Not many authors find decent ways to write about sad moments and the mastering of tears. Can we master tears? Should we even try to? For authors the question poses itself of a different kind. How do I write about emotions in which a person bursts in tears or sheds a single tear. Even mastering tears or the delayed unmastered tears give rise to ample drama. Have you found a poet or author to whom you relate through the sorrows s/he expresses? Reading itself is a process of mastering tears due to the possibility to go through a wide spread of negative and positive emotions.
Towards the end of her life Cata Dujšin – Ribar wrote a poem that links to the imagery of the Norwegian poet Jon Fosse. Thanks to the exposition of her paintings and writing in the Zagreb City Museum Cata can become known to a wider audience. Hardly any traces in the internet of her writings in English make her even more of a local hero and an early female role model. The windmills are powered by the nothingness of our illusions. The beauty of futility is revealed in our dream. She puts it so much better. The biography and work of Cata Dujšin – Ribar summarises to some extent the whole history and misery of the 20th century beyond the Balkan region in a few words.
Some city museums have a difficult time to present the richness of their historical heritage. Additionally, the question of city heritage maybe entangled with a process of nation building and citizenship altogether. The focus I advocate is on the evolution of democracy and the process of civilisation. The Zagreb City Museum on the top of the hill comes pretty close to such a perspective on history or historical perspective. Due to the recent efforts to excavate remains of the iron age underneath the more recent City Museum the historical line of Zagreb civilisation can be traced back even longer. The tumuli are worth a whole new section in the Museum. The process of civilisation with “burying cultures” are more than 2600-3000 years old in Zagreb. Democratisation as a process can also be studied with all its ups and downs over the history of the city and the Croation nation building. Capitals and city live play an important driving force in this process. Zagreb has experienced a bombing of the city centre as recently as 1991 (Banski Dvora) and again in 1995 (city of Zagreb) in the Croatian war of independence.
It is a real pleasure to walk through centuries of historical evolution beginning with the recent excavation of the iron age as well as the arts and crafts since the medieval times. Even passing the horrors of the 2nd world war through the eyes of the author and painter Cata Dujsin (image below from 1944) speak to us even today.
There is no linear process of civilisation which is improving over time. There have always been backlashes and there will be. It is even more important to be aware of the continuous risks to independence and democracy. The current setup of the Zagreb City Museum seems to focus on the Croatian population to remind them of their great heritage. With more English and foreign language subtitles and inscriptions the example of civilisation and democracy will be more accessible for even larger crowds of visitors. The online visit accessible in English is already an excellent appetiser.
The City Museum is moving from the internal Croatian function more and more to additional external function to offer learning experiences beyond the Croatian visitors in this tourist attraction that is internationalising in its work force at a rapid rate.
We have learned that games are not only played for fun. So-called serious games have found their way into health applications where we might learn while playing a game of how to integrate more walking into our life in the city. While walking after work I happened to pass the Selfie Museum in Zagreb. In fact despite carrying the name of museum it is more an assembly of scenarios in which you can realize many selfies in different settings that have been prepared for that purpose. Hence your production of photo shooting with yourself as the major character is facilitated and you no longer have to spend a lot of time on the setups. Call it a museum and you’ll have more visibility and visitors.
Styles of selfies have changed and shooting very short videos to post on tiktok is of course easy there. A real threat to huge and expensive cinema studios considering the enormous reach some of these selfies can reach. It is a bit like a theatre with multiple stages for everybody to use at moderate costs. Before long we shall come to realize the potential for many more interested in theatre to become actors and directors themselves. Democratize the world of theatre is the new social dimension here. Test yourself in another profession through playful interaction. Test and learn about other competencies. We are in the middle of the next wave of “gameification” previously reserved to people ready to accept higher risks of likely failure. The young can now take their parents to the museum and show off their culture and skills. Intergenerational learning has a new aspect as well. The sociology of the virtual has another phenomenon to evaluate.
