notes, quotes, provocations and other fair use 2004 by jouke kleerebezem

issue 87
conversational drift
informatic license
exquisite enclaves




Stores are shaping up with the rest of the installation. Slowly. Sanding and painting and sanding. Then I have some drawings to finish I have some drawings to start.

EXE neon sign
neon sign, enclave view

Sunday morning begins at 5:30. Saturday night ended at 23:00. I try some of the inks and graphite on the rag paper. With recovered manipulation come back forgotten songs. They don't replay but reappear in new forms, with new details and different relevance. Their meaning is tested against other conditions than those prevailing at their first arrival, a long time ago. They face different competition and find new support, but are no stranger to the territory of this particular practice of creation.

Simple, humble and precise I would want my work to become in a couple of decades, at ‘exit level’. Precise in its appearance — however unfinished or even failed the object may be, it will have to be precise in the necessity of its presence. When a product fails it shows failure, a mistake, fault, against some principles, but possibly relevance against other.

Again it occurred to me while preparing/installing the show how obsessively we read an environment (look for signs) when there's little framing. Like when on a walk in the woods, you will find yourself looking for something, whatever. When you throw out the frames the art spreads thin. It goes into the meaningless details of its exhibition space, its architecture and utilities, scratches, stains and debris that was left there by other visitors, sloppy museum personel, or irresponsible artists. All art and non-art resonates all over the place, harmonizing into noise. When the artefact resists framing, we are left with what the artist or curator or stage director left visible, left present to be faced. Not the scraps on the floor or the dust in the ceiling's corners. If you do not know the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situation of any presentation you will be lost for limits which might provide some necessary punctuation, spacing. Precision is in framing, regardless of what is framed — which will actually only become exactly what is, after the framing. Setting these limits, knowing when to freeze a situation both in space and in the time spent on it, is the editing mechanism. So far for the artefacts material framing.

Then to frame is a verb. Artists and curators do it, the spectator does it from his or her own necessity. Artists frame in order to make things appear according to an artistic, conceptual or expressive necessity, the spectator frames according to the urgence of experience. S/he wants to see and understand what is placed before him or her to see and understand S/he does not want to be distracted, unless by a better experience. Yet once you are set out on this one experience you are not willingly giving in to another even competing one. Not immediately. Not unless lost for attention.

While simplicity, humility and precision are noble assets and viable personal challenges, from my experience of other artists' simple, humble and precise work I know that I want works to in the first place embody independence. I want to be fed information, not noise. The information dispensed in the work you want to stand out from other information. The relationship of an independent work to another independent work is part of its information. And if it isn't, the spectator is likely to invent it, to string different objects together. That's the irremediable narrative that goes on and on in us.

As a matter of fact, I only pay attention to information that interests me. In order for it to become interesting to me it has to draw my attention. It draws my attention in referral to other information that I have, or: to things that I know interest me. There is some consistence in what interests me. Hence, there is some consistence in my attention. Ipso facto the things that interest me relate to other things that interest me. Actually it is not the things that interest me as much, but how they relate and how interests build upon the relationships between things, or signs.


“(...) the problem for me had never been who sold the dumb object, or bought it (it was just a dumb object), but how you acquired the privilege of talking about it — how you found people with whom you could talk about it.”

— Dave Hickey, Air Guitar, 1997

The great freedom of course is in talking about things that you don't possess. The best to say sensible things about freedom are those who are deprived of it. Or those who don't want it, or only want the freedom which allows them to not want it — which is almost absolute freedom. Abstinence is a rare gift, or talent. To wilfully and out of personal principle refrain from whatever commodity or mainstream interest, without proclaiming this law, asks a lifetime investment for most of us. Finding the people with whom you can talk about such goals is an essential part of it.


bergers wagenbau frohburg kutsche museum
carriage: Oskar Berger/JK 1849-2004;
photos: Annaleen Louwes 1999

As soon as she rolls down from the antique hall’s truck into museum space, to be nonchalantly parked in the current show waiting for her room to be prepared, she is completely natural in this new to her environment, and already drawing attention. Off the street into the white cube see what happens. Awe. Bergers Wagenbau, Frohburg 1849.

I spend my days here. My evenings and nights at the house named ‘Zeiltoren’, in a street named ‘Reality’. Today we took important steps in setting up the show, preparing the spaces, suspending the neon work that I had made in 1994, which repeatedly spells out ENCLAVE ... EXQUISE ... ENCLAVEXQUISE — with both words’ beginning and end E’s as the connecting links. E . . . . . E is what is handed down to you, to fill in the spaces. The color which I chose for the one ‘blackboard’ wall in pavilion 5 is this grey that is yellow and blue and green and red and purple and all of the above. Little stores are painted in the same background/foreground color. Lettering is white or black.

The show is very graphic. I receive Madeleine Bisscheroux’s mail about the ceramic burning of the labels on the bottles at the JvE. It apparently works out beautifully. In black and white, shadowplay. Master printer Frans Vos is dancing the hallways. He had to mix the inks by hand. The Ernst and Arp studio images are being enlarged to wallpaper the passage way which’ windows are blinded by part of the total of 4 kilometer of 16mm color footage which got me Rolf Orthel. The printed publication arrives on Monday. The point-of-display-presentation Internet box was ordered. I re:read the Irremediable Narrative lecture which I gave at the Van Abbe Museum 14 years ago. Where’s the chronology? Right there. 1990-2004.

