Two And A Half Days Concisely

In the first entry about this week in Osijek I got the feeling that I am reporting a sunny shiny relaxing vacation. And partly that hits the point, but there were occasions where we literally vanished from the scene to prepare my photos for display. Thanks to everyone who helped, I wouldn’t have made it alone (and as I always use to say: you know who you are).
Well, back to business: since I listened to this wonderfully arranged and narrated radio broadcast about a fantastically imaginary rendezvous between Amy Winehouse and Duke Ellington (who used to say something like “If it sounds good, then it is good” – more on that later), which they titled “Back To Back, Back To Black“, I learned that the term “back to back” is commonly used for sound artists that perform one after the other. Now I think that the few days that I cut short now, are best described with this phrase, because they all consisted of a musical performance.

Girl In Car, Osijek 2011

So let’s start.

1st Entrance: Big Ben

This day was soaked with a dull feeling, i.e. a hangover from the night before. After being bent over Angelikas sofa for hours, framing photos – mind you – I swore to go home and sleep. Ümit concurred with me, or was even more inclined to go to bed directly, but as we came along Big Ben, feeling uncomfortably frozen from cold humidity, we decided to go for one, and only one beer – in order to fall asleep more easily. Sure. And as much as I like Robert, I didn’t want to call him, because I know that adding manpower to a late night booze makes it even later.

Robert And Ümit In Big Ben, Osijek 2011

But Monika was kind enough to help out and send Robert in our direction. In hindsight I think that this was the best idea, because what was intended as a casual visit to the bartender turned into the best freaking carry-out since long, very long. As we had arrived early at the bar, we got the best seats, and as we spoke English and German we got that stranger’s bonus (or whatever that is called in English). And everything was just perfect, leaving behind a dizzy remembrance that softly drifts away into the past like semi-liquid.

Robert And Ümit In Big Ben - waiting for more Schnaps, Osijek 2011

After we had some Slivovitsa the discussions about communism got ever more involved and emotional. Emotion: I recently explained to Ana what I meant, when I described this week as emotionally loaded. Maybe I just quote myself:

When I have time I read a book called “Kapitalistischer Realismus“, and there is an essay about modern network-capitalism, intensity (a term that is often used in left cultural discourse) and self-promotion with emotionality, which also becomes some kind of commodity. However, this week in Osijek I felt like living exactly what was described in this essay. Every day attending some event, meeting people, talking to many, sometimes simultaneously, it was a constant emotional high, which felt good, but also exhausting over time. I also saw that Ümit was in the same inner condition. In this state of heightened social intensity you always feel like you are a part of a community, you are soaked with their presence and you can almost wrap yourself in this presence. But this community is somewhat diffuse and most importantly volatile, in the sense that it changes its composition (albeit it may have a gravitational center that holds its parts together) or that it can dissipate as fast as it gathered. I knew this beforehand, nonetheless the feeling was very strong this time, and I felt really good. Basically I am a 1-to-1 kind of guy, but this time I submitted myself quite easily to the many-to-many constellation. Part of the game is (also according to the essay I mentioned) that there is always what the author calls potentiality. I.e. you get involved with people, but not to deep, when talking to someone you intentionally always miss his/her eyes by a small margin, glancing over his/her shoulder into the room to check what else is going on. Even when the conversation is getting exciting and the gestics expressive, it is also for the purpose to become potentially interesting to other people. Here, emotionality and presentation thereof is the currency in which your social value is traded. However, at the moment I try to stay in contact with all the people that I really liked, beyond the game… Because whatever the social-cultural analysis tells me, knowing new and interesting people enrichens my live, no matter what currency I use. Hope, this sounds reasonable, somehow…

Yep, this sums it up nicely, even though it could be a little shortened and structured, but I don’t care at the moment.
What I did care for was the live-music at Big Ben, an example for “if it sounds good, then it is good”, even though rock is not my cup of tea any more. A guy played the guitar, plain honest rock, but he got better as the night got darker, and at the end of his performance he did some really cool contortions with a song from Led Zeppelin (I don’t remember which one, maybe “Immigrant Song”). Ümit told him later that we really liked what he did and he talked at some length about his passion for what he does. I remember this as an authentic moment, where real (albeit drunk) human beings got involved with each other. And I know that direct feedback on one’s work is invaluable. This is wholly different from the many-to-one relationship that is usually associated with the reception of art. For exmpale Peter Mazuchelli (an Austrian screen-writer who wrote some episodes for “Tatort” for example) recently told me that they talked about an audience of six millions when producing for Germany, but that he enjoys his new hobby more to a certain extent, where he writes birthday- or wedding-speeches for his new fellow-citizens from the retirement-ranch in Südburgenland. I get it, though I wouldn’t reject a six-million-audience at this stage in my life.