Each time I pass by the closed airport in the middle of Berlin I am amazed by the crazy idea to have built this and maintained throughout the 20th century. Paris is desperately trying to re-naturalize small areas and roads, while in Berlin there is now still the huge park to enjoy for all. Sports activities benefit the most. What an amazing asset in the neighborhoods for so many in need to walk, run or cycle a bit to keep their exercise level up throughout their life course. It has still a huge potential to activate people. It just needs a bit more organizations and volunteers to embrace the opportunities. Only in comparison to other cities you realize what an asset this is now. It will remain a challenge to preserve this centrally located treasure for the benefit of all. In Paris the deconstruction of concrete is taking shape and 300 new sites have been identified for re-naturalization, as reported in LeMonde. In Zurich green spaces in the center have been saved and renovated with a lot of money to allow more people to enjoy the benefits of a green environment near the city center. The house and park by architect Le Corbusier is a fine example of this. Image below. The garden around the house is publicly accessible. As air pollution is threatening more and more and heating in cities is a serious health threat we would really like to welcome more preservation and re-naturalization in inner cities.
The long-term view of sectoral change in France, for example, from 1800-2022 (Cagé and Piketty, 2023 p. 128) allows us to zoom out of our narrow focus of the last few years of economic change. The decline of agriculture is the most remarkable. The reduction of employment in industry and construction has been an ongoing trend as well. Banking, insurances, property and consulting have seen remarkable expansion over these years. Public services, security and legal affairs are still on a moderate rise. Other sectors like education, health, commerce and transport manage to grow equally.
The merit of the comprehensive volume by Cagé and Piketty (2023) is that it is thoroughly data driven and based on quite unique long data series. The data on structural change and just the employment trends depicted below refocus our attention on likely consequences of these changes.
For the 2 authors we should redirect our attention much more to the implications of these trends (like rising inequality) on political conflicts and power struggles. Democracies are at risk, if we continue to ignore these seminal changes of industrial structures and shifts in employment. The traditional strongholds of trade unions and progressive forces in the manufacturing and construction industries as well as in public transport seem to have unaccounted implications for our political systems as well. The volume by Cagé and Piketty (2023) will soon be available in English and reach broader audiences just-in-time for the European Parliament elections in June 2024. Particularly the spatial implications and how the neglect to take into account the fundamental differences between the rural development and structural change needs urgent reconsideration. After the time for reading and working with the data (LINK) is the time for action to preserve our European Dream of peace and social development.
The sustainability of war depends a lot on the availability of arms. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) publishes regularly updated data on arms trade. The report ranks countries who are the most important exporters as well as importers of arms (from 2018-2022). The lists show for exporters that the U.S has been at the top of exporters with 40% of the global export share followed by Russia with 16%. France 11%, China 5.2, Germany 4.2 come next on the list. Taken together Italy, Spain and the U.K. reach another 10% jointly of global exports. South Korea and Israel come in with shares of 2.4 and 2.3 respectively. The top ten serve allies but also more broadly the world arms trade and race. New dynamics have started to come into force. The Russian aggression and war on Ukraine territory will have an impact to the extent that Russia is probably exporting less and shift to a more importing state.
Among the importing countries India is leading the ranking followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. More generally Asia and the Middle East were the most important buying countries. Importing arms might be interpreted as an indicator of perceived threat to a country. Long cycles of arms renewal may also drive statistics of arms trade, but new threats like cybersecurity and space technology have created new fields of potential attack and defence.
All in all, yet another rationale attributed to Clausewitz seems to play a role in driving the arms trade. “If you are perceived to be weak, an enemy will use this to attack”. Well, this also means that buying arms, producing or importing them, could deter a military aggression. That form of deterrence of aggression is known from the nuclear arms race as well. In the realm of conventional weapons, we have thought, it would no longer apply. We were mistaken in this respect. The dividend of peace has come to an end for many countries. The SIPRI report (2003, summary p.9) shows the continued rise on the global level of the arms trade. Why are we so scared of each other? Russia has reverted to imperial politics using conventional weapons. Containing such disrespect of internal law needs our full attention to avoid a spreading to other areas. The link of diplomacy and trade needs close scrutiny.
Mating birds have astonishing capabilities. Some songbirds can expand areas of their brains during the mating season. Apparently this helps to outperform other birds in singing contests. The expansion of the brain in the preparation for mating is not so much of an interesting phenomenon in view of the fact of subsequent decline of the capacity. Of course in human engineering the expansion might be useful and the hope to repair a damaged brain is worthwhile as well. In a few years we might know how to expand brain irrespective of brain functions. The naive hope that we might just sing more beautifully in preparation for mating is probably misplaced. While everyone is talking about AI new horizons for HI as human intelligence or hybrid forms become more feasible. Meanwhile we continue to focus on our preparation for mating songs. It seems to exercise parts of the brain with the best intentions in mind. Composers have created fantastic arias and singers impressed audiences across the globe with melodies in preparation of mating like the birds. Art is full of such extraordinary examples. Let’s keep up the preparation as long as the season lasts and before climate change kicks in more forcefully. The mating season might be prolonged a bit, it might be too hot or too wet to prepare for mating as well.
