I love invitations. Thank you so much Bob for this one! I‘m very happy to read Everything in the beautiful context of bobshop. And thank you all for coming!
The artist Iris Touliatou invited me to write a text for the catalogue of her exhibition appendage which opened at Grazer Kunstverein this June. The only requirement was that the text should have the format of a preface. She only told me a few things about the show. One being that she will open the five doors the Kunstverein has beside its main entrance which are normally closed. About a week after that, Bob invited me to do a reading. So I thought to combine these two invitations. What you are about to hear is an extended version of the catalogue text for Iris.

More (or five) Doors extended

This is a beautiful staircase.

A door is a before and might be a beginning. A portal even. It may lead to something or someone, and things may change. That is, if you‘re brave, or maybe it‘s enough to be open or naïve or optimistic or even better, an open optimist. Or maybe just curious enough.
If there‘s a door (or five) walk through (that‘s too corny, I‘m aware).

This could be either followed by or I‘m thinking of:
- The reality has no door, (Colin de Land according to Richard Prince in Artforum, Summer 2003). There‘s no door, nothing to knock at, just in case, (The Walking Dead, 2010-2022).
- Rain is a cage you can walk through, (a line in a poem by Jeredith Merrin that I only know of because Sabeth Buchmann used it as title for her beautiful text about Judith Hopf in the Performance issue of Texte zur Kunst, March 2000).
But it doesn‘t (even) rain.
And there‘s no performance or performative gesture. But maybe something like a non-performative gesture, later.
And Colin de Land is dead.
And it‘s been a year or more already that I‘ve watched The Walking Dead.

This is a preface, even though there is no text, no relation. Only this/a before?. But maybe this isn‘t even a before (or door) as nothing is coming (up).

door opens, closes

My preoccupation with the terms remove and disappear seeps quite naturally into this text, like it seeped again and again into everything I‘ve done since writing an application for a fine arts research stipend about these fellow terms more than a year ago, last spring. Remove and disappear leave nothing after their appearance, or at least there would be less than before. I began to use my notes to produce pictures and writing, even if and because the production of something (or more) to describe more closely remove and disappear may be counterintuitive or redundant.

You can‘t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

Or you could (choose to) kill/numb all receptors for love with certain drugs (as they assist the revival of trauma, allow lazy forms of grief, help you to not feel). Is there a sequence to Everything? And maybe it‘s easier (no loose surprises/love?). And/or only another lonely, pathetic attempt to control the narrative. What could/can be repaired? But you might not get to a (real) before or any beginning or something like a real narrative/relation. You build a blockage, there‘s something in your eyes that makes them seemingly and/or really(?) not receptive for some time. They are emptied of you, dead like a shut door. Where are you when your eyes seem off and without you? What do you hold (on to)? You won‘t/don‘t touch/be touched/known(?).

Or what won‘t be. What will only have been in my fantasy? Did I need a muse? Or what do you want?

Is writing a form of relating? Does it help you/me to relate?

The fundamental understanding of desire in psychoanalysis is that it‘s disorganising as Jamieson Webster writes.

I post a picture of a bright green toaster with a thin black smiley with big black oval eyes, the words esperanza creating space for your dreams, and yellow buttons labelled Frozen, Reheat, and Cancel on Instagram and write:
Eyes wide shut / absence (also as the opposite of access)
creating space for your dreams / Frozen / Reheat / Cancel

door opens, closes

Architecture could be read as the reverse of remove and disappear. It‘s certainly no accident that in Antonioni‘s film The Passenger (1975), which describes David Locke‘s/Jack Nicholson‘s disappearance or double death, Nicholson meets The Girl/Maria Schneider who plays an architecture student and thereby embodies his/an antithesis.
The Girl wakes up in the car, yawns, stretches, and says: Can I ask you one question now?
David Locke: One you can, yes.
The Girl: Only one, always the same. What are you running away from?
David Locke: Turn your back to the front seat.
The Girl turns around, stands up in the car and smiles into the headwind.

A preface without subsequent text or nothing to follow is for nothing, or a (structural) problem. Unreal? Pure negativity?

With - without
More of/than you (or something in you).
Or there is no sexual relation, see Lacan.

Or the subject‘s darkness (Subjektfinsternis) consists in the disappearance of the subject.

Questions of follow-up (Fragen der Nachfolge). And then? In the park there‘s a graffiti:
Alle werfen / Keiner fängt (Everyone throws / No-one catches)

Afterwardsness (Nachträglichkeit) – narrative arc (relation?) – and/or remain in foreplay/prelude
(Or when you google future, you only get pictures of a sad rapper from Atlanta.)

How passive is the objet petit a (after Lacan, the object-cause of desire)?

Happy ends? I too know nothing about the end, possible ends – What a beautiful idea you were.

Without year

And then there are algorithms, or anyway nothing matters (Es is eh alles egal.).

Do I know how to flirt?

