I was born in a place similar to this city. I have moved a couple of times during my studies. And still I’m somehow on the move. I don’t have my own family yet. But my family, I mean my parents, and the place where I come from, is a totally important part of my story.
I’m not a very religious person, but I always care about what is happening around me. Everything seems to be connected. Art is something I’m very interested in, but I’m not really sure I like political art.
In my life I don’t measure success with money – there are more important things… As I said before – I feel to be somehow on the move.
His eyes are very deep and they are black. He is a guy who is interested in spiritual things, but is not religious. He spends most of his time in India.
This is our generation.
The story reminds me of my boyfriend because he comes from a small town and he had a difficult childhood – that’s why where he comes from and his family is very important to him. That’s why the story reminded me of him. Another thing that reminded me of him is the thing with the person on the move. He has moved like five times in the past year and he feels like he doesn’t really have a spot where he belongs to yet, apart from his family. He’s like looking for the space which is his own and where he can say, this is my home.
The first person who I’m now thinking about is really into popular culture on the one hand – meaning that he absorbs films and music totally, he actually really “absorbs” it. There is a tiny misconnection between the story and the person’s life because he wasn’t actually born in a city similar to this, but he grew up in a city similar to this. He was actually born outside of Austria and then grew up in Vienna. He is one of the most caring persons I know: caring about his friends and his family. Although at the same time (well, this is not a contradiction or something) he is one of the funniest persons as well. So it’s a good combination I guess. Sometimes he tends to be a bit too much… how to say this… he likes the excess as well (in sense of alcohol and drugs a tiny bit). And though he would never say that he is political, and definitely not political as an artist, you can sense that since he cares about a lot of stuff, he actually thinks about a lot of stuff, which in my opinion at least r
It’s a text which mirrors a lot of people’s lives that I know. It’s maybe because I’m in a certain environment where those kinds of people circulate and that’s also why the text first of all reminds me of myself. I think that more or less everything that is in there fits me. It might be accidental but it’s also quite relative because it might quite fit some people and at the same time it fits for sure some people that I know. But it fits me in a sense that I come from the countryside, the meaning of where I come from is not important to where I am now. I am living in a city, I’m not born in the city, but the city is quite defining me now. I’m not very religious either, not to say that I am not religious, but I do care about what is happening around me in a sense that’s maybe also why I am interested in art – I’m interested in what is happening around me and art kind of reflects that. But I think all art reflects that, even bad art reflects that but then it’s not just good art. And I do not like political art because I think that all art is political even if it is absolutely not feeling political, even if it feels very formal, I mean, it’s a statement in itself.
There are just two phrases that really remind me of him: “Everything seems to be connected” and “I feel to be somehow on the move”. He is this depressed guy and he spent last week in my flat. I think this is somehow connected to me as well, this thinking about him through those two sentences as an impulse. How can I describe him physically? He is a rather tall blond guy, sporty, does cycling a lot. He used to be very positive, absolutely. He likes life, he loves women, he loves going out, he is a very outgoing person at the same time. And he had this depressed phase before, a couple years back. He came out of it and he spent his life in fun and frivolity. But ever since the last summer he had some bad experience with drugs and he has his depression now and he sees a connection in everything. Everything that he hears, that he reads, that he listens to is at the first instance connected to him in someway. But this is rather obscure. So on the platform that everything is connected to him, that’s his view. The second phrase: “To be on the move”, is something that comes up again and again when he is talking to me. Everything is changing with him and he doesn’t know where he is headed to and all these deep and big questions seem to really soak him up in a way out.
This person grew up in an open-minded family which gave the person the chance to go abroad to make her own experience which gives the person the feeling of being free and also bounds the person in a very deep connection to family. The family is so open (such as the surroundings and the friends when the person grew up) that political art is not the case because she is too open to have her own point of view. This means that she is not really a personality for me. She is not somebody who knows: what I am, what do I want to do, what is my point of view. It is a person who is looking for a place, she is searching, in search of identity, I guess.
not to share it
that which evokes awe
that which surpasses thinking
that which surpasses known feelings
that which goes beyond the boundaries of my limited universe
that which redefines the boundaries of my limited universe
that which gives me perspective
that which offers me a key to the past
that which intensifies the present
something beautiful, something strong, something provocative, something unsimple, something constant, something important, something personal, something supersensuous, something holy, something natural, something staggering, something immeasurable, something surprising, something present, something for all the senses, something above all senses, something severely intense, something irreplaceable, something unpronounceable, something
I don’t think that’s reality but another one of my unrealizable theses. I write that I’m waiting. I don’t know how to wait, I’ve completely lost patience. I don’t wait and I’m often rather indifferent, emotionless, I don’t dream particularly exceptional dreams. Once every few years, I die in my dream. I have yet to be born in a dream. Sometimes I dream in speech – I speak. I’m not familiar with fantastical dreams, at least not those Disney dancing hippo ones. I don’t remember dreams. They try my patience. The last time I flew in a dream was when I was a kid.
