DasArts Day 34.

Roof slab of the so called 'Diver's Tomb' (475 B.C.)


DasArts Day 35.

Via Jente, this link to an article in the Groninger Internet Courant: Kernreactor in Groninger Museum als Onderdeel Nieuwe Tentoonstelling. (Rectification: I am not an American. This work is not a "stunt".)

Current status: not hypnagogic (Andreas Mavromatis, Hypnagogia, The Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefulness and Sleep), only tired."If you never sleep you can never be awake."

Kevin S. Fitzgerald, The Negative Eschatology of Maurice Blanchot. (Including: Who is Maurice Blanchot?)


Always Already Perfect

(a.k.a. Dzogchen)

I've been thinking about this paragraph from Over-Sensitivity ever since I read it last June. It seems that Jalal has done a theoretical about-face on the issue of whether or not objects (or artworks) can 'self-liberate'. He now believes that only mortals (who possess both consciousness as well as a proper name thus excluding, in his view, objects or animals) have the potential to do this.

Question at DasArts: What's an allonym?

Emptiness is to Form what Self is to Other (Emptiness = Self, Form = Other). Somehow I was reminded of this formula while reading Blanchot's preface to Thomas the Obscure on the way home today:

There is, for every work, an infinity of possible variants. The present version adds nothing to the pages entitled Thomas the Obscure begun in 1932, delivered to the publisher in May of 1940 and published in 1941, but as it subtracts a good deal from them, it may be said to be another, and even entirely new version but identical at the same time, if one is right in making no distinction between the figure and that which is, or believes itself to be, its center, whenever the complete figure itself expresses no more than a search for an imagined center.


When Mr. Lira was informed yesterday he called me a big dumbo. (I'm still smiling about this.)


DasArts Day 36.

Sue-an writes (yesterday evening):

Dear Paul,

At the art fair in Cologne I got a phone call by the Stadskrant about your work. Of course they are alarmed by the words uranium, radiation etc. But in their lust for news, they seemingly did not want to believe the line (in the press release): "absolutely no danger to the public." The journalist even asked if we'd taken the danger into consideration given the recent terrorists attacks!

I told him I couldn't link the two together. I also stressed the nuclear mass is not more then a symbolic quantity, that without the uranium the artwork would lose its (imaginative) power. Anyway he called back a few minutes later to asked your nationality: CANADIAN I said loud and clear.

Is this proof they never listen?

Hope this finds you well. Monday I'll try to reach you, will try also Aliki and also Josee will be back then. Since the Telegraaf has called us and the Arbeidsinspectie, I expect something out of this. So please be prepared.

CU soon! Sue-an

And writes again (today):

Dear Paul,

The press are after you! Bram Hulzebos (from the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden) called me today. Everyone is really alarmed by the word kernreactor. I explained that the arrangement of the uranium alludes to the first nuclear reactor built by Fermi in Chicago in 1942; that you are using a real small (miniscule/subcritical) amount. Further I tried to reach Aliki van Heek, but she's away for at least a week, and will be back by the 12th of November. So please be prepared, because the press is going to want to contact you about the following issues:

Your artistic intentions...

(Not a stunt, also not of the museum; I told them the museum favors your artistic ambitions and believes in the integrity of your artistic intentions and the value and importance of showing this to others.)

What happened in Wageningen...

(I don't know the details, they were afraid of bad publicity? So, Hulzebos replied, the Groninger Museum isn't? My answer: see above, we consider your work interesting and important, which will always be the main reason for us, as a museum, to show it.)

Uranium is not a toy...

(I don't consider art a toy in the sense that this was stated. And besides we aren't playing with the uranium!)

The 11th of September 2001...

(People seem to want to link your work with the terrorist attacks, in my opinion, there is no link. Even as suggested by Hulzebos, if a plane did crash into the museum, I'd say it would be a pity for the artwork and the museum, ie. there's absolutely no relation between the two.)

Anyway, could you give me a call asap? Sue-an


DasArts Day 37.

Abrupted Dream Bardo

Travelling from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. Sunday, 4 November 2001.


DasArts Day 38.

Vehicular Traffic

"Once a body of teaching and practice is described as being a vehicle, it must be recognised as having its own unique base and path. And if it has a base, you can start with it."

