place that had this similar feeling of being just too designed to work properly. The choice of stores in this new fancy mall is a really strange mix that will really excite bizzarro European tourists who will want to take a fresh look at what they could have had at home, except with some odd unfamiliar twist. Some of the stores on the first floor have upstairs departments. These are true tourist traps... it was just me, three overly eager because freshly hired sales people, and some kid that really wanted to buy some of the decoration... well that was at the cole haan store... at Boss, one of the sales women, already had an entire war laid out against that other worker, whom she, in a conversation with the "accomplice", (also called listener, or potential future backstabber) referred to as "she." ("She thinks she will just tell us what to do? Well, let me tell you something, I am going to do it, but she should know that she is not my boss and I am not going to do this forever...")... Fascinating... (I really wished these intelligent minds had some actual work to do, poor idling brains...) There is an upstairs. It takes about a minute or so to get to the upstairs by escalator. There is borders and dean and deluca inside of borders, and I think that D&D sells those little Starbucks Frappuchinos, which makes the corporate russian doll about as perfect as they get. Borders was packed with customers of whom some were really on a mission. They really wanted to know where everything was. I am not just making this up, I happened to pick up my email close to one of the information stations. About four customers wanted to know about the coding system and if Poetry really was next to, or behind Classic literature, and if it were not a better idea if they were integrated. I looked at some very strange gift ideas. There was a leather patted box which at first did not want to open. Once forced open, it revealed a whole series of little leather frames, all clinging to the inside of the box with very powerful magnets. It looked like a tool for those who want to stare at their Orkut network even when there is no electricity or even gravity... Is this how we are preparing for future mars missions?... Child proof Magnetic Orkut Network simulation boxes?.... Wait a second... child proof?... Hmm... There were a few more floors in the Time Warner Mall on Columbus circle... Somewhere on floor three were the architectural models of what the center could have looked like... and where it now was, compared to the more expensive areas of the neighborhood. An older couple clearly lacked the vocabulary to describe anything they saw in the glass box in front of them: "This is the staue out there in the front. And this id that trumpf building here. Is this the park?" (Yes, Donald Trumpf would have been proud.) Two friends were admiring the evolution of the design, presented as little wooden volume models. "What is this? Is this what they wanted to make it like? That looks so regular." And the other one:"This!, this is the one they built." Hmm... The top floor of the shopping experience was flooded into a bluish glow. The ceiling illumination made this top floor the most interesting one. It was dark, the musak was least intrusive, there was a cash machine, not a single security guard in sight... Oh, this is going to be an exciting place to visit... just give it a few years... give it some time... hmm... Oh... and then there is the basement... According to Pat Kiernan, the best anchor of New York 1, the lower level of the Time Warner shopping mall contains the largest food mart in the city... Hmm... let's say, below 72nd street... and... size is not everything... I guess some of the food was indeed organic... there was a smell of rotting something in some areas of the admittedly large supermarket... I passed on the $6.99/pound salad bar, just bought myself a little juice and followed the large hand drawn signs indicating the location of the cash registers. About 30 or so of them were cashing in at full speed, and yet there was still a long winding line to pay for those large green Salad bar bowls... I found myself in a scenario that was a mix of some well organized femin prevention initiative by the UN, mixed with immigration procedures at JFK after the arrival of a flight from hmm... Paris? Two very authoritative agents almost pushed the slightly frightened yuppies towards some cashier lines, shouting out numbers "22 is free! Go to 29! Over there, over there..." I got to pay for my juice at cashier #16. "This is like Yuppie Ellis Island." The cashier did not think that this was even remotely funny... Oh well... There is no subway connection indoors from the Time Warner Mall... I guess the subway system is not as cool as it used to be a hundred years ago... One has to step outside, find some old entrance, and still descent into that chewing gum plastered world, one that is under constant construction, especially at the Columbus Circle stop... The Subway might be smelly and not very well lit... but it somehow felt very refreshing after that exotic wood paneled virtual reality shopping experience... Cost for visit:"$2.99 for a little B-Vitamine Juice..." The subway still give me more bang for the buck... Oh, and one would think that the entire place had WiFi... you know... because this is (ahem, used to be officially) the AOL center... The WiFi signal at Borders was rather faint... oh.. and it came from T-Mobile... which makes me think that there was a real Starbucks lurking somewhere... I just really did not see it all... or did I see enough? (Oh, I will be back there, with one of those green bowls, believe me...)
February 05, 2004

