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WEEKLY CRUSH

Gregory Tara Hari

26.2.24


Weekly Crush 1
Monday 26.2.2023, 13:05 
กรุงเทพมหานคร / Krung Thep Maha Nakhon



Stereotypes suck

I am currently in Southeast Asia, and more precisely in Thailand. My roots on my mother's side are from this region, and my mother does live here almost half of the year. The Thai language was also the initial starting point of my "vocal activeness", my actual so called mother tongue, even before the infamous Swiss German with a thick Seeland-Biel/Bienne dialect appeared.

I am in Thailand because of family stuff but particularly for my research - I'm working on a new body of work, or rather a continuation of previous works. Most often I create a new body of work about every two years, it's a collection of different works that together make up a big accumulation. Sometimes the output is a performance, including a text, several drawings, or one big chunk of a painting or maybe a sculpture that serves as a prop/requisite or scenography for the performance and so on. 

The performative piece I want you so bad its my only wish, is now to be given a second act, a second part. This continuation will be created in Thailand, the final result is still uncertain. In the first part I was asking myself the question "where stereotypical representations and imagery of the Asian female body from a Western perspective come from" - what are the origins? The performance used and played with exactly these racist, misogynistic and queer-hostile images created by a Western majority of white men. They created, produced and distributed images of either the infantile, naive, child-like, suicidal "Lotus Blossom" or "China Doll". Or on the other hand the murderous, back-stabbing, dangerous "Dragon Lady", these images still being reproduced by pop culture, such as music and music videos, tv-series but also major film industries both in the West and Asia. Not to mention the disturbing amount of imageries being produced for the purpose of adult entertainment and adult film industry. 

The imageries, supported both by politics and societies were often used as well for purposes of propaganda. A dangerous tool if used by the wrong hands. It is a subject that must be discussed, as it is a seemingly endless discussion and debate who's responsible for what and who's the victim of what exactly. This is why my Weekly Crushes or a sort of Weekly Update what I've been reading, watching and thinking of and about, an update concerning my personal and professional impressions, inspirations and images being seen and revisited.

A small introduction to Asian stereotypical depiction in popular culture: 
https://www.flaunt.com/blog/me-love-you-long-time

English-American Journalist Louis Theroux for example, produced a series of "Weird Weekends". In Season 1, Episode 6 he talks about the term "Thai Brides". Watch it and make up your own mind. I think it's worth to watch, in good and bad: 
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6blw34


That's it for now!

Thanks for your time and attention,
Gregory Tara Hari

Provence

10.2.24


Letter from the Editor Saturday, February 10, 2024


Dear _____,

My roommate is looking after a friend's dog this weekend. The puppy is rubbing against my legs as I'm writing to you here, and would rather have me pet her than work. Fittingly, the contribution by artist Agatha Wara this week also revolves around canines. Enjoy!


Yours,

PROVENCE



ContributionsAgatha Wara





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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

27.1.24


Letter from the Editor Saturday, January 27, 2024


Dear _____,

This week, an initiatory journey in Spain’s northeast with curator, author, and aspiring ornithologist Sylvain Menétrey. The voyeuristic gaze roams through the arid country, here and there birds are seen. Accompanying the story, a picture taken by the author of the village of Belchite, or rather the remaining ruins of it. Destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, it was left as such by Franco, wishing to make it a sign of the Repbulicans’ “excesses”. It is also the site of the opening scene of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. If you’re careful enough you’ll notice the dissimilarities between an Eurasian stone-curlew and a spotted thick-knee.

Sincerely,

PROVENCE



ContributionsSylvain Menétrey


An Initiatory Trip


So here I am, back in Spain on an initiatory trip. Imagine me as Paul Hamy in the film The Ornithologist, but without the pills that prevent a tailspin. And without the descent in a kayak, since I'm travelling in a rented blue Skoda in the desert of Los Monegros, province of Zaragoza, region of Aragon. The desert of Los Monegros came into being when this area, formerly covered by pine trees, was cleared. Swept away by the winds, the region has become inhospitable, except for some beige misanthropic birds forgotten by civilisation. I arrive hoping to spot my first Mediterranean short-toed lark, maybe a sandgrouse, or even a Eurasian stone-curlew if I'm lucky. Dupont's lark, a large fierce lark whose aquiline beak attracts busloads of birdwatchers, seems out of my league.

Ornithology has become an all-consuming passion. It takes up all your mental space, because you have to be on the lookout, watching, listening, tracking, becoming an animal I would even like to say, if that didn’t sound pompous. Doing everything else in a hurry, I got my bookings mixed up, paid for two rooms in the same hotel, and got the date wrong. All these hassles and extra costs weigh heavily on what is becoming an expensive stay. Not that you can count on a return on investment, if that was ever to be expected. All I can see are flashes of life from these inhabitants of relegated areas. A little owl startles me when I dislodge it from the abandoned sheepfold where it was resting. Through binoculars, I can make out a black-bellied sandgrouse flying, a kind of large partridge with an oversized black eye and a white wing edged in black. While flocks of little Mediterranean short-toed larks accompany me with their screeching calls, approaching them from a safe distance proves tricky. But why would they offer themselves? What do they owe us?

Hundreds of wind turbines escort me along the road. Further on, a gigantic solar park stretches out. Remains of farms and sheepfolds from another era are disappearing in the landscape. I’m trying to imagine the destitution of the people who once lived there. I also think of Zaragoza, an under-the-radar city that lives large. Its new station is empty, dark, icy, and as monumental as its basilica, where the Virgin is worshipped and Goya admired. I try, without much success, to remember what Sebald wrote about the colonial roots of Brussels’ Palais de Justice, another hymn to hubris. I think of space mining, Star Wars, the Empire, and primitive accumulation, until a cry tears across the steppe.




Ruins of the village of Belchite destroyed during the Spanish Civil War with wind turbines in the background


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

22.1.24


Weekly Crush #19Monday, January 22, 2024


Dear _____,

Forde, that is featured in this week's newsletter, is an art space founded in Geneva in 1994. The current curatorial team consists of Asma Barchiche and Mina Squalli-Houssaïni. If you happen to be in town, make sure to stop by.

Geneva's art scene is definitely worth a visit. In addition to Forde, I recommend checking out HIT, the Centre d'Art Contemporain, the CEC, Espace Topic, and, of course, MAMCO. Oh, and this week, artgenève is taking place at Palexpo in Geneva.

xx
PROVENCE

*****

Dear _____,

On January 18 in Geneva, Forde organized a solidarity sale in support of Palestine with posters from Paris' Pharmacie des âmes and works by Khaled Jarrar. His pieces, titled One Thousand and One Tins (2023), are offered on a voluntary 'give what you can' basis. If you would like to take part, please write to Forde or DM them on insta.

Yours,

PROVENCE



ContributionsForde

de l’eau à l’eau ~ film screening
min al-mayeh lil-mayeh
من المياه للمياه
18.01.2024




Khaled Jarrar, One Thousand and One Tins, Forde, 2023. Photo: PROVENCE


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

15.1.24


Weekly Crush #18Monday, January 15, 2024


Dear _____,

Recently, I had a conversation about how Texte zur Kunst has propelled certain artists' careers over decades. Some of these artists are very close to PROVENCE; some of them are friends. It made me think about the responsibility that comes with running an art magazine. Featuring an artist several times is quite the statement. You really have to believe in them and their practice if you do. Gritli Faulhaber, at least to me, is one of these artists I am rooting for. Find Samuel Haitz's interview with her below.

See you IRL next week!

xx PROVENCE

*****

Dear _____,

At the end of the first lockdown, I began taking many walks with various people. Some of these strolls were dates, while others were opportunities to catch up with old friends whom I hadn't seen in a while due to the pandemic. Only a few of them were with people I didn't know personally before, but whom I found interesting from an intellectual point of view. One such person was Gritli Faulhaber. I had recently seen her first solo show, Fuck you, I love you!, at Cherish in Geneva, which, while working so closely with the tradition and history of painting as a medium, felt incredibly fresh to me. Usually a painting sceptic, I related to the artist's emotional sensitivity, displayed in mostly abstract, or at least abstracted works.

