blume (michael johann bauer)

im netz

vergangenheit wie kau-gum-
-mi-t-epi-lepsie
alles zieht sich zuckend
zum anfang zurueck:

schlafzimmer meiner eltern
hier grub acht=bein tabu
fieb’r’xtrem’taet
unb’rech’nbar
drang’n nacht=schreie laermend
bis ran an mein bett
mir war so schweisz=angst
bang zerkaut‘ ich ’s gehirn
& die anderen tuer’n
fuehrt’n kalt=bloesz mich nackt
tief’rer & tief’rer
tief’rer et cetera
in den harm=schwamm=
& schlamm=
=par’lyse=’rinth=wahn

bitte!
bitte hilfe!
das licht geht nicht an!

meine finger so klamm!
ganz gelaehmt lieg‘ ich da
& warte noch d’rauf
dass die spinne
mich frasz

2016_11_chimäre_von blume (michael johann bauer)

fährten folgen, auf begegnungen

manche starben und gaben/all das, was sie besaszen/und ihr handeln hinterliesz spuren/in des handelns spuren/doch dann kamen andere/und die anderen vergaszen/schon woher sie kamen/und ihre spuren mischten/sich unter die spuren anderer/denn als manche worte nahmen/wo ihre wurzeln lagen/hinterliesz ihr handeln/deutlich ihre spuren/und ihre spuren waren wurzeln/anderer gedanken/von anderen anders/wie anderswo/gedacht//

 

blume (michael johann bauer), *29.06.1979 in schrobenhausen; ich lebe in durlach/karlsruhe. habe forstwirtschaft in weihenstephan, freising, studiert und arbeite zurzeit sehr gluecklich in einem kindergarten mit waldpaedagogischem schwerpunkt. poesie, indes, ist mein leben, meine grosze liebe: dies zieht sich stringent durch meinen all=tag.
veroeffentlichungen 
in: novelle, syrinx, dichtungsring, phantastisch!, johnny, keine! delikatessen etc.
 dazu eine autorenausgabe des dosierten lebens mit meinen texten.

Jesse Bant

The Music Man in the Sky

There was a flautist jamming in the stars, and I used to sit watching, seated on air. He made me cry one day but I wasn’t really that sad. His tunes were just too good, they had me skating around upside down all over the icy place. Didn’t know which way was up, so it rained.

Well it was just too bad.

One day I was doing my thing in the rainy cold sky when I cast my binoculars to the shoulder of Orion. There were attack ships on fire, but where was the Music Man? I couldn’t hear anything, there was only silence and then you’re sobbing.

Who are you and what have you done with Jammin’ Sam? Why am I now crying too? That skull in your uplifted palm, who does that belong to? Ah, I have detached my self from myself again, it is only my humbly decaying corpse who intrudes upon my pleasure.

So is this the skull of that musician? Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.

No, it cannot be, for…

It be. How sad.

The stars are out in force tonight, they form a – a skull. So that is where you got to, you flutey fellow of infinite zest. Your body has been broken down into carbon, which has been then gravitationally sucked into a super-hot funky party. It seems that they have now exploded into a strangely sinister silhouette. That’s how you would have wanted it, Jammin’ Sam.

I best be off now. Intransient water-based beings like my good self haven’t any time for such trivial blowings-on of some jazzy musician.

I am crying.

Where did the music go? Your songs?

But up there, kicking it with the stars, I would listen all night. Now your skull smiles down on this ethereal dude. I don’t mean to be rude.

In my mind’s eye I still hear the tunes. Rhythm and blues. So take off your shoes and salute to the flautist who jammed, the soundtrack to the universe.

To that superheated constellation (who used to be Sam), which now grins fatally at those mere mortals who dare to jam.

To the mortals who dare to jam, salute.

To the end of time, play on, play it again, and don’t stop playing.

You may fall quiet (as Sam did), but others will play on.

For the past I weep, for the future I laugh. Aint it always the way. Till another day. To the flautists I say do continue to play. It is the price you will continue to pay, immortality for eternal musical appreciation, because I will remember.

I still remember the music man in the sky.

Ian C. Smith

Three Poems

Artifice

He photographs her on the Cobb at Lyme Regis,
a shadowy shot to be published in a journal
unimagined then like other scenarios
destiny stores between expectation and realisation.

They had read The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
Wave-smash sprays her op-shop cape
as if a film is being enacted in a surf-hiss of grief,
a heartsore woman staring seaward from the revetment.

Absorbed, they learn of a town, its yeomanry, transformed,
chaos caused by the adaptation of a romance.
Karel Reisz repeatedly directed a scene set in 1867,
sheep driven over muddied cobbles past this teashop.

They lean in, picturing soldiers in scarlet tunics,
the cinema dormant in destiny’s plot development.
His staged photograph forms part of memory’s mirage,
a film location he would revisit if possible.

For many seasons he travels only in his thoughts,
acknowledges novels are devices, artificial,
as John Fowles didactically reminded readers,
so too, films with towns disguised as the past.

Another book, about tramping England’s eroding coast
below Lyme’s fossilized cliffs, carries him sweetly back.
He recalls her cape, touch, dark green velvet,
wonders what became of it, of the characters they were.

Mme. Blanchard hits the roof

Summer, 1819, Napoleon grounded, but not human spirit.
Those basket cases, balloonists, hang in clouds.

Paris by night, a sight to die for.
To reach for the sky is the French tradition,
so, too, looking down on people.
She looks good in that Regency style,
diminutive, décolletage cinched above a high waist,
dressed to kill, you could say, or to be killed.
She is the queen of fireworks, pity about hydrogen.

In the Tivoli Gardens the bandstand rocks,
warm air above lit by her Bengal lights.
A magical rain showers the sky silver and gold
from parachute bombs she lights with a long taper,
thrills revellers whose murmur drifts up to her
floating inadvertently close to a sparkling heaven,
a suitable distance from her terror of crowds.

Riding her gondola, a skimpy thing like herself,
she sees her balloon ablaze, begins her descent,
feathered hat lost, a rushed farewell performance.
The house roof’s pitch steep, her rigging tangled,
fire almost out, burned, broken, she can’t hang on,
she who once remained aloft all night over Rome.
It’s me. Help! Sophie gasps, then the cobbles.

Not VCs, VD

They huddle sorry-arsed on the platform sharing Turf cigarettes,
faces above khaki greatcoats, demeanour, of older men,
any ideals of medals not what they imagined,
inventing tales, their ultimate destination vague,
a vanishing point joked about but yearned for.
They watched back yards passing by, recalled games,
kitbags in the rack, windows streaked, their gaze opaque,
no risk now of being blown up, yet their world askew.

Crown land, an exclusion zone, rude architecture,
kangaroos and copperheads patrolling the bluish bush,
army doctors’ blunt indifference unmitigated by nurses,
women soon to be only memories of mixed emotions;
porridge and penicillin, a muddle of menial tasks,
a caste quarantined from locals who believe propaganda;
troop movement, training exercises, returning heroes,
who remain ignorant of anything to do with this lot.

Look, there I am long after the war was over, a boy searching
for his lost dog he will never see again, walking
away from the murmur of his family’s regret, almost
stepping on a coiled snake under the cover of trees,
calling, whistling for things to be as they were.
He reaches the old army reserve where a breeze stirs,
nudges his cigarette smoke, a flap of cardboard on a shed,
sunlight on a soiled window as if trapped there long before.

 

Ian C Smith, P.O.Box 9262, Sale, 3950, Australia icsmithpoet@gmail.com

Marc Adrian

Hermann Hendrich
Zu den literarischen arbeiten von Marc Adrian

Wenn wir uns den literarischen arbeiten von Adrian zuwenden, vielleicht ein schmales, aber komplett veröffentlichtes werk mit zwei büchern, einer reihe von kurzen texten, einem theaterstück in kooperation mit anderen [1] und einer bestechenden übersetzung aus dem amerikanischen, sollten wir auch daran denken, wie die offizielle geschichte der literatur, freilich auch der modernen, immer von ihren eingeprägten oder eingebildeten gipfelhöhen ausgeht, und in den häufigsten fällen den ursprünglichen breiten und personenreichen kreativen sumpf partout nicht erkennen will. Freilich sollen die werke für sich sprechen, aber wenn es keine laudatores gibt, diese arbeiten einem breiteren lesepublikum vorzustellen, bleiben sie in den bibliotheken und auf den ikea brettern einiger interessierten intellektuellen stehen.