In societies it is not easy to derive collective preferences of citizens. Elections every 4 years tell sometimes nothing on specific issues which were not debated or of sufficient relevance at the time of the election. Dealing with snow and slippery sidewalks is hardly an issue at all. However, the preference to clear roads meticulously rather than bicycle and pedestrian paths in a dead end road reveals preferences for „s‘heilig Blechle“ the holy tin box (car) in many cities. Our orthopedic units in hospitals are crowded at such times and those costs are hardly attributed to the source of human negligence for fellow humans. We would expect that aging societies start to address such topics but little change has occurred so far. Hence we claim airbags for pedestrians and cyclists😂. Preferences probably have changed already but implementation is slow and faces strong opposition as well. It’s always easier to lock frail persons into their apartments at such snowy times. It feels a bit like corona where it was also easier to restrict mobility for pedestrians and children than to deal properly with the virus. Aggregation of preferences in societies remains a challenge and sociology has a lot to offer in this regard.
News agent Reuters has published an analysis of the setback for short peak coverage of electricity by power plants fueled with gas. Conclusion: economically no longer viable. Investors draw back even from contracts already signed. What is the game changer technology here. Batteries that store energy just like the batteries of millions of cats that have a storage capacity to supply energy for a whole household for more than 2 days. Other giant batteries cost only half the price compared to 5 years ago equal to $150 per kwh. In five years solar energy doubled its share of energy production to now reach the same amount as energy provision by gas. Reaching a critical turning point in energy generation, investors flock to the more profitable medium or long-term investment. Good news for the planet. Wind and the sun are all around us. We have only started to cover roof tops of office buildings, car parks and other shelters. Start thinking about your energy storage as of now and reserve a suitable space for it. Costs are coming down rapidly in a few years or maybe only a few months.
In the Post-Twitter-world there is room for other platforms to take over the information function and opinion exchange on an international level. Mastodon has made a good start to fill this gap. The number of registered users has surpassed the 10 million users by large. If the anger about the union-busting and Trump supporter Elon Musk increases further, more and more people will join Mastodon as users and content providers. Advertisers will follow where they can reach their appropriate audiences. If you sell seats on a spacecraft to the moon you will advertise on eXit-Twitter. If you care about responsible investment you advertise on elsewhere or on Mastodon, because that is where your audience will be. Ethically responsible advertisers started to make such moves already. The decentralised structure to potentially filter human rights violating hate messages will need to grow accordingly on this platform. This is a challenge for all platforms and involves costs. To better understand the idea behind Mastodon, think of a platform which connects many other local networks or platforms. Yes, it is a platform of platforms. Decentralised instances provide and can remove access to the local platform. Even whole sub-platforms might be shut out. This increases the potential to build a “caring platform”. Decentralised organisation often incurs higher costs than a central instance that decides and administers a one-size fits all solution. But it is worth a try.
An example makes is more clear, what are the advantages of such decentral organisation to achieve more shielded privacy. For example, a small local chess club targeting primarily youth can open its own server on mastodon and admit only its known members to the network. It is easy to control who gets access to your posts of solutions to riddles or innovative game and learning strategies. Access to other Mastodon instances is an additional option. For enterprises or larger organisations, it needs the communication department to talk to the IT-service to get such a structure on its way. A dedicated person needs to monitor what content gets posted and what kind of “traffic” is generated. But this can largely be automated. In case you know your members of the local platform it is much less likely to occur than on the eXit-Twitter or other centralised huge international platforms.
Many federated structures will find it useful and part of their social-DNA to join the FEDIVERSE. We shall have to wait for some more time to get the so-called social media platforms civilised. These are social investments and learning processes which deviate from the profit-maximising rationale of other platforms. (Image: screenshot from @mastodon-user on 2023-11-30).
There are many migrating species in nature. Birds form a large part of the them. This follows a kind of annual or seasonal pattern. Depending on the migration experience and dangers some, sometimes many don’t come back. This seems to describe the migration experience of the tweeting bird called twitter. Changing the name from Twitter to X, whereby X for maths-oriented people stands for a variable name that can be filled with any value. For the cinema industry X stands for x-rated adult only content and has rather obnoxious content. This might hold for web content as well.
