Writings from the road
Tales, pamphlets, theory, portraits...
ethics, technis, measure, DOMINATION, FINITUDE, mass society, pshephiotelos, emancipation, kyrgyzstan, MASS MEDIA, VIOLENCE, anthropology, GLOBALISATION, materialism, violence
(…) Iwas exposing once upon a day my « rule of measure in pursuit of the good life » to a former student of the Ecole Polytechnique (a French prestige engineering school), jewel, if there is such a thing in such a configuration, of the society of calculation*.
The rule, roughly summed-up, supposed that one would act and produce only in the extent of his own means: one should possess himself the know-how required for the entire creation of a product (thus, comprehension and knowledge of its functioning), or assume responsibility of the consequences following his action (which would not impeach the acceptance of partial knowledge of the world as a whole and its mechanisms). A principle to apply as far as in the making of the tools used for production, and the gathering of the necessary ressources, in possible collaboration with a community of beings of which each member had to be known personally (it is estimated that a human being can genuinely know and bound with every member of a group of about a hundred people) and apply to the same rule**. (…)
(…) This is how I came to the conclusion that ethics is probably condemned to never skip the trivial issue of alimentation: about its nature, its supplying and its storage. More stunning perspective yet, perhaps that question is to be the ground of ethics, that any researcher in individual and common happiness will be forced to scrupulously examine, in the first place. The inaugural gesture, in a permanently renewed critic of the hubris, consisting in going against the solid conviction that a good life should mechanically flow from the insurance of a supply of goods, about which one should not have to worry for the longest time possible. (…)
(…) Start from home, by feet or with wheels, not in summer, not in a plane, nor a spaceship, it would not work, sleep outside.
– Arrive, after a few weeks, after a few months in Illyra, ride along the craggy coast, between the Adriatic Sea and the Velebit mountain belt.
– Observe the scorched summits crowned with thick clouds and theirs snowcaps, from the littoral the mineral rorquals dozing in the waves, sometimes green, brown occasionally, under rare and precious circumstances silver-grey, go on, full South, a few more days.
– After a night of freezing Bora and rains, just after you’ve closed your eyes, re-open them, break camp, leave without knowing what the day will be made of, notice a new island there (…)
Norway, North Cape, repetition & difference, teleology, phenomenology of time, performance, aim, retroaction, time, loop
(…) That moment towards which retrospectively seem to converge all my initiated actions since Minor Asia, has the intensity of the move initiated by the pianist giving a concert when he lifts up, in the silence full of shadow of an audience hanging upon his gesture, an arm that contains all the times he has already played this piece, but also all the positions necessary to the upcoming piece, and perhaps already all the other times he will perform the piece, imprinted as it will be by the manner in which he played them previously, notes, fingerings, successive contractions of the muscles, intuitive coordination and reflexes (so much was it repeated!), all like stocked as a long organic cervical snake, virtually included in its whole in the utter intimate science about the way to get to the last note (…)
POLAND, civilisations, cosmopolitism, eudemonism, TRANSLATIONS, LOGICS OF TOURISM, physio-myth, techno-myth
(…) Thus, exploration of the world as an answer to one’s own finitude, but above all, as a school of realism is at first a thing one conducts, if in the commandment of action one grasps that must be preserved a suppleness that has to do with immersion (geographical, historical, humane, animal, wildish, environmental) and to do with the waiting of retroactive effects, on the agent, of its choices of direction. It is, then, the empirical rank of exploration that is given back to it: to form oneself as much as to inform, namely to learn and to govern oneself; historia and autopsia. (…)
Trieste, Italy Civilisations, rebonds, crossings, irrigations, merchant global device, capitalism, global history, billiard game.