Gritli's practice is defined by its visual variety, constantly discovering new painterly solutions, with each series scarcely resembling the other. The intellectual approach to painting remains consistent, rendering Faulhaber's work increasingly interesting the longer you follow its development (I think that's a rather rare quality).

Two days ago Gritli's show, The Living, opened at Theta in New York—a good reason for a quick chit-chat on the phone.

Also in this newsletter: Tobias Kaspar on The Ark (“Fangzhou” 方舟) by Zhang Jie.

Much love,

PROVENCE


Interviews Samuel Haitz



Gritli Faulhaber, Ohne Titel (Gerda Wegener, Ebay Glove Rests, B.M., Wind), 2023, Oil on canvas, 130 x 150 cm. Courtesy the artist and Theta, New York.


Samuel Haitz: Good morning Gritli, what’s the weather in New York like?

Gritli Faulhaber: The weather is a mild freeze, six degrees Celsius. I forgot what that is in Fahrenheit. It's windy and it's pretty gray.

SH: It’s sunny in Berlin, but almost minus 10 degrees Celsius. And it's windy of course. Too cold to leave the house..

GF: Oh my God. Minus 10!

SH: How is the install going?

GF: Install is done. We finished hanging yesterday afternoon and we also finished editing the exhibition text yesterday. Today the exhibition photographer will do the documentation. Email invites are sent. So I'm pretty much ready.

SH: And happy?

GF: Super Happy.

SH: I would like to speak about the work in your show, or rather about your personal archive of images, which this show derives from. This archive seems to be important in your practice at large, but more specifically in the paintings you produced within the last two years, starting with the collages you painted in Paris and showed at the Swiss Art Awards in 2021. When did you begin working on an archive of images?

GF: Yesterday I talked with Jordan, who runs Theta, about the millennial phenomenon of collecting images and basically using those to build a personality or let’s say a character. I think I consciously started to collect images for work purposes in 2016. I do so from a wide range of sources: historical images, painting-related images, artifacts, and all sorts of other fields. From design and textiles to random, personal screenshots—for example, text messages I got from friends—also very banal day-to-day images that feel important. 

SH: And how do you archive them? Is there a specific tool or system you use? I started working with are.na a few years ago. It was Cory Arcangel who recommended it to me, and I really like it. It's a bit like a sexier version of Pinterest. Still, I'm always curious how other artists organize image archives and how they work with them.


"As you know, I'm a nightmare when it comes to anything digital."


GF:  I mean, as you know, I'm a nightmare when it comes to anything digital. I simply collect images in folders on my computer, one per year. I ended up not categorizing them. 

SH: Okay. And then, when you start working on a painting, you look through these folders and select images that kind of fit together?

GF: While I was still in my masters, I started making selections and putting them in a layout which I simply did because I wanted to print them out to have a look at them. And I think from that weird printing practice, having to put them somewhere to be able to print them out and save paper and printing costs, they became like these little families. Back in the day at my ZHdK studio, I was like, okay, I want to print them on A3 and I’m gonna choose like 10 to 15 images, And it's not gonna be half Berthe Morisot and half me photographing my weird socks. So I tried to mix from a broader range of sources. And I think that's how it started. So I ended up having tons of printed stacks of images on A3 that I just carried with me from my art school studio to the next one and so on. After moving four times I realized that there might be some importance in these prints which made me keep them and not throw them away. 

SH: What's the difference between a Berthe Morisot painting and a photo of a Billabong t-shirt? Do you categorize high and low?


"I guess my weird filter system, if there even is one, ranges from youth culture, womanhood, and then to fashion and music. I really try to think about things in a very universal way."


GF: There's no high and low for me. I treat them as equals. Everything feels of value. On one hand, I am looking for very subjective codes like clothes or personal notes as forms of identification. And on the other, there’s art history. I guess my weird filter system, if there even is one, ranges from youth culture, womanhood, and then to fashion and music. I really try to think about things in a very universal way. Berthe Morisot I like for many things. The way she left canvas space open for example is one. The material of the canvas textile feels like the actual body that would wear the applied paint, ready to get changed for the next. Same with the Billabong long sleeve you wear for one surfing season and after it feels too unsexy and you put it to the back of the closet, two summers later you’re back on it. 

SH: Ok, completely different topic: You live and work in Zurich. What makes it your place of choice? And is it even?  How does Zurich affect your work? Because I still remember quite a bit how Paris influenced you. The historic painterly tradition of Paris became really visible in your early collages.


"I would rather be in Paris I think."


GF: Good question. I should move to Paris, that's for sure. I like Zurich for–sorry it's so loud here–um, so I live in Zurich, but I would say my creative mind is somewhere else. I would rather be in Paris I think. When I was on a residency there I really felt like my creative mind was connecting with the city and its history. But maybe I should quickly mention why I like to be in Zurich nevertheless and what made me go back there.

SH: Please.

GF: Okay, Zurich is great for three things: the possibilities for swimming, the structured way of life, and the amazing, amazing friends and peers I have there. 

SH: And I'm also going to move back soon.

GF: That's obviously a plus as well.

SH: Um, so now you finished this show, which was a lot of work, and it will open on Thursday, right? What's next?

GF: Buenos Aires. Three weeks of relaxation. Surfing, horse riding, visiting family. 30 degrees and sun.

SH: Fucking amazing!

LiteratureTobias Kaspar

The Ark (“Fangzhou” 方舟) by Zhang Jie was first published in1983 in Chinese  and later translated in 1988 to English, followed by a German translation by Verlag Frauenoffensive in 1985. Zhang Jie (1937-2022) was one of the most successful and prolific writers of her generation. She is widely recognized as China's first feminist voice despite having personally rejected this categorization.

Urban, intellectual women navigating the realms of love, career, family, ideals, and the stark realities of life in the transitional era of China in the mid-1980s are the central concerns of the protagonists in Jie's books. In seven chapters, The Ark depicts the lives of three middle-aged divorced women living together in a shared dwelling. 

Inside the dust jacket of the copy recently discovered on my bookshelf, it states: from _____ to _____ 1988. In 1988, my mother separated from my father—actually, maybe it was two years later. Nevertheless, my father's mother gave this book to my mother. Why? My theory: at my mother’s house,  an elegant modernist ashtray exists as another gift from my grandmother to her daughter-in-law. So, my grandmother presented these gifts to my mother, which celebrate and demonstrate, in one way or another, the concept of an independent woman—an aspiration my grandmother likely harbored but couldn't fully embrace in the post-World War II bourgeoisie she was trapped in. The Ark feels strikingly contemporary, in that the issues addressed throughout are neither solely a Chinese problem nor a 1980s time capsule. Unfortunately, the struggles Jie tackles are more or less universal. I would love to see The Ark get adapted into a Netflix or iQiyi series.


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

8.1.24



Weekly Crush #17 Monday, January 8, 2024


Dear _____,





xx,
SH for PROVENCE

*****

Dear _____,


Happy New Year!

Oh, how I hate January: The melancholy, the snow (again?!), the culmination of hangovers, and the regret of not making out with _____ at the new year’s party in some hometown basement. This week’s newsletter features a Trend Report by our Norwegian correspondent, Huysmans Ringheim, and "making out" secured its spot on the list of 'ins' for the upcoming year (and as you all know I love being an early adopter).

Find the complete list of what's hot and what's not in 2024 below.

