Sunday, December 23, 2012

war dance of the stars

sedna in the inner oort cloud
dances in the coldest deep
of this
world unknown
to us


born three hundred thousand
years ago
by a supernova
created the small dense
our local bubble

sweepings of the stars
dance in the sun wind of
the gorgeous heliosphere
tiny bugs
with twenty thousand meters
sun apex per second

chattering and unnoticed
traverse the incredible blank
local flake
in the crust-folds of
little lump of water
blind passengers
for a blink

alpha centauri and deneb
altair and wega and arcturus
proxima cenautri and also you

dance for us
because we can not know


we see nothing

for a

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Playing PIANO GODS - Jazz @ the Berlin Philharmonic

On tuesday, Dec 12 / 2012, three young gods of European piano jazz gave one of the best concerts I have ever witnessed in the last years: Leszek Możdżer (PL), Michael Wollny (D) and Iiro Rantala played a benefit for UNICEF at the Kammermusiksaal of the Berliner Philharmonie - on two grand pianos (one Steinway of the legendary piano master Alfred Brendel) and a Wurlitzer organ. I can only hope that they took a film or at least a recording of this evening! It was undescribably good... Each of them played some own composition, each of them played together with the others, at last all three played together. And I really mean PLAYed - every combination between zero an six hands, every combination you can imagine between 3 instruments and 6 arms of master musicians. It was even sporty and acrobatic sometimes (as they changed their positions husteling around on stage while playing together), but always highest state of the art. Actually, the best was when the masters played their own music in the focussed atmosphere of the philharmonic chamber music hall. A few standards (Bach) and great improvisation were given in a style that was really condign the idea of jazz at the venerable Berlin philharmony. Listen here, at least, to Iiro Rantalas piece "Thinking of misty" that opened that unique and really terrific concert...    

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kafka about Egyptian president Mursi

Franz Kafka when asked what he thought of the (Russian) Revolution:

"These people are so confident and funny. They are masters of the streets and think they are the masters of the world. They are wrong. (...) The more the flood spreads, the more shallow and turbid becomes the waterThen the revolution
evaporates and leaves just the mud of a new bureaucracy."

(Gustav Janouch:.. Conversations with Kafka, memories and records Frankfurt 1951, p.71)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

What was up at the FLUPP in Rio?

From 7 to 11 November 2012 Rio de Janeiro's first literature festival in a favela (in Prazares at St. Teresa) took place: FLUPP! It was really an EXTRAORDINARY FESTIVAL because the audience and the concept was quite different from anything else in the world. I took part there in the program of "poets between bombs and spys" to talk about my experiences in the East German oppositional movement of 1989 in Leipzig (which lead to the fall of the wall in Berlin). THIS is what I answered to the question of the very engaged favela TV during the festival ... 

There is a detailed German blog written by me and illustrated with many photos about every day of the festival (see links - german blog).  The teeangers of the favela neighbourhood Prazares painted a quote from the lyrics of my song "sekundenfest" (from the novel "Rabet") an the stairs of their way to the top of the hill in Rio - St Teresa... (Brasilian-Portuguese version by Carlos Abbenseth; to read from the bottom stair to the top.) Muito obrigado, thank you Flavio, Charles & the others!! And congratulations to Toni Marques and his engaged team for this unique successful event.
FLUPP has now been nominated for the Make a Difference Award, which is an annual award given by O Globo newspaper. 

O Globo is part of Organizações Globo, the largest news and entertainment media group in Brazil and one of the largests in the world.