(…) Yes, as for who roves about in the emerald valleys, the earth is flat like the green felt of an american game, deployed on that imposing piece of furniture, lit up by a low thermonuclear ceiling light! From its hidden architecture are slipping away curls of an industrial merchant smoke, darkening the solar neon tube. One can follow with sometimes misty corneas the never-ending rebounds of cultures and facts, after the original cue stick jolted. Occasionally, a ball in the darkness of a pocket falls, but it might be that a feverish Jupiter quickly fishes out the orb and puts it back on the center surreptitiously arrayed with another colour, another number, or might it be an automat in perpetual motion, or yet a hologram, and who knows if the noise of the civilisations shocks does really sound, and by whom it may be heard? (…)
FRANCE, asceticism, adventure, cosmos, culture, ethics, nature, amerindian perspectivism, death, metaphysics, hommage, grand-father
(…) I’d love gliding in the very heart of localities, at the first hours of light, when houses and church are yet entirely coated in a heavy white fog, when I would finally heat up a bit after the bite of the morning frosts and air currents of the first miles on my hands, my legs and feet, when I would guess from the prime glowings behind windows, from the prime purring of a car, from the thick smoke rising from the chimneys, from the evasive echo of a stock behind a hedge, from the slow tinting of the spoon scraping the bottom of a bowl, that there were, in fact, some living here, ignoring in that very moment the strange being speeding quietly between their places, every sense wide awake.
When I got back on the footbike at La Rochelle to tackle the Silver Coast, from Royan, well, one could say that eventually it is the coastline from Aquitaine that caught me. This is how. (…)
(…)How can it be it that the roe, this delicate creature bringing to mind graces, shudders and prudishness, emits the most harrowing barking one can hear? Its call, similar to a croaky plaint looming from the depths of time, moves even the motionless sleeper of the valley, triggers a freezing shiver, corrupts the blameless dormancy with an incommensurate worry. Its a funereal yapping that comes through its slightly open thin muzzle, when with a short breath, an eye wide open in the twilight of the woods, it howls in danger, fearing the imminent end. It seems to bear in its lifetime the ominous knowledge of its destiny as a prey, teared appart by dogs teeth, crible with arrows or bullets, already aware of the loss of its horns, skin. Its sonorous signature is such that for a long time, and with a certain fright when the grunts and fuss of a burrowing beast were approaching from my night shelter, I would mistake it with wild boars I thought I was chasing away by standing outside my tent, a knife and a lightened lamp in hands. (…)
poland, mazurka, dance, notation, interpretation, folklore, incorporation, idiosyncrasy, metamorphosis, cultures, argerich
(…) The particularity of those piano pieces is also to succeed in the incorporation in a new structure (about to become canonical) of codified folk material, in such a unique style that one, just by hearing it, can recognize instantaneously the author. It’s the whole story of so called « art music », itself part of what the scholars identify as the triad of popular, folk and art music. But isn’t that the story of any live culture too? As the travel shows it each day clearly more, cultural identity is a game of incorporations and translations, a process of articulation, in common and unique tales, of a sum of historical endogenous and exogenous elements relative to a territory and the people that inhabits it. (…)
Italy, americano, bar, café, caffe, countryside, espresso, rurality, remake the world, newton, common sense
(…) For a time, I stopped harassing baristas with my un-caffè-americano-per-favore (prounounced moreover with residues of my spanish ride). In the motherland of espresso, it’s such pure sin to ingest the black gold diluted, that the americano is served in two containers: a cup holding the sublime essence, and a hot pot of water destined to help one drown the qahwah. Of course boiling hot, in case it could prevent one from proceeding to the profanation act. I can feel people stop breathing in the whole café when I’m initiating the fatal spraying, a sadistic grin on my face. In Spain, rule was more or less coffee con leche, but the americano would ravish bartenders, one just had to be a bit patient with the machine. In Tangier, the long coffee had the capacity of a mint syrup and water glass, one would have to let the coffee dregs fall on to the bottom of the blurred goblet.