Eine neue generation von angehenden künstlern, schriftstellern, dichtern, musikern , komponisten, architekten der geburtsjahrgänge um 1930, auch verbunden mit jungen vertretern der sich aus dem rassismus befreienden wissenschaft der völkerkunde, versammelten sich mit beginn der fünfziger jahre in kleinen und größeren gruppierungen; eines der wichtigsten sammelbecken für diese frauen und männer  war der art club in der Wiener innenstadt, der so genannte strohkoffer. Geteilt wurde die ablehnung gegen die an den faschismus angepasste kunsthaltung, es gab informationen über die kunstentwicklung der 30er jahre, die vorher völlig unterdrückt worden waren, und manche künstler und schriftsteller, die quasi untergetaucht überlebten, Gütersloh sei als beispiel genannt, konnten ihre erfahrungen an die junge generation weitergeben. Marc mit seinen 20 jahren sog alles neue in sich auf, und konnte es auch so ordnen, dass es ihm in seinem letztendlich ungebrochenen gestaltungswillen zu diensten kam. Wie er insbesondere den losen kreis der – wie er schreibt – interessierten (Achleitner, Artmann, Bayer, Contreras, Ferra, Kölz, Jelinek, Potzelberger, Wobik, Rühm, Wiener) an den problemen der dichtung, musik und der bildenden künste darstellt, ist aus heutiger sicht von enormen interesse, haben sich doch die künste alle seitdem in ihre eigenen vier wände zurückgezogen. Für diese damalige zeit gibt es zeugnisse von Okopenko, Rühm, und zuletzt von Oswald Wiener, (Zur ausstellung „10 optische Gestaltungen“ im Jänner 1960 in der Galerie junger Generation am Börseplatz lasen Wiener, Rühm und Bayer, und Wiener legte ein blatt mit äusserst interessanten bemerkungen über dieses thema vor, das leider bei uns allen, die an den veranstaltungen teilnahmen, nicht mehr auffindbar ist.

Was hat man sich damals vorgenommen: das schreiben aus dem empfundenen, dem illusionismus, der einladung zum nachverfolgen des schicksals irgendeiner im text beschriebenen person herauszuführen, wie immer geartete andere prinzipien der anordnung von sätzen und wörtern anzunehmen. 1957 beendet Marc die ‚theorie des methodischen inventionismus’, der unter der beteiligung der in seinem atelier in der Oberen Donaustraße häufig anwesenden künstlerkollegen leider erst 1980 in der edition neue texte veröffentlicht werden konnte. Die mit hilfe dieser schreibtechnik geschaffenen texte der jahre von 53 bis 60 sind eben unter dem titel ‚inventionen’ ebendort erschienen. Dazu gehört allerdings auch die haltung sprachliches als material anzusehen, das nicht von augenblicklichen eingebungen gestaltet wird, sondern von einem kalkül.

Freilich hat die mathematische grundlage des „inventionismus“ sowie sein studium der wahrnehmungspsychologie an der UNI Wien neue möglichkeiten für seine bildnerische arbeit und den präzisen schnittprogrammen für seine filme mit sich gebracht.

Mit diesem rüstzeug ausgestattet, zu dem noch die kenntnis der cut-up und montage technik dazu gekommen war, erarbeitete Adrian zwischen 1966 und 69 eine anzahl von kürzeren texten, die in lesungen in verschiedenen galerien von ihm vorgetragen wurden. Leider fanden sie erst wesentlich später zu einer Veröffentlichung, sodass ihre wirkung auf die leseabende beschränkt blieb.

Auf grund aller dieser überlegungen und weiterführenden gedanken war Marc von den in der mitte der 60er jahre beginnenden möglichkeiten des computers fasziniert, auch in seinem filmischen werk hatte er sich damit auseinandergesetzt, nun gab die bekanntschaft mit einem programmierer am IBM und dem ähnlich gesinnten Gottfried Schlemmer die möglichkeit, völlig neue gestaltungen für ein theaterstück, das SYSPOT genannt wurde, auszuprobieren. Für die bühne wurde das stück nur in einer aufführung vom ersten Wiener Lesetheaters erarbeitet, aber in den protokollen 1970 abgedruckt.

Die intensive beschäftigung mit dem werk von Kenneth Patchen, insbesondere dessen meisterwerk Sleepers Awake, das Marc für den März Verlag übersetzte, verschafften ihm noch weiterreichende gestaltungsmöglichkeit. Patchen hatte ja nicht nur die visuelle und konkrete poesie vorausgenommen, sondern auch spezielle techniken der montage entwickelt, viele jahre vor Konrad Bayer. Als ergebnis dieser vielschichtigen anregung dürfen wir die wunschpumpe als die große montagearbeit betrachten, die 1991 erschien.

Wie ich in der vergangenheit einigemale ausführen durfte, hat Adrian in den von ihm meisterlich beherrschten künstlerischen disziplinen sein großes kreatives potenzial einbringen können, und seine neuen gestaltungsmethoden auch weitergeben können, in Cambridge, USA; Hamburg, Stuttgart. Zu erwähnen ist auch, dass er mit seiner aktivität in literarischen, insbesondere in der GAAV,  kreisen eine kleine gruppe von dichterInnen  der nächsten generation, unter ihnen Loidl oder Katt befreunden konnte, die sich mit seinen schreibmethoden intensiv auseinandergesetzt hatten.

Als abschluss oder auftrag an uns, die wir kreativ tätig sind:

„wir wirklichkeitsmacher“

wirklichkeit kommt vom wirken, das heißt vom machen.
schon diese herkunft deutet die machbarkeit des wirklichen an.

KONVENTIONEN

wo man hinschaut!
was man
sieht, hört, fühlt,
schmeckt man.
wie lernt man?

man sieht etwas bekanntes und
riecht dazu etwas unbekanntes.

p.e. faules fleisch (bekannt?)
in spiritus (innovation!). (*)

später lernt man dann schnaps trinken
und die grundregeln der bodenpflege
und kennt dann also den spiritus
in- und auswendig.

man hat ihn

GELERNT.

(kombinatorik macht klüger –
oder, jedenfalls, erfahrener.)

all das gelernte zusammen heißt

WIRKLICHKEIT.

natürlich gibt es dabei wichtiges und unwichtiges.
was wichtig ist weiß

DER STAAT

und seine beauftragten. denn sonst gäbe es ja
keine möglichkeit zur

KOMMUNIKATION

und das friedliche zusammenleben der menschen
wäre sehr schwierig.

was wichtig ist, lernt man in der schule

(wo es einem hübsch eingebläut wird, damit
man auch ja die

RICHTIGE WIRKLICHKEIT

innekriegt.)

aber natürlich sind da die lehrer
oft in peinlicher verlegenheit.

(wo sollen sie so viel wirklichkeit
herkriegen, wie sie zum lehren
brauchen?)

daher hat der staat uns,

DIE KÜNSTLER.

wir sind spezialisten für kombinatorik und machen
soviel wirklichkeit, wie gebraucht wird.

aber natürlich wissen wir künstler das nicht
so genau wie der staat und seine beauftragten.
und daher machen wir manchmal auch wirklichkeiten
die man nicht so gut brauchen kann.

(dann schlägt uns der staat züchtig aufs maul.)

DIE WIRKLICHKEITEN

legt der staat in die lade und kramt sie raus,
wenn er dafür eine verwendung hat.

dann bezahlt er die künstler,
wenn sie nicht schon tot sind.

wien, aug. 12/69
(marc adrian)


(*) anmerkung: in diesem konkreten fall handelt es sich um ein konserviertes blutiges menschenhirn im einmachglas in der vitrine der prosektur.

Bezogene Veröffentlichungen:

Adrian. M 1980, vorbemerkung (© 1957) in „marc adrian inventionen“, edition neue texte, Linz 1980

Hendrich H., 1993, ‚Der mehrdimensionale Künstler Marc Adrian’ in BLIMP Filmmagazin, No. 24, Graz 1993, S. 20-21.

