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Notizbuch » 2011 » Oktober

Talvi tulee!

Winter is coming! And in this blog post, I just want to list some hints for that which have come to my mind. Feel free to comment and give me more ideas!

  1. Last weekend summer time ended, so now we are back in the Eastern European Time (EET) which is the Coordinated Universal Time +2 hours. Of course, one can discuss about the sense of the summer time. And this year, Belarus and Russia abolished winter time, Anyway, this is hint #1 for winter.
  2. Now when I started this blog it was 17:15 EET and already dark as night!
  3. ReflectorThat leads us directly to hint number three. Reflectors is the key word! You might be confused when you see people walking around with them, but believe it or not, according to §42 of the Finnish Road Security Act (Jan 1, 2003) it is even illegal to not have such a reflector: »pedestrians traveling roads after dark must generally wear an appropriate reflector«. Some people claim that the Finns have even invited them. However, these days you find reflectors in every form and colour. Simply round ones as well as Momins and everything else that you ever dreamt of! But there are many people who do not use reflectors, so the authorities try a lot to change that. For example, there are a Reflector Guide and an information sheet giving background and usage information.
  4. Furthermore, there are special winter speed limits since last week. Mainly, the speed limit on highways is reduced from 120 km/h to 100 km/h and from 100 km/h to 80 km/h on other main roads. These changes are valid until March or April, depending on the weather then.
  5. More about cars and traffic: Of course, some are driving already with winter tyres. You can really hear the spikes!
  6. SnowsticksAnd one last thing about traffic: Even if so far no snowflake has been seen here in Turku, you find those sticks everywhere that show where the curb is. In Germany they come out only in real strong winters, I guess. But here it’s normal to have them.
  7. What else? Oh yes, some public bins had been removed, for example at the Aura river.
  8. Something about beer: It is really amazing, how many beers there are! And these days, you will find a lot of Winter or Christmas beers, as well as ciders. The same goes of course for chocolate! And I love Fazer’s Joulusukla!
  9. But the most beautiful sign for the upcoming winter is (only as long as there is no snow, of course) that there are already hundreds of Christmas lights, at least where I took these photos (it’s at the Saga senior residence, Vähäheikkiläntie 1 [map], just in case you wonder)!

 

Vier Äpfel

Der »Stadtschreiber« David Wagner war letzte Woche zu Gast am Fachbereich Deutsche Sprache/Deutsche Philologie der Universität Turku (die Veranstaltung fand jedoch im Uni-Hauptgebäude statt, genauer im Hörsaal 2, der übrigens von einer Bank genamenssponsert wird). Er hat dort aus seinem Roman Vier Äpfel gelesen und sich der Diskussion mit Studierenden des Fachs Deutsch gestellt, die das Buch zuvor in einem Seminar besprochen hatten. Jetzt waren sie aneinandergereiht und mit ihren Exemplaren der Vier Äpfel in der Hand auf einem kleinen Podest versammelt, Wagner in ihrer Mitte. Er bemerkte sofort, dass ein Student keine gedruckte Ausgabe seines Romans, stattdessen einen E-Book-Reader, in den Händen hielt. Das verleitete ihn zu dem Hinweis, dass sich nach dem Absatz von 12000 Hardcover-Exemplaren gerade einmal vier elektronische Ausgaben verkauft hatten.

Wagner, der selbst unter anderem Literaturwissenschaft studiert hat, gestand gleich zu Beginn, dass er selbst nicht genau wisse, was man sich genau unter einem »Stadtschreiber« vorzustellen habe, jedenfalls handele es sich dabei um ein Projekt des Goethe-Instituts. Er sei zu Gast in Helsinki und solle nun ein wenig über seine Eindrücke bloggen. Untergebracht auf einem der Touristenmagnete der Hauptstadt, der Festungsinsel Suomenlinna, tut er genau das und berichtet über Sonderbar-Finnisches.