Ngak'chang Rinpoche on the subject of Dzogchen

The Garden of Crossing Tiger Cubs


DasArts Day 39.

Outline of Bazin's 'The Ontology of the Photographic Image'.


DasArts Day 40.

"Dogen thought about a lot of things, and what he thought is often very hard to grasp. I myself have no idea what he thought about many things and only a vague sense of what he thought about most of the rest. Many things he wrote I haven't read yet; many things I've tried to read I can't figure out; many things I've figured out how to read I still don't understand."

(Carl Bielefeldt, Living with Dogen: Thoughts on the Relevance of His Thought.)

Dogen Zen and it's Relevance for our Time: Papers presented October 23 and 24 1999 at a conference to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Dogen's birth.

Step-wise Dogen

  1. A Primer of Soto Zen.

  2. Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen.

  3. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4.


(Following our evaluation of yesterday evening's presentations -- today was our last day with Jalal Toufic -- I think: 'Never let (even the best laid) plans come in the way of the moment.')

Groundhog Day. The luckiest thing that ever happened to Phil (Bill Murray) was the chance to repeat Groundhog Day over and over again. No. Wait. Stop. The luckiest thing that ever happened to Phil was the ability to remember what happened to him each time he went through the loop.


No. Wait. Stop. That was a super nice thing.


DasArts Day 41.

Adrian's proposition.

(On the train) flipping through a book on Performance Art this morning I see the face of the young Chris Burden. A face seemingly too young to be attached to a body that allows itself to be shot for the sake of art. Really. What the fuck was that boy thinking?

Shoot. November 19, 1971.

The image of Burden shot becomes even more poignant when compared with this earlier one and this photo taken a short time after which shows Burden's face (and body) to be much matured. (Sign of a (vampiric) time lapse?)

At DasArts, Arno Adelaars, Suzanne and I interview each participant of Block 15. "Are you interested in participating in an Ayahuasca (Yage) ceremony this Sunday evening?"

(Now, before sleep...) I feel confused (it's been a long day). I lie in bed listening to Schubert.


DasArts Day 42.

(A labyrinth of doorbells.)

Mitsu Hadeishi writes:

After I saw that movie (Groundhog Day) I had one of the biggest enlightenment experiences of my life, funnily enough.


DasArts Day 43.

Immortality Suite

And suddenly one of those days when everything just seems to come together. I took the day off from DasArts to go to Groningen and arrange things for the upcoming show. There I: (1) came up with a new plan for the installation, (2) discussed this with Mark and Sue-an, (3) caught an error in the working drawings for my 'Sol LeWitt' table, (4) reviewed the stones which Ieme had gathered for casting, (5) visited the aquarium in Delfzijl with Ieme and his son to look at a dolphin skeleton, (6) briefed a half dozen museum personnel on the safety concerns surrounding Nuclear Garden, and (7) bought (in quick succession) a porpoise skeleton and a dead swan.


DasArts Day 44.

Melchior de Hondecoeter (1636-1695)

"Having seen the going-down, look upon the coming-up; how should the setting impair the sun and the moon?" (Rumi, 1207-1273)

"When you have closed your mouth on this side, open it on that, for your shout of triumph will echo in the placeless air." (Rumi, 1207-1273)


DasArts Day 45.

A Thousand Plateaus

I've promised Alida that I would write a short note explaining why, as the mentor of Block 15, I have programmed an ayahuasca ceremony at DasArts this Sunday evening. This in order to answer any questions which may come from parties outside of the school. The 10 week curriculum of Block 15 - Event Horizon was planned for professional theater makers and choreographers, and as such, has tried to forge new information (where "New information often upsets our delicate set of balance.") and new experiences ("May you never recover.") into an 'educational' construction that both befits the experimental character of DasArts and the Event Horizon itself, ie. the curriculum has tried to put its subject first and foremost, has tried to treat the subject matter seriously and with respect, resulting hopefully in a curriculum which is in awe of its own theme.

10 weeks of research into the Event Horizon: as the story of Orpheus, as a set of sustained inquiries, as the re-enactment of a crime scene, as the uncovering of a set of "aesthetic facts", as vampire film and American musical, as bardo, singularity and altered state. Over the weeks we've come to see the Event Horizon as a threshold which one crosses and forgets, which one crosses and does not cross, which one has (always) already crossed.

