Kinder Tiere Greise als Sammler

How to tell a story?

There is the artisanal story-telling model to say something by talking about something else. Narrating another story, a parallel one, maybe very pictorial or imaginative, hoping for it to expand, without having to connect the story-lines yourself, and without having to explicitly name what you are talking about. This figurative model is used in Science Fiction, it produces the thousand murders of the crime novel, and the moralist story, like Fontaine’s fables. This includes that the good story is said to be one which draws no conclusion and gives no explanation as to its implicit content. An insight is offered by Walter Benjamin’s Kunst zu erzählen, where he cites Herodot, and the story of the Egyptian king Psammenit. This gives an indication of a weakness of Fontaine’s fables: The kill-joy, by giving us a moral at the end of the story narrows his depicted story-images into a one-lined code of conduct. This—I guess—is the point at which generations of French school children would always roll their eyes, in disgust.

But you can also give the clue at the beginning of the story, as in Christiane et Monique—LIP V by Carole Roussopoulos, in which a story is about to be told, and the narrator starts by saying: I am going to tell you about the women in the factory LIP, but I am going to call the men, whites, and I am going to call the women, Arabs. And thus she continues.
No explanation is given to this rhetorical decision, so we are left to wonder, along with Montaigne in Benjamin’s story about the reasons of Psammenit’s break-down, and muse if, in the LIP story, it was because the narrator by using this ellipsis hints to the barriers feminist discourse meets (boring! boring!) in comparison to post-colonial discourses or whether she was just too tired to restate the obvious, and wanted to have some more fun as a narrator, being able to thus say: “So I, being an Arab myself…”
And, you can plunge into your story head first, and start your text with: I am writing as an ugly one for the ugly ones: the old hags, the dykes, the frigid, the unfucked, the unfuckables, the neurotics, the psychos, for all those girls who don’t get a look-in in the universal market of the consumable chick. I am making no excuses for myself. I am not complaining. I would never swap places because it seems to me, that being Virginie Despentes is a more interesting business than anything going on out there.

These are the first lines of King Kong Theory, by Virginie Despentes, who became far more known and read with her then fifth book, the Life of Vernon Subutex, the first in a trilogy by that name. These first lines, as I can tell you, having been their reader just recently myself, leave you somehow open-mouthed and stunned. Someone says something. How extraordinarily astonishing! Not a gesture to vanish into style, but invoking a sort of uncontrollable, and un-stylable subjectivity! But then you might somehow relax. It is from 2010! Or you could say: aye, the old punk gesture! Was there even internet? The machine, as we are constantly being reminded—even by posters in the subway of well-meaning government agencies—to be unforgiving and un-forgetting, diminishing your chances, with the projected future super-employer by recalling the moment you puked into the commuter-train waste bin. And while writing the last line, and noticing I am referring to a Berlin subway campaign, it dawns on me, that I am actually writing a very German text, and just by chance of an early morning decision, I write it in English. Discourses vary locally, and my first intention of writing about Delphine Seyrig, and her video S.C.U.M. Manifesto, which she made together with Carole Roussopoulos, turned into a nagging doubt, if I really understood French feminism, and its high level of colloquialism. It felt as if I had become more an expert in hidden messages, or in avoiding interrogative glances, if there are any, asking for explicit opinions, and a reader of meaningful sighs. “But you know what I mean…”
Actually you might even not guess what I mean when I say it, but the chances are higher, though, you might get it.
So I move in the classical way as if this was a police state and still it is just the art scene in order not to be “opinionated” or “judgmental.”
Trained to read hints to what is going on here, through discussion of the alleged “Alt,” but sure Right movement in some far away country, there remains the question, which is why what is going on here is not named more clearly?, a question that could be answered by 1) because there is nothing here, and no discussion to be entered and commented upon, because at first it would have to be started, and / or 2) answered again with a question: Wouldn't it mean that we would have to be willing to lose control? Ready to plunge into something, a space opened up by words? In a strange sort of opposed movement to writing a text that wishes to control a discourse, as opposed to the movement of placing it, sorting it in and showing its limits and your perception of these limits, and of the people who lead it.
Losing control, as far as I remember from advice for drug-usage, is recommended, if there is a sort of fall back mode, be it a circle of friends, or whatever might be called a supportive environment, which can handle an issue addressed, a rage about something, without answering im- or explicitely with: “But this is understood. Why recall it again?” Otherwise I guess, the only thing that remains at the moment are style choices.
But nothing is understood, there are no real common grounds, and it is for the time being unclear to me, whether this is bad, or is actually good. This is—I guess—the message conveyed in the difference between Despentes King Kong Theory, and the Trilogy on the Life of Vernon Subutex. King Kong Theory being based in the recollection of a community, the punk scene, which in her descriptions takes on some utopian gender bending, riches and rags confounding notion—while I also remember my 16 year old ego asking myself, if our guys had really finished with a sexist image of women that was shown in the films we were watching (Clockwork Orange e.g.), and liked our deliberately uglyfying styles of consciously unflattering hairstyles and dress code (because Punk was at the core, contrary to what is seen nowadays, no fashion movement in the sense—too many knocked-out teeth can account for that). Despentes evokes Punk as the backdrop to her boldness in speaking, even as a sort of inner obligation to use bold language.
And then the Vernon Subutex novels, where this foil is being torn apart, deconstructed into speech acts of these former comrades, inner and outer monologues, mostly fascist. Between those books she loses the subjective writing position, in parallel with the collapse of a community, or its self-abolishment under the light of neoliberal living conditions. And thus also the myth of Punk as platform for a voice. So in a very logical sense she cannot speak anymore as herself, as she has done in King Kong Theory, and she resumes to telling stories, parallel ones, maybe very pictorial or imaginative, hoping for them to expand, without having to connect the story-lines herself.

