[NetBehaviour] stone bridges, QRRR and counter-Munich

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Tue Jul 26 17:17:11 CEST 2016

apologies. yes, it was loaded, and terror is a word I now dread to hear, day after day, and day after day,
 and I am sorry i linked something that you had sent us, Alan (not about the historical Johnstown incident,
but about your poetic media work with the QRRR and the bridge), with a few lines that I had jotted down from a 
a Munich poet who recently died. I was trying to ask the question how we go on, what warns us
to be fearful or to resist fearfulness for our lives (condemning, perhaps, others or seeking for
culprits to blame), to believe in the kind of democracy we cling to or hope to live in if we are
fortunate, and what do you do when the tide quickly or gradually turns. I write to friends in Turkey
yesterday, who tell me artists and academics have now been forbidden to travel. Just imagine
you are told, sorry, you can't lave the country.  You climb on a train, and watch out to spot the
aggressor who may have a backpack on their shoulders, with a bomb. You stand in line to a
rock concert, and the person near you blows himself up. You go to a fastfood restaurant, some
one pulls a gun and starts shooting. You dance in a disco, someone starts killing people on the
dance floor. You walk on a promenade, somone drives over you in a huge truck.
You attend a peaceful pro democracy rally, as folks did in Kabul, and then there is an explosion.
I was asking for a counter narrative.

Johannes Birringer

From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org [netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] on behalf of Alan Sondheim [sondheim at panix.com]
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2016 1:58 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] stone bridges, QRRR and counter-Munich

"Terror" is already a loaded term and it effaces sometimes what one might
want to reveal. We just have different attitudes here. And poverty wasn't
the issue in Johnstown at the time. I apologize again, however; the
discussion is too loaded for me as well.

On Sun, 24 Jul 2016, Ana Vald?s wrote:

