(»Pallaksch. Pallaksch.«)

Hölderlin-Pallaksch

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
The works and thoughts of Friedrich Hölderlin (20 March 1770 – 7 June 1843). Hölderlin was a German poet and philosopher. The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature, was little known or understood during his lifetime, and slipped into obscurity shortly after his death. Hölderlin had high hopes, but was disappointed by society and politics, struggled to establish himself as a poet, and also lost the love of his life Susette Gontard. He was plagued by mental illness, and sent to a clinic in 1805 but deemed incurable and instead given lodging by a carpenter, Ernst Zimmer. He spent the final 36 years of his life in Zimmer’s residence in Tübingen what is today known as the “Hölderlin Tower”. Hölderlin’s major publication in his lifetime was his novel Hyperion, which was issued in two volumes (1797 and 1799). In the great poems of his maturity, Hölderlin would generally adopt a large-scale, expansive and unrhymed style. Together with these long hymns, odes and elegies – which included “Der Archipelagus” (“The Archipelago”), “Brod und Wein” (“Bread and Wine”) and “Patmos” – he also cultivated a crisper, more concise manner in epigrams and couplets, and in short poems like the famous “Hälfte des Lebens” (“The Middle of Life”). His shorter and sometimes more fragmentary poems have exerted wide influence too on later German poets, from Georg Trakl onwards. He also had an influence on the poetry of Hermann Hesse and Paul Celan. Celan wrote a poem about Hölderlin, called “Tübingen, Jänner” (“Tübingen, January”) which ends with the word Pallaksch — according to Schwab, Hölderlin’s favourite neologism “which sometimes meant Yes, sometimes No”.

Europe: The European Union, the European Culture and the European Thought.

Write down your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

Happy Paranoids

Did you ever ask yourself, why we often want and don’t want to know certain things at the same time? The postmodern writer Thomas Pynchon is an expert for quests with open ends. His protagonists desperately try to gain information about mysterious persons, organizations or incidents. But every answer just leads to new questions or the answer seems to be absolutely pointless. Sooner or later Pynchon’s heroes get lost in subplots, between dozens of weird characters – lost in a loud, funny and dirty world. A world with no deeper sense at all? A world like ours?

The main characters in Pynchon novels are often classified as paranoids. Paranoids think they would know more than others, while they do know less and (just a theory) privily don’t want to know more. Doesn’t that perfectly fit our today’s society? So is it just the never ending search for meaning, the infinite exploration of the hidden links between superficially fragmented entities, that makes us human, gives our lives a purpose or simply saves us from daily boredom? In that case we permanently play tricks on ourselves: We wish to solve the mysteries around us, but need them to remain unanswerable as well. We want to know and don’t want to know.

Perhaps we are all happy paranoids…

HappyParanoia_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZER:
The novel »The Crying of Lot 49« by US-author Thomas Pynchon (an enigmatic figure himself). The heroine Oedipa Maas tries to solve the mystery about her dead ex-lover Pierce Inverarity. Soon she gets in contact with a weird counter world of the isolated and forgotten, in which an alternative communication system is used: W.A.S.T.E (»We await silent Trystero’s empire«). Its symbol: the muted post horn. But what’s all this about? The book ends with the auction of a set of rare, manipulated postage stamps that she believes representatives of Trystero are trying to acquire…

Destabilize your mind!

THE MIND BOTANISTS
D.B. (and D.B.)

 

Dying is an art

The aim of this new collage is to provoke new thoughts about the works of Sylvia Plath and suicide. Are artists more likely to struggle with mental health issues or is it just the myth of the mad genius that endured for centuries? A conclusive link has never been made between mental health issues and creativity. But for the first time reliable data* has recently shown that in the UK the suicide rate among people working in creative roles is significantly higher than the national average. But how reliable are such studies really? Of course under special circumstances everyone can be at risk and e.g. clinical depression is a serious illness which can affect anybody. Regardless of whether someone is an artist or not, there will always be help for broken souls. It is just important to analyse the individual causes…

*Office for National Statistics: »Suicide by occupation, England: 2011 to 2015«

DyingIsAnArt_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
The semi-autobiographical novel »The Bell Jar« (1963) by American poet Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) and her poetry collection »Ariel«. Ariel was originally published in 1965, two years after Plath’s death by suicide. The poems in the edition, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath’s earlier poems. In her writing Plath was exploring a dark, taboo, personal subject matter. Sylvia Plath was clinically depressed for most of her adult life. In 1953 she had already tried to commit suicide. Her father, a German entomologist, died when Sylvia was only eight years old. Plath had a troubled marriage with the English poet Ted Hughes. In 1961 she miscarried their second child. In 1963 the couple had two children, who slept next door when Sylvia put an end to her young life.