Okopenko A. 2000 ‚Die schwierigen Anfänge österreichischer Progressivliteratur nach 1945’ in Andreas Okopenko, Gesammelte Aufsätze, Band 1, Ritter Literatur, Klagenfurt & Wien, 2000, S. 13-38

Rühm G., 1980. nachwort in „marc adrian inventionen“, edition neue texte, Linz 1980

Wiener O., 2015. ‚Anfänge’ in: „Konrad Bayer,: Texte, Bilder, Sounds. Paul Zsolnay Verlag Wien 2015, S. 278-286

Umfassende Information:

marc adrian: Katalog der Neuen Galerie Graz, Hrsg.: Anna Artaker, Peter Weibel. Ritter Verlag Klagenfurt 2007

Marc Adrian: Das filmische Werk, Hrsg.:  Otto Mörth.
Sonderzahl Verlag Wien 1998

aus: IDIOME, Hefte für Neue Prosa Nr. 10.
© 2016 Hermann J. Hendrich

[1] Liste der Publikationen von Marc Adrian

das mammut. ein lehrstück. edition werkstatt breitenbrunn, Breitenbrunn 1969 und in Neues Forum Heft 247/248, Juli/August 1974, s. 30-33 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

SYSPOT (mai – juli 1968)  Zus. mit G. Schlemmer & H. Wegscheider, in protokolle, ’70; Jugend & Volk, Wien 1970 S. 86-96 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

poémes inventionistes, zusammen mit moucle blackout. Siebdrucke Format 295 x 315 mm, Spiralbindung, Hamburg 1972

marc adrian inventionen. nachwort gerhard rühm. edition neue texte © Marc Adrian 1980, ISBN 3-9000292-13-2

Kenneth Patchen: Schläfer erwacht. Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt von Marc Adrian, Originalausgabe: Sleepers Awake 1946, © März Verlag GmbH 1983, ISBN 3-88880-038-2

4 Stücke für John Cage, in Ganganbuch 5, Jahrbuch für zeitgenössische Literatur, Graz/Wien 1988, S. 12-15, ISBN 3-900530-09-2

DIE WUNSCHPUMPE. Eine Wiener Montage. © Gangan Verlag Graz-Wien-Sydney 1991, ISBN 3-900530-18-1 www.gangan.com/buecher/Adrian_Marc.shtml

scenario für herrn h. in Neues Forum Nr. 452/454, Wien, Juli 1991, S. 57-63 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

bein ade! bade nie. in Linzer Notate Positionen, Blattwerk Linz/wien 1994, S.116-120 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

die maschinentexte (E-Book, online). montagen, textsynthesen, computer generierte texte, permutationen (1966-69), © Marc Adrian & gangan books australia (Raw Cut 1996) www.gangan.com/ebooks/adrian/index.shtml

die maschinentexte (iBooks, download). montagen, textsynthesen, computer generierte texte, permutationen (1966-69), © Marc Adrian & gangan books australia (iBooks 2013) ISBN 978-3-900530-25-9 https://itunes.apple.com/at/book/die-maschinentexte/id777136916?l=en&mt=11

KENNETH PATCHEN und die amerikanische nachkriegsgesellschaft
© 1994 in STRUKTUREN ERZÄHLEN – DIE MODERNE DER TEXTE, Hrsg. Herbert J. Wimmer, edition praesens, Wien 1996, ISBN 3-901126-35-X. S. 33-53 ***

gegen das vergessen, © 2000 Marc Adrian in: fern schwarz
versammlung struktureller texte 1960 bis 2000. Academic Publishers/Graz, 2000, ISBN 3-901519-08-4, S. I bis VII

kurzer versuch einer stelllungnahme zu drei texten von hermann hendrich
© 2005 Marc Adrian in Gesammelte Texte; zehn, bergsommer und andere in Werkauswahl. Edition die Donau hinunter, Wien 2005, ISBN 3-901233-31-8, S. 9 – 20

Veröffentlichungen in der Zeitschrift Freibord:
schotter der erinnerung
in Nr. 20, 1980, S. 64-68
kindsbraut in Nr. 21, 1980, S. 16-18
filmrealität und textrealität
in Nr. 52/52, 1986, S. 7-26
beschreibung einer anwesenheit (Auszug 1966) in Nr. 57, 1987, S. 39-40
die wunschpumpe (Auszug) in Nr. 76, 1991, S. 7-41
frie der… in Nr. 91, 1995, S. 18

Manuskript-Faksimile in „marc adrian, Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Neuen Galerie Graz 2007“ Ritter Verlag Klagenfurt 2007, ISBN 978-3-85415-412-9

Diverse Manuskripte im Literaturarchiv der Österr. Nationalbibliothek

National Young Writers Festival

Gerald Ganglbauer
Australia Publishing My Way

National Young Writers Festival


I used to be an independent book publisher for ten years and also a print magazine publisher, and even though I do print and web design for a living these days, I am still publishing literature on the Internet – purely out of love for the written word. In my early twenties I was Austria’s youngest publisher and most of the emerging writers I first published are established authors today. Back then I was always running on sheer determination and Arts Council grants, however, I never cashed dole cheques as I never received unemployment benefits in my life, and only once I had to sell my Yamaha XT 500 bike to pay a printer’s bill.

From the 1970s on many new small publishers emerged to become professional players in the book market. I was one of them from 1984 to 1994, and had gained a reputation for hard hitting avant-garde. I even founded and managed a writers’ street festival in Graz, a city very much like Newcastle, from 1982 to 1986. Some say, indies is the only place where contemporary literature belongs. On the other hand, there is not just the small press out there today. The ‘old’ publishers like Penguin are often taking very young new names on board. Therefore, if you don’t produce crap, it’s only a matter of time to find the right match (just as in your love life), as long as you have enough passion, talent and patience.

When I asked Kylie Purr, the festival manager, what the audience would expect from our panel, she reckoned it could be some practical information of how to self publish. Where to get ISBNs and such hands-on stuff. My alarm bells rang: in all these years I would have never published my own book in print. If your heart goes to publishing rather than writing, learn the trade or ask people like myself for help (just don’t think computers do it all for you), start with your mates’ work, and leave your own material better in the drawer. It’s OK if you read it at events you organised or write in a (maga)zine you edit, but just don’t do your own books, ever. It’s damaging to your career.

With few exceptions, self published books lack editing, professionalism, get nowhere in the media, as no reviewer takes them seriously and never make it onto the shelves and from there to the readers anyway. Leave that to the experts without embarrassing yourself. You can’t be dancing on two parties at once. Take the long road and start with submissions to lit mags, and read your stuff at as many gigs as you can get. Make friends with a published writer, and ask if he or she could recommend your work. Also, when you read the books you like, talk to the people who made them, as these are the ones who would eventually take you on board as the right publisher for your own material. No point in ringing every publishing house listed in the Yellow Pages.

However, if you write non-fiction, know exactly who and where your target audience is (bypassing bookshops with your own distribution), can afford to invest at least the equivalent of a new car, are a quick learner how to market and promote your ‘product’, and are prepared to cooperate with (and pay for) graphic designers, typesetters, pre-press houses, printers and book binders, go for it as you would start any other business. If all works out, you should have earned your royalties and made a profit. But that’s not my way (and supposedly not yours).

So far I talked about paper books, what about new media? Well, a real book is still a book in print. No-one will download an e-book onto his or her PDA to take it to the loo to read. Not many would bother reading a longer text stored on a CD-ROM on a computer screen. Well, not the general public (unless it’s non-fiction, where the search functions can come in very handy). There are, of course, works conceived for multimedia only, but I assume we talk about traditional texts here, where e-books are a great marketing tool. Instead of hundreds of pages of expensive and environmental unfriendly paper you just send one URL to a potential publisher.

Editors, literary agents, film producers and the like also search the Net for new material. And, yes, you get the occasional nerd who prefers a (free) e-book to a paper book he or she has to borrow and copy or buy. In my opinion e-books are an important step towards the real thing, but have your material edited (or stress it’s not edited) and presented in a user-friendly format. Again, it might be better to have your e-books published with an established site, rather than on your own homepage, for they already have the traffic you will take years too create. Copyright issues with the electronic media have finally been sorted out, so in this regard there’s nothing to worry about any more but getting the written word out there.

