Christian Helbock

SOUL LOVE (MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE), 2012

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Foto © Cornelia König/Kunstverein Baden

 

SOUL LOVE (MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE), 2012, Kunstverein Baden


 

 

SOUL LOVE (MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE)

feat. bto spider

 

Zunächst war SOUL LOVE ein Buchprojekt. Ein Künstler-Buch, das lediglich aus Soul-Sätzen besteht.

Es ist eine Art Partitur dialogischen Sprechens, eine Phänomenologie der Liebe in Form von

Liebes-Sätzen oder Liebes-Titeln. (CH) Ausgangspunkt waren Vinylplatten, Soul-Singles bzw.

deren Titel. Dann kamen sogenannte Sleeves dazu, originale Plattenhüllen, die per Gummi-

stempel händisch mit dem Signet: SOUL LOVE bedruckt wurden. Anlässlich einer Performance

in der Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig entstand 2010 das Video SOUL LOVE (SINGLES),

dass den DJ bto spider bei seiner Arbeit zeigt.

 

 

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SOUL LOVE (MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE), 2012, 3 teilig, Wolle bestickt, je 210 x 160 cm

 

 

Als Weiterführung und partizipatorisches Angebot versteht sich die neue Installation SOUL LOVE

(MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE). Alle Soul-Sätze des Buches werden nebeneinander

an der Wand präsentiert. Das Buch wird in den Raum übertragen. Die Besucher sind eingeladen

diese geschriebenen Sätze im Sprechen zu aktualisieren und sich so anzueignen. Jede/r BesucherIn

kann so seinen/ihren Liebes-Satz akustisch aufnehmen lassen und erhält als Gegengabe die

betreffende Buchseite ausgedruckt und signiert.

 

 

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Foto © Cornelia König/Kunstverein Baden

 

SOUL-BÜRO, Tisch, Wolldecke, Eames-Sessel, Aufnahmegerät, Computer, Drucker, Literatur, Beamer, Boxen-set  

 

 

Es ist ein aktivierendes Tauschgeschäft zwischen Künstlern, Besuchern und Repräsentanten der

Kunstinstitution. Sämtliche Aufnahmen ergeben ein Sprechbuch, der Schrift wird ihre Lautlichkeit,

ihre Musikalität zurückgegeben. Später wird dieses Sprachmaterial auf eine Schallplatte gepresst,

eine neue Single entsteht: SOUL LOVE (MY LOVE AIN'T NO LOVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE). Im Kunst-

verein Baden wird neben der Installation auch das Video SOUL LOVE (SINGLES) und die Serie

SOUL LOVE (SLEEVES) zu sehen sein.


Am 15. Juni zelebriert Fm4 High Spirits-Priester bto spider einen seiner seltenen Gottesdienste,

natürlich unter dem Motto: SOUL LOVE.

 

(Mai 2012)

 

 

 

 

Notes on Love and Songs

 

Words and fragments that when spoken aloud, and in the right context,

become magic spells, life- and world-changing incantations.

 

Liebe

I. Antike. Der Begriff L. meint: a) die einheitsstiftenden Beziehungen

zwischen beseelten oder als beseelt gedachten Wesen und ist

daher verwandt mit der Freundschaft; b) die empfundene, auf solche

Vereinigung hinwirkende Kraft und ist daher verwandt mit Begehren,

Verlangen, Erstreben. (From: Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie).

 

Where there is love, there is also soul [and the other way around?].

 

Different notions of love evoke different contexts and different ways of living:

eros (ecstatic mystery), philia (friends of wisdom), agape (brotherly, sisterly,

universal) somewhere the connection to belief [some distant Indo-Germanic

origin?].

 

Love as mythical-cosmological force: The sky and the earth meet in love

[Uranus is later castrated by Kronos (the sickle) but (orand?) out of

Uranuss testicles Aphrodite is born (beauty, inwardness: Botticellis Nascita

di Venere)]. Homeric hymns. Frothy sea-born goddess the wind!