> Dear Alan I think life is inclusive and terror in Munich and what happened
> in Johnstown are not exclusive but includes each other. Poverty and to feel
> different are the mothers of the terror as well.
> Ana
> Den 24 jul 2016 21:41 skrev "Alan Sondheim" <sondheim at panix.com>:
>       First -"Lone wolf" - from the WSJ - "The Phrase Lone Wolf Goes
>       Back Centuries A phrase used to describe the culprit in the
>       Sydney siege stretches centuries back to Native American chiefs,
>       Kipling and Crane."
>       I've heard it all my life.
>       Second - The bridge and what happened at Johnstown is quite
>       different - two books are David J. Beale, Through the Johnstown
>       Flood, and David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood. As I
>       mentioned, I think, a minimum of 2209 people died from drowning,
>       the physical force of buildings bearing down upon them, and
>       fire. The bridge was a retaining wall for debris, buildings,
>       fire, people dead and alive, and animals dead and alive.
>       It seems problematic to me - having been up and down in
>       Johnstown, seeing the poverty there now, and so forth - to
>       immediately have this slip into a dialog about the Olympics and
>       the usual discussions on terror. Johnstown wasn't this; it was
>       also very much about class differences, etc., but it was also
>       about heroic efforts to save thousands and thousands of lives
>       (which involved everything from creating hospitals from scratch
>       to building railroad tracks in a very few days, etc.). It's not
>       that I don't think the other issues and dialogs are important -
>       they're absolutely critical - but the issues are not the same
>       between the two.
>       When I was in Johnstown with Azure, we walked to the damsite
>       (where the dam gave way), where the Little Conemaugh River still
>       flows - and for us and many people there, the issue is the vile
>       pollution from mine runoff - which kills but slower - that's
>       evident everywhere; the River ran bright orange, nothing lived
>       in it at all, and it's part of the watershed.
>       I apologize if I'm overstepping my bounds here, in the
>       discussion; I just feel odd about the slippage into a discourse
>       which seemed to me to efface what happened 5/31/1889 in
>       Johnstown, what's happening there now as well.
>       Alan
>       On Sun, 24 Jul 2016, Johannes Birringer wrote:
>             Dear Ana
>             not wanting to engage in ideological fracturings
>             here, to be honest; you must be refering to the
>             passage that my friend from Houston had sent me in
>             the reference to the Olympic Games of 1972, he
>             spotted a sinister irony in the choice of the site;
>             you will recall that the militant group 'Black
>             September' , a palestinian organization, took
>             responsibility for the hostage taking, there is
>             little disputing that, and i had no intention of
>             causing harm with labeling.
>             I was more interested in the perversion of term lone
>             wolf (which was a literary term i think, from
>             Hesse's Steppenwolf). My friend from Texas also
>             pondered the scene he found on the internet captured
>             during the Munich shootings last Friday: "An
>             extraordinary altercation took place between some
>             individuals filming the Munich killer as he wandered
>             around a roof car park which was empty. A fair
>             amount of invective was directed from the group
>             doing the filming at the killer below. His response
>             to this was to repeat, "I am German." A strange
>             response. There is perhaps no easy answer to the
>             question, 'What did he mean?'"
>             maybe you have an answer.
>             regards
>             jb
>             ________________________________________
>             From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org
>             [netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] on behalf of
>             Ana Vald?s [agora158 at gmail.com]
>             Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:11 PM
>             To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed
>             creativity
>             Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] stone bridges, QRRR and
>             counter-Munich
>             Johannes I am always moved by your words. You have
>             such a touching way to paint with words:)
>             When you use the words "Palestinian terrorists" I
>             react. Because I has been in Palestine several times
>             and the only terror I met was that exerced by the
>             Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints making us run
>             from their rubber bullets and from their gas
>             grenades.
>             And many of the old Israeli politicians, as Menachem
>             Begin, Sharon and others were called terrorists by
>             the English when they bombed the King David Hotel
>             killing many civilians and when they killed the
>             envoy from the United Nations Folke Bernadotte.
>             You are born in a country who exerced terror over
>             Europe and Africa killing civilians and executing
>             Jews, homosexuals and dissidents. The English
>             exerced terror over the Boers in South Africa and
>             were the first creating concentration camps.
>             The French called the time between 1791 and 1794 the
>             Regime of the Terror when not only the French
>             aristocracy but also the political dissidents paid
>             with their life their dissent.
>             My point is terror is such an ambiguous word and I
>             think no one should label others with it since
>             terror seems to be inherent to all people and to all
>             cultures.
>             Ana
>             On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 1:56 PM, Johannes Birringer
>             <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk<mailto:Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>>
>             wrote:
>             Receiving a note from Alan Sondheim, on the road, he
>             mentions a stone bridge where he
>             created a piece "changing the bridge lighting to
>             produce,
>             sequentially, and on different lighting
>             levels/apparatus, SOS, QRRR, and
>             MAYDAY (QRRR is an old radio code for
>             warning/danger/disaster); this
>             alternative with flame-light images on the bridge
>             side (invisible from the
>             trains that run above it) representing burning
>             crushed buildings and
>             people....."
>             i am not sure why I think of the bridge, but a
>             friend from Texas, after I told him
>             about the chaos in Europe, the shootings, the
>             terror, the military putsches, purges,
>             and the new security measures, the increasingly
>             heated debates on refugees
>             and migration, Islamism, fascism, and violence,
>             well, he noted that the shootings
>             in Munich took place on the site of the former
>             Olympic Park.
>             The Olympia shopping centre is a two-tiered
>             glass-covered mall that was built on the site of the
>             1972 Olympics.
>             The Munich Games were overshadowed by a terrorist
>             attack in which 11 Israeli sportsmen and a German
>             policeman were
>             killed after being taken hostage by Palestinian
>             terrorists.
>             Now we hear that the shooting last Friday was by a
>             young "lone wolf" (and what exactly do they mean by
>             lone wolf).
>             A Munich-based poet, the late Paul W?hr, once wrote
>             about Die Wirklichkeit unter Beschuss (reality under
>             shooting attack)
>             alles ist doch in Ordnung /
>             es geht weiter /
>             ich glaube /
>             ich glaube es geht weiter /
>             ja des glaub ich schon.
>             (translated)
>             everything's all right, no? /
>             life goes on /
>             I believe /
>             I believe life goes on /
>             yeah, I believe so /
>             that short QRRR, I tend to think, was meant as
>             W?hr's satirical comment on "weltfromme
>             Bekenntnisformeln" ,  pious liturgies that we tell
>             ourselves, as we must repeat them and murmur them in
>             the face of the all the constant flare ups.
>             Johannes Birringer
>             c/o Interaktionslabor G?ttelborn
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