Some Brasilian press articles in Portuguese language concering this:

O segundo dia da FLUPP - Globo (Rio de Janeiro),  10. November 2012

FLUPP no Morro dos Prazares - machete online, 9. November 2012

Arte entre bombas opressao e espioes - FLUPP Blog, 9. November 2012

Novas vozes da periferia - Globo
(Rio de Janeiro),  3. November 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

tsunami baby

the newest wave is coming baby
i don’t know if you know
what that means

i’m sitting here on the mountain baby
la france beats hawaii in the question of coasts
musk is fortunately already out again
professional experience absolutely required
3D in real-time becoming standard
and pink is the upcoming colour

i, high above, have the overbite overview
novels and film-trilogies are winning the race
whoever is clever prints the explicit lyrics
of the soundtrack promptly in various languages
my verdict on the water-levels blusters unrestrained
on the downward open laughing richter scale
see you tomorrow baby I’ll be right back after a short
application break with the latest insights

good for nothing
but ready for anything
i sit on the mountain baby
near the giant dishes
in clothes that calculate
and receive pictures
near the shining dishes
with which we browse the universe
in london they saw up cows
as artwork in bangkok they
have cockroaches as friends

the newest wave is coming baby
i don’t know if you know
what that means

if you want to know
what you should do baby
look for your own style
I will send you the catalogues

                from "sekundenbuch", poems, Leipziger Literaturverlag 2012.
English version by Martin Jankowski & Rebecca Jany.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Saturday, October 6, 2012

THE SOUND OF (the unseen)

The Italian composer Domenico Vicinanza (who is a scientific physics researcher as well) took the mathematical data of the CERN research center concerning the legendary Higgs Boson (the famous elementary particle they believe to have found this summer) and worked it out into an amazingly interesting piece of music! Listen to the DANCE OF THE HIGGS BOSON.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The ugly question of Kitsch

Beauty is the point at which the two meanings of the word “sense” come together, the body-sense of cognition and the mind-skill of understanding the meaning of signs. When we leave the sensual aspect to beauty and start to think about it in the abstract terms of logic, we arrive at the science of aesthetics as the modern science of cognition. This science tries to find out what we mean, when we say “beautiful” or “ugly” and why. The main question is: Are there any universal and timeless criteria for beauty? If we watch an old Greek sculpture or an Indian mandala, a Japanese garden or a Russian icon, we begin to suspect that there could be. But as we all know, every time has its own taste. And after a while every aesthetic fashion returns - as a retro-revival! (No matter, whether this means columns at the house entry or gothic tales.) But this magic power of our universal beauty instinct leads us directly to the urgly question of kitsch... (a German word with universal meaning).
 The human ability to spontaneously recognise natural beauty demonstrates to us the problem of KITSCH (a non-translatable German term that means simple aesthetic stereotypes, trashy art-clichés that do not exist in reality). When we, me and my younger sister, were children (at the age of 8 or 10 years), my father, a teacher for arts and history, had a simple but wise system to teach his students to distinguish “real beauty” and “Kitsch”. He gave us a wild mixture of art-postcards with reproductions of famous paintings and kitschy pictures that we had to arrange into two piles: art and kitsch. We always managed our work very well without saying a word: The pile with the postcards that we children liked was Kitsch, what we did not like was “real art”. Our beauty instinct was infallible. We never made any mistake! Kitsch is simple, easy to understand, it shows a simple, symmetrical order, something we love in an ideal state – how beautiful! It is completely international because it is the answer to the lowest level of our beauty-instinct. In his famous essay On Naive and Sentimental Poetry the German poet Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) gave a warning not to take the pleasant already for the beautiful and not to mix up a “cute mind” with the beauty of the soul. He explained that “cute minds” become banal when they have to work on or write about a complex and huge object, the easy-going paragons of virtue turn to the materialistic, but only the truly beautiful soul becomes “sublime”.[1]
  We have to consider: There are two kinds of beauty – the natural beauty of our senses and the aesthetic beauty as a construction of our mind. (The German philosopher Immanuel Kant, father of Critical Philosophy, distinguished between beauty and the sublime: A landscape, a flower or a body can be beautiful; a poem, a painting or a cathedral are sublime.) In modern and post-modern art (including literature), the low-level art of Kitsch fortunately is no longer discriminated against as worthless. It is, on the contrary, integrated (as trash or pop) in the collage of our aesthetic concept! Nevertheless, it is useful for every professional artist to know the difference between “real art” and Kitsch. (If you are in doubt in which category your own work belongs, ask some children whether they like it…) Here we have, surprisingly, found a path to the bridge between the aesthetic category of beauty and our fascination for horror…