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February 05, 2004
How to imagine the condition of others and how not to look at one's blood being taken... A friend in Berlin once told me that one of her pastimes was to imagine what kind of issues the other people on the train might have... I mean... think beyond a common cold. Could you spot the guy who just ate a whole sandwich while tied to a chair, upside down? How about somebody else, who likes to spend their night in a tank filled with water. That little old lady back on the seat near to the exit might be actually a famous breeder of some very special bacteria... and that homeless guy, there in the corner... he might be an actor, a supermodel, a hygiene expert... pretending to smell like an antique urinal. So if such strange assumptions can be made on the subway, what is left to imagine in the waiting room of a cardiologist? Clearly some of the people here moved too quickly into some serious direction. The older gentleman I saw yesterday looked like Willy Loman, he had forgotten to take off his hat, he was marking some lists in a packed manilla folder. From time to time he would shake his head... how dare they, how dare they... The other older gentleman had been left behind by his maybe 40 years younger wife. She probably went shopping, he barely heard the calls, when his car arrived. The wife of the Hassidic man had to take him downstairs... or at least the rest of the family convinced her to. Her husband went to pray right after. The older lady, also with them, she must have been related, made sure to show off her large blue marks on both of her strangely shaped legs. I really do not know what the story was all about. The mishpucha spoke the fast kind of jiddish/hebrew mix. There was this 20 something guy in the waiting area today. He was somehow fascinated by that food and wine magazine. The lady next to me just read the New York Times. Did he have a broken heart? Did she lose hers in translation?... I only had to go back today to give some (4-5 of those little containers with that waxy stuff on the bottom) blood for testing. I wonder what will come back in a few weeks. One of the tests is apparently "experimental"; how nice to know my blood will be right on the cutting edge. Oh, and I do shivers when I see any kind of injury on someone... and I would have probably fainted seeing my blood drawn. But I knew all that... and I can tell you, that there is this very interesting double edge in the corner of the ceiling of that doctor's office... and that the lady who took my blood, was the most skilled one yet. So what do your friends on Orkut have?
February 04, 2004

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February 04, 2004
heart seems to be okay... "if you are being sent back to wait, that is a good sign." My first cardiogram was probably a good one. Something is obviously going on with me right now, my body is shutting down a bit. I was told to stay home tomorrow... and I guess I will... oh, and there will be extensive bloodwork... love that word... bloodwork... Oh, and once the doctor found out that I have something to do with advertising, he immediately brought forward his (actually quite funny) advertising idea... I guess people at parties also ask him about their swollen feet and other strange headaches a lot... thought wait, he is a cardiologist... does he get to fix a lot of heartbreaks?..
February 03, 2004

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February 03, 2004
yer fired... Designing for outside spaces can ba a bit of a challenge these days. How often do designers create work for spaces that they never get to actually see in person? All that is communicated are specs, limitations of print production, maybe some other particular requirements. Much of the actual design process then ends up happening on the same screen that is used for researching the web, writing memos and IMing colleagues. It could also be that the image below is the result of "vendor pricing optimization"... yeah... that's probably what happened here... (everything is a deal, you know...) ah, it might not really matter... it is just temporary, for a year or so... ; )