So how then could we get anywhere near to, or rather close(r) to a relation?
A relation could be one margin of remove and disappear. What I might mean by a relation, or what describes something similar to the relational movement/gesture of remove and disappear, is wonderfully illustrated between the image and sound plane in the beginning of the film The Killing of Two Lovers (2020). We watch David/Clayne Crawford run away on an empty road in the minuscule town of Kanosh, Utah after he had pointed a pistol at two sleeping lovers. We see him from behind. He runs away (from us/the two lovers) for a pretty long time. At some point a noise sets in which accompanies his running away with a very slow beat. The somewhat calming sound of a closing car door.
For Lacan the fading of the subject, its disappearance, comes about by way of a detour via the other. What is the essence of relation? What does relation (per se) look like? How do you photograph it? What can you hold on to and how can you be there/present? Photographs always show what‘s not there.

… just to see you smile

So how then could we get anywhere near to, or rather close(r) to a relation?
If you overlook/miss what could be seen, and the aim is there to see something, the aim or you remain alone. Seeing is a form of relating too. Do blind spots move? And how slow? And what is it with the absence generated (angelegt) in pictures? And will mine? Is it defensive? Passive aggressive? As if you knew that you have to say something now, and that you say nothing and are bewildered that you will not have said anything. But the other one‘s (already) gone. You are with without. Everything is slipping through your fingers. There‘s no narrative. We don‘t (even) slip. And then, time is a place.

Victoria Miro doesn‘t take responsibility for umbrellas

So how then could we get anywhere near to, or rather close(r) to a relation?
fewer images
Now I think I would love to have been taking pictures of us, or rather pictures that say something, anything about (the mysteries/secrets of) the elusiveness of relation per se and our relation while we were living together. Of the dynamics, of all that‘s in between, all that was or might have been apparent in everything around us, between us. Something of the fragility of the dynamics of lovers. Something of the fragility of the dynamics of love. How carefully would/could I have pictured it/them? Maybe these pictures would have revealed what was singular in us. We touched Everything. What is my relation to (being in) relation? What does relation (per se) look like?

But my agency was gone (you can only take pictures of what you see
we never see the same things).
What did I miss?
What did you see?

I think about how to render absence readable/visible. What happens if you accumulate ideas and associations and margins of a term that evokes only (more) loneliness? Is there a surplus? Or what resonates?
How much love remains?

What might/may be, is/comes close enough?

…, for a thought to soften, ...*

So how then could we get anywhere near to, or rather close(r) to a relation?
There‘s a sadness that follows. Was there a beginning (we only met a couple of times)? She might tell him that she feels weird (I was happy when I saw the full moon) that maybe it‘s just the moon, to not say she‘s afraid. That her head is empty (or follows us?). She had just texted him before that she felt weird and wanted distraction. Does he look at her? How? She looks away to not reveal how much she fancies him. The thing in her eyes, something like love(?)? What she doesn‘t tell him is that he intimidates her, and that this intimidation touches her. That when she first saw him on the opposite side of the street, where they were about to meet, they glanced at each other and then, happy(?) of what they had seen (it seemed like a maybe) looked away quite shy, before they even said Hi for the first time. That later that evening while sitting in a nearby park and drinking the Sekt he had bought for them from the weeping Sekt glasses she had brought -- leftovers of an artist‘s addition she had once made, and which he loved/understood immediately -- she felt a very calm and somehow seemingly deep connection. As if they were on the same side of something. How easy it was to talk, and so easy to laugh too. There‘s a butterfly in the room (Was it yellow? Yellow and something? There are two colors in my head). She might tell him that she loves croissants (Croissants calm me. I didn‘t talk about croissants, not then). He tells her about some backstage thing he got into, a parallel world where everything drug related was bigger and there was more and everyone was higher even higher, and she says or did she just think that, that there are a lot of parallel worlds and that there‘s one where everyone‘s happy, not questioning a thing. She just read, in Disorganisation & Sex by Jamieson Webster, hysteria represses anxiety and later Hysteria is a focus on the other to the detriment of the self, a focus on the other to the detriment of ever saying what you want., and this seems like capturing a bit the state she‘s in, a little hysteric. Of course it isn‘t the moon (although and/or because We ate the sun). Why does he want to talk about drugs again? There were other things he‘d told her, before tonight, but maybe they were never meant to entail anything. And she knew that, and she didn‘t. They hadn‘t done much more to each other than circle one another. As if they wouldn‘t really know what to do with this apparent attraction. And he asks Is it fear? And she remembers M. texting her Desire is the yeast of the unconscious. She thought yeast needs calm and time (I don‘t know whether you like croissants, just that you want milk in your coffee, no sugar). And A. once told her Yeast calms. And that she thought then that now she understands why she loves croissants. They work/are somehow like hugs, or sometimes. And Buchteln and Germknödel and Strietzel and everything else made of/with yeast (I don‘t know if M. and A. ever met. Did I introduce them?). She thinks of the way he‘d touched her body and what he hadn‘t dared. That she had thought then that more might have been too exciting or disorganising maybe. She says Yes, fear maybe. The butterfly doesn‘t move (we never got very far or all over the place/everywhere). He knows that he doesn‘t have what she might want or not yet, or not for her, or isn‘t ready. Not what it takes to hold (or hold on to). Did she think, he might? Does she? She didn‘t mirror him. She was far too cautious too, she tried to behave differently with him and did, which made her less herself, less strong, too confusing probably. She tried to behave like a/the Girl. Or whatever she thought that that might be. She hadn‘t told him what she wanted, not in time. Did she know what she wanted, except spending more time? She was surprised that she was so touched. Does she see him? Does he feel seen? She doesn‘t know what he thinks now. He seems tired, looks tired. She thinks she liked his hair best on their first date, he looked like a soldier then, his hair did anyway. It made him look quite strong. Like many other things she‘d never told him that. She goes to the bathroom and doesn‘t properly close the door (did I want you to hear me, or is it just that I don‘t like closed doors). And while she‘s peeing he passes by to get something from the kitchen or does he want to hear her pee? Later she‘ll think that they were both not ready when they met. Or was he just a perfect screen for all her projections? She will leave soon. There is no invitation/reason(?) to stay. And when he says goodbye that night it isn‘t the first time that he thinks that this is the last time they say goodbye. He is tired. He feels less, less than her anyway. He doesn’t understand her timing/her(?). Does he not feel safe enough to feel more? Indifference can be calming. He always or mostly seems calm in a way. She doubts he‘s calm inside. She wouldn‘t be that drawn to calm alone. The butterfly stays (and it takes me a while, and another goodbye, before I realise that I will not see the butterfly again and will not find out whether you like croissants). The next time they meet because she has a question. A question then answered, the reason given for the answer being far more banal and simultaneously sadder than she had imagined it to be. And there‘s still lots she doesn‘t know about him. And there‘s still lots he doesn‘t know about her. And can‘t and not wanting/wishing becomes the same no, a no to love(?) or its possibility or just to her he leaves her to decide on her own. He’d already pictured himself leaving that day before he’d even arrived. When he leaves he also leaves all the excitement or whatever energy it is that her asking her question has released. And she starts to write a text for a catalogue she is invited to write, which quite fittingly is supposed to be a preface without subsequent text. And a bit later turns into this revised, extended version. And now has, because of this very paragraph which became quite long compared to all the others, somehow lost its equilibrium. Like a door unhinged. But that‘s just fine by her (I‘m porous like a door). He was her muse for a little while (I begin again).