Online through “https://netzpolitik.org/2023/x-odus-immer-mehr-medien-machen-schluss-mit-twitter/ the disastrous consequences of harsh human resource policies and lack of political sensitivity can be followed. Multiplying biased opinions of right-wing extremists, the platform has been highjacked and many tweeting birds leave or have left already.
Leaving is not easy though. People and enterprises have invested substantial amounts of money into tweeting and software developers have created specialised features to make it easy to spread press releases or info via these add-on services. I myself benefitted from services to show my tweets on my webpage or to easily publish info or links to the webpage. As of now, with migrating away most of these investments will be lost. It was smooth and easy, but now we start this all over again with other comparable platforms and assistance from developers. Mastodon and Bluesky are on the rise as alternative platforms and most likely we shall use both for some time just like Netzpolitik and many others. If already 1/3 of users intend to leave Twitter/X the impact of big advertisers leaving the platform has even more impact. After all they pay for reaching potentially millions of platform users, but now they reach only a steeply biased subset of previous users. Deleting the Twitter/X app saves you from other potential unwanted monitoring or tracking. Only the addresses on Mastodon for example are a bit longer like @mastodon.social@klausschoemann. Decentral monitoring of illicit undesirable content has advantages and disadvantages. We shall have to monitor this a bit ourselves and contribute more actively to save such platforms from bad weather or seasonal migration.
We are all keen to have as many APPs as possible on our Smartphones. Instead of collecting post stamps some of us collect APPs on our mobile devices as well as desktop computers. As with almost all so-called for free software, the APPs are not for free, we just pay with our personal information used for some usually not disclosed other purposes. On webpages we are used to at least confirm that we agree to the use. Alternatively, we should have the option to decline the use of transmitting personal information, user analytics or tracking. The organisation “Netzpolitik.org” has published a short overview article on the results of the research by Konrad Kollnig published in Internet Policy Review. The main message is: even 5 years after the adoption of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) little has changed for the tracking and data collection in the world of APPs. Both Apple store IOS and Google Play Android are concerned.
In contrast to webpages APPs a vast majority of APPs, which we perhaps thought would provide tracking-free access to services, does in fact use “secretly” the tracking. Additionally, many APPs transmit personal information and credit card details even without encryption. A so-called middle man attack would “listen” to the transmission and potentially abuse the accessed information. The proof of the abuse of your financial details will be on the side of the consumer, completely ignorant of the potential threat from all sorts of APPs. This market is evolving with rapid speed and what used to be at the top in 2022 is no longer at the top in 2023. Based on an online query for France on 2023-11-28 via www.appfigures.com the data reveal interesting market insights. Gaming is making a new push on the APP-market again. TIKTOK still remains fairly high up in the ranking. Conversion from free download to paid versions seems to work in several instances as well. It needs to be checked whether the paid versions do use less tracking and provide better overall security. A frugal use or regular checking whether you really need all those APPs you have currently installed on your device should reduce your very own cybersecurity risk. It seems like “Less can be more” – fewer APPS, more security – is also valid in this respect.
Over a generation the association with the word mail or AI has changed. Younger generations will automatically think of email as the obvious association with “you have got mail”. Asking people for their mail address, most people will respond immediately with their email account. That has certainly changed over the last 20 years. Email has become extraordinarily important for contacts, content and “crime”. The original set-up of mail servers were supposed to exchange data and information between trusted and trusting individuals. Nowadays we have become “anyone” on an email-list or part of a cascading email-chain. Pishing emails that try to lure us to potentially fake webpages to enter personal information is widespread. A whole new industry of cybersecurity has evolved in parallel with ever faster pingpong of new threats and costly remedies. Most critical remains the human factor to protect email and vital information from abuse. All training to better manage email should therefore begin with awareness building on the need to take cybersecurity seriously right from the beginning. It is not an issue to deal with towards the end of learning about it. Some general points have become common practice. Think carefully if you need to open the mail. Check whether there are external links in it. Do you really need this extra information? Be careful about the number of persons you forward or put in the copy field of your mail.
Unfortunately the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) makes it technically fairly easy to abuse email addresses and send an email from a domain name which you do not own. Same holds true for the content of emails. Originally only basic letters and numbers were allowed, no Umlaut etc. But then the “multipurpose internet mail extensions” (MIME) enabled more formats of attachments and illicit links and files within the email content.