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February 03, 2004
A brief fragment of a thought about Altars as entry points into the understanding of their worshippers... When in Kraków, make sure to be in the Basilica of the Virgin Mary here shortly before noon. Sit still inside of the main ship of the church and wait for the muted distant trumpet sounds (the Hejnau Mariacki) from the tower of the very building to announce that it is indeed 12pm. Two nuns will enter, and they will open the Altar, a Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) pentaptic, gothic masterpiece. Even now, more than 500 years after its creation, the glow of the altar is a powerful one. The contrast between the two states of the artwork is stunning. I wonder why I had to think about the panels of the Veit Stoss altar, when visiting the control room of one of the giant signs on Times Square the contemporary open air cathedral of commerce... How dare I to compare a carved wooden masterpiece that took 12 years to become reality and cost as much as the entire annual budget of the city of Kraków, to a giant, ever re-animated 13-custom-screen-assemblage of pixels on the outside of a building representing the power of News Media? What made me be silly enough to somehow connect a carved and painted masterpiece portraying the "Assumption of the Virgin" (Once a virgin, always a virgin, Mary?) to one of the largest information displays in the world, busy pumping information animated to look as if it were descending from the skies into the main ship of Times Square? Could both of these altars be possible entry points into the understanding of the perception of reality by those who were contemporaries of Veit Stoss, at the verge of the renaissance... and us, now, here, in this post ...(and I just do not know a good term here) world?... What is it really that we trust most, and celebrate most and believe in most? How important are the old symbols and their meaning compared to the last minute information, the breaking news, the real time data, flowing straight from the bottoms of our screens into our perception of what we call now? How relevant is it to us what happened 1000 years ago, compared to what happened 100 years ago, compared to 10 years ago, compared to 1 year ago, compared to an hour ago, compared to 20, 10 minutes ago, compared to now, compared to the predictions of what will happen this year, the next year, and... How will we be looked at by those who will come after us... ...or wait... will they really care, or even know?... ; ) (Hmm... looks like I am sitting in front of my own little altar right now... and there... look... somebody already bit the little fruit... now what does that all mean?)...
February 02, 2004

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February 02, 2004
successfully crafty Well done kid! It was very fascinating to look at do-it-yourself books as a kid.... In hundreds of illustrations, outlines of men and women assembled progressively more and more complex devices. Comics of growth. Everything looked really easy and perfect and every little picture story climaxed in the perfect little creation... Successful and crafty. Look a the large picture. Wow. How much did we want to have the garden to build these benches and pavillons and fountains and concert shells. (and grow the flowers and tune the cars and cook the meals.) On a slightly smaller scale, there were the paper models build (mostly started, rarely finished) with my father. Later the most fantastic LEGO contraptions, guided by step by step instructions. It was fascinating to enter and re-enter a world in which all the steps were thought of, all the parts and their connections were accounted for and all one would end up with was exactly the piece of toy displayed on the cover of the packaging. Distributed completeness. The carpet at home was not quite Legoland, the table was not exactly the historic battlefields of Poland... but hey... there was a satisfaction in having done everything... just right... In front of me, right now, "The Observation Deck", a toolkit for writers... a portable box, some tiny book, some cards with inspirational words... Again, things are laid out to be really, really easy. One just needs to read the book, pick a card, write the next great American novel. Successful craftiness is obviously not just limited to Lego, it extends into other parts of our life. There is "The artist's way" the "Natural way to draw", the ... well... (you know what...) Tom Bissell wrote a really brilliant little piece on the craze of self help extravaganzas in a recent issue of The Believer. He writes about How-To-Write books, but some of what he mentions just perfectly applies for any kind of trivialization of creative activity... Some of the pieces in the article brought tears into my eyes... for all the various reasons... Bissell quotes from one of the books by A.P. for example... "Put yourself on the page and all that you think and feel about your life, but do it with discipline; do it with skill. Then the good agents and the good publishers will get your work into their hands of the good readers." Bissell extends the quote:"And then the good fairies and elves will approach your front door, carrying bags of gold, and the leprechauns will come, and the gnomes, and the friendly talking monkeys will sing, oh sing! Outside your window!" It works every single time. So whenever I come across somebody telling me how easy it would be for me to start trying to be like them... and be it as good of a writer, a leader, an artist, a chef... My thoughts are with the singing monkeys. I am really afraid of formulas. I am afraid of the confident voice of somebody telling me what has to be done, quickly and easily, to make me a better... anything, anybody... really... I do not trust the advice coming from the pages of books, the monologues of sites, even the voices coming directly at me out of mouths glittering in all shades of pearl white... Cutting corners and finding a quick way to do anything will maybe, in a best case scenario, create the "real simple" thing intended, but it will create an empty shell of what could have been there... Just the idea of such an outcome scares me... (I guess I like to make plants grow, not jank them out of soul and dry them on pages of books.) I do not think that we should all go out and invent the wheel... every day... I just do not think that one can be successful by defining success as something that is being defined by somebody else... The greatest ones were often the ones who set up their own sets of rules... somehow, somewhere, at some point... no? It is probably quite okay to follow certain advice, certain rules... but our best teachers might end up being the ones who do not intend to illuminate the path to wherever they stopped thinking and doing... and not further... Some of our best teachers are not the ones that guide us by the hand into that little chamber that they created for themselves, to seduce us to do exactly the same thing... Some of our best teachers might be the ones who throw boulders at us, and nearly kill us, but in the process let us discover how easy things can be, once we manage to overcome that impossibly difficult stuff... hmm... now i sound like a self-help author myself... grr... Silly thoughts come to my mind when looking at the photograph below... Successful Handycrafts... well... yeah... indeed... good luck. (The other titles are packed with all sorts of inspiration as well, you know...)