This paper was presented at the National Young Writers Festival
Newcastle City Hall, 7 October 2002

See also: Evading the jaws of giants. Independent publishing in Austria.

Consciousness States and Literary Creativity

Hermann J. Hendrich

It is for this reason (representing the true character of objects) that I hold the somewhat unusual view that artists are neurologists, studying the brain with techniques that are unique to them and reaching interesting but unspecified conclusions about the organization of the brain. Semir Zeki in ((3), p 80).

Fluidum

Already in the late forties of the last century Andreas Okopenko, an Austrian poet and writer, started to take notes about a certain consciousness state, which he experienced often. Later he began to call this state ‚Fluidum‘, „… At this enthused discourse at an age of 16 I called this phenomenon this reactive feeling upon a selected reality, FLUIDUM, I don’t know why.“ ((2), p 20/21) His first publication about his self observations appeared in an Austrian literary magazine in 1977 (1), much later a version with more examples and some comments by the author himself can be found in the two volumes of his selected writings (2).

Okopenko tried very hard to give us a good description of his ‚fluidum‘ as well as some definitions, a few of those I am presenting in an English translation.

„But the essential cannot be found in these encirclements, which do not sensually exceed thoughts or feelings, but something similar elementary or irreducible as the experience of the five senses.“ ((2), p 28)

„An important component of the fluidum is the affected one. The feeling of a fluidum comes most often as a shock.“ ((2), p 31)

„The fluidum is unique and mirrors subjectively the uniqueness of the moment. It hits like lightning. It is in the moment when it is perceived. During a fluidum the constituents of the moment are being felt as a whole and not as a collection of particular elements. The fluidum is an integral for experience within a time differential.“ ((2), p 53/54)

It should be noted that Okopenko by his heritage and upbringing has been a person from the eastern part of Europe (Moldavia) transferred to Vienna in his early teens and so has had a scholling experience with a number of different languages.

„The experience (of a fluidum) is functional: recognising (perceiving, reflecting), but also always dynamic: as seizure <Anwandlung>, enlightenment, lightning. The whole of the concept ‚fluidum‘ is an indivisible complex of objective content and excitement.“ ((2), p 27)

„The fluidum is not being exhausted in the optical realm on one side, and on the other side much conscious scanning does not lead to any fluidic experiences.“ (2), p 25)

„The fluidum is also one of the phenomena of pre-language thinking which is sometimes put into disgrace by the philosophers. (Thinking in pictures – not anything unclear! And not in icons! – clear perceiving of relations between seen or sensual imagined objects; before the words appear for them. …)“ ((2), p 29)

„The experience of a fluidum has similarities with spontaneous or provoked states of enlightenment or mystical intimacy, without a faith however at the fluidum.“ ((2), p 31)

„The clear sight in its meta-wordly aspect is the ‚direct experience‘3 … and one day the flash of the highest insight, the clear, happens, and with it the sight of the true reality.“ ((2), p 35)

In order to differentiate his fluidum experiences from the Eastern world view Okopenko mentions:

„In my fluidum experience I wander … over the limits of the subject, this tragic bearer of ‚the always opposite one‘ (Rainer Maria Rilke); until the confluence of the subject into the world of objects: into the midst within, at the suspension of contrast…“ ((2), p 38)

In 1963 Andreas states:

„You are recognising that everything you tried to say remains incommunicable. It can not be said with all the painstaking images of reality. It clings to the images but has its own nature.“

If these last two sentences give way to a feeling, which overcomes (I believe) many of us in the writing business sometimes, Okopenko certainly points to the problem of communicating consciously experienced phenomena. Especially states of consciousness apart from any mood may be very difficult to describe in a way accessible for the laywoman or the student.

Noting the additionally provided examples of Okopenko’s own poems or prose lines I suggest that his truthful self-observations fall into two categories, one characterised by this spontaneous enlightenment, and the other by a certain revelation, a heightened awareness, especially in the direction of aesthetic experience, but also of nature poetry.

I would like to add some other descriptions about fluidum by Okopenko. „Fluidum is an emotional state with existential resonance, or before an infinite horizon, basically it could happen always, even to catch up to a given narrow feeling.“ ((2) p 53)

„Maybe a great calm and a feeling of clarity comes over us.“ ((2) p 53)

„The Fluidum is singular and subjectively mirrors the singularity of the moment. It hits. It is complete in the very moment it is experienced. The elements of the moment are being felt as a unit and not as a cluster of individual pieces. The fluidum is an experience integral in a time differential. Despite the uniqueness of a fluidum all of one’s own fluidi are similar to each other, and one’s own and strange fluidi are also similar to each other, since each unique moment is similar to another one, and each psyche resembles another one. Artistic, fluidic communication: one zest for life alarms the other one.“ ((2) p 53/54)

The important thesis by Okopenko regarding poetry can be formulated as follows: The fluidic state of an author (poet) supports the development of new ways to write and to form poems. He cites a number of poets like Ezra Pound, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot, whose poetic works show an influence from the fluidic consciousness states. Especially the imagism from Pound seems to hold much in favour of Okopenko’s thesis. He believes very strongly that in writing poetry one tries to communicate ones own fluidic experiences. I believe an example of one of his poems from 1950 should somewhat clarify his intentions: a partial translation follows.

Now the various depths are being separated
Now you don’t eat in the best way cut up flowers
They do have their own scent, not a good one,
Now you eat bread from last year’s harvest or drill sharply
Into a tin can and cut around
The first slice of a canned piece.
As fast as possible you harness yourself before the rest of the country coaches
Breathe the yellow shaft
Pant the song in the yellow brown stubble field
From pursuing gray under the spread out gray
And then the sky rushes down.
You can only see a few steps ahead
The earth receives an adverse play explosions
Fountains of upwards pelting rain bundles
And sloping downwards, broken
And overlapping circles everywhere all the time.
Soaked man,
Man of the threethousand steps!

(From ‚Zu Herbstbeginn‘ (at the beginning of fall) in Okopenko 1980.

In my view: there is still a story, and the poem is full of surrealist influences, but when we take these away there is a rest, which may correspond to the fluidic experience: a certain hold in individual time, a widened consciousness state, which is able to observe simultaneously many different events on more than one sensual plan.

Let’s take a few lines by T.S. Eliot:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sence, a white light still and moving, Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allows but a little consciousness,
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

(T.S. Eliot 1963)

This part of a longer poem (Burnt Norton) really has the ‚fluidic‘ quality Okopenko tries to demonstrate in his essay. Despite some contents which lead us to later discussion in my paper.

Let me end with a poem in English by Samuel Beckett:

Da Tagte Es

redeem the surrogate goodbyes
the sheet astream in your hand
who have no more for the land
and the glass unmisted above your eyes

There is little to add. (Maybe no thing).
(Samuel Beckett 1961)

Synaesthesia

Some aspects in Okopenko’s description of his Fluidum lead to the discussion, if this consciousness state has some common elements with Fluidum. Usually synaesthetic experiences are defined as the production of mental sense impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense.

‚A Review of Current Knowledge‘ has been written by Richard E. Cytowic in PSYCHE, 2 (10), July 1995. In his ABSTRACT he summarises very clearly all aspects, which are interesting to neurology and art & consciousness.

Under 2.8 he writes „…The spatial location of objects is also strikingly remembered, such as the precise location of kitchen utensils, furniture arrangements and floor plan, books on shelves, or text blocks in a specific book…“

A descriptive passage from Andreas Okopenko ((2), p 23): „Suddenly – be it spontaneously or provoked, a watercock becomes of enormous importance to us, which has been indifferently looked at before. Or a room appears in a moving-perspective to us and becomes exciting for us. Particularly the alienation (‚Verfremdung‘) does much for a fluidic movement in the presence.“

„A whole landscape including the smallish human beings, little houses, vehicles, their perspectives, flowers, closenesses, distances, their weather, fragments of conversation, manifest values and no values, their tragedy, their humour, youth, age, water, heat, wind, single movements constantly everywhere, embedded in the nearest and the farthest surrounding, sucking in prehistory until world future, in addition superpositioning with my own small and large history, my appetite, clothe status, health status, working plan, with hopes, resentments, sexual life, this fitted into the world and this observing one self that all may become enchanting in the simultaneous experience (and not in remembering it).“

This poetic recall of a fluidic experience seems to me to be the only overlap between Okopenko’s concept and the general acceptance of synaesthetic ones. In this regard I would like to point to Cytowic’s paragraph 3. ‚History Of Synaesthesia‘ as well as to Braddock’s paragraph ‚Synaesthesia: A Case Study in Phenomenology through Vicarious Experience‘ in (5) and to the section ‚Artists, Poets and Synaesthesia‘ by Ramachandran and Hubbard in (6).