1 The video consists in reading out a text aloud and giving it alas a voice, which strangely turns the text from the idiosyncrasies it produces when reading it in silence alone, as a confrontation between an I and a text, into a thoughtful text; a voice, to be considered.

Starship 19: Apokolypse of the praktikal moment - Cover Nora Schultz
  1. Whales Nora Schultz
  2. John Boskovich John Boskovich
  3. Anonymus Place Nong Shoahua
  4. Plants and Fruits Rosa Aiello
  5. Freedom and control of others (including myself) Cornelia Herfurtner
  6. Art Crust of Spiritual Oasis in 5 chapters Jack Smith
  7. Talking with Elizabeth Ravn Julia Jung
  8. Entropic Delusional Culture Eric D. Clark
  9. How to tell a story? Francesca Drechsler
  10. A Visit from the Left Robert M. Ochshorn
  11. Lies don’t fact. On voices and fake news Mihaela Chiriac
  12. Unwirklichkeit und Wirklichkeit von sozialem Sadismus Stephan Janitzky
  13. things are scattered Max Schmidtlein
  14. Inferius Sorbilis Tinctura Elijah Burgher
  15. Looking like a human cat Stephanie Fezer, Vera Tollmann
  16. María Galindo Maria Galindo
  17. Introducing the parliament of bodies Paul B. Preciado
  18. Spukken trippen 2 Lars Bang Larsen
  19. Pieces and Masterpieces Jakob Kolding
  20. Still Lifes Vera Palme
  21. Nullerjahre Tenzing Barshee
  22. No Dandy, No Fun Hans-Christian Dany, Valérie Knoll
  23. Triplets Mark von Schlegell
  24. Kontaktlos ist nicht der Standard Ulla Rossek
  25. The Mythology of Modern Law David Bussel
  26. Another Fish Story Jay Chung
  27. A biographical interview with Huang Rui Ariane Müller, Huang Rui, Bei Dao, Mang Ke, Gu Cheng
  28. dp how many times Karl Holmqvist
  29. Save digital tech Mercedes Bunz
  30. Two dark patches Haytham El-Wardany
  31. Reflecting in Sizes Yuki Kimura
  32. Amazon Worker Cage Simon Denny
  33. La Escuela Nueva Florian Zeyfang, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, Alexander Schmoeger
  34. I hope you keep in mind you and I are left behind Michèle Graf, Selina Grüter
  35. da ich nichts weiter tue als mich in mir umzutun Elisa R. Linn
  36. Basketcase part 1 Gerry Bibby
  37. A conversation between Daniel Herleth and Samuel Jeffery Daniel Herleth, Samuel Jeffery
  38. Dear Starship Julian Göthe
  39. The Boulders Amelie von Wulffen
  40. Other people's clothes Carter Frasier
  41. Damn Forest Mark van Yetter
  42. Imprint 19 Starship
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