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¬ dieselampel / about (on method and context)





red fields

is a collaboration work between myself and British artist gordon mcneilage, started in February 2004. These pages are constantly under construction and being added / changed. Texts are generated from source material such as emails and other writings. They are re-written, edited, cut and morphed, then sent between gordon (who is currently working from   Kong- Ju city, South Korea) and myself (currently working from Berlin and South Germany). From our different  continents / perspectives, we re-write each other's materials adding both our own images and text to make them unique,  then send them back to be re-written again.

Gordon's versions - along with other works - can be seen at . . .

¬ mute#1

The first draft was written from text that arrived via e-mail by original texts by Ody Jarmann and Natalie Waldbaum with other snippets of text sent off by me. Ody's originals described a night shift in a South African Bar and a new year's party somewhere in Britain, Nat's text was on muteness and isolation. Whilst editing these texts I remembered soe bullies that gave me a hard time when I was a child, "when the fields turned red". Gordon then suggested to call the whole project "red-fields." Ody's reply: lovely to hear from you again, and as ever playing around with such attention to our words! It makes me
so happy to find you occasionally in this here random space"... Yes, this here random space: A text that stretches from the seventies to the now, from Africa to Britain, from Estonia to Berlin. And this is where it condenses like dew "in the silent streets"

¬ location x (Berlin o4)

These texts are a mix of spontaneously written materials and observations, texts sent by Gordon, unfinished fragments and materials ripped off the internet, translated and edited.
I took a background from one of Gordon's images to give the pages a repetitional "feel".

This particular strand is a cue of "Neuland" which you find here:
It is a mixture between a documentary (ethnographic approach) and poetry. Photography also plays a part in it as it supplies me with raw visual material.

¬ melodies

This is how far it can go: lots of Gordon's material and my own (made from observations) shuffled and reshuffled for at least five times. Still the Narrative is coherent and describes quite accurately how I perceived Berlin in winter.

the lost plots

are a collection of texts which were written between autumn 2002 and spring 2004.

¬ o3/o4

Another piece which was compiled from an email-conversation with Ody Jarman. I found things in general looked fairly different from my perspective. This is why each line is to complement the other.

¬ Strg+Z

I started collecting the random words that come with spam mails. The other day I read an article on a practice that was wide-spread in the German Biedermaier era (Walter Benjamin wrote about this...): Children would be given a random set of words which they would turn into a short narrative.
Here, after some editing I kept the fragmentary character, every combination forming a double or triple cluster proposing an image. As a list a rudimentary narrative emerges from the incomplete sentences.
The image is made from porn because it sits nicely with the concept of spam. In particular the second piece is quite dark and aggressive; is it a coincidence spam mails come with a body of aggravating terms?

¬ News

"News" was written just before I left Totnes in September 2003. For this text I took pages from magazines, folded them in a way not more than five, six words would show at one time, then scanned the text, read it out with OCR, then edited. This is what I would call to write the Borroughs way. Yet in contrast to Borroughs and other cut up writers I regard the emerging material as "raw", it might attract people who are into "hard-core poetics" but I tend to be put off by too incoherent material. I want to propose a "plot", something that does indeed refer to a particular location or mind-set at a particular time. "News" is one of the results. Images were taken from a collection of photographs that I took over the years.

¬ Goldstars
¬ Wasteland

I took a pretty random selection of books from the library and manually copied out the first and last sentences of the books for "Goldstars", and the first and/or last sentences of chapters for "Wasteland". Two pieces on war; books become old quite rapidly, and in this sense always refer to the past. If we read them in the now we encounter a sense of memory. The sentences used were not edited at all, they stand as they appeared in the books. Only their sequence was changed in order to create a somewhat logic narrative.


An experiment in visual short pieces with a focus on font. Unfortunately after a crash I have lost this particular font which I downloaded as "Russel" but which it isn't. Russell is a commercial font and looks different. Words were taken from margins, put in a new sequence which results in a poem I so far like the most of all.