Besides the point, that Okopenko mentions a number of poets, whom he suspects of having had ‚fluidic‘ experiences, and whose names we find again in the articles mentioned above there is little evidence, that ‚fluidum‘ could be really listed within the synaesthetic experiences.

The discussion about synaesthesia lead to very interesting speculations, which should be noted by writers and literary reviewers, as „Second, we propose the existence of a kind of sensory to motor synaesthesia, which may have played a pivotal role in the evolution of language.“ (Ramachandran and Hubbard in ‚Synaesthesia – A Window into Perception, Thought and Language‘ in (6)). A similar view on the evolution of language is expressed by Harry van der Hulst in Hulst 1999.

Reviewing the above mentioned sources I am declined to think, that the ‚fluidum‘ of Okopenko has very little connections with anything being discussed within the realm of synaesthesia. There is one point which should be mentioned, however. The literature points to a fact, that synaesthets within the group of poets, writers and artists in the wider sense of the word are unproportionally existing compared with a more general group.

I am no synaesthet: music recalls emotions in my mind, but no colours, and paintings are just paintings for me. Understanding the main feelings of a synaesthet I still do find a phenomenological problem within this area.

Maybe the sentence by G. Braddock in his ‚Beyond Reflection in Naturalized Phenomenology‘ (5) on page 13: „In short, our phenomenological verdict about synaesthesia and its role in normal perception will be directed by all of the above information, and, in fact by any other information that might push our account of the phenomena in one direction or another.“ Serves well to my ideas at this time in writing that ‚account‘.

It may be interesting to note, that the German term ‚Doppelbegabung‘, intended to describe artists creating original works in at least two different art provinces, like poetry and music, or painting and theatrical propositions, may only try to group persons as synaesthetics together.

To own this heightened awareness in perception in form and intensity of sound, colour, bodily movement or rhapsodic prose may have been sometimes an advantage for the individual, leaving it to achieve a carrier as shamane, sorceress, cave painter, rock scratcher, and later into the roles of bards and clowns. It can be summed up by two sentences of Robert Allott:

„The process of art production as a biological reality presents problems for a number of aspects of evolutionary theory (e.g. fitness, altruism, gene determination of behaviour, gene selection) which may best be solved by defining or amending the theories rather than by ejecting the art process from the realm of biology. If the arts are correctly treated as biological in origin and in the process of artistic creation, the issue that matters, on the the analysis in the preceding section, is not the node of transmission of cultural pattern (via hypothetical memes, culturgens, etc.) but the origination of the cultural patterns, artistic or cultural ‚creation‘.“ (Allott 2002)

Freeze

(An associative description)

After a short while travelling in the tram during the onsetting twilight the view from my wide open eyes remains sharply focussed in the direction of the fast passing building walls with windows, entrances, shops, and in between lying billboards. The passengers are perceived as precisely outlined shapes throughout the field of vision, especially, if one moves. Familiar faces are resolved into strange features. (The way of viewing, the representation of the surrounding objects must have been widened.) The written signs on the shop portals are being perceived as such, but the meaning of the agglomeration of letters cannot be recognised.

The colours and shapes on each poster appear extremely clear, but cannot be combined together into a picture. Mirrorlike glass surfaces surrounded by dark brown frame wood, the phenomena themselves start to win significance, and those concepts which regulate the representation of objects are not involved.

In a way Jennifer Church gives us some explanation wen she writes in her article ‚Seeing A’s and the Double Bind of Consciousness‘ (4) on page 99: „Central to aesthetic experience, but also to experience in general, is the phenomenon of ’seeing as‘. We see a painting as a landscape, we hear sequence of sounds as a melody, we see a wooden contraption as a boat, and we hear a comment as an insult.“

Back to my ‚inside‘ report:

No effort can be felt by keeping the look forward even throughout many minutes. After these minutes the visual attention widens itself over the total field of view, no difference between foreground and background can be made anymore, the movement of single elements against each other, the shifts and overpositions can be observed, without moving the direction of the view, all things happening simultaneously. During this time acoustic phenomena can be perceived as well, and in contrast to the visual experience the meaning of utterances, even when more then one persons speaks at the same time, can be understood.

Thinking in a certain respect has actually ceased, since stimuli or analogue chains are no more followed at all. The capacity of conscious perception is just large enough to accept the immensely large abundance of visual and auditory details. The progressive loss of significance leads one to indulge in a strong feeling of strangeness. The normal atmosphere of feelings and emotions vanishes. The self is no longer included in the reality around it.

Another citation from Church’s above mentioned article, page 103, following Kant’s insight: „although seeing seems to be a twoplace relation between the seer and the seen, and thinking appears to be a twoplace relation between the thinker, the object of thought, and what is thought about that object, conscious thinking also requires one to merge an object with the way it is presented. “ And later on page 105: „This is not to say, that all thinking must be accompanied by images; sometimes thinking amounts to little more than the syntactical manipulation of symbols.“

Without being able to compare my ‚freeze‘ experience with those of others I can only speculate, that there are certain ways to loosen the ‚double binding‘ in consciousness space.

Since introspection does not give me any hints, how I really manage to click on freeze, I must leave this consciousness state to further investigations.

It seems also, that Eastern meditative practices lead to a similar state.

Zazen, Zen

‚zen‘ is a translation of the Indian Sanskrit word for meditation. Meditation has been passed down as one of the three facets of Buddhist practice (i.e. morality, meditation and wisdom). It is the most essential of the practices taught by Sakyamuni Buddha who himself attained supreme enlightenment by single-mindedly penetrating zazen.

In his Fukan Zazengi (The Universal Promotion of the principles of Zazen). Dögen says, that the crux of zazen is „non-thinking; that is the essential of zazen.“ This non-thinking is impossible to explain. If it could be explained, then it would not be non-thinking. Non-thinking is just non-thinking and there is no other way for you to experience for yourself in zazen.

You can’t understand with your brain. If you practice zazen, on the other hand, you can experience satori unconsciously. The posture of zazen itself is satori. Satori is the return to the normal, original condition. It is the consciousness of the new-born baby. Unlike what many people think, satori is not some special state, but simply a return to the original condition. Through the practice of Zazen one becomes peacefully. Through one’s body one can discover the consciousness of satori. So posture is very important. You can’t discover satori with your head in your hands like Rodin’s thinker. That is why people in the East respect the posture of the Buddha. It is the highest posture of the human body. Chimpanzees and babies cannot experience satori. Babies are in their original condition, but then karma obscures it, and we must regain that condition. Chimpanzees don’t nee to; they are always in their original condition. Only human beings have lost it and become complicated and so they must regain it.

Zazen clears up the human being mind immediately and lets him dwell in his true essence. Zazen transcends both the unenlightened and the sage, rises above the dualism of delusion and enlightenment. Through zazen we break free from all things, forsake myriad relations, do nothing and stop the working of the six sense organs.

Awareness is the ontological ground of phenomenal appearance, which only have reality as manifestations of Nature.

From these diverse statements (Maybe one wants to look up ‚Lecture on Zen‘ by Alan Watts) it seems plausible, to compare ‚freeze‘ with Zen When we lose the name of an object do we lose the object too? Patches of colour, sounds without meaning remain.

Andreas Okopenko writes about ‚direktes Erkennen‘ and Satori and believes, that Haiku or Zenrin are very close to a fluidic kind of poetry.

Conclusion

Literary creativity is a wide area, where new imagery, new forms for poetry or prose or new philosophical thoughts or recombinations are tried out and performed. Throughout our writing history stimulations have been sought by poets and writers in general to wake up creativity. Heavy smoking seems to be the one most often used ancillary, but alcoholic fluids from beer to whisky served some as well. In the modern literary history the use of many kinds of substances with mind expanding or mind changing abilities have been in use.