To cross a threshold is to lose something, to give something up, to surrender oneself to a new set of conditions. This literally happens thousands of times in one's life between waking and sleeping, between orgasms, between one (sustained) thought or fantasy and the next. Other thresholds appear more rarely and in many cases are crossed only once: learning to speak and write, puberty, marriage, menopause, the death of one's parents, one's own death.

A practical question: how does one work with such thresholds?

For thousands of years the indigenous people of South American rain forest have used ayahuasca to cross a very specific threshold. Under the guidance of a shaman the participant enters an altered realm where, it is said, the participant is able to communicate with his or her ancestors, and undergo spiritual, psychological and physical healing. We understand ceremonies such as this to form the basis of human theater and dance (in the sense of the staging and accompaniment of 'rites of human passage'). As it happens, a series of circumstances have brought such a shaman to DasArts at a time where we are preparing to end the block. Given our investigations and significant interest amongst our own participants and staff it seems more than appropriate that we are embracing the opportunity to work with this man.

The journalist Arno Adelaars:

"The shaman's name is Wiliam Torres and he is called Kajuyali Tsamani. William is of Columbian origin, and has studied for fifteen years the secrets of different tribes in Columbia. I met him last year at a shamanic conference in Germany, where he attracted attention with his openness and his attentive behavior. As soon as I saw him, I wanted to meet him. He is a jaguar shaman, and conducted in Germany a medicine circle, dressed as a jaguar. He also used a tobacco paste during the circle. I participated one night in his ceremony, which was quite different from what I knew from ceremonies organised in Pucallpa or Iquitos. Apart from singing songs, he makes strange noises, like clicking with his lips and guttural sounds, noises that coincide with processes the participants are engaged in.

"He is (amongst others) initiated by grandfather Furnamilani of the Sikuani tribe from the Orinoco area in healing songs and the use of dopa (aka yopo, Anadenanthera peregrina) and juipa (aka ayhauasca), initiated as an ayahuascero by Inga shaman Luis Flores (Putamayo region), Camëntsá shaman Martin Agreda and Siona shaman Fransisco Piaguaje (both Amazona region). He is initiated as a 'mambeador' (someone using coca and tobacco in a sacred way) by Grandfather José García of the Muinane tribe and Grandfather Oscar Román of the Huitoto (Amazone region).

"Kaluyali Tsamani lives in his 'Nabi Nunjue' (House of the Jaguar) and works as a traditional indigenous healer in an alternative medical centre in Pasto, Columbia.

"William Torres is chairman of 'la Fundacíon de Investigaciones Chamanistas', The Foundation for Shamanic Research."


Coming home for a day or two on the weekend turns progressively curiouser and curiouser. Each time I step in the door I have to ask myself, "Do I actually live here?"

Anarchic War

Under the header 'foe sharing' Jouke pull-quotes a story about the Pentagon being interested in Napster:

"(...) Soldiers need a communication system that will be more nimble and flexible if they are to counter the threat from international terrorists, Wardell said: "You have a dispersed enemy who basically is operating on a peer-to-peer system, at a very low level. How are we going to attack that? Probably the same way."

Appointment in Samarra


"(...) Both the film and Bram Stoker's original novel Dracula bear a family resemblance to the 'appointment in Samarra' story of the merchant who came across Death at noon in Baghdad and, panic-stricken, rode to Samarra, unaware that his real appointment with Death was not until the evening - in Samarra. Harker travels to Transylvania, thinking he's selling the mysterious Count a piece of real estate, but what the two also trade when they exchange contracts is the portrait of Harker's fiancée Mina, giving Nosferatu access to and possession of her person - the main reason, at least in Murnau's film, why the Count acquires real estate in the first place. And when Harker manages to escape the Count's castle, making his way home on horseback, little does he know that in the meantime the Count is already sailing ahead to await him in the becalmed port of Harker's native city, ready to land his deadly cargo of plague-carrying rats. Murnau too was involved in 'appointments in Samarra' - for instance, he seems to have undertaken what would prove his last journey in order to evade the very fate that was to lie in store for him. He died on 11 March 1931 in a freak automobile accident near Santa Monica on his way to arrange a steamship passage to New York after having been warned by his astrologer that he should avoid travelling on land."

