I was already informed by the news and phone calls in Cape Town at the beginning of March and it was a completely abstract situation for me there. In the middle of sunshine, I am suddenly faced with the high probability that my life is over now. I am one of the most at risk because I have a damaged lung.
When I landed in Vienna with the last flight from Cape Town, restrictions were already in force.
Maybe it was the abstract, almost unreal situation that I took all that for granted. I had never been so close to the feeling of the end of life ever. This also explains why I may have reacted more drastically than others.
Die Ausgewogenheit der Gewohnheit: Bunuel: El àngel exterminado, 2019
Apart from absolute quarantine, everything that I felt as ballast suddenly started to fall off on its own. Projects that I really wanted to do before now seemed completely pointless. I was able to cancel projects that I had long since wanting to stop, but which I continued to do because of success, reputation, or social recognition. When the "fun is over" everything suddenly has a different value. I can not believe myself.
The privileged role of an artist:
"The fear has to be named. Once it has been named and described, it is manageable.
Naming, describing and capturing fear is the most important role of art now.
This also includes the description of everything that is now going through our heads in the "corona siege state."
A short overview:
A friend in Cape Town asked:
"Do fundamental ideas come up?"
"No. It is only about organizing what is left in which way. If I am not here anymore. My paintings, heritage, who will get what,…. "
My Dearest: we are all exchangeable, melancholy and grief have to be endured.
What remains are the wonderful memories. And there are those, in abundance!
Nobody can take it away from us, but neither can we let it happen again.
There are many wonderful people and when I am no longer alive, then you are looking for others. You just need patience and have to wander around. If you survive, you have time and leisure!
I got aware of the ballast that has to be thrown off.
I should have used my time already long ago for my work, not for organization.
Now the piece of paper with my note of writing “thank you letters” falls into my hands.
Yes, when life comes to an end, this is the right moment!
It would be important to think about what remains? According to my interpretation of Tolstoy’s work that the poetic description of misery and injustice to specific people is a value in itself, my "denk-mal" project is the most likely to remain. So, I would have to keep working in that direction if I stay alive.
Die Pioniere, 2019
Then I flew to Vienna with the last plane.
And was shocked to see that all the streets were empty. After Regina's vehement persuasion, I followed the rules as best I could, sometimes even paranoid hand washing and yet always negligent, because I didn't know how long viruses could stay on the surface.
Then the big problem of inconceivable exponential spreading. I remembered the story of Sissa ibn Dahir. Doubling the grain with every chessboard square. And the average risk of infection is not 2 as in Dahirs example, but 3,4! So, respect for governments that where aware of this in time.
The adaptability of consciousness is interesting. Coming from South Africa, I was pretty casual, even though I was the only one wearing a mask on the airplane. On arrival and at the parking machine, people were closer to each other than a meter. Regina freaked out. How could I, who has now been in close contact with the passengers on the plane for 12 hours and is used to South African conditions, suddenly react differently? And yet, within a very short time, I behaved completely different. This is adaptation, to be seen positively here, but nevertheless it shows how much thinking is determined by surrounding people.
A surprising and sad aspect in the current situation is the absence of Eros. The wonderful film "Fear Eats the Soul" by Fassbinder seems to be a good explanation for this. But there is more. I now have the feeling that Eros has a lot to do with exuberance. In a time of fear and total mindfulness, exuberance is prohibited. Especially with mindfulness that is not directly understandable.
Interestingly, the memories of my early years now come to my mind, those years when I was so unhappy because of the unlived sexuality. There were completely absurd love stories at that time. No physical contact was required. I remember an extreme story, when I was just sitting at the bar with a girl, had just started a conversation, which was already a big deal and then had to say goodbye because I couldn't stay any longer. We quickly exchanged addresses, but she was from a far away city. Then afterwards, we wrote letters. These letters were getting closer, more intimate and I remember that not only did I have the wildest fantasies myself, but we also wrote them to each other. According to our letters, an insane ecstatic sexuality was between us. But only in the letters.
I remember the beginning of the present crisis when it started to get serious and I got aware of the deadly danger of the virus for myself and the fact that I belong to the high-risk group. I tried to organize for the end of my life. I didn't want to be surprised. I wanted to have it in my own hands and if it is already unclear, I want to be prepared to the end myself. It was like a defiant reaction.
This, as we know from the Nazi concentration camps, is completely wrong. Of those who could still be saved, only those who had hope survived . I was very much ashame.
It is new to me that beautiful moments of happiness in life do not simply pass. I always thought that I was so consumeristic about our happiness.
I can't hold it and it just slips away.
But that's not true. It is these moments of happiness that remain. Not any works, or art, or achievements, it is these moments of happiness that last for me.
The best moments of happiness are associated with sex and erotic moments, often in connection with music.
Don't you start to love people intensely again?
It reminds me of the image of a township with thousands of glitter points, all wonderful people, viewed from a distance, although there is so much misery and crime nearby. I read Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes tropiques again until late last night:
“If people have always tackled only one task, namely to create a society in which one can live, then the forces that have inspired our distant ancestors are also present in us. Nothing is lost; we can start everything from scratch. "
|And then the next morning I got this video from Italy!Outrageous!
Coro virtuale „Va pensierio“
(„Nabucco“ di G. Verdi) – International Opera Choir
I think I have never been so moved by a piece of music as I am today by the Nabucco choir in the video from Italy. I kept listening to it and I kept crying. Now in the evening I looked for a CD recording and listened to it again, a recording by Toscanini. I couldn't even finish it. It hurts so bad. The prisoner choir of the Jews in Babylonian captivity calls for help. It's like singing people are going to die, like the Italians in the video.
Arnold Schönberg composed the piece of music “A Survivor from Warsaw.” In this piece, an SS soldier lets the Jews count themselves so that he knows how many he delivers to the gas chamber. They begin to count, slowly at first, then faster and faster, until the counting changes into the song of "Schmah Israel."
Perhaps I feel close to the Italians because they are somewhat similar in temperament to the Jews and I have to think of the story of the Jewish Mayor of Venice, whom the Armenians gave protection and refuge in their extraterritorial Palazzo Zenobio to save him from the Fascists; in the same palazzo where I hosted the Summer Academy for more than 15 years without knowing this.
Dear reader, please excuse, these feelings are not correct, because the current pandemic has nothing to do with fascism. But my unconscious works differently. Therefore, all that said, is just an individual snapshot. Heinz Conrads has been singing: "Forgive me if I bothered you for too long ..."
There is no Planet B, 2019