Much love,

PROVENCE


ContributionsHuysmans Ringheim


Trend Report Q1 2024


In:
Nyege Nyege
Late-night TV auctions
John Frusciante
Chihuahuas
6ix9ine
Geomaxxing
CDMX
Jules-François Crahay
Snus
Taylor Swift as music video director
Making out
Bitcoin
Araabmuzik
«Just horsing around»
Wigs
Donald Cammell
90 Day Fiancé: What Now?
Kaat Tilley
Texas Knüller (Cairo)
Beliebers 
Cristiano Ronaldo
Graphic design as a hobby
Shoulder pads
Psilocybin shamanism
Gambling
Annie - Anthonio (Designer Drugs Remix)
VAR
Zurich Airport Winston Lounge
Fortnite
Espresso with faggotini
Kokoschka
Being a «sneakerhead»
TRT
Pixel panels
Olaf Tufte
Perms
Doughboyz Cashout
Leather couches
Habsburg nostalgia
Being John Malkovich

Out:
Ontologically existing as John Malkovich
Twins
Björk
90 day Fiancé: The Other Way
Keeping your cards close to your chest
Jean Prouvé
New York
Diamonds
Moral fatigue
Onomastic liberalism
Annoyed sighing as a social cue
Aging
Contemporary orchestral music
Extreme urgency
Teeth whitening
Going to the opera
Frankfurt Airport Camel Lounge
Blacklight
Appropriating fashion photography in art
Couch by Andy Warhol
Isotretinoin
Hopelessness
The Crown
Negronis
Bouldering
Cult documentaries
Marseille
«Undercover kindness»
Argan oil
High concept filmmaking
Kiko Kostadinov
Being «the Nan Goldin of your time»
Lufthansa
Limiting your toddler’s iPad time
Collagen powder smoothies
Golden Goose GMBH
Low tolerance for absolute looniness
Black coffee
Hating kids
Space


Huysmans Ringheim
In-house trend advisor, Borgenheim Rosenhoff


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

1.1.24


Weekly Crush #16 Monday, January 1, 2024


Dear ______,

I have to be honest that it is tough to write to a group of students and not recall my own studies. I hate that we've been so maudlin lately, but to add to it all, the prolific and pivotal artist Pope.L died suddenly at his Woodlawn apartment in Chicago on Saturday. I don't recommend TA-ing for, being a studio assistant of, and having a thesis advisor all in one person over the course of several years...but some people have a powerful pull and that is probably the best way I can describe our time together. When your professor has a weird level of fame you see up close, for better or worse, and it is particularly intense when they pass away. I would encourage y'all to look at his work — it is a great example of how someone can do a million different things in a different ways and yet it all kind of makes sense together over time. If you don't know him, here might be a good place to start.

For this newsletter, I asked the artist Laura Langer some weeks ago to submit her Spiral series as a metaphor for the year but also because I am still so struck by their humbleness. Pope.L always always always told us his maxim: "Lack is a value worth having" -- if you can do something interesting with very little, thats where a lot of the magic lies. 

I hope you're having a nice break and safe and sound New Years to come.

Best,
Brit

*****

Dear ______,

This paragraph has been a series of fits and starts, meant to wrap up the year during the liminal stretch between Christmas and the New Year. Despite the conclusion to 2023, I thought it was fitting to consider work I saw in 2022, that never quite left me, proving that sometimes the simplest gestures can be the most radical and enduring of artworks in complicated times.  

Thank you Laura and thank you, reader. See you next year.

Best,
Brit Barton for PROVENCE

Contributions Laura Langer



Laura Langer, Spiral 1-19, 2022. Marker and acrylic on canvas; varying sizes. Courtesy Weiss Falk.


Laura Langer's Spiral series consists of nineteen works of varying dimensions humbly composed of acrylic and black marker that beckon a haptic embodiment. Not knowing the artist personally, my first impression of the work left me lingering on her acts of obsession and dreaded fear for her brain cells. Each canvas emanates the strongest, most uncanny scent; a memory mix of childhood, administrative jobs, labeling moving boxes, etc. Such is the smell of xylene and ethanol. The strokes of silver are painfully short but deliberate—my hand cramps at the thought of the intense repetition—while their movement is dictated by the fluid stroke of the painted black from the abstract, magnified, or zoomed-out spiral gesture. 

The series has been shown three times in three different contexts. But at that point in Glarus Valley during the autumn, the rapidly changing daylight highlighted the silver of the marker like a makeshift version of the Silverleaf of a Renaissance painting. In that metaphor, the poetic economics and absurdity of the series against the seriousness of art is where the humor lies. (Do what you can with what you got.) Though one could go on regarding the symbolism of a spiral: nature's order and the golden ratio, Cartesian logic, the Milky Way, or the universe at large, yada yada. That would all be grandiose to the more authentic idea of the image of an artist in a room, focusing in on a concept or spiraling in her own right to a deadline.

In that case, what is a better work to wind down the year? To a series so abstract and poignant in its simplicity, one must imagine its continuation for eternity, and yet so loaded and symbolic to the moment of exhaustion and deliberate, meditative action. 

– Brit Barton


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

25.12.23


Weekly Crush #15Monday, December 25, 2023



Dear ______,

It's a holiday so I'll keep it short:

Tina Braegger is an artist to know. In this newsletter we included an excerpt of her new (and second) novel. Make sure to check out her signature The Grateful Dead Bear paintings as well!

Merry crisis!

Best,
PROVENCE

*****

Dear ______,


Last night, a storm named Zoltan swept over large parts of Germany, significantly impacting my travels back home for the holidays. The delays were extensive, and I had to change trains several times. It wasn't just the weather causing storms though; judging by the snappy messages I received while on my train ride, it seems my co-workers and friends have used up their energy for this year. Same here! I cannot wait for the sweet relief of doing nothing after having survived another exhausting family get-together.


This newsletter contains two suggestions on how to spend these days between Christmas and New Year's. We included an excerpt (one complete page) from Tina Braegger's new novel, The Dream Relatives, published by Meredith Rosen Gallery, Société, and Weiss Falk / Hacienda Books. Additionally, there's a music suggestion from PROVENCE editor Samuel Haitz.

Enjoy, survive.

Yours,
PROVENCE



Literature

Tina Braegger


1. There is nothing beyond me or higher


Act 1, scene 1

The laundry room was underground. The air in it felt moist, there was the constant noise of washing machines and dryers and it smelled of laundry detergent and damp stone. One of the doors of a washing machine opened and out of it climbed Mrs. Iris’ grandmother. At that point, she was the only person present in the room (as far as one can be present in a dream.) She asked Mrs. Iris if she and her husband and kids would join her family (Mrs. Iris’ original family), for Christmas, as they were already in town. Then, like a Babushka, Mrs. Iris’ grandmother split open in two halves and out of the bottom half climbed Mrs. Iris’ mother. The mother said to Mrs. Iris that she and her mother (Mrs. Iris’ grandmother) had been thinking about how it would be a nice opportunity for the kids to see the extended family. Then, from somewhere offstage, Mrs. Iris’ father said: I imagine you guys won’t buy a Christmas tree here in town, because you will be traveling back next week. We, on the other hand, already have a beautiful large tree in our living room.

Last night Emanuelle Iris had a very strange dream. She had been on a work trip since last Tuesday. Today was Sunday already and the day she would finally be


Excerpt of Tina Braegger's new novel The Dream Relatives, published by Meredith Rosen Gallery, Société and Weiss Falk / Hacienda Books





Karolin Braegger wearing The Dream Relatives reading tour shirt

Music

Samuel Haitz


Review: Baba Stiltz – Paid Testimony (Atlantis Sessions)





In 2017, I saw Baba Stiltz DJ for the first time in a club in Zurich. Back then, I knew him as a more-or-less tech-house-affiliated musician from Sweden, producing heartbreak-induced hits such as Can't Help It and Baby.

My memory is blurry, but I recall _____’s unwanted explanations of the different genres that Stiltz played in his set. I remember his long black hair (Baba Stiltz's, not _____'s), knowing that he danced ballet as a kid and thinking how elegantly he moved, perhaps due to this background. And I remember that he played a great edit of Marvin Gaye's Calypso Blues (Baba, if you're reading this, please send me the track ID—I've been searching for it ever since). Since then, through his mixes for NTS (heavy on guitar music) and the 2021 EP Journals (also heavy on guitar music), Stiltz has shifted (broadened?) his musical spectrum. In 2023, he further embraced the Scandi-Texan sad boy mood with his first album, Paid Testimony (it’s great). Best track: You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory(which for some reason is titled Your Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory on Apple Music).

Okay, that was the intro. What I actually wanted to speak about: Stiltz has now released another version of Paid Testimony, subtitled Atlantis Sessions, recorded in the legendary Atlantis Studios (where ABBA also made some records). Only one track, Wild Ride, is available on Bandcamp and streaming services. The rest of the album is exclusively for purchase on a physical CD. As a member of Gen Z, buying a CD is no longer an option for me (I wouldn't even have a device to listen to it), so I can't really review it. But I'm sure it's good. Or, to put it in Schrödinger's terms: The cat is probably alive.