 

The social origins: Social glue. Identity. Distant past still present. The agape

meal: Christian or Pagan in origin? To understand this ancient institution,

should we look to the Seder ritual feast (the foundation of love between

a people escaping the hatred of another) or to the Dionysian mystery cult

(ecstatic love?)? The fact that there is some common sensation that binds

us together. Love binds in friendship, love binds in desire.

 

The biological-cosmological force: The origin of life, the origin of love? Life

begins in water: eggs, semen or ocean/fresh water. The chain of being

(reproduction of the species, transferring information and warmth throughout

millennia). In this case love = power as underlying force or energy. Love is a

temperature. The chain of heat reaching back millennia with genetic information

protected and passed on. Love binds a species together, shows them

where and how to live together, how to exchange warmth and ultimately to

continue life.

 

Somehow below the threshold of the perceptible, this information itself

changes [evolution] {Is evolution an example of a life force without love?}

 

Love and wrath: And the cosmic love of Ancient Semitic gods? The love/

wrath relationship, the dichotomy. Biblical tough love? Old testament-style

Spare the rod, spoil the child. Religious wars, etc. And with Jesus a new

story? [Jesus is Love, Yes Jesus Loves Me, etc.] Reconciliation. Redemption.

Not of this world. The myth of revolution as redemptive (Marxism as the

modern sublation of Christianity). The revolution that never succeeds like the

table set for Elijah, the prophet who never comes but is always there in spirit.

 

I will always love you Dolly Partons or Whitney Houstons version? [tears,

goose bumps?]

 

Humanitys love songs repeated over generations by kings, intermittent troubadours

and desolate homeless beggars. The loneliness of the singer. The

lonely death of the singer (the ultimate truth of loves loneliness).

The complexity of language, of the spoken word, of song. What melodies,

what rhythms? Communicating a sense of otherworldliness. What past and

future? Displacing these short declarations of intend that elsewhere could

signify literally EVERYTHING. I love you!

 

Love is confessed (but it is also expressed as a verdict or edict).

The other day I walked by this guy who was whistling the same song that I

had been singing all day. Joy Division Love Will Tear Us Apart. I wondered if

we had the same taste in music or whether we were going through the same

kind of phase in our lives. The midlife crisis of love?

 

When routine bites hard and ambitions are low

And resentment rides high but emotions wont grow

And were changing our ways, taking different roads

 

Die Metaebene der Metaebene

 

In a letter to Walter Benjamin from February, 1940, Adorno writes, Ich bin

der Überzeugung daß unsere besten Gedanken allemal die sind, die wir

nicht ganz denken können. (Briefwechsel, p.418) It is about introducing

a level of uncertainty, a moment of incompleteness that allows thought to

move beyond itself.

 

So I started reading Adorno again. Trying to understand what in Adorno

doesnt really make sense or where some of his ideas dont work. The

paradoxical, contradictory, impossible side of Adorno that couldnt be fit

into any neat categories (not so much his infamous elitism or his famous

mottos es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen, nach Auschwitz ein

Gedicht zu schreiben ist barbarisch, etc.) Part of the point of Adorno is

precisely this: to maintain a certain level of contradictoriness and lack of

clear-cut statement. Thought must be kept in motion. It should not stay put

in one particular category.

 

Dialectic: The love of popular songs, of pop. I did a cover of a Sugababes

song Overload. Somehow the Sugababes and Adorno made sense together.

Then Kafkas letters to Milena Jesenská. A mixture based on the books I

was reading that day. I planned to find an underlying connection (soul music,

the emotion love, Adorno, Kafka). There is an underlying connection

to everything! But I wanted to make this connection clear and to give form

to this constellation of vastly different paths.

 

Entering the realm of the world: the becoming historical of art. Losing the

innocence of poems, drawings and sculptures that do not yet exist in the

historical-administrative context that still silently adorning personal notebooks,

hanging in apartments, etc.

 

Whoever speaks of culture speaks of administration as well, whether this

is his intention or not. To become culture means also to become Verwaltung.