I’m afraid that I’ll leave nothing substantial behind. Hana always laughs at me whenever I start that it’s only 12 more years before I’m 40. No matter whom I’ve told, they laughed as well, then they added it up and stopped laughing. We veered the conversation in a different direction. We were watching a talk show with Dan Bárta in Oslo, towards the end he or the reporter says that Bárta is looking for the horse that he’s riding, Hana laughed and said that’s right up my street. I have the feeling that I will die soon. Not in a year or two, but that the time I have in my life is too short to do what I want to do. It sounds almost nice, almost literary, but that’s stupid – the more haste the less speed. That’s the whole – INCOMPLETE – problem, my restlessness, unease. I take out the earplugs and find out that the sound that’s been surrounding me this whole time is like the chirping in a tropical zoo pavilion. From the room opposite some Israeli sounds can be heard, Chinese from Xu Tan’s room, Indonesian from Hafiz’s. Last night I read the Wikipedia article on Indonesia. I was surprised that I had almost no notion of such a huge country. As a kid I loved the Larousse encyclopedia, I would look through it again and again, later I even read through it. I’d like to know what time it is. Still an hour and fifteen minutes left. Maybe I never knew more, this small encyclopedia – the English Wikipedia has more than 4,000,000 articles – in its time gave me more information about the world than I’m capable of absorbing these days. Sometimes I have the feeling that information is going to devour me. And to think I know less and less. An informational beast. I feed, shred, immediately forget, only remember the way to the source. I’m only capable of writing a text with the use of internet or a library. I don’t have to know, I don’t have to remember, ars combinatoria is all I need, ideally creative. That’s why I can’t talk to people about topics. I don’t remember facts. An informational beast. I don’t know anything about Indonesia. I met Hafiz. He smokes thick fat cigars with obscure inscriptions and unknown logos. In my eyes the whole of Indonesia smokes these cigars. I’m sitting here and my butt hurts already. One hour to go. Cmd + s. My butt hurts and I’m creating art. Holy shit. I’m eating cookies. Last week. Adaptation. I’ll adapt to this chair for a while longer, and I’ll have the ornament of this traditional Thonet chair imprinted upon my ass ‘til the end of days. I guess I’ll be pretty trendy because it resembles those ornaments girls used to get tattoos of above their butts a few years ago. In German, it’s derisively called Arschgeweih, but I like it. I like tattooed girls. It occurred to me that during this week-long event I could’ve collected all the trash I produced and put it on a pile in the middle of the irregular quadrangular room I’m sitting in. Involvement via the negative. The artist produces trash. Bullshit. I’m thirsty. Actually, after those 11 hours, I’m starting to have all the unpleasant body sensations. I can’t stand the earplugs anymore. I want to buy something. I feel it would be a reward. I didn’t use to have it like this. It started when as a kid I’d go to Germany to visit Rotraud. I always got some Marks as spending money and I could go buy something. As a totally young kid I sometimes received that big socialist paper ten crown bill from my grandpa. Once I even had a hundred crown bill. But back then it didn’t occur to me to buy something with it or at least I don’t remember anymore. Back then I had the feeling that I was awfully rich. If this is me creating art, it should mean something that I felt rich when I had that big paper socialist hundred crown bill. Did you feel rich with that hundred? I have a big paper hundred euro bill in my wallet right now and I don’t feel rich. But I want to buy something. What I want:
- a jacket
- a Christmas present for Hana
I should give my dad a call. He lives 4 hours from here and he’s got a kid on the way. I had a dream about it again last night. Well. I only remember those dreams that surprise me somehow. This surprised me. I’d like to be surprised some more, but I don’t want to force myself into it. Maybe the world is more interesting that way. I’m not surprised much, I only get mad sometimes. Who do I constantly show interest in myself? Is it that pile of me, around me, that I need to chew through like the porridge in The Magic Porridge Pot so I won’t have to be concerned with it anymore? If the village where it happened is the same as the city in Kafka’s “A Message From the Emperor”, then I’m screwed. I’ll never plough through that porridge, and even if I managed to and came up to the city gates, I’ll find out the city enclosed by another one, much larger than the first city and even if I ploughed through this city, from the distance you’d see my greasy face self-indulgently sinking its teeth into more and more layers of this never-ending porridge that a small child cooked up in a stupid fairytale. If I dared do it, that would be the end for me here. I go look at my watch again. It sounds as though someone were vacuuming nearby. 55 minutes to go.