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February 02, 2004
The sweet and the salty... memories of a multitude of artificial experiences. Imagine what will happen to you when you just give in to your sweet sugar addiction. Just let it all go, comooon, just one more time. The sweetness will melt on your tongue and right between your teeth, there will be an instant satisfaction, a burst of pure energy. Oh, how delicious. What else would you need for the day? With just one single bowl of that stuff, mixed with some background providing milk you can cover all the bases, get the home run and even prevent strokes and heart attacks and get some extra free air miles... Oh, and then there are the beautiful little stories and ideas... oh... such goodness, such fun, such delicious memory plantations. Mike still likes the stuff?... but of course... And then imagine the deal you are getting here, the Jumbo, XXL, giants. They are so plump, they make so happy, they will give you vitamine B and they will boost your energy, will make you invincible, and bring your friends and family together, back to that great fire (the one you made, man!). Yeah... sizzle baby... there they are, the giant flames. Hot, hot, hot... and low on carbs and damn, this is clearly a great value... gobble up those proteins (add �99 for kosher)... Pure pleasures of a sweet and salty virtual reality... what is the percentage of reality left in these particular products and how much of the appetite is actually for the stories and memories that surround them?...
February 01, 2004

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February 01, 2004
good night, for now... It takes some time to recover from working very intensively on a larger project involving many teams. I hoped that this first free weekend I had this year, would somehow be enough for just that. I guess it was not. It has been quite a while since I had been able to write a longer something here and to write it with just pure joy and passion for the good, the better, the subtly glorious, hidden between the frames of this strange movie we call life. Or maybe it was just the perception that I was a focused observer? Maybe this here is an exercise in discovering the possibilities of a late acquired language? Hmm... one of the larger problems might be my recent inability to hold a thought long enough to create a complete arc of a good post. And so I end up poking with those thin word sticks at ideas which are here then there, then somewhere completely else. Does every reader notice how unclear things are?... should it matter? And what happened to the ability to wrap little messages into blankets of protective writing, wrapped into further blankets and layers upon layers of good old verbal protection? Where did this ability go? (And will it ever come back from that rather sulfury place?) I think I will just go to sleep early today. No more confused writing on this page. No more strange posting of disconnected semi-ideas... We will now need to recharge the batteries... Would not really want to become a sentence on some deep page, somewhere in one of Oliver Sacks' upcoming books... what was I trying to say?... oh, good night.

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February 01, 2004
In the name of... If everything were easy, and free, and at our fingertips; if there were a solution to every little "problem" ("issue"), and the solution came in the shape of a little pill; if there were no resistance, if there were no danger, no danger of failure even, if things came to us incredibly easily and in unlimited abundance; if we could not only cut all corners but actually have somebody cut all corners for us; if there were no need to weigh words in any way, because they were all weightless and free; if there were no breaks on our cars, and no bottoms to our credit limits; if we were allowed to just take over whatever, whenever, however, with ease, no resistance, if it were just all ours for the taking, ripe, sweet, easy to use... what would be left to do... and how many would die for it?