This would have been the moment when I would have heated the oven and warm-up/bake some croissants. Not just because I love croissants, even at night. But also because I am interested in what comes out of pictures and/or texts like this. And because I like redundancy and non-performances. Performances that are mundane, mere gestures, or very boring. But Bob and Bobshop don‘t have an oven. So we just bought some. I hope you like croissants. Read them as something that came/fell out of this text. Feel free to help yourselves.

I just came back from a holiday with friends. Iris invited me to Athens and together with Q. and I. we went with a big ferry to a tiny Island. Because it was very windy we went to eat something inside the belly of the ferry where you didn‘t feel the waves and the winds as much. The portions were big. The biggest portions they served were spaghetti. Big in a way I hadn‘t seen yet. They were enormous amounts/mountains of spaghetti bolognese. They seemed not just good-enough, but enough. Really enough. Days after this ferry ride that was pretty turbulent because of winds and waves, I still had to think of these spaghetti and how much they had amazed me or rather how much I was amazed by enough.

My uncle, Michael Turnheim, wrote that writing would be the only dignified outcome of mourning.

Desire needs/eats (more) time, and it needs time (spent) with the other (sometimes days in a row filled with Everything).

I‘m thinking/writing nothing for a while. Or rather write that I don‘t think/feel anything.

That there‘s something in you. Or how to render absence readable/visible.
There‘s no absence in the real. Or the/a lover‘s desperate Really? which might say more about oneself than about whoever is addressed/holds oneself and not the other. We cannot.

I‘m late. As late as possible. Yet again.

Accidental access, or more unknowing might allow for more relating, or eyes wide shut, or Everything ...

So how then could we get anywhere near to, or rather close(r) to a relation?
I think of the way Denis Lavant flies dancing in the very last minutes of Claire Denis‘ Beau Travail (1999) and of certain pictures (and nudes), I didn‘t get a chance to take. And how this scene visualises a relation/way to relate to the world and how it always makes me feel less alone. Or I understand every move, am moved by every move (or Denis Lavant).

Everythiiiing, (sung by Thom Yorke)

Or The Doors: Love me two times, I‘m goin‘ away...


*As found in Iris Touliatou‘s poetic text for her exhibition Overnight at Radio Athènes in 2019.

Note: Some of the lines of this text are borrowed from my text Und sie fällt uns dauernd runter / This one‘s about love, 2021‒ .

Everything / More (or five) Doors extended, 2022
Reading/Performance, bobshop (https://bobshop.info/), Berlin, July 30th 2022.
More (or five) Doors is published in 'Prefaces to appendage', a publication with contributions by Arnisa Zeqo, Iris Touliatou, Julie Peeters, Lisa Holzer, Tom Engels, and Quinn Latimer.