So it lies near that specific consciousness states, reached without the intake of any chemical substance at all, could serve this purpose as well.

From the various descriptions of poets, especially in ‚Fluidum‘ by Andreas Okopenko, one receives the impression, however, that the fluidum or synaesthetic experiences serve indirect means for literary creativity. It is the impact of these experiences which the poet tries to describe or bring into a communicable form, using language. Okopenko points to the theory of writing zenrin and haiku.

The role of ‚fluidum‘ may be described by using some words of explanation, Okopenko has written (2) about a request, to explain one of his own poems:

Strange Night

Blue cold wind of May
Gasdischarged from moon brown clouds,
Bushy tree tops driving
Avenue chestnuts wood
No rain will arrive until now

Seltsame Nacht

Blaukalter Maiwind
aus mondbraunen Wolken gasend,
Buschende Baumspitzen treibende
Allee Kastanien Wald
Es will bis jetzt nicht Regen einlangen

(partial presentation)

„Fluidum is a feeling with existential resonance, in front of a unending horizon, basically always possible, to be catched up with a given narrow emotion……About a great silence and a feeling of clarity overcomes us.“

It seems to me, that writing in this sense means reliving those episodes of unusual consciousness states. Okopenko has, however, scanned modern literature for remains and suggestions about fluidic experiences, brought forward in writing. For details see (2).

Synaesthetic experiences lead to somewhat different examples, many of those cited in the mentioned literature. A large number of poets used metaphors including colour references, as well as painters like Wassilij Kandinsky (The yellow sound) worked from the synaesthetic experience of music and colour. We can state that synaesthetic poets and writers have an internal source for creativity in their poetic work.

‚Freeze‘ and Zen – may I combine my intentions here? – can also not be used for writing while you are in a freeze or enlightened. Remembering those consciousness states, however, should spur the strife of writing. Using my freeze experiences I tried to get into what I repeatedly described as an ‚hot point‘ within myself, finding there the opening lines of some of my emotional moving poems. Let me end with one of it:

Heart Your Shaking
As by asked for I had
Only one hand – gratified touch
Ask never what aggravated me
Entrusted to clarity


Literature

(1) protokolle No 2 (1977), Wien, Jugend und Volk
(2) Okopenko, Andreas 2000/2001, Gesammelte Aufsätze Vol I & II, Klagenfurt, Ritter
(3) JCS Vol 6 (1999) June/July
(4) JCS Vol 7 No 8-9 (2000)
(5) JCS Vol 8 No 11 (2001)
(6) JCS Vol 8 No 12 (2001)

References

Allott, Robert 2002, homepage
Artaud, Antonin 1965 Antonin Artaud Anthology San Francisco, City Lights Books
Beckett, Samuel 1961 Poems in English New York, Grove Press
Blackmore, Susan 1999 The Meme Machine Oxford, Oxford University Press
Cytowic, Richard E. 1995 Synesthesia: Phenomenology and Neuropsychology PSYCHE, 2(10), July 1995
Dennett, Daniel C. 1996 Kinds of Minds New York, BasicBooks
Eliot, T.S. 1963 Collected Poems 1909-1962 London, Faber & Faber
Greenfield, Susan A. 1995 Journey to the Centers of the Mind New York, W.H.Freeman &Company
Gregory Peter N. 1985 Tsung-Mi and the single word ‚awareness‘ (chih) in Philosophy East and West Vol 35 No 3 July
Hendrich, Hermann J. 1999 in der strassenbahn – über nichtlineare bewusstseinszustände Electronic Journal Literatur Primär, Wien 1999
Hobson, Allan J, 1999 Consciousness New York, W.H.Freeman and Company
Hulst, Harry van der 1999 So How did Language Emerge? Second fall Lecture Skidmore College
Joyce, James 1927 Pomes Penyeach Paris, Shakespeare & Co
Kandinsky, Wassily 1912 Über Bühnenkomposition in Der Blaue Reiter München, R. Piper & CO
Kandinsky, Wassily 1912 Der Gelbe Klang in Der Blaue Reiter (as above)
Kerouac, Jack 1961 Book of Dreams San Francisco, City Lights Books
Kerouac, Jack 1958 The Dharma Bums Penguin Books
Metzinger, Thomas 1995 ed. Conscious Experience Thorverton, Schöningh/Imprint Academic
Miller, Matt 2002 Jack Kerouac and the Satori Highway in Literary Traveler
Okopenko, Andreas 1980 Gesammelte Lyrik Wien, Jugend und Volk
Pinker, Steven 1997 How the Mind Works New York, W.W.Norton & Company
Pound, Ezra 1949 The Pisan Cantos London, Faber & Faber
Pound, Ezra 1934 ABC of Reading New York, New Directions
Priessnitz, Reinhard 1978 vierundvierzig gedichte Linz, edition neue texte
Scott, Alwyn 1995 Stairway to the Mind New York, Springer-Verlag
Wiener, Oswald 2000 Materialien zu meinem Buch VORSTELLUNGEN Ausschnitt 05, TU Wien, Wien 2000
Wilson, Edward O. 1998 Consilience New York, Alfred A. Knopf

Gerald Ganglbauer – Carnivale Literary Festival

Mabel Lee (Wild Peony) chaired a panel of publishers at the
Carnivale Literary Festival in the New South Wales Writers’ Centre
with Raghid Nahhas (Kalimat), Ivor Indyk (HEAT),
Veronica Sumegi (Brandl & Schlesinger),
and myself, asking the question:

Multicultural Publishing –
How hard is it to do in Australia?


Here is the short answer: it’s bloody pointless, mate.
However, I’ll try a longer one as well. But let us ask at first: what actually is multicultural publishing supposed to be? Is it simply multilingual publishing or publishing in a language other than English or just any communication of an ethnic minority?

I honestly don’t know, as I don’t even believe that true multiculturalism per se exists. When I arrived in Australia in the late eighties I already was publishing contemporary literature for a decade or so in the German language. Publishing literature as such is hard enough. Let alone in a foreign language. Besides, it is absolutely pointless to do so for there is no market. The few German language books asked for in Australia are more easily ordered and shipped from Austria, Germany or Switzerland. The books of Australian authors I published in the German language or in bilingual editions where targeted for the European market. The hundred or so copies sold in local foreign language bookshops certainly do not justify a commercial publishing house.

So why do we discuss multicultural publishing, if it does not exist? Stretching the topic a little more I even doubt multiculturalism. If it describes a melting pot of nations and cultures like in the American society, it is not multiculturalism. If it describes the coexistence of cultures next to each other without much interference, as it is the Australian reality, it is not multiculturalism. What’s the point of living in Bondi Junction as a Jewish Australian, in Leichhardt as an Italian Australian, in Lakemba as an Arabic Australian, in Surry Hills as a Greek Australian or in Cabramatta as an Asian Australian? The list can easily be extended. What’s the point in sending the kids to ethnic schools, effectively separating them from the Australian culture? Do we want to become a conglomerate of little foreign colonies?

The people of this great country come from many places in the world and arrive for many reasons. And there lies some of the problematic issues. One can live here forever without the feeling to belong. True multiculturalism should be expressed in an oath that we all speak English, feel comfortable in T-shirts and thongs and call our next door neighbour mate, regardless of his or her colour of skin or whatever. This, as we have seen, does not work. For example, I have friends of Lebanese background, for they are Lebanese Australians. Not Lebanese who rather live in a Muslim country anyway. I have gone out with Hungarian, French, Greek, Colombian, and Portuguese Australians and our common tongue was always English; however, I have also met an East Timorese Australian who managed to live in Sydney for twenty-five years without learning a single word of English. That’s not what I call multiculturalism. Her having access to media in the Portuguese language and the support of the refugee community was even contributing to this non-integration.

So, is multicultural publishing the wrong instrument for a better multicultural society? (Or a ‘cosmopolitan’, as Ivor Indyk prefers to call it, and I agree.) Yes, we do not need an Austrian Club in Sydney for Austrians. I have not been there in twelve years and I’m proud of it. If there is one, it should be for Australians. We do not need Arabic schools for Muslim kids. If there is one, it should be for Australians. We do not need German language newspapers or community radio. If there are any published or broadcasted by Germans, they should be in the English language. We do need SBS TV and radios programs, foreign film festivals and language bookshops — and we certainly appreciate the international cuisine in the many restaurants; however, we do not need multicultural publishing.