Doch zurück in die alte Hauptstadt, nach Turku. Vier Äpfel thematisiert die europäische Konsumkultur aus der Perspektive eines Protagonisten, den der Leser bei einem Einkauf im Supermarkt begleitet und der, von der ganz eigentümlichen Welt des Supermarktes angeregt, teilweise gar philosophische Betrachtungen über Konsum anstellt. Das Werk beginnt mit dem Eintritt des Protagonisten in diese sonderbare Sphäre und endet mit dem Verlassen des Supermarktes. Der Ich-Erzähler fühlt sich gefangen, nachdem er den Einkaufswagen gelöst und durch die orangefarbenen Plastikzungen geschoben hat und selbst durch das metallene Drehkreuz, das kein Zurück erlaubt, geschleust ist. Als er jedoch vier Äpfel abwiegt und feststellt, dass sie exakt 1000 Gramm wiegen, vermutet er eine gewisse Magie in diesem Ort.

Die Supermarktregale erlauben keine Lücke, statt dessen erzeugen sie eine Schlaraffenland-Atmosphäre, in der das Zuviel regiert: »So viel zu essen, und ich habe gar keinen Hunger, so viel zu trinken, und ich habe gar keinen Durst.«, lässt der Erzähler verlauten. Gleiches gilt etwa für Shampoos, »eigentlich will man sich nur die Haare waschen, aber da muss man von 120 Shampoos eines auswählen«, heißt es da. Dabei lässt Wagner seinen Entdecker deren Namen analysieren, die meist Begriffe wie health oder repair enthalten und der Protagonist bemerkt, dass die Form der Shampooflaschen sich genau dann ändert, wenn man sich gerade an ein Aussehen gewöhnt hat und in der Lage ist, die Stammsorte im Regal ausfindig zu machen. Das nimmt er zum Anlass, daraus Anmerkungen über die Kultur, in der so etwas stattfindet, als Ganzes abzuleiten.

Immer wieder wird der Gang durch den Supermarkt verwoben mit Erinnerungsfetzen, vor allem an eine ehemalige Liebhaberin der Hauptperson, die nur aus deren Retrospektive heraus konstruiert wird und daher kryptisch und schemenhaft bleibt, was sich auch an ihrem Namen äußert  »L.« (beim Vorlesen dachte ich, ihr Name sei Elle). Sie tritt etwa in Erscheinung, wenn es um ihr Lieblingsshampoo geht, das noch immer im Bad des Protagonisten steht oder wenn er sich um sich zu »bestrafen«, wie er es nennt  täglich mit Tiefkühlpizza versorgt.

Wenn die Studierenden Fragen stellen, die sich mit der Intention des Autors befassen und erklärt haben wollen, warum diese Stelle so aussieht, in jenem Kapitel  diese Wörter erscheinen, dann scheint eine gewisse Selbstironie in Wagners Antworten durch. Er stellt fest, dass er »die Literaturwissenschaft beiseite lassen« müsse, weil er sonst keinen Roman schreiben könne. Außerdem sei das Buch ja schon 2009 erschienen und weit davor entstanden (in dieser Zeit sind die »Charaktere zu ihm gekommen«), weshalb es ihm vorkomme, »aus einem fast fremden Buch zu lesen«. Zu einer Aussage bezüglich seiner Intention lässt sich der Gast schließlich doch hinreißen, wenn er sagt, dass er einen Supermarkt »nachbauen« wollte: die Kapitel sollten den Fluss der fließenden Regale abbilden, weshalb das Buch weitestgehend absatzfrei ist. Allerdings müsse man in einem Supermarkt ja auch gelegentlich um die Ecke biegen, sodass auch im Buch kurze Unterbrechungen dieser Linearität in Ordnung seien. Vielleicht ist das aber auch eine retrospektive Interpretation eines Literaturwissenschaftlers, der sich mit seinem eigenen Autor-Sein auseinandersetzt und fragt: »Wie kommt es eigentlich, dass ein Buch dann so aussieht?«

 

 

Blackmarket

On Thursday, 20. Oct. 2011,  the 14th »Blackmarket for Knowledge and Non-Knowledge« took place in Turku’s wonderful Volunteer Fire Brigade Bulding. Blackmarket is a project by Berlin artist Hannah Hurtzig and its main idea is, that people can meet experts on a certain topic and talk to them. Experts and »clients« are sitting face to face to each other in a rather dark room, only with a light bulb above them. Some of the conversations are also »broadcasted« to a Black Radio, so that even people who were not able to book an expert are able to listen to conversations via headphones. The concept of Blackmarket sees »the transfer of knowledge as a communicative and performative act«, as the Turku2011 programme page tells us. With this theoretical background, we can discuss the question about what knowledge is and what makes it to knowledge (negotiation?)  from a more philosophical point of view.