2nd Entrance: Tufna

The next day happened exactly along those lines, being stuffed with events. One was the photo- and text-competition which I already mentioned in the last post, and which can be reviewed here.
Then there was the exhibition of the Jamaica photos from the students from Graz, which I only saw briefly because of waiting for fish-soup. The guys and gals from Graz have their website here.

Tufna is too dark to photograph, still Maja is demanding adequate attention, Osijek 2011

Eventually we found ourselves in Tufna for the reggae night, which should thematically match the preceding exhibition. The problem is, Tufna doesn’t really convey such an atmosphere. But still, the usual suspects were there (editor’s note: the speaker on the radio just said “Back to back geben wir uns hier die Ehre…”; oh well; pardon the meaningless interruption!). And another problem is, that if it doesn’t sound good, than it isn’t any good. Uhh, guilty me of applying the reverse. Well, I know the problem, that someone who feels more like an artist than an entertainer or decorator is uncomfortable with selling him(her)self for entertainer jobs, or decorator jobs. But I also understand those who want to be entertained or who want decoration. Together with my beer and maybe a nice conversation I want some music which adds to the atmosphere, and that should be warm and rhythmic. In the same vein, if someone hires me for their stupid wedding, they want some pretty looking memories, not art. Therefor I don’t actively look for wedding gigs. If someone wants _me_, got me. But I don’t pretend to be a wedding pro. Got me? The DJ didn’t cut it for me, as most DJ’s don’t.

Ümits shadow returning from toilet in Tufna, Osijek 2011

It is so dark in Tufna that some freaking ISO would be needed (which is already there, but I don’t have it and don’t care), or just embrace the darkness and use it to the benefit of the mood.

Georg-Christian Lack and others in Tufna, Osijek 2011

Maja making us speechless in Tufna, Osijek 2011

Photos of someone lighting a cigarette are quite commonplace, but for me this one is special, because I know Maja, who is lighting her cigarette, and knowing Maja and seeing this makes me void of words.

3rd Entrance: Trica

After all this exhausting but awesome stuff, I wonder how we made it Saturday morning to my opening with Jazz brunch.

Angelika, Cafe Trica, Osijek 2011

Angelika, for me the most important woman in this context, who made the whole thing possible at all.

Snjezana next to Sanja taking a photo of me. Without Snjezana no story from the barber and no comrade-artist-workers. Without Sanja no Croatian texts!Cafe Trica, Osijek 2011

Georg-Christian Lack talking to someone. Cafe Trica, Osijek 2011

Exhibition Begegnungen - Begehungen, Andreas Zeitler, Osijek 2011

The Viennese Jazz-Duo Rabitsch ( in Cafe Trica, Osijek 2011

Michaela Rabitsch and her partner Robert Pawlik gave an acoustic frame to the exhibition opening. And a fitting one, because I think that Jazz goes well together with black and white images of people and streets. Along the way we discovered that we were neighbors since long in Vienna, and that reminds me that we should ultimately meet there.

Tihomir lurking behind someones back, Cafe Trica 2011

Tihomir was also here, reminding me strongly at someone with his pose? Maybe him:

Exhibition Begegnungen - Begehungen, Andreas Zeitler, Osijek 2011

Exhibition Begegnungen - Begehungen, Andreas Zeitler, Osijek 2011

Exhibition Begegnungen - Begehungen, Andreas Zeitler, Osijek 2011

Exhibition Begegnungen - Begehungen, Andreas Zeitler, Osijek 2011

4rd Entrance: Urania

This was so special, and this entry is already long enough, so that I think the last show deserves it’s own place (look for the next post).

[[[ Overview: Kultur der Begegnung, Osijek 2011 ]]]