Analyse your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

va­ni­tas va­ni­ta­tum

When people talk about immortality it is very likely that they don’t speak of the same thing. What does it mean to live forever? To stay young and actually never going to die? To believe in an afterlife or rebirth? Must we create something unprecedented up to now, gain fame and praise or simply pass on our genes to our descendants? Science, art, religion… Choose your personal life jacket, perhaps you will not sink into oblivion.

LocusSolus_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
»Locus Solus« (1914) by French novelist, outstanding personality and eccentric Raymond Roussel. In the novel a prominent scientist and inventor, Martial Canterel, has invited a group of colleagues to visit the park of his country estate, Locus Solus. As the group tours the estate, Canterel shows them inventions of ever-increasing complexity and strangeness, amongst other things the preserved head of guillotined Georges Jacques Danton. Canterel discovered a way to resuscitate the brain matter of the French revolutionist with electricity, so that Danton’s lips form soundless words…

»The Cryonics Institute« (USA) cools legally-dead people to liquid nitrogen temperature where physical decay essentially stops, in the hope that future scientific procedures will someday revive them and restore them to youth and good health. The institute has also a special offer to remove and cryopreserve only the head of a deceased person. The theory is that only the information contained in the brain is of any importance, and that a new body could be cloned or regenerated at some point in the future…

Defrost your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

A Payne In The Arse

There are photographs which hunt us through the years. One of them is the portrait of Lewis Payne (or Powell), taken by Alexander Gardner in 1865, which inspired my collage against death penalty. Payne was involved in the Lincoln conspiracy and attempted to assassinate U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward on April 14, 1865. For that he was sentenced to death by hanging. We deeply detest his deeds, but we also detest the fact he died (aged 21) on July 7, 1865 after he struggled for nearly five minutes at the gallows.

Today’s horrible fact: This seems a short time considering executions gone wrong in the U.S. over 150 years later. In Arkansas criminals were killed in a rush before the State’s death drugs expired… Some of the convicted suffered terrible pain. The beautiful face of national justice has a rotten and vindictive side.

LewisPayne_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZER:
Roland Barthes’ »Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography«. Barthes captioned the photograph of Lewis Payne: »He is dead and he is going to die«. What makes this photograph special, its punctum, is the future death by hanging of its subject. In this sense this punctum is relevant to all photographs showing a future death and trauma.  Its unique feature is that it relates both to the future (what is going to happen next) and to what has happened (as information that is brought in by the viewer).

Replant your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

Crotch Blossom

Would you call a flower ugly, just because its petals are bigger than the petals of other flowers? It may be a question of fondness. Some like roses, others prefer clitoria. (Yes, that’s also a real flowers genus.) But you can hardly say, that one of them is ugly. Isn’t everyone happy to receive a flower as a gift of real love, even though it may not be the favorite looking one?

Of course a vagina is not a flower, although their appearances are similarly varied. Is that a bad thing? No? Why then all this fuss about labia?

In developed countries labia »correction« by puffing or cutting is a beauty trend. In some African countries little girls suffer genital mutilation, because it’s a traditional practice. Misogyny is a global problem and it has many faces. What are the reasons? Who’s afraid of an unmodified vagina? Are these questions just appropriate for feminists to ask?

I think, it is time to set the razor blade on our ways of thinking and no longer between women’s legs…

CrotchBlossom_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZERS:
The Somalian model, author and social activist against female genital mutilation (FGM) Waris Dirie. She suffered genital mutilation when she was three years old. In her book, »Desert Flower«, she tells her autobiographical story.

The American sex toy entrepreneur Brian Sloan. Originator and host of the world’s first vaginal beauty contest. It’s up to you to judge…

I hope you will discuss this collage.
Flower out your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.

 

Propaganda

This first collage starts the Botanic Mind project. It is my artistic reaction to propaganda which affects us today even more than we consciously perceive. I leave it up to you to analyse and interpret this illustration. Hopefully it makes you raise some inner questions…

Propaganda_BotanicMind

BOTANIC MIND FERTILIZER:
The artwork was inspired by the book »Propaganda« (1928) written by Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward L. Bernays, father of Public Relations. The book explores the psychology behind manipulating masses and the ability to use symbolic action and propaganda to influence all areas of our society.

Grow your mind!

THE MIND BOTANIST
D.B.