Archive for 2003

Archive added.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2003

Since a significant part of the entries that I made is not visible anymore I added an archive in the column to the right. Just click on the links to see the entries that were posted during the respective month.

Bruno Latour. Iconoclash.

Tuesday, July 15th, 2003

Ein schöner, kurzer Text (76 Seiten, viele Bilder, Merve-Format). Latours Stil ist immer wieder anregend, offen und scheut sich nicht vor peinlichen Ausrufezeichen. Die Parallelisierung und gleichzeitige Unterscheidung zwischen Wissenschaft, Religion und Kunst ist spannend. Mir gefiel besonders der Typ der ‘acheiropoiete’. Ich verspüre zwar immer ein gewisses Unbehagen bei solchen klassizistischen Begriffen, aber der Typus der ‘acheiropoiete’ ist spannend. Gemeint sind Gegenstände, denen zugeschrieben wird, das sie nicht von Menschenhand geschaffen sind, wie beispielsweise die 10 Gebote, die von Gott kommen. Sind sind sakral und sind durch ihre Fremdgeschaffenheit nicht den Kriterien menschlicher Kritik unterworfen. Gleichzeitig jedoch liegt der geschaffene Charakter, die menschliche Arbeit und das menschliche Handeln in solcher Gegenständen und Ikonen offen zu Tage.

Die Zerstörung solcher Gegenstände, der ikonoklastische Akt, ist ebenfalls zwiespältig, denn er vollführt selbst eine bildliche Geste. Das zur Schau stellen, das Feiern der Zerstörung ist selbst ein Bild und reiht sich auf merkwürdige Weise selbst wieder in die Ikonenproduktion ein.

Diese Zwiespältigkeit, die dem Entlarven und Enthüllen von Täuschungen innewohnt, führt Latour zu einem programmatischen Statement: In Iconoclash stellt er der Einfachheit des (vermeintlichen) Entlarvens von Naivität einen komplexeren Anspruch an Kritik gegenüber. Kritik muss sich den Doppeldeutigkeiten des Lebens stellen; das Einfache Volk ist komplexer als von einer pseudointellektuellen Elite, die sich schick der Dekonstruktion und Desillusionierung verschrieben hat, immer wieder unterstellt wird. Das heisst nicht, dass Kritik falsch wäre. Nach Latour ist Kritik oft zu billig.

Wir wollen uns also anstrengen. Wir wollen die Mühen der Komplextität und der Doppeldeutigkeiten nicht scheuen und in den Alltag und seine vielfältigen Deutungsmuster einsteigen! Wir wollen die von uns dabei erzeugten Bilder mitreflektieren und unsere eigene Schuld eingestehen! (Zeit für ein paar Ausrufezeichen. hehe.)

Ein hübsches Zitat aus dem Text findet sich übrigens in den gestern neu eingerichteten citation cereals in der rechten Spalte dieses Blogs. Wer gerne mehr von Latour lesen möchte kann das umsonst und ganz legal machen, denn der Gute hat auf seiner Internetseite fast alle seine Bücher und Texte zur allgemeinen Verfügung gestellt.

Back from science + fiction and bustling Karlsruhe.

Monday, July 14th, 2003

The exhibition was good, we had a nice guide. You should probably check it out yourself. This is a link to the brain that they had on display. They also had some other interesting exhibitions and installations at the ZKM and they also had the obligatory nice museum book store. After being pointed to an interesting book by my co-Kollegiat Lars Meier (Urban Encounters by Helen Liggett) I spent some money for the mentioned book and for Iconoclash by Bruno Latour. Now I am feeling somewhat more like an intellectual again.
On Friday, we had the opportunity to see some Nanotechnology dinosaurs from the University of Karlsruhe. They were acting as one would expect: After some people were asking critical questions about nanotechnology in general one of the first questions they asked us (the members of the Graduiertenkolleg) was “Who of you studied physics? Chemistry? Mathematics?”. Well, looks like we’re not qualified… ;-) It was fun anyway especially since we were werved water and juice in measuring glasses that are usally used in labs.
Besides the work-related things that we saw, we also had some time to roam around the city. I must say that I am positively impressed. There was a lot of life on the street up until late in the night. Is this because of the proximity to France? Is it because of the climate? Whatever it’s causes, it was quite a striking difference to the Darmstadt experience. Although… yesterday, Sir Elton John gave a concert here in Darmstadt. See?

Vacation and physical exercise? We play croquet.

Friday, July 11th, 2003

Plans for our collective trip to France are ripening. They are inspired by this beautiful page. You should really take a look at this page.
If you are interested in the rules of croquet, it’s history and such, check out this page. It is maintained by Dr. Ian Plummer, Oxford, UK. That should be enough of a recommendation.
The biggest questions for this year’s trip to France and the beautiful village of Pomy are: Will we have an adequate lawn? Will we have authentic equipment and, most important: Who will serve the Raffaelo?

Less entries visible.