(Thomas Elsaesser, Six Degrees of Nosferatu)


The Appointment in Samarra as told by W. Somerset Maugham.


Rilke writes in 'The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge': "Moreover I now understood very well how one could carry with one, through all the years, deep in one's portfolio, the description of a dying hour. It need not even be an especially select one; they all possess something almost rare..."


My nephew Austen and his mom Jane send a message from Hopkins Landing:

Hi Uncle Paul!

Austen says, "We want you to come for Christmas again." Austen and I are downstairs writing to you because we haven't heard from you in so long! We just finished exploring our neighbourhood (the trees, etc.) and we picked some holly for show and tell on Monday. Also, Austen wants you to know that he just had "snow cocoa" (vanilla icecream and marshmallows in some hot chocolate so that little sensitive mouths can stand the heat). Hailey is at a play date with a friend and Daddy is changing the Miata tires so that the car is ready for Uncle Paul's next visit. Austen says, "Brothers share things don't they?"

I guess you've heard the sad news that great Aunt Maggie passed away last night--we didn't get to see her, but we were sure thinking about her and hoping that she would recover. We just had a message from Uncle Mark about this--about 2:00 p.m. today, so we don't know the arranagements yet. Guy is supposed to go to Whitecourt, Alberta on Monday for three days...

Austen wants you to know that he played a great soccer game this morning even though the first frost covered the playing field. Also, he had swimming lessons and ate Mommy's freshly baked cinnamon buns... He also went with us to look at two properties today that just came on the market--nothing really for us!!! Rats!!!

Last weekend, Daddy had fun with the kids while I flew off to Calgary for a few days--it was 17degrees C and it was stunning--what a relaxing time!!!

Anyway, Austen wants to watch Frosty the Snowman now and I have to pick up Hailey--take care--we hope our little note finds you well and happy... we all miss you and think of you often... there is supposed to be a great meteor shower tonight--it will be clear here, but I don't know if we'll be awake--there will be plenty of shooting stars to wish upon...


Austen and Jane XOXO


DasArts Day 46.

The shaman William Torres.


DasArts Day 47.

The aftermath of Sunday's ayahuasca ceremony continues to surprise me.

(After the Euphoria, The Festival...)

After lunch we watched Stan Brackhage's 'The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes.' Surely a paper could be written relating this film with Blanchot's essay 'Two Versions of the Imaginary'?

(After Deconstruction, What Remains?)


DasArts Day 48.

In a recent Metropolis M article (on her favorite artists of the 60's and 70's) Renee quotes Chris Burden talking about Shoot (1971):

"It was produced in a fraction of a second. To me that's interesting. It is not how long you work or how hard you work, [it's] that I could make such an important work, and I could do it so quickly."

(Considering that upcoming museum show.)


DasArts Day The Last.

The Cloisters at 2 A.M. (Aftermath of our final dinner together at DasArts / Dream Palace.)

(Thank you (participants) Hans Bryssinck, Sato Endo, Désirée van der Heijden, Thomas Johannsen, Michelle Kurzenacker, Sarah Manya, Nancy Mauro-Flude, Leyna Papach, Nienke Rooijakkers, Fahrudin Salihbegovic, Bram de Sutter, Nicola Unger and (staff) Lieve Baert, Juul Beeren, Mark Jansen, Wouter van Loon, John Meijerink, Alida Neslo, Chris van de Velde, Susanne Winnacker.)

Alamut: The Palace at 5 A.M.

Dream Palace

Giacometti, The Palace at 4 A.M. (1932)

(From the press release of the Giacometti show currently at the MOMA:

"In line with the kind of spontaneous creativity favored by Surrealism, Giacometti claimed that The Palace at 4 a.m. (1932) appeared in its finished form before his inner eye and was quickly realized, only then revealing to the artist images, impressions, and experiences that profoundly affected him. According to the artist, the sculpture represents a time when he and a woman nightly tried to build a palace out of matchsticks, which collapsed at the slightest movement. Giacometti identifies the spinal column to the right as the woman, the standing figure to the left as his mother as she appeared to him as a child, and the phallic object toward the center as himself. In one of two drawings made of his studio in 1932, The Palace at 4 a.m. is depicted in the center of the room in detail and with a clear precision. The drawings themselves amount to an inventory of Giacometti's production to that date.")