The more I went to the East of the Valley, the more thick the mystery of the americano, to my waiters. Once, one called the father on the white telephone, asking, in panic, with which impious manipulation of the new Nuova Simonelli the hideous muck should be orthodoxically extracted. Another time, I was directly asked about the instructions, and confused by my shaky italian, one would serve me, on the dark bottom of the cup, bottled water, frizzante! (…)
italy, adaptation, anthropos, bivouac, down, technics, humanism, neo-liberalism, practical philosophy, pragmatism, material reproduction
(…) Now, I’m using a quite advanced technique, which consist in the appropriation of the spontaneous mean of material reproduction of another animal, its feathers (reproductive function, or nest building one concerning goose). The captured raw material is then confined in a highly technical fabric – a good sleeping bag will often be very cold on the external surface, and one finally just has to slip in as in a second skin.
It’s practical, web-footed birds seem to have not yet developed a language of anti-human resistance, nor the capacity of organizing offensive squadron to sabotage the vast breeding warehouses, nor to ally with their comrade beasts internationally exploited. It went way too fast for them; as the quasi whole of species, they don’t dispose of the formidable symbolic capacities that we use to relay and adopt sciences and techniques as quickly as we do, of our tool to make datas circulate at a speed higher than the rhythm of their genetical reproduction, and they are not born in a state of de-specialisation (neoteny) as consequent as our, something that allow them to adapt to almost any kind of environment, and open the gates of invention and exploration* (…)
NORWAY, captation, imago, TOURISM, PICTURE SHOOTING PREDATOR, MEAN OF LOCOMOTION, LANDSCAPES, DEATH WISH
(…) The biggest predator of all is without contest here the image hunter, adventurer type. At a time when wither the procession of fitted out caravans, stuffed with brats, graduated youth or retired people lacking thrilling disorientation, it’s the turn of a specimen proliferating in those prized barren lands and on small liaison ferry boats, to patrol the surroundings: equipped with his telephoto lens (the longer the better), with his Great North Safari electronic stuff, and if possible, a kaki jeep or sable, displaying a show-off number of stickers from over the world and a disguised roof-tent in a war reportage fashion, the alpha male, sometimes equipped too with a female studying the touring books or maps, or a good team of noisy fellows, is swarming without complex and strongly diffuses the pheromones of the great adventurous shiver with all mod cons. (…)
poland, agriculture, wheat, civilisation, culture, sapiens, nurture-culture, gardens, visions of the world, infinite growth, closed spaces, pairi-daeza, paradise
(…) As Yuval Noah Harari puts it with humour in « Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind », wheat has perfectly managed its evolutionary coup. Between the man and the cereal, it surely is the later who domesticated the big ape: « who is the one at the house » (domus), and who is the one who got its ADN spread all over the corners of the world?
…It’s a striking thing, amidst those lands entirely dedicated to culture, when domesticated forest is not. When one has taken a habit in not seeing a green landscape as « the wild nature » but as the result of man’s obsession with yield and how it models the smallest surface of the globe, one wanders outdoors in a different manner. (…)
norway, bread, production, capitalism, impoverishment, infinite and finite logics, tourism, architecture, form and function, entropy, "entropology"
(…) The more capitalism is expanding in its infinite growth reason (even in the disguise of a green or moral metamorphosis -or socialist mood as in Norway- good to keep teasing its slaves with the illusory desire for having rather than being, whilst clearing them of remorses), the more it seems to reconfigure effectively the ultimate ground on which it precisely rests on, nothing else than the materiality and the variety of the agencies of that world. Now, it’s hard to deny throughout a long journey, that it does so towards a certain impoverishment, a loss of diversity.
When everything ends up being the same, the living vanishes. Thus should one better apply to the learning of a knew science of being (not of the apparent wish of having) that could be qualified, after anthropology, as an entropology (from entropia = transformation, tour), and from which the principle would go against that biological annihilation, just like a dough when it rises and heats up is unfurling, rather than diminishing, all the range of its potentialities. (…)
(…) With Alexandros, things had began rather badly, on the 4th of April in Preveza.