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PROVENCE, 

Pavillon, Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

18.12.23


Weekly Crush #14Monday, December 18, 2023


Dear ______,

The PROVENCE newsletter is still in its try out phase. Last week, we decided that we want to vary contributions more, mix shorter and longer ones, even within a single mail-out.

Here's a first dispatch in that spirit. It features a PROVENCE playlist by one of my favorite photo-conceptualists, David Lieske and a literature contribution by PROVENCE founder Tobias Kaspar.

"And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell...You know you _____ me."

XOXO PROVENCE

*****

Dear ______,


Unfortunately, everything people say about winter in Berlin is true. The holiday season here never fails to bring me down. What's so great about zero sunshine? Luckily, I have my D3 supplements to bring some sparks of joy.

Two days ago, I attended a magazine launch only to find out that the new issue was already 'sold out.' Once again, I promised myself to avoid such events and opt for staying home instead of engaging in shallow conversations with people I don't really like.

In this week's newsletter: Artist David Lieske, also known as musician Carsten Jost, compiled a PROVENCE playlistthat serves as the perfect soundtrack for these anti-social winter nights. And Tobias Kaspar, also known as ______, started reading again.

Enjoy, survive.

Yours,
PROVENCE



Playlists.       David Lieske

Literature.   Tobias Kaspar


Too much power makes a woman dangerous. And that was her project, creation and power.” 
— Rachel Yoder

Rachel Yoder's Nightbitch, released in the summer of 2021 and currently in the process of a screen adaptation starring actress Amy Adams, made its German debut this September. While I haven't completed the book, I can already confirm it's "amazing." Why? I'm interested in how creative work and especially the art world is being reflected in film and literature. Certainly, Nightbitch adds an extra dash: parenthood & art. I myself, a parent and artist, have also lived for some time in a midwestern American province, while Rachel Yoder is based in Iowa City and so is her main protagonist. I haven't turned into a dog yet but I do sleepwalk. Some critics claim the book isn't especially well written, or even worse, claim it to be a collage of X already existing stories... I think the opposite and find it a fresh, witty, and humourous, and generally solid slightly escapist book to read.

To sum it up, in the words of Lara Feigel in her Guardian review, "This book is a mischievous commentary on the neuroses of modern womanhood." A former gallerist is becoming a full-time parent and turns into a dog at night and eating raw meat with her two-year-old son during the day. A must-read over the holidays! 

Oh my God!” exclaims another mother, when the Nightbitch, the main protagonist who refers to herself as such, arrives at a local toddlers' group — grizzled and shaggy, in a torn kaftan, her hair unwashed for a week, because she is turning into a dog. "You are so boho! I love what you've done with yourself."


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

Provence

11.12.23


Weekly Crush #13Monday, December 11, 2023


Dear ______,

What a pleasure to see (some of) you the other evening at Voltaire. You seemed tired after such a long day in Zürich (to be real, me too). I know you were kinda forced to be there but I think it's good to be present, to support others, and in turn to feel supported.

To be completely honest, I'm not 100% lately but that happens. Out of that feeling, I think I just wanted to do something productive and focus on how not okay a lot of us are feeling lately; while the newsletter is this weird fluid object from one week to the next, it *does* present a nice opportunity to run a discussion-based series that can touch on how nuanced of a world the varying and trying our shared art ecology can be. I have nice plans coming up and I hope you'll make the time.

First up is the writers Olga and Sophia. It is long and you're busy, but, no excuses! It is full of moments of contemplation and is unexpectedly funny. Do you also hate the Baltic Sea? Were you also mad when the Simpson's was canceled because of 9/11? Oh wait. You're too young for that...

Good luck with the end of the semester,

Brit

******

Dear ______,


There is that part in the unsatisfying ending to Chris Kraus' book on Kathy Acker, where she quotes Martha Rosler discussing the late writer, "We're all the same, don't you think? Of course, we're competitive. But that also means we can identify with her. I could've been Kathy; Kathy could've been me."

Years after reading that, I wanted to propose a new series for the newsletter that could unfold that thought between two practitioners in the same field. In an effort to examine the uneasy and uncanny familiarity, the sense of competition (and the embarrassment that comes from that), which all boils down to the urgency and necessity for one another during such a strange time. Writers on writing, artists on art, curators, gallerists, editors, teachers, etc. (The Rosler quote continues, "...It's all the same. And by that I don't mean we're not who we are. But you know what I mean." )

In a way, maybe I'm selfishly just interested in the trajectory of someone's practice vs someone else's. The thing is, who among us is any one thing anymore? Something to discuss at a later date, I think. 

The monthly series now begins with the writers Olga Hohmann and Sophia Eisenhut. Rather than an interview, an epistolary exchange seemed more fitting for the two authors, as they weave in and out of one another's meditations of writing, memory, the body, the Baltic Sea, and The Simpsons.


More to come,
and take your time,

Brit Barton for PROVENCE


Writer on WriterOlga Hohmann & Sophia Eisenhut


Writing as a Curse, as the Only Consolation



"The Queen of the Night"  from Sophia and Theresa Eisenhut's childhood work "Kindiobuch"


When I read your book,
I read the things I said that I had forgotten I had said. I remember them again because you wrote them down.

When I read your book, 
I read what I said a few months ago; I am in the Jewish hospital in Wedding for a fortnight, I often sit down to read in the synagogue.

A week before I was admitted, there had been an attack on this hospital because Palestinian hospitals are currently under attack in Gaza. The window that was smashed a week ago is in the same building where I sleep now, where all the psychiatric wards are located.

I read your book in one go, your book for which I wrote a preface (eventually printed as an epilogue) without having read the main text – it was your explicit wish. Now I'm reading it (the main text) as if in a frenzy, collecting all the references in a satisfying breakdown (like running into shimmering coins in a Nintendo game, fast), the references that I can directly assign to our life together, i.e. your personal stories and our exchange of the last few weeks; I'm touched to have somehow co-written it. In the last part of the text I also appear as a character.

Two days later (it's Sunday) you visit me.

When you visit me with Arnold in the Jewish Hospital, we sit in the lounge, drink black coffee that's been made far too thin, and I hand you both colouring pages (for adults, according to the marketing) and while the three of us colour, we talk incessantly. We talk about your book and about Arnold's book and about the economic conditions in which we write and about the pressure that it means when you put this production into one with life; about the pressure that I have not been able to cope with recently and, because of which, I now have to be here in a psychiatric ward and can no longer write at all. That is: can no longer live at all because I can no longer write either.

(I'm not talking about the romantic cult of genius, but about the psychologically evident loss of self-esteem if this is only achieved through work.)

In writing, we see each other 
(even more clearly than usual). 
Interest in the other person is only self-assurance at worst.
It always means writing and difference.

Always using the other (in order to grasp oneself) as a mirror of the complementary, as a figure, as outside of myself, as a clear difference, precisely as what you have that I don't have. 
To experience what you think I have that you don't have.
To become a figure. Who can only live as long as she can write.

Reading your texts, it seems to me that you can only write when you live.


Our mutual aversion to the concept of autofiction, where the magic spell of "writing life" always prevails
And now to write this text because we have lived a friendship. Or the other way around?



"Everyone knows Olga" and often, I rhetorically interject
"—you know Olga—", that you often organise dinner parties that people come to without knowing you, that you are a character, that you organise dinner parties where mangos are stolen (you told me about it with such unadulterated anger), dinner parties that you later write about,
that it almost sounds contrived, even fabricated, what you experience

Our friendship, our relationship, has always been constituted through writing. We got to know each other because we were asked to write for the same publication.

The familiarity of your writing, 
which, in this irritating proximity,
urged me all the more to analyse difference.

We both don't like talking on the phone, but we write to each other almost every day and this written exchange often finds its way into the other's writing. 

Our mutual aversion to the concept of autofiction, where the magic spell of "writing life" always prevails
And now to write this text because we have lived a friendship. Or the other way around?