¬ Guide

"Guide to life - Add/Venture" is a collection of advertisement slogans put into new order. Sections appear as short narratives, each with their own take, often perverting the original meaning of the imperatives because they turn aggressivily towards us if they appear in sequence. This is a response to my manifesto on "freetext", on copyright issues and plagiarism, reappropriating notions of authorship, quoting and emerging Gestalt. I hate the idea of words being owned by someone. A narrative sequence, a story can be easily attached to an author, but a common property like language that apears with a ™ provokates me. Take McDonald's slogan: "I love it™", or Mircrosoft's "Where are you going today?™" These sequences can't be sold with a product any longer. Another example is the logo on, my website, which I found as a cut out in a Totnes street. During my stay in Berlin I found a very similar version on some trendy rucksacks, attached with a trade mark. It is a figure from the dancescene. Someone sold what they didn't own.

(…) "it may be that the incomplete story, the particle, the fragment, is now the preferred unit of information in our culture, and lack of place is more useful for presenting these fragments than to fix them into regular sentences and grits". (Butler, Frances Punctuation, or the Dream of Legibility: From Vision to Substance in: émigré #33, p. 59)

¬ tracks

was made with a babelfished edit (German-English) from the wasserherz-list, a private forum where frinds of mine exchange thoughts, texts, observations and opinions.) Altavista's babelfish is much worse (or so I feel) than google's translation tool which creates some interestingly fuzzy output if the process is repeated over and over again. The result was edited and "tracks" appeared. Just for fun... ;)

¬ Danger

Similar to "Strg+Z" these short pieces are made from virus lists that I copy out from a newsletter. I'm fascinated by viruses, particular their performic qualities; most of them don't simply imfect a system, but ask you to klick on them. It seems to be a hard thing not to, apparently. Yet their names are very interesting, and when put in sequence create interesting short narratives. In the first examples I also placed the words in a way they would resemble the structure of real viri.

¬ Narcosis

An experiment in font design, and a short poem at the bottom of the page made from dialogues found in music magazines. I only kept four sentences of about fifty.

¬ Frequencies

Written from memory and with fragmented, scanned, ocr-ed and edited material.Other parts were written from parts of images found in magazines, usually a stripe that appeared on to (many faces) and the bottom margin (lots of texture). Frequencies is a fictional collection of scenes looking into emotions and the lives of two characters. Polaroids is by far the most extreme in this sense. All aspects of nature and the surrounding environment gets lost in favour of becoming locked in. Hate it or love it, it is a very long text of which i want to extract a more concise version.

¬ war is peace

One of three versions was triggered by the state of world affairs in autumn 2003 (under the heading enduring freedom) and a closer look at the german word for "history" - Geschichte, an image of virtual sediment or a virtual process of layering. The underlying theme of the projection is the exploration of "modes of vision" and the instrumentalisation of historic themes in order to shape public opinion by giving evidence through assertion as well as through repetition. George Orwell in 1984 describes how language, here new speak can turn a slogan like "war is peace" into a truism. With this in mind found texts (from the "Guardian") were turned into the "imperative" and then projected onto a wall. This piece was quickly prepared for a showing; at that time I had in mind to do a reading/performance which was not approved of... The idea, as I recollect it was a big screen with the Hindenburg Zeppelin bursting into flames as a main image with other scenes of destruction framing it. I was working on an image transition from black and white to orange. A voice over would have read out "truisms" (similar as on the actual projection).

¬ dado

dado was made with texts fed into oli's enhanced version of jamie zawinski's dadadodo. (see: under "max") I always wanted to have a dadadodo, and Oli worked on the umlauts). Sometimes it creates lovely patterns, sometimes amazing text collages. All these texts that you find here have been made available to dado, so there's a great source which produces new combinations.

¬ satellite B

A response to the practice of Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger). I browsed the hard drive such sentences and these are what I found acceptable.


"To copy down, to appropriate, to deconstruct other texts is to break down those perceptual habits the culture doesn't want to be broken.
Deconstruction demands not so much plagiarism as breaking into the copyright law." Acker, Kathy Dead Doll Prpphecy in: Becker, Carol (ed) The Subsessive Imagination London: Routledge (1994) p.28

All these texts are somehow ripped, yet they have been processed during a long editing process, text is kept in flow. I consider these texts copyleft, please give reference or drop me a mail if you want to use this material, go for a collaboration or throw some flames ;)


max ensslin march o4 ~:)