(Quantum versions...)


After the Animal, the Man

Well it had to happen sooner or later. News has just broken that scientists at Advanced Cell Technology have succeeded in cloning a human embryo. (CNN's story and Advanced Cell Technology's press release.)

A quote from MSNBC's coverage of the story:

"If the embryo cloned by West's company were implanted in a womb, they might be able to grow a replica of the person who donated the cells that were used to create the embryo, Bazell said."

After the Man, the Animal

Via Juliet (at SFU!) via Azimute:

Francis Bacon -- The Body, the Meat and the Spirit: Becoming Animal by Gilles Deleuze.

"Far beyond any apparent sadism, the bones are like gymnastic apparatus (a skeleton-like frame) whose flesh is the acrobat. The athleticism of the body is naturally prolonged in this acrobatics of the flesh."


After the Animal, the Man

Dear Paul,

Referring to an aphorism on page 29 of my book Over-Sensitivity (1996), and to a discussion following one of my lectures at DasArts, you write in your 3 November 2001 entry on "It seems that Jalal has done a theoretical about-face on the issue of whether or not objects (or artworks) can 'self-liberate.' He now believes that only mortals (who possess both consciousness as well as a proper name thus excluding, in his view, objects or animals) have the potential to do this." This is not an accurate rendition of what I said following the lecture. I still think that objects can self-liberate, but I no longer consider that an object has an allonym (which I do not take as "the name of a person, usually a historical person, assumed by a writer" [American Heritage Dictionary], but, following its etymology [Greek allos, other; see allo + Greek onoma, name; see n-men-], as the other name, the one we may be given after an initiation, and/or the one to which we may respond in bardo states or on the Day of Judgment), since I presently consider that, with the possible exception of those animals, such as chimpanzees and orangutans, etc., who can recognize themselves in a mirror (See Gordon Gallup, Jr., Can Animals Empathize? Yes, Scientific American Presents Winter 1998, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 66, 68-71, 76; Daniel J. Povinelli, Can Animals Empathize? Maybe Not, ibid., pp. 67, 72-75, 76), only humans are mortals and therefore have proper names (See the section 'Letter to Lyn Hejinian: On Names' in my book Forthcoming).



Alamut: Horses (September 2000 entry on John Hawkes' novel Whistlejacket the central section of said book "which describes the rather morbid anatomical studies of the British horse painter George Stubbs.")

Aaiiii, a totally uncanny and spooky footnote here: I saw George Stubbs' painting of Whistlejacket (1762) for the first time last year in London's National Gallery (on the occasion of my visit to Karl Jansen to inquire about the use of ketamine in the simulation of NDE's) and I just checked the date. It was a year ago exactly.

(Also: I am in no way a horse person but I've been dreaming about horses lately.)


Groninger Museum Interview: November 2001

After the Man, the Animal

(Did I really wake her up to tell her how much I liked the fact that she had to turn her head away from a film that contained scenes of cruelty towards animals? I really did, yes.)

Nina in Seattle, I queued the following D & G quote before I saw what you'd published on Geegaw: "A sick dog eats dirt, or else it does whatever it is that sick dogs actually do."

"An example: Do not imitate a dog, but make your organism enter into composition with something else in such a way that the particles emitted from the aggregate thus composed will be canine as a function of the relation of movement and rest, or of molecular proximity, into which they enter. Clearly, this something else can be quite varied, and be more or less directly related to the animal in question: it can be the animal's natural food (dirt and worm), or its exterior relations with other animals (you can become-dog with cats, or become-monkey with a horse), or an apparatus or prosthesis to which a person subjects the animal (muzzle and reindeer, etc.), or something that does not even have a localizable relation to the animal in question. For this last case, we have seen how Slepian bases his attempt to become-dog on the idea of tying shoes to his hands using his mouth-muzzle..."

-- Deleuze and Guattari, 1730: Becoming Intense, Becoming Animal, in 'A Thousand Plateaus'.