I think of you as a collector. That you are so graciously productive, among other things, because you can utilise everything that comes to you; an alchemist.
Once, we are in Marseille, you, Goldmarie, confide in me that this blessing is increasingly becoming a burden, a compulsion. To pick up those objects lying on the floor. We agree on a magic word.

You talk about your note-taking addiction.
I speak of my inhibition to write as a normal state, I speak of the emptiness of the absence of the worthy object. You speak of the volatile ubiquity of the object and I envy you and I think: the dissolution of art in life.

You brought me to this clinic because you realised that I could no longer manage on my own. We were sitting in the emergency room waiting room, The Simpsons was on with subtitles because there was no sound, and you said you loved The Simpsons.

I tell you that I love you and you say it back.

Dearest Sophia,

By now I have read your epilogue (that I still call a prologue) to my recently published book for the tenth or eleventh time — I have also heard it three times, once from my own mouth, twice from yours — and each time I notice sentences that must have already been there, but which now emerge from the page with a clarity and nuance that is different from the first nine or ten times, rising or rearing up. It's like a kaleidoscope. The shapes stretch out, turn back and forth, glitter in all shades, seem infinite, and become an endless void of color.

(Glitter is now illegal, by the way, because of microplastics - I'm hoarding a bit, maybe we'll need it in the future, for our chrome nails)

Kaleidoscopic writing – that's what I'd accuse you of.

And me, in the best case, writing and thinking on a mental Möbius strip. 
Entangled (in myself), walking (on myself).

With you, on the other hand, the molecules, that are the words, fly around and multiply, every time you touch them, many more of them appear, like cells, sometimes; it can also become a plague. All these molecules of thoughts are stored inside you, I don't know exactly in which part of your body — they can take on all colors.

I think of the children's book Frederick, who, as a mouse during the summer, collects the colors that are missing in winter. All summer long, the other mice who collect hay, for example, think Frederick is a lazy slacker. It is only when Frederick unpacks the colors in the grayest of all moments does everyone realize what an important gift he has given the other mice with his contemplation.

(now I remember how you call me a collector too, and I like it.)


Is this a love letter? I think almost all letters are love letters, except for invoices, which are not.



Is this a love letter? I think almost all letters are love letters, except for invoices, which are not. But some love letters are also bills. They only camouflage themselves as "love letters" through their label that says “intimacy”.

(Yesterday a lady from the tax office rang my doorbell and asked for the broadcasting fees to be paid out in cash. She was very friendly. We went to the ATM at the Späti next door together, we shazamed the same song: "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt-N-Pepa. She made a nice comment about my shoes.)

Strangely enough, I am confronted twice in a row with words by the philosopher Georg Simmel, whom I could never take completely seriously. More than ten years ago, I had read his essay on the "big city" and could not forget how a fellow student commented dismissively at the time: "Oh, Simmel Bimmel". 

But he (Simmel Bimmel) appears twice, through you and my psychoanalyst, and suddenly I take him seriously after all. He is legitimized by both of you, to whom I have made a claim to intellectual universalism, silently. You use Simmel to write about the vessel — I immediately quote you, him, in a different context — as always:

“If a drop causes the vessel to overflow, ever more will follow this drop," writes Georg Simmel stating that spillage never remains on its own; ever more drops will follow, a loss of control (over bodily fluids), the human being (the ultimate vessel) loses its composure, it eats up the whole pack of chocolate truffles by itself.” (I wrote in an exhibition text for Jakob Forster, published last September)

Wanting to be a vessel — “get rid of yourself (you write in your prologue) — I have for some time had the desire to concentrate on observation (of the outside world) instead of self-observation. I have the feeling that this movement between us, the dialog with you, is an attempt in this direction. At the same time, you say that through me you are learning to appreciate the anecdote, the aphorism - both of which I had been ashamed of until now. You "ennoble it" (as they say). I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You also say, quoting Simone Weil: One should not be looking for God.

(I am also told something similar about love)


Because: there is something about writing and touch – writing as a (substitute for) touch – or touch that makes writing impossible – it always seems that only one of the two is possible.


Because: there is something about writing and touch – writing as a (substitute for) touch – or touch that makes writing impossible –  it always seems that only one of the two is possible. Writing is not only a protective cape, it is also a camouflage cape; you can hide behind language, it makes you become invisible, as a body.

What appears in my writing disappears from my life. It has cursed me. That's why I try not to write about things anymore that I want to experience in all immediacy, liveliness.

I couldn't help but wonder —

(Is writing a weapon that is usually also directed against the writer herself?)

To become a character in a story (your story)
To become your narrative 
(Tears of Odysseus, Odysseustränen, I read in your acknowledgments towards me at the end of your book.)

So I use the third person singular for the first time in the book for which you are writing the prologue, and I am irritated. It is an attempt to let observation triumph over introspection? Writing is deadly, is at the same time writing against death. Ulysses weeps, you tell me over your rice dish, tears in the literal face of a third person telling his story in his place — it indicates his mortality, his powerlessness over his own narrative — loss of control.

Since I no longer have any other addiction, at least hardly any, collecting stories, taking notes, has actually become my biggest addiction. And, as harmless as it may seem at first glance, it can be dangerous: Sometimes, i.e. daily, i.e. several times a day, I stop in the most impossible situations, in the middle of the road, to write something down. It's a kind of split-second wakefulness that guides the flash of thought into my brain in the most unexpected situations—then it's already over again and I fall back into the noise of the city and only remember the place where I forgot that note.
I write down a placeholder phrase: Forgotten note.


As we sit with Arnold in the clinic's lounge over the coffee that has been brewed too thinly and the colouring pictures for adults, I abruptly say to your role model that I should actually write down what I have just said, you say yes and I pull out my mobile phone and open the note function and I make a note: 

I make a note: 
den kindlichen Universalismus abzulegen
discard childish universalism
I make a note of where you confirmed that it was worth writing down, I felt encouraged,

this note is the proud endeavour to imitate new (your) production,
has remained my only note so far

The other day I met someone, and after we spent two afternoons together I realized that I hadn't taken a single note. 
Making the people around me the protagonists of the stories I write down: clearly an appreciation. 
The immediacy, the lack of narrative: perhaps the even greater compliment.

By the way, Tick in French is called TOC – translation can help making this clear, making things blurry,
le cri - écrire, you know. Der Schrei, das Schreiben.

I keep repeating myself, like an old guy in the local pub. I feel ashamed. Then I learn, also from you (and from Édouard Glissant), to appreciate the repetition as well. Because: every spell is redundant, just like every Hail Mary
(you’re my religious soulmate, unfortunately I am a protestant)

My psychoanalyst also brings Simmel back into the conversation, this time it's about consolation; another topic that played a role between us early on. You are impressed by my rejection of consolation, my resistance to consolation, and my attempt to look at my personal reality without sugarcoating it. (I remember the title of an early 2000s Hollywood Rom-Com: He’s just not that into you. J. says, “Don't rush it, piano piano.”)

My analyst quotes: "Dem Menschen ist im Großen und Ganzen nicht zu helfen (…) Deshalb hat er die wunderbare Kategorie des Trostes ausgebildet. Trost ist das merkwürdige Erlebnis, die das Leiden zwar bestehen lässt, aber sozusagen das Leiden am Leiden aufhebt"


I actually feel guilty constantly when I only write to you instead of arranging to meet you physically, but then you reassure me: "What does that mean, only writing?!"


I actually feel guilty constantly when I only write to you instead of arranging to meet you physically, but then you reassure me: "What does that mean, only writing?!"

It comforts me, sometimes, to think of the present in historical terms: we don't know what our texts will mean in a few years, in ten or a hundred, or whether they will mean anything. Will this exchange, the "intertexuality" (as they say), mean anything? Will it be exemplary for anything? It's comforting to know that we don't know. 

Which also consoles me: The direction, the direction towards you. Again and again I quote you (and me through you), and those you quote (recently Simmel Bimmel), I find the anecdote and the aphorism less silly now. I remember historical materialism, I repeat a Slovenian philosopher who says, “Children should be forbidden to interact with flowers.” Why? I answer with an anecdote (that remains punchline-oriented and therefore strangely cold), you with a dense analysis that is very emotional. (as always)

We both resist the concept of autofiction as a genre (Why?), but we also agree (this time you're quoting me): Anything that isn't first person is presumption, hubris. (Anmaßung)

I learn from Foucault, Ulysses and you:
1. writing in the first person is immortalizing.
2. you experience misfortunes in order to be able to tell people about them.