It’s the third time in recent minutes that my eyes have wandered over from the screen to the constellation of the three brazil nuts I haven’t eaten and that are lying to the right of my computer. All three of them are bruised, the brown skin is partly intact, two are exposed more than midway all the way to the nut marrow. They have oblong, bulbous forms. The one that’s closest to me is pointing with its tip to the other two that are lying askew to the first one and are fitted tightly together. Both of them are bigger than the solitary one, both are pointing to my left rib. About 3 centimeters closer to me both earplugs are laid out. They aren’t those yellow cylinders, but two pink foam bells. The tip of one is overlapping the tip of the other. Even closer to me there is the cable from the monitor connected to the computer via a white adapter. The cable and adapter are relatively stiff and form an arc fastened from one side to the computer, from the other side leaning against the table edge. The electronic cigarette is placed under this arc with its tip facing away from me. The tip is black, its front part as well, and the small reservoir that connects the tip and the front part is made of clear plastic. There isn’t much left in there to be finished. To the left of the computer, there is a purple pencil, the thick kind that has the diameter of an obtuse-angled triangle. I can only see the tip of it because the rest is hidden by the monitor. My watch is placed right next to it. At this moment, it’s showing 11:14:26,
now, of course, not anymore.
From one side the black strap is folded under the watch, its other half is loosely laid out, creating a curve (to the right and left of the computer, I have a pretty symmetrical constellation) and the tip of the strap is brimming over the table edge. So I can’t see the end of it. Next to the watch under the computer cable with a glowing green dot at its end, there lies an A4 sized paper folded four times that has the writing: a letter to Jan, I was born + commentary on where I am deviation into fiction, elevator. There’s a pencil lying on top of it and beyond this divide on the paper there are the numbers 3.5, 13, 3.5, arrow, two dashes, 28/6 = 4, (the rest is covered), below that 2.8 = 10%, below that 5.6 = 20 % and the number 3.5 once more. In front of me I’ve got the keyboard and my hands are on it. The left one has a thin gold wedding ring on the ring finger, the right one has nothing except a well visible scar on the knuckle of the index finger. My fingers are moving as I type and this description took exactly 16 minutes. I need to go to the restroom.
It’s started to rain.
I feel lightheaded. It surprised me. If I kept sitting here, I wouldn’t have known it was raining. That’s the sound I hadn’t been able to identify. I’m sitting not far from the door to the gallery where the restroom is just opposite to it. The door to one of the bathrooms is open and the tall window in it is wide open. When I had walked to the gallery, it had been hot and the sky blue. I didn’t expect rain. What can you do with the form ‘didn’t expect’.