However, the motto for this fourteenth episode of this project was »100 Conversations about being Silent in 4.33 hours« which appears paradox at first. But when you have a look at the list of the 50 experts taking part in this event, you quickly see that »being Silent« can have lot of different aspects and the perspective changes a lot, depending on the discipline that deals with that »being Silent«. For example, this time, there were sociologists invited as well as sound artists, musicians, literature and culture researchers, but also physicists, mathematicians and astronomers. Together with a sign language rap artist, translators and writers, they created a wide field of expertise. According to the event information, it took about three months to coordinate that and to create a timeline that puts the experts in a specific order.

Thus I did not book an expert (1 Euro per 30 minutes), I tried to listen to some conversation via Black Radio, but all the broadcasted conversations were … of course in Finnish. Anyway, I was proud that I could at least understand some words, haha! We played a game and tried to find out which conversation is broadcasted on which channel, so we tried to find the right pair for each.

Back home, I found out that there is a Blackmarket Archive online with more than 700 conversations! Amazing! I listened to some about language, see here:

 

 

 

Share the beer?

As this blog is part of my assignment for the course »The Social Web« at Åbo Akademi, I am expected to blog at least a bit about Social Media and the Web 2.0. So, this entry is dedicated to the course.

I was just buying some beer today for a home party with friends. And it is no secret, that I like to try new beers and that most of the times I never buy two of the same brand at the same time. So, through the years, I tested a lot of different beer (mostly together with my friend Deissler, hi!) and don’t have any overview on which I drank already and which not.

So it just came to my mind to look for some kind of a social web for beer drinkers where they share what kind of beer they drink, where and how they like it, of course! After a short Google search, I found the page ratebeer.com where users … well, rate beer! But as far as I see, there is no chance to share it via Twitter easily. So, Google again, and voilà, there it is: untappd.com. On this website, people »meet« in a virtual pub and share what beers they are drinking. You can also give comments and share your experience on Twitter, Facebook or Fourquare. And as on Fourquare, you can also »check in« for a beer and collect badges. I think this is quite a funny way. But of course, when you don’t use a smartphone (like I don’t) and thus don’t have the app, it might be hard on the next morning to remember what beers you had and check in …

Okay, this was a bit the fun entry for this weekend and I will try this untappd.com today. Oh, and what I also found is a website called Foamee where you can track who owes you a beer or coffee.

Die spinnen, die Finnen

Am Mittwoch war der aus dem Rheinland stammende, aber seit einigen Jahren in Finnland lebende (und lehrende) Autor Dieter Hermann Schmitz zu Gast in einem Seminar der Turun Kauppakorkeakoulu über Interkulturelle Kommunikation, um aus seinem Roman Die spinnen, die Finnen zu lesen und sich der Diskussion mit dem Publikum zu stellen. Der Seminarraum 07 der School of Economics war bis auf den letzten Platz gefüllt einige Interessierte mussten gar Stühle aus dem Cafeteriabereich entführen und im Publikum gab es eine gute Mischung von Finnen und Deutschen. (mehr …)

Gallery day: Class Photo 2000‒11

I decided to go to Valokuvakeskus Peri (Photographic Center Peri) today to see the Class Photo 2000‒11 exhibition showing photos by the Turku artist Vesa Aaltonen. He took photos of school children in 2000 and met the pupils again in 2011 to again take photos. That idea is not new of course, but still I think it is interesting to compare the children with the almost-adults. In most cases, you really see that they begin to care for their appearance. Some have even changed their hair color, but you still see that it’s the same person in some aspect. But on the other hand totally different from the child. Due to copyright laws, it’s clear that I can not offer you any photos, but you will find some on the linked page.

Ah, and on the way home, I stopped at the Titanik Gallery to see what they got there. At the moment there is an exhibition by Pilvari Pirtola named Dance in the Flames of a World Burning Down. I must say that when I entered the room, I immediately got a strange and concerned feeling. The paintings are mostly red, black and white, showing terrifying faces or writings like »AND I WATCHED YOU BURN« really created a depressing atmosphere. And even the names of the works were a bit weird. But have a look at Pitola’s gallery at Picasa!