The tragicomic captivates me, again and again, no, it consoles me - just like your story:
As a child, you practiced two etudes on the guitar: "The Happy Clown" and "The Sad Clown." As an eight-year-old, you wanted to repeat the melancholic melody over and over again — you weren't interested in the happy clown. Because it's the sad characters and their laments that we can't get enough of.

My ex-boyfriend recently said to me at a party, in his usual childish universalism (to quote you): "You know, it's quite simple, everyone only wants to date people who are in a good mood.“ I think he really wanted to give me some "good advice."

But what is the ultimate consolation in the repetition of tragicomic anecdotes? Is it the laughter of the audience? Is the laughter of the third party enough for the storyteller, the storyseller? And what about the crying, the tears (of the first, the second, the third person)?

And what about shame? Is it, as Andrea Büttner says, directly related to the "showing"? You show something (of yourself), something that you don't know exactly what it is or whether it is something. Because in art (as in love) you can never know exactly, that's where the latent riskiness lies: Is it something or is it nothing? This act of showing (something/yourself) is inherently shameful. My friend T. says: Traumatic per se. You show yourself in need, you show yourself literally vulnerable, one alone in front of an audience always runs the risk of being destroyed, killed by the crowd (according to the logic of T.) 

D. says (he is a painter): That which you want to cover up becomes especially visible.

I think of a term I learned on TV in the early 2000s: No Make-Up Make-Up. 

She was wearing a perfect No Make-Up Make-Up.


(A word rarely remains alone)

As a teenager in the early 2000s, I always fell in love with the quiet boys. And the more they were silent, the more I babbled and babbled myself out of my mind and us out of the moment until it was over. And I felt ashamed, even while it was happening. And kept on babbling to cover up the shame, which became more and more visible, just like the growling body. Language makes touch impossible. You can suffocate people with words. What is silenced becomes extra present.

I think I ended my psychoanalysis for two reasons:
1. because my psychoanalyst was deaf.
2. because his stomach growled so loudly.
(Or was it mine?)

J. (whom I wanted to introduce to you a long time ago) says, "I first had to learn that I am also present when I don't say anything.” (Present, that is, a communicating body in the room).

(I always wanted to be a silent one but I didn’t manage to)

I like to quote my friends like superstars, because to me, they are. You are.

M., whom we both like so much, accused me again the other night — I had suspected it — of writing Feel Good Literature. I refuse to defend my book, what can I add to it? 
Except to say: I actually don't feel so well.

M. asks, he really means well: What kind of writer do you want to be? 

And I answer, honestly: I don't know.

I had actually never thought about this question before. Writing came to me as a rescue — that it could also become a problem in itself (in the best sense) — I'm not there yet. Or, maybe, I'm just getting there now.

But yes, I am a harmony seeker. Just like all choleric people. We try to keep the flame gently. So that nothing worse happens. And then something terrible usually happens because we've tried too hard and for too long to maintain the harmony. It literally backfires.

And then: You, always you, as a direction; I never doubt the rightness of the direction when it is you who is silently directing, orchestrating me. I believe that when I think of you while writing, the text can't be all wrong. 

B. emphasizes the auto (translated as: car) in the term autofiction. It reminds me of someone who said to me after our reading in Frankfurt that I write in multiple tracks, or roadways, at the same time. I took it as a compliment.
And I think, a deeply German saying: Da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer. 
(to quote you: this childish universalism again!)

But more on the rabbit in a moment,  it’s become an inexhaustible metaphor for me.

My father makes the best comment on the new change to the third person in my new book. 
He says: I didn't even notice.

In Marseille, we talked about the Brontë siblings and their childhood epic "Angria and Gondal", about writing together as children, which your sister and you also practiced—your alter egos were best friends and enemies at the same time, frenemies.


Only now that you have brought me back to it, now that I am scanning the book I wrote with my sister as a child for you to show it to you, I am immediately struck when scanning the cover (an illustrated personal register of a differentiated, fictitious system of an enemy image. On the first page, I am struck by the fact that we have listed the Queen of the Night (from Mozart's Zauberflöte) as a character, where she then began to live a (intertextual) life of her own in both image and text, just like in your book, for which you have borrowed the chapter headings from the opera libretto.


Writing means weaving, weaving text carpets, endlessly — in all directions, you never write alone, you always write alone


Writing means weaving, weaving text carpets, endlessly — in all directions, you never write alone, you always write alone, lonely in the presence of things and the words of others — how does the space in which you write actually affect the text? 

Do you write in the clinic? How does that make your words sound?

(You still haven't taken away my feelings of guilt about ONLY writing to you instead of visiting you - 
writing has always been a solution for me, never a problem, maybe that's changing now, with M.'s justified accusation.)

Nevertheless: the main thing is that I can DO it, practice it, the result is not as important as the healing activity, the removal of suffering from suffering itself, as Simmel says: “das Leiden am Leiden selbst aufheben”, denn: “Dem Menschen ist im Großen und Ganzen nicht zu helfen”) 

“To abolish the suffering of suffering itself,” because “On the whole, people cannot be helped.”

This text also grows by itself and spreads far too quickly, overgrows everything, from the hundredth to the thousandth and back again, if you tap on a thought, it multiplies in all directions, like cells, it spreads its wings like the moths that plague in my kitchen. 

(some moths live from drinking the tears of birds in their sleep)
What I want to insist on, I don't know why: my modus operandi is consolation, but NOT the therapeutic.

I want things to be reflected (in thought/space) in the texts like the daylight in the snow, unconsciously, and so I can only answer M: I don't know who I want to be as a writer, but if I want to change myself (as a writer), it's not enough to change the "idea" of me, I have to change the parameters of the activity, of the thinking, the typing itself, which means writing myself somewhere else, getting someplace else, becoming someone else through the practice of writing.


After discovering the drawing I made of the Queen of the Night as a child, I asked you on the phone whether you thought we would have liked each other back then if we had already known each other as children, and after a short silence you replied, “Sometimes it is better to get to know each other when the language is already more developed.”

Here, on the Baltic Sea (you love it, I hate it), the Simpsons are on TV at the moment. One character says to another, “You're a lemonade I'd like to have a beer with”(“Du bist eine Limonade mit der ich gerne mal ein Bier trinken würde”)

From the beginning, you liked the fact that I — as a child — explained the (sublime) eventfulness of 9/11 with the absence of The Simpsons on TV.

Speaking of absence: what do you think about this strange correlation of touch (not in the metaphorical sense) and writing? The consolation in language that turns against you?

Bad feelings become good conversations become bad feelings (or less of them). At least that's how I've experienced it.
An old friend once said to me, it was the early 2000s: People who talk to themselves (have soliloquies) a lot are particularly intelligent. 

Then he wants to know how many voices are talking in my head at the same time. 
And I say: Actually, it's only one.

Today I know that there are different addressees.
Often, very often, it's you, Sophia.
Initially, years ago: It was my analyst (not for ages, so I recently dumped him in the middle of the night)
As a teenager: It was always the person I was in love with and couldn't tell.
(I could never say it; back then it was probably the friend who asked the question). 

Maybe that's why you usually have, or had, a little crush on someone, so that you have a silent counterpart for your self-talk, an addressee for the narrative of your own life. Someone who doesn't answer because they are not asked, because they don't know that they are being asked.

Love is always confessed. Even the reciprocated one.

A confession of guilt, perhaps again, as in shame: a confession of one's own neediness. 

(blushing)

I think, shame and guilt. Charm and guilt.
In German the words sound similar: Scham und Schuld. Charme und Schuld.

One speaks because one is not understood (says the silent analyst, at least that's what I assume) and when writing, one makes a zigzag movement like a rabbit performing deceptive maneuvers. Always fleeing, fortunately only circling the target.

Drinnen saßen stehend Leute
Schweigend ins Gespräch vertieft
Als ein totgeschossner Hase
Auf der Sandbank Schlittschuh lief.