3rd p, sg, past, atelic aspect. You can keep not expecting forever according to the aspect. I can hear banging as someone is trying to close the window, but the repetitive attempts indicate that it wasn’t successful. Two people are coming this way, a boy and a girl. The boy ducked in to Xu Tan’s room, the girl into the room with me. The boy now came up to me as well. For a while, briefly, he observed me. He was standing like a soldier does when he gets ordered to “stand easy!”. It’s as if the rain instilled life into my surroundings. I even had the feeling due to the gleam in Hafiz’s room that there was lightning. Someone’s trying to close the window again. The voices coming from the videos are louder, especially Xu Tan’s voice is booming now not only through his room, but mine as well. I wouldn’t be able to transcribe a single word of it. The people in Hafiz’s video are talking faster than before. As if a talking crowd of Indonesians was approaching me and Xu Tan was giving them orders in the calm voice of a ruler. Someone tried to close the window again with such vehemence that I jumped in my chair. The sound of techno is coming from Ruti’s room that’s merging with the sound of a harp from Xu Tan’s. Someone closed the window in Ruti’s room, there’s no one there, it must be in the video. Someone’s shouting in there. I heard something that sounded like the crow of a rooster. Again the sound of a vacuum cleaner. The keyboard keys are also getting their word in. My back is getting stiff. I shift in my chair. Xu Tan provides commentary for it. Nobody’s here. Somebody knocked on Ruti’s door and asked something. Ruti is responding. About two hours ago, Anne was here and carried off the tiger head that was behind me. Someone’s coming here, a man’s gait, disappearing into the room opposite of Xu Tan’s. He’s walking away briskly. I look at my watch it’s half past eleven and five minutes. The sound of sirens can be heard from outside, it must have stopped somewhere nearby. Xu Tan is talking even louder than before and quiets down again. The window shutters slammed and Ruti is laughing affectedly and continues the discussion. Other voices can be heard from the hall behind the gallery along with singing or music that’s interlaced with clearly audible cymbal crashes. I’m observing the second hand; it’s moving. I’ve eaten all the food already. Cmd + S. I’m smoking and I imagine that these rooms are going to be empty again once everything disappears from here in 14 days’ time. There will be silence. The window banged again and while stretching I managed to tear off a little scab I have hidden under my hair that’s to the left of the crown of my head. I’m observing the papers of text on the wall to the left of me. Someone tried to close the window again. I’m not sure why there’s the number 44 on the doorframe opposite leading to Ruti’s room. It’s the remnant of some old system. 44 is a high enough number to expect some sort of smaller labyrinth. The window slammed again so loud I jumped. What was here before? 44, it doesn’t remind me of anything. 4 x 11 is a nice number. 44 that’s 8 in all. As a fachidiot I know that these are numbers one essentially needs to know for the interpretation of Jan Erik Vold’s labyrinths. After all, it was the disentangling of his texts that I escaped from for 10 days to Graz. Cmd + S. I don’t have the patience for this anymore. A window slammed. 16 minutes to go. I ran my hand across my forehead, it’s a bit sweaty. I have a feeling it stopped raining. But I can’t verify it. The window keeps slamming. Nobody’s trying to close it. The second hand is moving. I wonder what Hana’s doing? She dropped by twice to see me. Once she brought me pasta with meat. I bolted it down as soon as she left. Originally, Zbyněk and Vít invited me here to “write some texts or whatever”. If I did it the way I normally do, three or four short texts would have been the result. It wouldn’t be better that way. What will become of this, what purpose will it serve? I should have the confidence to assume that text says something different from what is written in it. I recall Rainer’s claim from the 90s that “even the shit of a poet is holy” or “art”. Sure, why not – except it should be flushed down afterwards.
10 minutes to go.
I might not write anything else. I i o i e a i e e.m ght n t wr tnyth ng ls . Esle gnihtyna etirw ton thgim I.
A man walked by and said, “Es gibt” and disappeared.
A woman came up to him, “Es gibt immer was.” And disappeared. About 3 more people appeared after her, but they said nothing. Someone’s started to traverse the hall to Xu Tan and Hafiz’s rooms from left to right. As if he were carrying things away.
The woman who had spoken, added,
A window slammed.
I have a feeling it’s still raining. Someone closed the door. The man carrying things away has returned. More people are coming and a sentence rings out, “Wir können jetzt gehen.”
Ondřej Buddeus — A me
Is part of Ondřej Buddeus‘s participation in the Adaptation.
“But the need to adapt, uncoordinatedly, individualistically, without any authority, leader and order, to changes we initiate ourselves. Adaptation signifies now (asynchronously) and here (various places) an affinity with Utopia, which remains a non-place. Adaptation to conditions of reality which the collective dialectic of individuals without leader and order themselves create.“
Babi Badalov, Hafiz, Lia Perjovschi, Loulou Chérinet, Ondřej Buddeus, Ruti Sela, Shady Elnoshokaty, Vít Havránek, Xu Tan, Zbyněk Baladrán.
Curatorial Consultant Visual Arts:
Translation: © Tereza Novická, 2013.
Graphic design: www.mutanta.com
We would like to thank all participants of the festival who took part in the project.
We would also like to thank
the following individuals:
Hana Buddeus, Věra Krejčová,
Published by Steirischer Herbst Festival
GMBH Graz 2012 in collaboration with
© Ondřej Buddeus, 2013
steirischer herbst festival gmbh
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Land Steiermark Kultur
Stadt Graz Kultur
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Programm Kultur 2007-2013 der
Legero / con-tempus.eu