In consequence it became necessary to scan emails en masse for malware and obnoxious content. Hence the quality of your email programs reveals itself with the amount of spam you still receive. Next come the email filters that sort your inbox for spam and other modern plagues like unwanted newsletters or notifications.
In consequence we sometimes wonder that we never received certain emails albeit the person sending it reiterated that the email was sent. Even checking your spam folder in the email program might not solve the issue because your receiving email server has been instructed not to accept emails from previously unknown mail servers. Not much you can do about this as an individual person, you mail server is just not on the so-called white list from which to accept incoming emails.
With a mail address from the big national or international companies you have little to worry about in this respect. Smaller companies or organizations might suddenly face a thorny issue if their firstname.lastname@example.org address appears on a dubious list. You will end up sending but nobody receives your emails. It might take you quite some time to find out about it and even more to fix the issue. Hence the take home message is, have more than one email address registered on different mail servers to check that sending out and receiving emails works properly for you. Managing an own webpage with email service for members or employees is a nice service, but beware of the implications for cyber security as well.
Brussels has recently opened a new attraction. A splendid temple-like building devoted to the unnamed God of beer-drinking. The renovation over several years of the centrally located “Bourse” has created a new popular attraction right in the centre of Brussels. From the outside the building reflects the classical temple architecture from Greek and Roman times. Although the building was for a long time the trading place of shares, obligation and currencies and thereby very closely linked to a country’s wealth and economic fate, it has found a new destination to represent the diverse and spirited culture of the people or peoples of Belgium through the lens of a beer glass. Of course, this is surrealism à la Magritte et al. (Museum and galleries within walking distance). The shifting fate after a financial crash to transform the “Stock Exchange” into a temple of surrealistic experiences is great idea and its realisation as popular move to transform the stock market into a temple to worship beer, beer drinking and conviviality a great idea. Without joking, the restaurant in the temple proposes good food that can be matched with a selection of 30+ kinds of Belgian beer (including 4 non-alcohol-containing beers).
Framing beer drinking culture differently from the image of beer and football hooligans is hard to achieve. Public images of beer drinking on television are all around us, anew every weekend. The Brussels stock exchange is a great place to reflect on shareholder versus stakeholder issues. Brussels has opted for a popular conversion of the building. Paris has gone for the upmarket more exclusive transformation of the previous stock exchange (Bourse commerciale) into a gallery of modern art from the private Pinault foundation.
The museum of beer in the upper ranks of the building in Brussels offers even tastings we were told. Well, beer drinking and stock trading (gambling) have both addictive potentials. Ruining yourself, the one or the other way, is equally disastrous not only for yourself but potentially others.
Know your limits is easier said than done. It is a behavioural phenomenon for individuals as well as regions or whole countries. With the apparent “Limits to Growth” for our planet or our ways to trade, even praying in the renewed beer temple is unlikely to solve the bitter-sweet issue. Perhaps discussions in the new Brussels temple will spur new coalitions and stimulate new ideas to overcome the locked-in political trading positions. Maybe the European Parliament should have a futuristic surreal session in the historic site. The only problem is, they would no longer want to return to their usual forum for debates.
„These were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end …“ And yet the Concorde served for decades as a massively polluting aircraft for those paying or had their flights paid be their enterprises to cross the Atlantic ocean. Yes it was the fastest way, but we learned that it didn’t really make sense. After a technical default with an explosion the entire craze got stopped. Now next to Orly airport the remainders of this undoubted design highlight is exposed. It serves more as a warning that not all technical innovations are viable as commercial or ecological innovations. The delta-design as aircraft is still the most common design children play around with as paper models. Wing designs have made progress to adapt the bent end on each wing. So should do our paper models of them. The Concorde is also a perfect example to learn from concerning the link between “Society and Technology”. Similar mistakes seem to occur still today. “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn…”.
In view of the worldwide size of book publishing we should also keep an eye on the CO2 footprint of book publishing. The Italian association of publishers gave a brief overview of the likely CO2 footprint the printing of a book causes. Their best guess is at ½ a kilo of CO2 on average. For simplicity of calculation and assuming that an editors’ association is unlikely to overstate the amount, let us assume it is 1 Kg CO2 per book. The most CO2 is consumed not in the book production but in the transport of the items, machinery and personnel involved in producing, editing, selling etc. Of course, paper is recycled to a large amount. Certified sustainability of paper from trees has become a standard in most countries.