(Jackie Grassmann and Sarah Lehnerer have just reminded me of this in their letter exchange "Fireflies in the Dark." I've always loved this poem. Jackie, whom I know through you, remarks in one of her texts that there is always an expression of a lack of care in the gesture of letter-writing, like me before: I am sorry I ONLY write to you)

To my friend J. I say, megalomaniacally: Don't let anyone tell you how the bunny runs, be the bunny.
Lass dir von niemandem sagen wie der Hase läuft, sei der Hase!


Then we talk about the fairy tale “The Hare and the Hedgehog.” It's also about a deceptive maneuver.

I read it aloud (publicly), the next day something extraordinary happens:
I invite myself to the house of someone I don’t know yet
He cooked a rabbit, 
"Rabbit Stew." 

He stuffed the rabbit into a halved pumpkin and baked it in the oven, 
The rabbit is not only cooked now, it is also baked. 

In the end, the rabbit is eaten.

Like pulled pork, the meat is pulled from its bones.

A character from The Simpsons, a pig, says to another pig, “I didn't say you were a pig, I just said you look like a pig in that dress.”

Sometimes I regret that I made it public in our first publication together that my ex-boyfriend used to call me "The Fat Animal" (in front of others, in my absence). Sometimes I regret it, most of the time I don't. 
(Now I've done it again)

I think (Max Raabe): Kein Schwein ruft mich an, keine Sau interessiert sich für mich.
I always liked this song as a child. 
My favorite, though, was Neue Deutsche Welle: Ja ja ja jetzt wird wieder in die Hände gespuckt, wir steigern das Bruttosozialprodukt.
We enjoyed to literally spit in our hands to illustrate the lyrics.

I think that if it has to be the third person, then this (silent) third person should at least not have a name. 
But, the fact that the protagonist is a "she" suddenly becomes overly clear in the gendered namelessness.
Or – what do you think? 

All I wanted was to move from self-observation to observation! 
And thus (quietly, silently and secretly) write myself into the prose genre! 

I wanted the reintroduction of the private space into my life.
No more dinner parties! No more persona, more person.

„Dein Typ wird verlangt“/"Your type is required" – such a strange expression.

And Arnold says while we are coloring in adult coloring pictures, “I've outgrown hypochondriacal introspection because I learned from my friend who studied medicine what a highly regenerative mechanism the body is. You don't die so quickly.”

So, zigzaging remains my modus operandi. And of course it's also about the finiteness I'm fleeing from, and the fear of it, which nothing can quell. (Now I'm going to zigzag back to Ulysses and his tears, that you told me about over your steamy rice dish).

My favorite underpants: The ones from the cheap brand "Infinity" and the ones from the cheap brand "SottoSopra"

F. says, “The gliding of the signifiers on the signified (or vice versa).”

Als ein totgeschossner Hase
Auf der Sandbank Schlittschuh lief.


I think, inwardly quoting an Italian pop song: Lasciate mi cantare. 
(Just let me sing)

I think, quoting Handel: Lascia ch'io pianga 
(Let me just cry)


Crying, singing — actually the same thing in this case — 
You wrote in the preface and it struck me kaleidoscopically just the other day: Orpheus (he fucked it up)

To express oneself (sich ausdrücken), the body, as sound, as tears, to (finally) get rid of something:
Writing, crying, le cri, écrire (translation games never get old, or do they?).

I am still watching a bit of The Simpsons, here, on the Baltic Sea, which I hate and which you love (I hate to love something but I don't love to hate either), and a character says, to repeat myself, again, “I'd like to go for a beer with this lemonade.”

(I'm never ashamed of my bad jokes in front of you - you “ennoble” them (as they say), just like repetition, I thank you from the bottom of my heart)

Forever, 
Olga

P.S. The idea of bulimic writing, writing as puking (something out), became especially clear to me the other day when I puked in my backyard. At first, the inside of my stomach was still quite familiar to me, like a part of me, a placenta, then bit by bit it became more and more alien to me, and my own disgust towards it grew. And at some point the alienation was so strong that I could no longer clean the vomit away (without having to vomit again). Besides, if I would have cleaned it, my neighbors would have noticed that it was my puke, because why else would I feel responsible for the days-old puke in the backyard? I put an advertising leaflet from the paper garbage on it—which of course made the vomit even more visible, as usual (covering something up makes things more obvious, says D., a painter). It took two weeks for it to disappear, not without a trace. It's also an allegory of writing, because a text doesn't always age like cheese or wine, but sometimes like vomit. It had to come out, but doesn't necessarily gain in quality over time. (But sometimes it does)


Since my rehab I have been afraid (because I have always secretly felt unacknowledged pleasure in vomiting) that I could develop bulimia from my years of anorexia, so that in these evenings, which have recently become so tough because of the drug consumption, I would instead have to compulsively empty all my food supplies like the capsule with cocaine before, I always tasted the puke as the starting point of a possible chain of addiction that didn't happen after all (I fell asleep), just as the note on my mobile phone that remained alone couldn't establish a new writing routine. It was always just a painful choking down of words, not a glorious vomit stream of language, a potent fountain unblocked in musical rapture.

And it was all just a self-imposed revelation, which I then wrote over the months (making the method the subject, as the title Writing on Drugs by Sadie Plant can be translated both as writing on and writing aboutdrugs), by seeking disinhibition through substance abuse against this blockade to being able to write, by writing precisely about this
inhibition
trimming the body for writing by destroying it, a kitschy thought.

To make the method the object, the framework the content, but what could be pathetic about the avant-garde project, dissolving art in life. I get a hint from G.'s story of how he and a friend established clear rules of conversation for their shared consumption of drugs.
 The first rule was:
Don't talk about taking drugs while taking drugs

I am thinking of the term “The Abject” which I know from Julia Kristeva –  a text is just as much an interstitial material as a milk skin or vomit. Half of it belongs to the body and the other half does not; the relationship that the writing subject has to it is stuck between (over)identification and dissociation, one's own (text) material becomes alien to oneself. 

Every day when I walked past my vomit, I hoped that a dog had eaten it, but it didn't happen. The owners in this part of the city probably take extra care (you know that better than I do), knowing the stories of the dogs who are high on a heavy drug cocktail when they leave Görlitzer Park. (Again, a reference to our first meeting)

P.P.S. I stole an applesauce from your hospital kitchen twice, both times I ate it on the ICE on the way to some job. Next time, I'd like one of those so-called "milk soups" from the cupboard above the coffee machine—I think there are three flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla and Caramel? Can you give me one of each?

(My friends dog called Caramel killed her bunny Chocolat - they were named after this song: Caramel, Bonbon et Chocolat)

P.P.P.S. I almost cry when I think about the fact that you didn't give your prologue (that's what I shamelessly call it now) a title. Instead, there it is, a small dedication, in the corner of the page, a little coy, awkwardly covered by two brackets (and therefore of course all the more visible): 
(for olga)

Cover Up, Make Up, No Make-Up Make-Up
: L. talks about Adorno's theory of punctuation marks as traffic rules, I answer her with an Emily Dickinson poem in which the dash is used rather musically, they are shorter or longer or infinitely longer breaths, they affirm incompleteness. Perhaps there is some room for touch in these pauses?

So long -


Sophia Eisenhut and Olga Hohmann met in 2022 when both being invited to contribute to the publication, MERCI DANKE GRAZIE. They immediately became close friends and collaborators. 

Olga Hohmann is a writer living and working in Berlin. In 2023 her new book,
In deinem rechten Auge wohnt der Teufel was published, with a prologue written by Sophia. 

Sophia Eisenhut is an author of theory and fiction, including EXERCITIA S. Catarinae de Manresa: Anorexie und Gottesstaatlichkeit, published by Merve Verlag in 2021.


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

«You wouldn't get it.» 
– Anonymous


Provence

4.12.23


Weekly Crush #12 Monday, December 4, 2023


Dear _______,

Our newsletter content in the last few weeks was a bit heavy on the reviews (I'm certain you, being a dedicated reader, have also felt that way). For this week we decided to go for something light: a gift guide. And who better to compile one than our friend Karolin Braegger (who also showed at our space a bit more than a year ago)?