To the authoritarian tone of a man who is used to people obeying to him, shouting at me the order to join him at the table in a cafe, I answer at once with a frankly unpleasant attitude, even hostile, by sitting to another desk, turning my back to him. And when he comes and insists, not the least aggressively, rather in a curious way, I say boorishly that I like my privacy, cooled down by the first impression of a domestic tyran I had of him. (…)
Faroe Islands, cargo ship, walking passenger, experience, ship crew, machines, Russians, Philippines, vessel, salmon, containers
(…)It’s the Captain Vladimir who welcomed me at the top of the tower in the navigation room, after I had repeatedly bother him by phone during the rest hours he was trying to enjoy between two convoys, and after I had taken the first officer Nikolay for his hierarchic superior, of whom I knew at the time only the gruff voice. First we hauled the footbike on the ship with a big rope, for one does not hop on such a ship as in a ferry boat, no giant doors nor bridge, one climbs a small ladder unrolled on a side, then I was introduced to my private quarters. The captain briefed me quickly, quite sea, departure estimated somewhere in the middle of the night, etc. No particular instruction, but to avoir slipping on the wet surfaces. (…)
(…)My host, during the time of my disappearance, seems to have been infused with the best of intentions. It’s as if he was opening the door a second time. His face has changed. He invites me to come further into the house, in a sort of dining room: there is a big table garnished with fruits, pastries, tableware. Is it a seminary center here? No, I’m a priest, I live here, he explains. So all of this is for you? Yes. Deep down, I can not help but smile: Church is doing well in Poland! Since I met the crazy bike guys of Onill, I know that the government is catholic and conservative. I’m then plunged into thinking about French anti-clericalism.**(…)
(…) In the stifling perfume of orange and lemon trees, in the heat of the small hamlet, in the shadow of a whitened sepulchral wall, I remembered that women of the mythos are not all kidnapped and subdued, buried alive, that they raise too against the law of men, against the polis, to put a brother under ground, that they are born helmeted, wild under the moon but with a civilizing power, shameless, warriors, twins, oracles and wise. (…)
norway, arctic, motorbike, murphy's law, resourcefulness, shit happens, bikers, relativity, ethics of transportation
(…)Before I met Asko, a few weeks ago in Alta after having reached Nordkapp, the ambivalence of my position towards motorbike drivers was as large as their shifty personality. For the two-wheel machine cavalier seems sometimes to me the illegitimate offspring of a car driver that would have played boutefeu with a cyclist. Having given up the cozy passager compartment of the car, he affronts without intermediary the elements, just as the practitioner of the pedal, a state of fact that oblige him to get equipped so that he can resist wind, rains, snow or sun, with which he is in direct contact and from which he feels much more the powers than the regular car driver. But, just like the motionless car driver on his gaz filled motor is a spectator of the effects of those on the cabin, he disposes of horsepowers able to propulse him through them, without any great physical efforts, with a well placed accelerator hit, with a nicely handled drive stick(…)
(…)Lastly, pelleted food is on a the menu. Apparently, to the ovines, granules are the equivalent of our tiramisu. For, until here, a hellish party was going on between the four walls of that giant nursery, cavalcades and ears rustles, bleating and bawling shouting each other down, and suddenly, nothing more. In the robust wooden cathedral wherein the cattle’s dodecaphonic counterpoints were rising, one can now hear the echoes of the clapping jaws, shutting at top speed on the precious encapsulated nutriments. A genuine race has been launched between the stretched heads at the end of oesophagus, in order to conquer and engulf the maximum of the granulated food before their accomplices.(…)
(…)Anna was a professor of French Literature in Riga’s University, after which she worked in the National Library. When she sees my small flag, as I’m kicking out of the city under very high temperatures, she rushes on me and throws an incredible conversation. She speaks marvelously French, with that particular refinement showed by people who appreciate so much speaking a foreign language they’ve put hours into studying and practicing. She has a biting accent reminding me of that from the Morvan, nearly rural, in the same time as she speaks of a highbrow family history. She says « une farouche révolution ».
Her maternal grand-father, half-russian, a poet celebrated in the papers, still waiting for his true hour of glory, experienced the Goulag in Siberia. Before that, he was a first zealous translator of the grand Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala, to the extent that the government of Finland offered him the most prestigious distinction for a citizen.(…)