Nice twist to the issue: your own library at home has become a CO2 storage, if you keep them or lend them or pass them on to others. Reading can be a little bit addictive and buying books as well. Reading online or electronic books reduces your CO2 footprint. The best way to imagine the reduction of your CO2 footprint, however, is to buy or to borrow a book on travelling which replaces the actual journal by reading on the couch. Yes, being a couch potato is good for the planet, and if you want to buy a book, walk to the book shop or the library if possible. If you enjoyed flying previously shift over to buying books on planes, airports, clouds in images or stories that involve extensive travelling instead for the sake of your own CO2 footprint and future generations.
Even a book will need somehow wood as input, many alternative ways of leisure time or professional activities are worse in terms of CO2 footprint. Any e-book, e-journal or e-newspaper is even better for the planet, especially if we think of the millions of paper copies across the world that are printed but never sold. Knowing your market is crucial to reduce misallocation of ressources. E-books are so much easier to store as well using regenerative energy for the content servers around the world.
A lot of important activities do not receive the attention they deserve. During a humanitarian crisis, Europe frequently acts with varying involvement of Member States. This holds true in droughts, inundations, earth quakes, civil wars or imperialist state conflicts. The extent and time of commitment are an additional and differentiating element. Coordination of such activities is important for those wanting to help and those asking or receiving assistance. Efforts, equipment and political support vary enormously as well. There is a need to approach this topic more strategically. The Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network (UCPKN) goes a long way to attempt to find a common language, data infrastructure and responses in this respect. It surely is important to go beyond the piecemeal approach of the past to be able to address emergencies in multiple kinds more effectively. It is, however, also in some instances a highly controversial issue as well. For each term in this old (Tschernobyl nuclear disaster) and still novel field (Fukushima) for joint activities, we have to come up with compromises of definitions.
For example, what constitutes an emergency? Does the climate crisis and disasters related to it already constitute an emergency now? Some say yes, we have to act now to avoid bigger floods and wild fires as of next year. Others, do not want to tackle the root causes, but rather focus on curing actual devastating effects of disasters.
We are back to a well-known topic of preventive rather than curative approaches. In the meantime, we are convinced that we have to commit more resources to both approaches: immediate relief and structural change to prevent an otherwise never-ending sequence of disasters in varying places.
Most important probably is the keeping of address books and fast digital networking facilities to react and communicate with the competent institutions and civil organisations. Beyond the involvement and linking of experts in the field, the larger public and volunteers make up for additional invaluable resources to act.
It is crucial to make it possible for decentral links between cities like in city partnerships to be involved. Building on existing human to human links motivates and mobilises huge additional resources. Of course, continuous training is a very important element in all those efforts. We should embrace it in the private and public sector, at school and in retirement even. (Image: Extrait de Peter Paul Rubens La chute des géants MRBAB, Brussels)
Some writers accomplish the formidable task to draft a text that encompasses more than one language. Samuel Beckett surely is one of them. Arnaud Beaujeu (2011) exposes the meta-language that Beckett creates through his reductionism and minimalist style. It is first a deconstruction of language or languages expressed in French and/or English at times. There is an underlying discourse dealing with the link and sometimes opposition, but always a relationship between at least these 2 languages. Beaujeu reveals 2 other languages: « the trivial and the spiritual ». The reductionism of Beckett leads to a conscious expression of the obvious, the trivial in conversations. This, however, he turns in the theatre piece “cette fois” (original “That Time”) into a ritual, spiritual version of 3 persons A, B, C in a prayer like liturgy. In taking out the sentence structure and obligations of grammar more generally the text becomes a rhythmic reading of words. Today we might say a Rap-version of a text.
The meta-language is the spiritual experience and another kind of access and questioning of memory, eventually even reconstructing a collective memory. Maybe the meta-language is the attempt to collectivise and internalize the dialogue that has turned into a trilogue.
It is out of the memory of persons or historical evolutions that Beckett builds his meta-language. Adorno (1974) put this in a relationship to Shakespeare’s dramatic work and the experience of the horrors of Nazi-Germany. Sarcastically put, the question to Adorno was not ” to be or not to be”, but “to die or to die”. Beckett travelled in Germany extensively in the year 1936 and faught in the 2nd World War with the French resistance.