Oops, now I have made some enemies, for it is not politically correct to condemn multiculturalism. Thank God I’m not of Anglo Saxon background – being a wog boy myself, I can openly take a stand in this sensible issue. But now that this is established I might as well take it further: I would stop funding multicultural projects, ethnic newspapers, and private schools. Take all these saved millions and give it back to the people. Spend it on Aboriginal reconciliation. On education for all these wog boys like me so we all speak and write better English. On publishing houses that do foreign literatures in translation. On bilingual websites. On so much more, that fosters one Australian people shaped from a great many culture, and one understanding.

This paper was presented at the NSW Writers’ Centre
Rozelle, 20 October 2001

CANT: ersA/Tz/eiN/z

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Manuskript : EIN/Z


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©

1 9 9 7

BY ANSWER CANT

(1.auszug eines nicht fragment gebliebenen textes)


DIE TAGE / DER ABWURF & SCHNEE


 DIE TAGE / DER ABWURF & SCHNEE

 

GERADE

GERADE

in / mitten der sammlung aus

stein.

voll / führt ihre anwesenheit den / 1. /

schritt.

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©

1 9 9 7

BY ANSWER CANT

(1.auszug eines nicht fragment gebliebenen textes)


KAIN /AUSGANG /


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der zuerst genannte weis/wenig wenn:

das licht erloschen war. ja/jetzt.1JMD.

1 JMD.war 1 JMD. hinter glas.

...es werden beide sprechen &

der berührung 1 fell erheben...

über & über... feder an feder...

den stab im boden...der stein... 1 nach oben gerichtet...haut wie auch immer...

haar in reichweite der hand... damit es geflochten werden kann.

ruhig & langsam. es = in der stimme.

über der stirn. 1 halt 1 griff.

licht & schatten erloschen. am zufallsraum. ja/jetzt.

1 gelenk wartet & bedeckt unter fahnenstoff

den aus/schnitt der 1 aufprall werden wird.&

1 fall bezogen auf eine hand. hand ohne ausgang der hand. hand unter gesten am glas.

ER war seiner spuren sicher. ER war massiv

mit dieser stimme.an den rand getreten.

ja/jetzt.

führt der schritt einer flucht... an den hügel... 1 hügel der stadt.stadt werdende gewissheit...

1 dehors...

an wiederstandskraft sagt jmd.

& der hügel lag im kalmen.je 1 baum bestand aufrecht.noch/

immer.

der wall 1 graben... vorab bestimmt

& matt in sein schattendunkel.fallen.gelassen.

der spalt oblag der tür.&. davon abweichend...

das oval einer wunde.rund/gesprochen.

ER wird den schnitt aufbewahren.

anabatisch sagt man

& schluß.

der JMD.auf der anderen seite war 1 JMD.

der erwacht.

©

1 9 9 7

BY ANSWER CANT

(1.auszug eines nicht fragment gebliebenen textes)


NO / OK / 1 / GERUCHSMOTIV/


 die frau des / einen...der breite grad des / anderen...

...endscheident ist was nicht mehr statt/findet.

 

jetzt sagen wir wie es sein sollte ...

(weil es da/hingeht)...

NO.sei der stimme nach 1fell.1 wahrendes fell...

0 °° = mitternacht.

NO.steigt auf...mit den dingen...1 fleisch

1 faden...

1 über/

der linie...im schnee...1 NO berührt diese stadt.

M = stadt unter dem zugluftatem.der stadt.

M = silberbeschlagen.1 vehnen wechsel.1 blut/stau. das blut in seiner tragkraft.

eng abgeschritten.damit.

&

er/kennt seinen schatten übergenau am schalen/ende

der haut.er wird er/reichbar bleiben.

1 vorspringen.

...1 endgegen kommen.blau sei blau.am ende.

&

M.sagen wir wie es sein sollte.

es werden beide sprechen

1 halt 1 griff & jmd.ist inmitten der schalen/haut wahr/zu/

nehmen.

1 zu/ende geführter strich...

1 ende jener wasserlinie...

am graben der aufgefüllt wurde...graben/ende ohne... land/1NO...(weil es da/hin geht)...

&

M = 1 schiffsrumpfversprechen.

1 antworte/nicht. ja antworte/

nicht...ohne halt.dieser ort betäubt.

das anwesen...tag & nacht...

jmd.ebnet den raum für eine andere stimme...

& nichts als schatten... schatten ...

der seine reihenfolge beibehalten kann.

er/füllt das verlangen.sichtbar.

er/zeigt die straße

von seinem haupt/punkt aus.das sei das ende

der stadt.

/ es war als wollte er jede betrachtung

strich um strich nach vollziehen...

1 achtlos 1 neigen im dafür halten

der

jeweiligen hand.hand = last & spiel

im schritt erkennbar.

...hin an 1 feld wird SIE sagen...rot werden...

den geruchvorfinden...

NO...sagen...sagenhaft...in den spitzen...

&

...rot werden dem die langsamen blühten entsprechen...

& all/das ereignisarm.am haus.dem stock/werk ... der straße...

es waren mit einem mal beide zimmer reich/haltiger ver/

fangen.1 seil...die schwelle...

die öffnung...das fenster...

narbe an narbe anders beansprucht.damit.

1 weiteres rot

1/tragen...

1/tragen in den schnee...schnee = sam blau

erzeugt & frisch von fleisch zu fleisch

1 genohmen.damit.

dem türenschlagen folgt wandabklopfen.

der raum war

1 wieder belebter schacht.

er/füllbar in der spur...

der 1.schritt tastend bemessen.

fern/ab.getrennt.das wagnis...

1 ort in der wüste.wüstebeschaffenheit & reglos.werden

am sand/drehen.ohne sand.am ende.

am ende der stadt.

...

der raum wandert nicht.der atemweg beherbergt

den schatten.

schatten = schefel.verschwendung = schlaf.

SIE war der am morgen geschlossene pakt.1 TAKYR

der nicht vorüber geht.

...

gehen.wandern.

...

...schlage dein haar auf an den wänden...

sage 1 jmd.war

... wand fuß wurzel...wird SIE sagen...

& der schritt taktil.am schatten land1wärtz.geh/wendet.

der raum war eng.

sein gegen/über 1 spiegel.1 reflex

wenn es sein sollte...

unendwegt blank & 1 rückfall im gelb...

im stau...

jmd.sagt : zimmer/

sommer & ICH BIN ALLE TAGE & NÄCHTE...damit.

in kontur & erkläre jetzt :

dem NO der stadt...den fluß...

1 hügel an halbrund bedeckter stirn.schädelwärtz gelegen.zaumzeug & ort zugleich.

in der stimme.stimme/

unbekannt.erschöpft in seiner luftlinie.

am drahtseil. nicht wieder zuverwenden.wirr.alt.essbar.

wenn es sein sollte endet der knauf

mit dem messer

im

boden.

ja/nicht/nein/sagen : wenn das land vorüber geht.

 

© 1 9 9 7

BY ANSWER CANT

(1.auszug eines nicht fragment gebliebenen textes)


er/bitte : informationen &

©ANTWORT


 

 CANT/ 


TEXT&DESIGN

Woody Dykott: For Oz with love

Limericks

A woman named Canberra Sue
kept an opal inside of her shoe
she raised wombats for sale
that she’d ship out by mail
and she played a mean didgeridoo

A miner named Platypus Bill
had a cabin outside of Magill
in the town it was told
he was two hundred years old
and they say that he lives out there still

A woman named Eleanor Tidney
had a fondness for meatpies with kidney
she was raised out in Perth
‚twas the town of her birth
but she always was partial to Sydney

O’er in Geelong ol‘ Fanny Lou Mae
had a boat in the back of backbay
she had quite a large hoard
of young ladies on board
they were open for business all day

I woke up with Ayers Rock Fran
in the back of her customised van…
… enough, enough, enough already!

