I shake my head. Dead days lie ahead of us at the trial.
We would wander aimlessly long after the shutters were up, unable to work or sleep. We had hardly spoken in years.
As she disappeared, after sitting with me on a pavement around Alexander Platz overnight, I must have discovered what wall jumpers felt like – who knows from what heights fallen. No shelter. No heaven. All books and papers burnt, all lines broken, all nails cut, all suspects confessed Continue reading “The wall jumpers”
Federici has written a text of concrete poetry that extends itself all the way into asemic writing. Ultimately this book shines a light on the collapse of words and verbal communication, as if the concrete and the asemic were a swirling binary code unto themselves, living as a poetic thing, never dead but constantly being altered and altering the other. Yes walls collapse and so do languages. Writing systems disappear. Graffiti is painted over. The Berlin wall itself being the ultimate page and scar, leaving us with the question of what comes next now that the page is gone, and the asemic and concrete have run their course. Federici’s book suggests that after the wall comes down we are left with a poetry heavy with mashed up typography and information. These are beautiful poems searching for freedom, and they document the duality of the physical natural world becoming digital echoes written on a computer. I am glad this book is a physical book; it gives me hope that writing will continue to strive for new forms of expression yet not forget its history and where it came from. I recommend this book to poets, artists, typographers, cryptographers, and anyone with an interest in asemic writing.
Details about Echolalia in Script by Sam Roxas-Chua and The way I discovered the Berlin Wall has fallen by Federico Federici on The New Post Literate curated by Michael Jacobson.
Over the almost three decades the wall stood in Berlin, it was referred to as Antifaschistischer Schutzwall by the authorities of the German Democratic Republic, a legitimate concrete curtain incubating the socialist state. While from the East Berlin side it soon became the dull edge of the death strip, from the West Berlin side it often served as a natural, urban canvas for politically engaged graffiti art, claiming freedom for all. When every ideology needs a precise vision of the world to be conveyed, these pages state a well pondered sense of annihilation rather than of revelation, avoiding any speculation on icons and mass culture. The debris of the wall are the latest generation of the wall itself.
Take the U-Bahn line 6 (direction Tegel-Alt Mariendorf), or the S-Bahn line 3 (direction Wannsee-Friedrichstraße) or the S-Bahn line 2 (direction Lichtenrade-Frohnau). At Kochstraße the conductor will say on the mic: “Kochstraße – letzter Bahnhof in den Westsektoren, letzter Bahnhof in den Westsektoren!”. The train will proceed slowly then under the wall, reducing speed (without stopping) through Stadtmitte and Französische Straße station, that has been closed and kept in half-dark since 13 August 1961. Rdt police officers control the passage of the train until it arrives at Friedrichstraße, the frontier station. The atmosphere is quite unreal there, for it’s unusual to cross an underground frontier to move from one place to another within the same State. You’ll immediately notice the quite impressive coming and going and especially the huge number of old people, retired women and men, who are for one day calling on their relatives living in West Berlin.
All you have to do now is to follow the Grenzübergangstelle and stand in a queue at the Andere Staaten gate waiting for your turn.
Being there no later than 10 o’clock is a good trick not to be standing too long.
Archie Shepp is blowing through his sax. I’ve been a jazz collector for years and this music leads me to wakefulness. Perhaps too much genius in it? Too much fire in the flame? My nerves go bad or perhaps too good. My childhood home smiles in the background, but I’m sitting up in the plain light and the old map is sharp: Berlin was split. The thick postwar wall was not an implausible invention, not only a death sentence put off, nor did it barely mark the trench between two opposite ideologies. It drew a rough circle around Continue reading “13 August 1961”