„Paroles, musique, mémoire“ (Beaujeu, 2011) span a triangle which allows for a profound, albeit mostly empty space. Beckett offers a safety net to bridge the gap by way of reconstructing a language reduced to basics as well as meditative silence. The script lies in the meta-language and poetry is the more common access to this meta or essential level of our existence. Listening to the meta-language is like listening to polyphonic music. Some find it very disruptive, others a spiritual experience. Meta-language is all around us, like it or not. (Image: Französische Friedrichstadtkirche Berlin, Exhibition Princesses, 2023)
Jeder kennt den Sonnengruß aus dem Yoga. Jetzt gibt es eine neue Variante des Sonnengrußes. Nach vielen anderen Bundesländern hat sich Berlin an seine Mieterinnen, Pächterinnen und Eigentümerinnen gewandt, damit sie sich an der Ernte der Sonnenenergie beteiligen. Mit € 500 wurden kleine Steckersolarkraftwerke gefördert, die jede/jeder beantragen konnte der den Hauptwohnsitz in Berlin hat. Interessant war die erweiterte Interpretation des Balkons. Es wurden Kleinanlagen für Balkon, Terrasse, Gartenzaun oder auch für die Gartenlaube in die Förderung einbezogen. Alles digital zu erledigen, bitte.
Die öffentliche Förderung wird wohl die 2-3 fache Summe an privaten Investitionen anreizen. Das kann dann schon ein Anfang sein. Die Aussicht auf mehr Balkon- und Laubenpieper, die Strom für den Eigenbedarf erzeugen, kann hoffentlich mehr Personen bewegen, derartige Investitionen rasch umzusetzen. Viele Beispiele zeigen die Wirtschaftlichkeit solcher kleiner Investitionen, aber einige Jahre des Betriebs sollten schon einkalkuliert werden. Viel hängt dabei von dem allgemeinen Strompreis ab. Seit der Aggression Russlands in der Ukraine wissen wir, dass es noch viele weitere Gründe für die Beteiligung an der Energiewende gibt. Mehr Energiesouveränität fängt im Kleinen an, eine dezentrale Erzeugung und Verbrauch vor Ort kann sogar eine Netzausfall oder Notfallreserve darstellen.
Zu dem morgendlichen Sonnengruß reiht sich dann bald der tägliche Sonnendank ein. Mit dem entsprechenden Messgerät lässt sich die Sonnenernte leicht in Zahlen fassen und wir hören es buchstäblich im Geldbeutel klingeln. So werden gleichzeitig Steuergelder mit einer Hebelwirkung durch zusätzliche private Investitionen sinnvoll eingesetzt. Ein Digitalisierungsschub der privaten Antragsstellenden, Betreibende der Anlagen und öffentlichen Stellen ist ein zusätzlich sinnvolles Nebenprodukt. Papierlose Verwaltung ist ein Megaprojekt. Jetzt danken wir aber erst einmal der Sonne als großzügigem, selbstlosen Energielieferanten. (Image: IBB Webseite 2023).
The touring exhibition of art works from Ukraine 1900-1930s is on show in Brussels at the Royal Museums of fine art Brussels in November December 2023. Before Ukraine became swallowed up in the Sowjetunion there was a very active independent artist world that had close links to all capitals in Western Europe. All art disciplines were covered. The paintings of Vadym Meller from 1919 (Aquarell on carton) show designs for a dance performance to the music of Chopin. The modern designs and vivid colors reflect the conscious reference to art movements across Europe. The inspiration from dance to painting is a recurrent theme in impressionistic paintings, abstract paintings and into our own time period. Ukrainian art from early on in the 20th century had a broad scope beyond the narrow focus on art controlled by the soviets. Well worth enlarging our vision to take into account these creative masterpieces from Eastern Europe as independent voices.
The Republic of Georgia is honored with a wide ranging program in Brussels in the series of countries presented as part of the”Europalia” events and exhibitions. The exhibition at Bozar in the center of Brussels has a focus on the years between 1900-1936. It is astonishing to look at the creative examples of adaptations from western modern art with cubism and expressionist resemblance. Many artists had travelled to western parts of Europe or trained at well-known art schools there. Own adaptations to paintings, theatre and cinema yielded a unique style of Georgian modernism before Stalinism put an end to independent artists and their creative work.