Thursday, July 10th, 2003

To make access to the blog a bit faster again, I reduced the number of entries that will be shown on this page from 40 to 30. If you think I should keep the entry list longer, even if it has a negative impact on the time it takes for this page to appear on your screen, say so.

Some more optimizations.

Thursday, July 10th, 2003

Yesterday I finished fiddling with the HTML and CSS code of my web pages. *sigh*

You probably won’t notice any differences, but everything is much better now. ;-) The blog displays exactly as it should in a ton of different browsers: Internet Explorer 5.0 on Win98, 6.0 on WinXP, 5.23 on MacOS X, several different Mozilla/Firebird/Camino builds on different platforms, Opera 6.02, and Safari (which uses a tweaked version of the rendering engine of Konqueror on Linux). Only the trusty iCab has it’s usual problems with the correct rendering of pretty basic CSS code. But the page still works nicely even in iCab.
The code for my other pages has undergone some optimizations too. It might now be rendering a tad bit faster. It has also been revised to be even more accessible to handicapped people, and people with text browsers or slow connections. Hopefully this also has a positive impact on my google ranking, because I am now using the appropriate tags wherever possible (i.e. I am formatting the contents list using list tags, I am formatting my contact information using the address tag etc.)

It is valid.

Tuesday, July 8th, 2003

Hey Ho! After some more experimenting with the way blosxom works, I finally came up with a tuned version that validates both as HTML and as CSS. As you know, I never ever want to brag, but this is quite a feat!
There is only one small caveat: Some of the entries in this blog contain special characters, which I didn’t encode properly during the beginning of my blogging life. I won’t change these; they will eventually vanish as I will write more entries. If I would change them now, they would all have a changed date and accordingly appear under today’s heading. We don’t want this. No. Just enjoy the new Valid HTML and Valid CSS logos in the column to the right.

Oh, when will it arrive?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2003

The city of Neverwinter is in great peril. And only Timo and I can save it. There is a big obstacle blocking our way to the rescue, though. It is called lame progress in porting NWN to the Mac. Bioware, the producer of this and related Games taking place in the Forgotten Realms of AD&D, seems to be almost ready with the game, things are obviously delayed by the publishing house, MacSoft. Get your act together, so that Timo and I can save those poor people from dying! Slaughter some monsters!

Up until the great day when I will find the game box in my mail, I have to bridge time and space by relying on the computer hardware accessible here in Darmstadt, using a … windows … machine. That’s how hard it is.

New comments layout.

Monday, July 7th, 2003

Since I implemented the comment function in this blog I have been unhappy with it’s layout. Today I dug a little deeper into the way the comment stuff works (the “writeback plugin”). Interpreting the bones and shards that I found in the hole that i dug, I was able to generate a new, hopefully more pleasing layout for you. Any feedback or comments? ;-)

Haunted by the past.

Sunday, July 6th, 2003

It was predictable. After severeal years of watching people wear plateau boots it was becoming clearer and clearer: sooner or later even the eighties will be making their way back into fashion. I am ambivalent about this whole thing. On one hand, there is a certain resignative, shaking-my-head sense of disbelief about why people would do this; on the other hand, there definitely is some potential for amusement in this. Even if it borders on sarcasm.
Today, however, I am in a state of shock. Checking out Apple’s Movie Trailers web page I saw a link to … Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights!! Trailer, official website. Please, let it be a flop!

Ich versteh nur Bahnhof.

Friday, July 4th, 2003

Habe heute den ersten Stapel Bücher über Bahnhöfe aus der Bibliothek abgeholt. Spannend. Werde in der nächsten Zeit über die interessanteren Titel berichten.

Productive travelling.

Friday, July 4th, 2003

During today’s railroading from Berlin to Frankfurt I suffered a real outburst of productivity. Being ignorantly creative, I had to hastily stuff my stuff into my bag so that I wouldn’t miss leaving the train on time at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. How could that happen? What did I do? I read all the exposés for this and last week (ok, this doesn’t sound too exciting) and I made an outline for my presentation at the colloquium Space, Place, Power, offered by Martina Löw and Helmuth Berking. But what’s even more astonishing: I also prepared my first presentation via laptop+projector (using Apple’s Keynote, not Microsoft Powerpoint, as you hopefully would have guessed). So, people at the colloquium will witness my first dabblings into digital presentation technology.
Formwise, I will be following established standards. Contentwise, I will try to do a Different Thing™. Stay tuned for more information. I will probably put the presentation online after I gave it. Perhaps in a “Manifesto” style…

Small steps.

Thursday, July 3rd, 2003

Yesterday and today I did some more research regarding the subjects train station and passenger terminals. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be that available on the web, at least in German. There are many sites where you can read minor variations on the anti-surveillance-Foucault’s-Panoticon-exclusion-of-the-homeless theme – this is an important and central problem of contemporary cities and their public or semi-public spaces – however, this definitely doesn’t cover the intricacies and sublime effects of urban/spatial/technological design on social action. So, I’ll see what I will find in the texts that I ordered via internet at the libraries in Darmstadt. (I still can’t believe I managed to make those orders and start the real bibliographic work – a true burst of productivity!)