From A Love Letter to Oleg Kulik by Susan Silas:

"I'm going to sit and read to a dog, or at least a man who wants me to treat him as though I believe that he is a dog. I should be used to this by now. My daughter is a different animal every half hour and if I am unconvinced her wrath is boundless."

(Referring to Kulik's two week long performance Deitch Projects: I Bite America and America Bites Me (1997).)

And from another universe (with quantum interference) Tom McCarthy chooses precisely this moment to send me the following Faulkner quote:

"Maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished. Maybe happen is never once but like ripples maybe on water after the pebble sinks, the ripples moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water-cord to the next pool which the first pool feeds, has fed, did feed, let this second pool contain a different temperature of water, a different molecularity of having seen, felt, remembered, reflect in a different tone the infinite unchanging sky, it doesn't matter: that pebble's watery echo whose fall it did not even see moves across its surface too at the original ripple-space, to the old ineradicable rhythm."

-- William Faulkner, 'Absalom, Absalom!'

(Becoming a puddle, becoming a pond, becoming a lake, becoming an ocean.)


Nosferaratu's coach and horses. (F. W. Murnau, 1922.)


Something I missed a few months ago. The Onion presents: Talking to Your Child About the WTC Attack (HELP! This is deadly serious and very, very funny.)

The Rip van Winkel Syndrome: waking up to discover that it's ALREADY the 28th of November.

24 June 2001:

For he who checks on the state of his own shadow (or wakes his own sleepwalker, or kisses his own Snow-White, or rouses his own Zombie, or raises his own Lazarus), does he not fall himself into a Rip van Winkle sleep?

18 October 1999:

I can not magine that it will be easy to lose people in the next millenium. For surely the next generation will be able to check on the 'state' of everyone they have ever known with little or no trouble. Who knows what that will that mean for them as they grow old? For us, the past and its people are gone. We're beyond Rip van Winkle. We, the Last Mohicans...

Post Amsterdam / DasArts

One of the nice things about kicking back for a day or two and pretending very, very hard that my life has returned to 'normal' (in reality it won't for at least another month and who knows what will happen after that...) has been the chance to peruse the pages of a few of my favorite weblogs. Some observations:

Jamie (having very recently ditched the ever popular Blogger for upstart Movable Type) is back weblogging with a startling report on 'sleep paralysis'.

The outlandish peregrinations of Dagmar Chili appear to be making more sense to us than they did before... (Could this be some freakish side effect of the September 11th attacks?)

Caterina (who Mr. Lira persists in calling the 'mother of all weblogs') has been posting cool little snippets from her (pre-weblog) diary (anno 1994).

And over at NQPAOFU, Jouke has been quietly exercising one of his many wild talents. Go Jouke, go.


Some museum remake sketches: a proposal to tie together two of the main spaces of the Coop Himmelblau pavilion and tone down the overly dominant architecture (the artworks are not shown here).

Psychic Warrior

Minds can cross oceans.

Last night I dreamt that I was a part of a wooden totem pole. Later on I dreamt that I was trapped on a raft in a vicious maelstrom. Later on I dreamt I was swallowed by a large whale.

Minds can do almost anything (unfortunately).

(Alamut: Jonah and the whale (Melville: "He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething into the yawning jaws awaiting him."))

(Alamut archive: The History of the Makah Whale Hunt ("A few days before their hunt they would often dig up a fresh grave and dismember a corpse. During the hunt the they would secure the torso of the corpse on their backs -- a gesture indicating their respect for their dead brethren."))


It was already dark by the time I stepped outside and unlocked my bike from the bike rack. Riding home as fast as I could in the pouring rain, I got absolutely soaked to the bone -- but I loved every minute of it. I loved riding through the wet streets filled with heavy leaves, past the headlights of cars and the houses of Kralingen, I loved to see the soft light spilling out of a passing tram up on the dijk, to see the rain lit up like a sheet of fabric by the powerful lamps under the bridge, to cross the bridge and see beneath me the red and green and white lights of a huge barge moving -- with both the current and tide at its back -- down the Maas to the sea. All this left me feeling incredibly happy.

October 2001

ALAMUT.COM is artist owned and operated.
Page created: 2/11/01
Last modified: 30/11/01