Karolin has considered that in the end, nothing–not even a gift guide à la Vogue–is really easy (or light), especially with the state of the world right now, leading her to a surprising twist in what could have been a pure affirmation of capitalist consumption.

xx from Milan to Viscosistadt,
PROVENCE

*****

Dear _______,


I’m writing to you in an uber to the airport, for what is hopefully the last business trip of the year. I’m heading a little more south and so I brought a pair of G.H. Bass loafers (the ones with rubber soles for the winter season ofc) instead of the Kandahar Cresta winter boots that the icy and snowy Berlin winter made me wear the last few days. I think I finally mastered the art of packing light by the way (which might be one of my biggest achievements of 2023).


As you know, when it comes to fashion I’m not so much concerned with actual fashion but more with the classics (see my shoe selection above for reference). So, for this year’s gift guide I asked my friend, artist and designer Karolin Braegger, to consult about current trends.


Enjoy / survive / vogue!

Best,
PROVENCE



Contributions Karolin Braegger


Gift Guide


It's not easy to know what to wish for atm, or to wish for anything material, or to know your own wishes at all, I know.

And that’s where I jump in: to help you making considered gifts without knowing what’s on their wishlist. 

1. Remember those balloon bras where you blew air through an inserted straw to blow it up to the size you want? But balloons are born to die and it isn’t Halloween but Christmas approaching. So, I'd suggest to go find Kim Kardashian’s “ultimate push-up nipple bra” on basically any reselling platform, because first of all,  it can’t collapse. Second, it’s the freezing season anyway, so nobody questions constantly hard nipples. And finally, because it’s winter, the jacket (how about a Stone Island jacket to be the best of both worlds?) which is kept on even indoors, hides the hideous moment of this ultimate bra: the edges that show through the next layer of fabric and the straps that strip bare that it’s all fake. I love a controversial-capitalist-Surrealist statement piece where people fight over whether it’s about real fakeness or fake realness, or about fake fakeness?



2. Talking Tees take over the uncomfortable part of starting a conversation as a substitute for you. I could probably not wear Balenciaga’s Kering shirt though, as there are no female designers in creative director positions right now in this group. Also, it’s Balenciaga, where even the non-couture pieces are too expensive. And let me share a thought here: What is really interesting about this, is that Demna keeps the inaccessible inaccessible with its high pricing because one could only theoretically buy a Kering or a DHL t-shirt. But where else could you find one of those? Where the latter is exclusively produced as work wear for company employees. At least at Balenciaga and Vêtements they would be accessible.

Wait, what?

I stole his idea and can offer you one of my LVHM adaptations, they’re handmade with love for details and still affordable—real accessible maybe—even if they are all unique. You can find it in my exhibition, Play Dead” at AllStars. Just imagine what a wonderful styling “the ultimate nipple bra” and an XXL LVHM t-shirt are already! Now how to complete the look?



3. Not too hasty! No pants will be described here to mess up the outfit. We have been taught as children that when we were gifted a goodnight story (which we then started regularly to wish for) that in those tales, the third wish ruins it all. The megalomaniacs and their greedy desires are punished by losing everything and falling back to where they came from.
What’s the moral of the story? We should be careful what we wish for. 

I had a blast watching Pingu the other night. It came to my mind because I struggled to really formulate wishes or gift options. And it led me to think about failing communication.
Even if Pingus speak in “Grammelot”, they seem to perfectly understand what one another are saying, and we, the viewers, understand it too. Because the imagery, symbols, facial expressions and gesturing are nurtured by clichés which we can easily decode. 
But the idea of the indecipherable language made me think about origin of the Dada movement. 
Maybe it’s a time to actually gift, well, time. To tell each other newly interpreted fairytales, stories, and exercise communication.



Karolin Braegger, born 1993 in Zurich, lives and works in Vienna and Zurich. She studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and the Zurich University of Arts, Zürich, as well as  Fashion Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. Her solo exhibition Play Dead is on view at AllStars in Lausanne until the 7th of January 2024.

Braegger's practice is situated between visual art, fashion, and performance. The objects she creates incorporate an inherent ambivalence between sculpture, prop/costume and element of display. Likewise, her performative work is characterized by a constant shift between the role of performer, organizer and facilitator.  In maintaining a form of versatility as a systematic component of her work, she addresses the value of supportive gestures, with special attention to key cultural figures such as the servant, the caretaker, and the host. This leads her to frequently work collaboratively and to explore multiple forms of delegation, adaptability, resource sharing, and transferred authorship. She has just been a resident at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, is invited to do a lecture performance for the project “Threading tomorrow” at Pogon Jedinstvo organized by the Goethe-Institut in Zagreb and will be part of a group exhibition at Kunstforum in Vienna. She is working collaboratively with artist Brigham Baker on Quiltscapes, where they hosted their last event within the in:dépendance residency by ETH Zurich at Furkapass, Valais, in August. Recent exhibitions include PROVENCE (Zürich), Cabaret Voltaire (Zürich), Heiliger Kreuzerhof (Vienna), Exile (Vienna) and Sangt Hipolyt (Berlin)


Image 1: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lifestyle/shopping/kim-kardashian-skims-nipple-bra-where-to-buy-1235632837/, 30.11.23
Images 2, 3: © Karolin Braegger
Image 4:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2129569/, 30.11.23


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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland

«Stupid. Ugly. Out of date. This is ridiculous. If I can't find something nice to wear I'm not going.» 
– The Grinch

Provence

28.11.23


Weekly Crush #11Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Dear _______,

I'm so sorry! I completely forgot about you.

There's just too much going on at the moment. My coffee burned in the Bialetti yesterday, and then I couldn't decide which shoes to wear for the first snow of the year in Berlin. I desperately needed to go to the studio and finally start making work again.

So here we are, a day late for Weekly Crush #11. This edition is more of an informative newsletter than actual content. PROVENCE is known for being a shapeshifter, and we've decided to reconfigure our project once again.

Have a great week!

xx SH for PROVENCE

*****

Dear _______,


How are you today? How are you planning to spend the remaining 37 days of 2023? How do you feel about the future? Excitement? Anxiety?


Lately, we’ve been pondering what the future might hold for PROVENCE. In recent years, we’ve focused more and more on the activities that surround our publications–social events, partnerships, exhibitions, etc., and simply calling it a magazine has felt outdated for a while. Now, we’ve finally made the decision to legally change into a non-profit association, which we hope will be better suited for the diverse range of activities on the horizon.


Publication creation will remain a focus, but instead of the continuous, biannual magazine, we’ll be publishing unique productions. The first one–a reader marking our 15th anniversary–will come out in spring 2024. Our free newsletter will continue to come out on a weekly basis. Thanks to Data Orbit for the new design.


To prepare ourselves for the changes ahead, we decided to reshuffle our operative team, which now looks like this:


Paolo Baggi (Director)

Brit Barton (Editor-In-Chief)

Samuel Haitz (Head of Development)

Nina Hollensteiner (Fashion Director)

Veronika Dorosheva (Fashion Editor)

Pascal Storz (Founding Art Director)

Philip Pilekjær (Special Projects)

Olamiju Fajemisin (Contributing Editor)


Tobias Kaspar, founder of PROVENCE, has left the operative team, but remains committed by serving as Board Executive of the new PROVENCE non-profit association. Andrea Abegg Serrano, our former Managing Director, is currently on maternity leave, but remains part of the association as a member.


Amanda Weimer has stepped down as editor and advertisement hunter in order to join Sfeir-Semler Gallery. Amanda has contributed immensely to the team and we wish her the best with her new endeavors.


More soon!


Sincerely,

Philip Pilekjær

E̵d̵i̵t̵o̵r̵-̵I̵n̵-̵C̵h̵i̵e̵f̵ Special Projects


PROVENCE.
25% ARTISTS.
15% CURATORS.
10% STYLISTS.
35% PARENTS.
15% VEGANS.
100% UNPAID LABOR
EST 2009.




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PROVENCE, Pavillon
Genossenschaftsstrasse 22, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland


Der Weekly Crush ist ein Newsletter, der jedes Semester
von anderen künstlerischen Positionen erstellt und an alle
K++V-Studierende verschickt wird.

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