Still, I found one or two interesting things. Following, a few links (all of these sites are in German):
on urban space:, transitraum
on train stations: diskus, Bahnhofsoffensive gegen Rassismus (derive), INNENSTADT-AG Frankfurt, Rund um den Bahnhof (Schweiz), TAZ Artikel 25.01.02, and a historic essay on train stations
on video surveillance: spotoff

The weekend.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003

The trip into the Brandenburgian province was worth it. We took a train to Chorin, rode our bicycles to the Parstein lake where you can find a great spot to swim and refresh yourself in the water. *aaahhhh* Then we raced down into the valley of the river Oder and rode on the dike through the southern parts of the Nationalpark Unteres Odertal. Getting somewhat tired and we wanted to go to the closest train station after that. We went to Oderberg. And found out pretty soon that the station has been shut down a while ago :-( Well, it was only a 12km ride to Bad Freienwalde…

There is one more thing to tell you about this weekend:
Olli had his first public gig! He sang the future chartbreaker Kastanienallee in a club called Bad Kleinen. Of course, it was a great success!>

Another movie highlight from Scandinavia.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2003

Yesterday we saw Fucking Åmal. With a by now typical camera, we’re introduced into the adolescent life in a small Swedish town. It’s a high school movie. It’s a nice movie. I repeatedly found myself surprised by the way the story turned (or did not turn). The two main characters, Agnes and Elin, are portraied and played really well, and they create an enchanting story. No cheerleading though and (almost) no basketball… Mac geeks will be rewarded too.
Check out a fan page with links to different trailers, wallpapers etc. here.>

Getting out, getting to a lake.

Saturday, June 28th, 2003

This is the motto for this weekend. After today’s wedding party in the Manzini’s, we’ll need a break from urban space – a break from reflective thinking and discussing dissertation blah. A trip to one of the farther lakes in the Mecklenburgische Seenplate is in order. Some of these lakes are quite deep. Hopefully the water is still somewhat cool and refreshing, even after all these weeks of warm weather. Bathing in lake should of course be combined with nurturing yourself with food from the same, a nice fresh fish! Yum. Yum Yum. And then some relaxation. Cool evening air and a light breeze.
Well, know you know why you shouldn’t be surprised if I won’t blog anything this weekend. It for the weather to decide about this.

Getting rid of the toughest obstacles.

Friday, June 27th, 2003

One of the major hurdles on the way to finishing my dissertation was taken today. I now am a proud bearer of an ID card for the Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek Darmstadt (the library I will use mainly here in Darmstadt). And, I do not only have a standard student ID, no no, I have a special feature member-of-the-TU-Darmstadt-staff ID. What a feat! Now everything else looks like it could be done with the wink of an eyelid.


Thursday, June 26th, 2003

Mist. Es ist schon wieder passiert. Der wohl häufigste und nervigste Fehler beim Verschicken von Mails: ich habe vergessen, das Attachment anzuhängen…
Übrigens: wenn Ihr diese Seite Bookmarken wollt, müsst Ihr ganz einfach Strg+D (bei Windows) oder Apfel+D (beim Mac OS) drücken. (Linuxer wissen wie’s geht.)

Na? Mal vorbeischauen?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2003

Heute hab’ ich vielen Leuten meine neue Anschrift in Griesheim gemailt, vielleicht finden ja einige davon den Weg von meiner Mail auf diese Seite…
Für Menschen aus meiner ehemaligen Stufe: Ich habe mittlerweile Adressen von 26 Leuten aus unserem Abijahrgang. Das reicht noch nicht! Wer mir also noch keine Adressen gesandt hat: E-Mail an mich schicken :-)
Ansonsten muss ich sagen, dass dieser Sommer sich ziemlich gut anlässt – das Wetter hier in Darmstadt ist schon seit Wochen tipp topp. Es wäre eigentlich mal wieder an der Zeit, den Grill anzuwerfen. Doch heute Abend wird Sybille in Space, Place, Power über die Geschichte des Potsdamer Platzes sprechen und da geh ich natürlich hin!

Colors. An overwhelming amount of colors. And landscape. Lots of Landscape.

Wednesday, June 25th, 2003

This Monday I went to see Hero. It was gorgeous. I have only seen very, very few movies with such great aesthetics. If you like movies that create a sense of wonder about what the world could look like, this is a movie for you. It also has some martials arts fighting scences, but, please!, don’t let them keep you from watching this movie – it is a great work of art. If you were enchanted by the fighting scenes in the bamboo woods in Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon by Ang Lee, then you will really like this movie. The movie is slow, not your general action laden eastern, and it has a story with pathos (and some interesting turns). I think it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing movies I ever saw. You might want to check out the trailer. Enjoy!