[1] „Wie in dem handelnden Leben, so begegnet es auch oft bei dichterischen Darstellungen, den bloß leichten Sinn, das angenehme Talent, die fröhliche Gutmüthigkeit mit Schönheit der Seele zu verwechseln, und da sich der gemeine Geschmack überhaupt nie über das Angenehme erhebt, so ist es solchen niedlichen Geistern ein Leichtes, jenen Ruhm zu usurpieren, der so schwer zu verdienen ist. Aber es gibt eine untrügliche Probe, vermittelst deren man die Leichtigkeit des Naturells von der Leichtigkeit des Ideals, so wie die Tugend des Temperaments von der wahrhaften Sittlichkeit des Charakters unterscheiden kann, und diese ist, wenn beide sich an einem schwierigen und großen Objekte versuchen. In einem solchen Fall geht das niedliche Genie unfehlbar in das Platte, so wie die Temperamentstugend in das Materielle; die wahrhaft schöne Seele hingegen geht eben so gewiß in die erhabene über.“ - Friedrich von Schiller: Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung (quotation: naivsent.htm).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What means, what is - Beauty?

In our times, „...the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence...“  Walter Benjamin wrote in his essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. The title already tells us how art gets its power today: By mass-reproduction. The question “What is beauty?” has been democratised by the possibilities of the industry. Today, the charts of the consumers decide on the real effects of art on society. The media are ruled by the taste of the masses. Neither artists nor critics decide what beauty is but the market. Independent of the intentions of the artist or a cohesive theory of aesthetics, the decision is made by the senses, not by sense. The merging-together of arts and technology is turning the question of beauty and horror into something that every person has to think about in daily life. The personal decision for one of the aesthetic norms and concepts on the market has become part of our individual existence. Now the question is: Do we have a choice in what we think is beautiful?

Some interesting aspects of what beauty means to us can be learned from scientific Face Research: By systematically showing especially prepared photographs of different faces to hundred thousands of people all over the world, connected to the question “Which face is more attractive to you?”, the researcher found out that people all over the world think the same: The most average and symmetrical faces are the most attractive ones! The rule of human beauty, no matter in which place and for what kind of person, seems to be: The more average and the more symmetrical something seems to us, the more we call it beautiful. What we can learn from this is: Beauty is not always a question of individual taste and education. Beauty to us seems to lie in the right measure. Some aspects of what we call beautiful are obviously biological. There is a human instinct for beauty. 

The question of beauty is of course more than a visual one - it touches our basic thoughts about the world and our existence. In the ancient philosophies, in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic and other old and new religions, the beauty of the world and our astonishment watching the greatness and diversity of the universe is taken as a proof for the existence of (a) loving creator/s: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (New Testament, Rom 1,20) . Also Islamic theology teaches: “God shows himself to us trough the beauty of the universe. His beauty, his qualities and his laws are everlasting, no man can ever change it.” - Allah as the invisible, but eternal god of beauty. The elegant verses in the Holy Quran and the astonishingly symmetrical mathematical structure of its text count as a clear proof for every Muslim that the origin of this book must be divine (and could not have been created by any human).  Every human religion is connected to the aspect of beauty, and so is our whole culture today (as a follower of religious rites = cultus). There is something in the world that impresses us and makes us adore it. Everybody is looking for it. It is not about wellbeing, because even when we are cold, hungry or tired, we are able to appreciate the beauty of a sudden flashlight, a surprising colour or a well-made poem. Maybe beauty is no outside-fact but an inside-aspect of our cognition, something planted into our brains. Maybe beauty is a state of mind.