The fate of art in an administrated world. Adorno, in the same speech,

understands the difficulty of the problem. We are living in a verwaltete Welt.

To renounce administration would merely be a step towards disempowerment.

 

Je mehr für die Kultur geschieht, desto schlechter für sie, formulierte

Eduard Steuermann [pianist and composer, friend of Adorno]. Diese

Paradoxie wäre zu entfalten: daß sie Schaden nehme, wenn sie geplant

und verwaltet wird; daß aber, wenn sie sich selbst überlassen bleibt, alles

Kulturelle nicht nur die Möglichkeit der Wirkung, sondern die Existenz zu

verlieren droht. (Adorno, Kultur und Verwaltung. Gesammelte Schriften

8, S. 123) 

 

But this condition is not only true for art. Outside of the Verwaltung, there

appears no longer to be the possibility to live and create outside of given

structures.

 

Es gibt keine Schlupfwinkel mehr, auch in Europa nicht; keine Armut in

Würde, nicht einmal mehr die Möglichkeit des bescheidenen Überwinterns

für den, der aus der verwalteten Welt herausfällt. (Adorno, Kultur

und Verwaltung. Gesammelte Schriften 8, p. 134)

 

What (or whose) language are we to speak in the administered world? What

songs to sing? What dances to dance? By the Rivers of Babylon Singing

Psalms of freedom (but also the militant, combative voice, the struggle)

 

At what level can we say: language = administration? {Is there really no

outside?} Things need hermeneutic contexts to make sense: The space

of this context is the world as a philosophical concept. We are in the

world means that we are in a complex of language, power relations and

material conditions. There is no outside of the world. Which in hermeneutics

becomes the il ny a pas de hors-texte. However being-in-the-world is

not only being in text [pretend youve never heard of Heidegger or Derrida

before]. The basic rules (the texts?) of the world are administrative. I dont

know what this has to do with it. Just about making the link to language.

Directly linking language and the world. Being outside of language, being

outside (rambling).

 

Love, resistance, uprising 

 

It is/was in the Atlantic diaspora where a new language, a new rhythm and

way of practicing music came into being (both African and European), where

the Black slaves and the various European forced laborers, who lived with

a social status ranging from outright slavery to indentured servitude and

then to the working class created an oral and musical culture that remains

the dominant form of musical expression throughout the world [slave music,

folk music, the voice of the oppressed].

 

It was precisely this different kind of Volk that accentuates the paradox of

modernity. Essentialist, religious, anti-modernist (although not per se anti-

Enlightenment) resistance to capitalism expressed in music, expressed in a

way of life that is not necessarily explicitly political but nonetheless transforms

societies as a whole.

 

The constellation of forces geopolitical, economic, religious - to reflect

the complexity of what actually goes into these words (now spoken) but

also into my projections about the past and future. If we could record all

the conversations we had - the clichés we ourselves defended as though

brilliant insight, the fragmentary tidbits of knowledge that we use to become

so emphatically certain of our position. And yet, retreating into some kind

of profound uncertainty, the skeptical safety that would call everything into

question (implicitly allowing for something unquestioned) would be worse.

 

Understanding that we think in clichés as the first step? But towards what?

Eschatological meanderings (both peaceful and violent). Salvation, redemption,

etc. How Rastafarianism mixed with a healthy dose of Malcolm

X shapes a generation of rebellion and how this in turn is transformed into

the KULTURINDUSTRIE. And Soul? Soul music, soul cooking, soul food?

SEELENMUSIK, all souls, all dying, all dead. (alive still in my heart?) 

 

Now sifting through the Alan Lomax Archives. Looking to see if this fantastic

collection (online!) could show me where next to go. Belton Sutherland,

Clyde Maxwell, R.L. Burnside all singers I had never heard of before. 

 

Listening now to Burnsides version of Poor Boy A Long Way From Home.

Poor boy blues. Drifting in and out of other peoples words and tunes, Lord

Lord: aint going to moan no more.

 

Things that make me feel at home (even when Im not). 

 

(David Quigley, Mai 2012)