Sylvia Petter: The Last Birthday

Under the rigid gaze of the giant bronze head mounted on its granite block, workers crissed their morning trails like ants across the square.
Samantha Freeman alighted from the red and yellow tram that brought her from her rented rooms on the outskirts of the city and fell in step with them towards the Straße der Nationen. It was 7h15 on a bright day in August, her first at Transinter, the State Translation Office. As she passed the block of granite, she winked up at the bearded face cast in bronze. Karl Marx did not wink back.
She pushed open the heavy glass door of number 32. Making her way towards the large oak desk at the far end of the grey marbled foyer, she swore under her breath that she would have to stick cork tips on to her clicking heels. She heard her heart tap against her ribcage as if echoing off the marble columns in the icy quiet. They certainly knew how to put you in place; the desk seemed to stretch away the closer she got.
„Samantha!“
She stopped. She looked to the stairway coiling with its wrought-iron banister down behind the left-hand side of the massive desk. A lanky man in his early thirties came down, his jeans-clad legs taking the steps two at a time. Peter Held, the driving force behind her internship with Transinter, moved towards her, arms wide in greeting.
„Samantha. It’s good to see you.“ He brushed his cheek against hers, once left then right, kissing the air in the customary greeting of their Geneva days. „You found your way all right?“
„Yes, just followed the flow,“ she grinned and ran a hand through her dark blonde bob as she moved out of his arms. „It’s good to see you, too, Peter. Well, here goes. My first day on the job.“
Peter ushered her past the figure seated behind the desk. Samantha noticed the soft and ruddy cheeks, but could not tell whether the uniform clothed a young man or woman. Indeed she wondered whether the figure was real as it had not moved since she had entered. They mounted the stairs. Samantha was awed by the wide corridors and long hallways on the first floor.
„So much space, Peter. It’s marvellous,“ she said.
„Don’t speak too soon,“ he said, a smile sleeting across his lips as he opened the third door on the right-hand side.
„Welcome to Transinter.“
Samantha stood in the doorway and stared. She felt her ankles dragging downward in disbelief. Where the hall and foyer had been wide and empty, cooled in marble on floors and ceiling, the office before her was an elongated cubby hole in contrast. Five wooden desks were lined up perpendicular along one grey wall. They were the sort of desks that could fetch an interesting price as a 1930’s „antique“ at the Geneva flea market – that is if someone took the trouble to do a strip and varnish job on them. Two double-paned windows opened on to the square; Samantha knew she would have to stand on top of the desk to see the blighting trails of workers below.
„Remember when I used to sleep on that little desk in the attic, Peter?“
„Old Herr Schwarz always saved the three-liners for you. But he never could bring himself to wake you. And then we’d get landed with them.“
„You make it sound as if it was my fault I had nothing to do,“ Samantha pouted.
„Well, you won’t have that here,“ Peter said.
There was just enough room to pass down a corridor between the desks and a length of dark-grey metal bookshelves masking the lighter grey of the opposite wall. The floorboards creaked with every step as if to punctuate the sighs she dared not heave.
„I warned you it would not be luxury,“ Peter said. „But you will have work. That’s what you wanted, didn’t you?“ he grinned.
Yes, that was what she had wanted. To work, to learn, to use those years of study and not lose them to the whims of strings pulled by fingers she did not know. She shook her head as if to shake out any wisps of disappointment. She would manage, she thought. Anyway, once into the work, she wouldn’t notice the dreary office. She could even add some cheerful touches to her workspace, the third desk, firmly flanked on either side.

And so she settled in to the team of five. Only three were ever around at a time, with two being on interpreting assignments. The three were Peter, Gudrun, a recent graduate who had moved over from Leipzig, and Samantha, the only foreigner, the only English mother tongue. At Transinter, one did everything – interpreting, translating, typing, filing. That part of it Samantha liked, there were no elite. Or so she thought.
On her way across the square one Monday morning in late August, she noticed three men huddled together. She assumed that each one would soon be on his way. But the threesome remained, like reeds, their feet planted firmly, their bodies swaying to the whisper of their conversation. The following day, they were there again. The next day there were two groups of three, then foursomes, groups of five. The following week she was surprised to see solitary tourists, cameras slung around their necks or held to shoot the local colour – or lack thereof.
It was late for tourists. Summer was almost over and apart from Karl Marx himself and the Red Tower, the city’s oldest building with its burnt red brick guarding the other end of the square, there was nothing much to interest tourists. But they kept snapping their shots of the huddlers that kept assembling every day of the week until there were about forty or fifty people in groups of threes and fours.
One morning as she crossed the square on her way to work, one of the tourists spun around to face her with his lens aimed straight. The shutter clicked and in that moment Samantha felt what an aborigine must have felt when the white man tried to steal his soul. She shuddered as the tourist turned away, her identity his booty.
Then one day, they all were gone. Just like that. And the square again belonged to the workaday insect traffic. Samantha almost forgot about the groups until they suddenly reappeared in twos and threes in the first week of September to disappear again one week later as suddenly as they had assembled. But that time, no tourists clicking shutters.
Indian summer, a perfect time for getting things ready and having a party. And the city was preparing for an important celebration. Scaffolding was mounted to hold birthday flags and banners, flower pots to hold late bloomers, chrysanthemums, those large flowers, the favourites of European cemeteries. It was going to be a big event like every 40th birthday always is.

Forty years. Someone had once said that the years before forty were just a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Guests had come from Bulgaria, France, Poland, the Soviet Union, Italy and Britain. Seated at the festive tables on the second floor of the town hall building in a patchwork of internationalism, they had come from distant twinned towns to Karl-Marx-Stadt to celebrate the 7 October 1989, the 40th birthday of the GDR.

Samantha whispered translations of welcome speeches and acknowledgements to the assembled party guests. She sat at the long damask-covered table between leaning ears and mouths, separated by tongues that forked in their beliefs. Instead of „Happy Birthday“, a string quartet played Händel’s „Feuerwerksmusik“. It was a sign of the new „rapprochement“. Five years earlier, those fireworks, written in honour of an English monarch, could never have been entertained. That night though, they lacked the pomp and majesty of the brass. Samantha felt twitching and edging about in seats on either side of her as the rising chant of „Freiheit“ seeped in firmly from outside through the sparkle of the strings.
The guests lurched left and right as if trying to escape an irritating insect without acknowledging its existence. The chant floated in on a glow of candles caught in a haze beneath the window sill of the classic Rathaus building.
A worsted web of fear held the gathering in check like paper blotting ink from seeping free. Samantha smelt the tension all around her, as if the foreign guests were unwittingly exuding a skunk-like odour of protection – or was it just that their deodorants were no longer a match for the late hour? They knew they would leave the following day to return to the remaining twin, their duty done in the name of socialism – and anyway, they had just come for the party.

Samantha felt the build-up. Actions had already started in Leipzig, in Dresden. In Karl-Marx-Stadt itself, the old name, Chemnitz, had been whispered about in the coffee houses.
The groups she had seen in the square had all been part of a quiet restrained movement, protesting like a grasp beyond quickening sands. Peter had told her that, despite what one heard in the West, the citizens of his country had the right to apply for permission to leave. Those in the square had either been refused or had just put in an application – for refusal.
„And those tourists snapping them. I wouldn’t want to take pictures of people huddling about – some souvenir,“ Samantha had said.
„They weren’t tourists, Samantha. They were from the Stasi. They were taking photos of the huddlers. They’ll find a use for them.“
„Peter, the other day … one of them snapped me,“ Samantha paled.
„You’ll be all right. You’re a foreigner. You’re clean,“ he said, but his voice had become flat like day-old Coca Cola.

Sitting in the immense hall with its candelabra of cut glass from the famous Jena factory crowning the stucco ceiling, Samantha felt the progression of events and quietly thanked her tangled roots for not having chosen this to be her country.
The congregation outside broke up softly with the snuffing of candles.
It left the visitors on the inside the chance to leave with face intact, and eyes unseeing. Already the next day people would lie prostrate on railroad tracks to block trains packed past the roof, forcing places to any Eastern border. They would close the borders. Those that got through would claw their way to Western consulates.

Samantha picked up her papers, slipped into her jacket and hugged herself as if to stop her cocoon of foolish freedom from unravelling in a country close to crumbling.

 The story deals with the last birthday of the GDR. Parts of it appear in Sylvia’s novel „Tillandsia“ which is currently under consideration.