During the short spells of political independence Georgia managed to re-establish each time a remarkable will to its own culture. Unity with artistic pluralism is a core value of the European unity and union as well. We are many and happy to have a chance with Georgian people to celebrate their artistic past and future.
Wir alle wissen, dass in Deutschland die Verwendung von Symbolen der Nationalsozialisten zum Beispiel in Fotos strafrechtlich verfolgt werden kann. Das trifft auch auf vermeintlich nur private Verwendung zu. Dazu hat das Bundesverfassungsgericht eine hilfreiche Erläuterung und Auflistung erstellt (Link dazu hier).
Das Oberverwaltungsgericht von Rheinland-Pfalz hat bereits klargestellt, dass eine Unterstützung der Reichsbürger für Beamte zum Verlust des Ruhegehalts führt. (Pressemitteilung OVG RF) Die Demokratie hat sich Mittel für ihre aktive Verteidigung geschaffen. Diese rechtsstaatlichen Mittel müssen wir noch entschiedener einsetzen.
Hilfreich kann das Weiterlesen auf der Konrad Adenauer Stiftung dazu sein. Dort wird in allgemeinverständlicher Art beschrieben, dass die zur Schau Stellung von Teilen der Uniform und Symbolen seit Gründung der Bundesrepublik verboten ist.
Meist steht hinter der Verwendung dieser Symbole keine Dummheit, sondern eine bewusste Aggression oder gar Boshaftigkeit gegenüber anderen Menschen. Menschenverachtung der Nationalsozialisten lässt sich nicht entschuldigen, damals nicht und heute nicht. Image: Edgar Degas d’après Rembrandt 2023 BnF.
The Tate Modern Gallery in London has an exhibition of photography on display which challenges our Western view of art works. With a focus on photography and African photographers it is complementary to the many other photo exhibitions. We have a world in common, says the title of the exhibition. The images, however, reveal another vision of African photographers. Other perspectives on beauty, architecture and the distribution of wealth and waste across the world becomes explicit. Beyond the documentary effect of a lively African scene of photography and past colonialism the forward-looking vision of African photographers is also evident. Colours and Imagination of a unique kind allow us to look beyond the current state of affairs. Rising from the ashes and western waste the colours of Africa will prevail.
Only through the force to imagine a different trajectory for the continent we shall eventually be able to see new flowers blooming.
Positive images have to be put in front of the “negativity bias” in Western media when reporting about African countries. The light, the sun, the sea and coast lines, all can contribute to the rise of Africa in various ways. The photographers in the Tate exhibition demonstrate an impressive power to go beyond the day-to-day topics.
Broadening our scope of visuals with more images from Africa certainly are fist steps to enlarge the spectrum of photography and art. A chance to browse through the catalogue allows to go back from time to time to counter our usual stereotypes. (Image taken from Tate catalogue A world in common, 2023 Muluneh Aida 2018 p. 202-3).
There is an interesting discourse in literature about how to define irony. This really begins with Plato commenting on Sokrates who makes use of the term “eirôneia”. In the history of the idea of irony comes next the philosopher Kierkegaard with his not-ironic treatise “The Concept of Irony. With Constant Reference to Socrates”. Reading philosophy can be really entertaining. It is, therefore, no surprise to find a publication entitled “Ironic Samuel Beckett” (Pol Popovic Karic, 2009). Following Karic there are 3 defining elements of irony: (1) “The message should be intentionally created, …(2) The meaning of an ironic message needs to be “covert”,… (3) During the analysis of a stable irony, the reader can assume that the first interpretation of the ironic message is correct.” (Pol Popovic Karic, 2009 p.49).
Additionally, to understand irony it might be necessary to know more about the context of the statement. Sometimes the ironic statement can only be interpreted as such if you have additional knowledge about the biography of the author (p.47). To understand Beckett better it is advisable to read about his life course in the many biographies available nowadays.
Beckett by Beckett, meaning the translation of Beckett by Beckett himself yields many fruitful insights into his kind of irony and constant reflection and laughing about himself as his very own form of irony. This becomes most evident in the many helpful tables Linda Collinge (2000) presents in her book on “Beckett traduit Beckett”. Translating irony is a tricky endeavour. Many of the translations do not seem to be straightforward at all and can only be understood from the perspective of the whole translation of a piece and the underlying “Haltung”, ironic attitude of the author to his own work. Beckett by Beckett remains a master piece for translaters beyond those from French to English. (Images: Linda Collinge, 2000, p.61-2).