The opening of the installation is on September 25 coming, from 17:00 hours. I hope to see you there.

Spam is exploding my in-box. I will have to get rid of old aliases, probably open a new mail address any day now. The back cover of the publication reads:

Porn is event driven society’s default content, spam its format of choice. Its alarming penetration infects all subject lines &tc.

Just-in-time they start to hit me. Compared to these interests, the show, the work is very light. It flies.



1) after a good discussion and review of the project I get the grant, in a 43 hour car-train-bike-tram-train-car mobility extravanganza, to traverse 1450 km. GOGI back and forth; 2) on the way up I get Joke's book to be sold in the Palais de Tokyo book store (it's so much easier to present another artist's work); 3) at least I get to see the cover of the ExE publication; 4) two cigarettes to celebrate; 5) a giant moon when driving home from Laroche-Migennes this early morning, playing hide and seek with the clouds and trees, me opening wide the car windows to let her in on the fresh breeze; 6) Le Moulin du Merle, the place and life's project, as soon as I close its gates behind me.


Jedermann sein eigner Fussball! We're not in the finals. Neither will be the Czechs we later find out. Who would have guessed a Portugal-Greece finals anyway?

BTW NL: bear with me when next Friday morning I'll be pitching ExE for a grant, before Fonds voor de Beeldende Kunst, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst fine arts committee members.


I took this quote somewhere you might not run up against it anytime soon, so here it is again:

I have never taken anything printed in a book to heart that was not somehow confirmed in my ordinary experience — and that did not, to some extent, reform and redeem that experience. Nor have I had any experience of high art that was not somehow confirmed in my experience of ordinary culture — and that did not, to some extent, reform and redeem that.

(...) This is just the ordinary stuff — the ongoing texture of the drift, where, it has always seemed to me, things must be okay, or the rest will certainly kill you; and if I have any real qualification for the job that I have undertaken, it is that I have always been okay with everyday life and beguiled by the tininess of it — and beguiled as well by the tininess and intimacy of artistic endeavors — by The Bird with his horn and Velázquez with his tiny brush — and by the magical way these endeavors seem to proliferate.

That's Dave Hickey of course, in ‘Unbreak My Heart, an Overture’, in Air Guitar, 1997.


Remember this ZEN MOO where one was always too quick to click to enter and got logged shoved off at the door? At least I never managed to get in there. Actually I couldn't even know if there was a there there, since I never got anywhere, stuck in the avant-there, which was as much there as zen moo was to become for me — that of course in itself being sort of a zen-ish kind of pro-position, which has helped a lot calming my attention at other occasions.

Today doors don't necessarily have to open before me, I link right through them, unnoticed by those at either side. But that's another story.


max ernst in his studio
Max Ernst in his studio, 1959

‘On 10 August 1925, finding myself one rainy evening in a seaside inn, I was struck by the obsession that showed to my excited gaze the floor boards upon which a thousand scrubbings had deepened the grooves. I decided then to investigate the symbolism of this obsession and, in order to aid my meditative and hallucinatory faculties, I made from the boards a series of drawings by placing on them, at random, sheets of paper which I undertook to rub with black lead, In gazing attentively at the drawings thus obtained, the dark passages and those of a gently lighted penumbra, I was surprised by the sudden identification of my visionary capacities and by the hallucinatory succession of contradictory images superimposed, one upon the other, with the persistence and rapidity characteristic of amorous memories.’

— Max Ernst, in Beyond Painting (1948), on his first frottage (rubbing).


Remember the birds?
Remember the shoes I wore?
Remember the things I said before?
I think 'em again
A wink of the eye to you
I thought 'em all up for you


I thought of a new way to say the same thing
I think the birds are a good idea
I thought I'd jump up & twirl my arms like a windmill
I've thought of a new way to say the same old things
I thought I'd jump up
I thought I'd jump up & spin around like a lighthouse
I've thought of a new way to say the same old things

David Thomas, Yiki Tiki, 1953-1981

Opportunity knocks: ‘I think ’em again.’

Measured by the applause, I must've gained some Points de Réputation Connerie with my community, for running around the village at the night of the Feu de la St. Jean, swinging a Dutch flag at the occasion of our soccer team’s victory over Sweden in the quarter finals of the EU championships.

I swing ’em again.


In order to change direction, instead of a 90° turn we take a 270° turn in the other sense. Such extravagance.


Extra vagance. It depends on how you are geared. Following Thoreau's Walden measures I find at M-W:

Main Entry: 1yard
Pronunciation: 'yärd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English geard enclosure, yard; akin to Old High German gart enclosure, Latin hortus garden
1 a: a small usually walled and often paved area open to the sky and adjacent to a building : COURT b: the grounds of a building or group of buildings
2: the grounds immediately surrounding a house that are usually covered with grass
3 a: an enclosure for livestock (as poultry) b (1): an area with its buildings and facilities set aside for a particular business or activity (2): an assembly or storage area c: a system of tracks for storage and maintenance of cars and making up trains
4: a locality in a forest where deer herd in winter

Main Entry: 4yard
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English yarde, from Old English gierd twig, measure, yard; akin to Old High German gart stick, Latin hasta spear
1: any of various units of measure: as a: a unit of length equal in the U.S. to 0.9144 meter -- see WEIGHT table b: a unit of volume equal to a cubic yard
2 a: a great length or quantity <remembered yards of facts and figures> b slang: one hundred dollars
3: a long spar tapered toward the ends to support and spread the head of a square sail, lateen, or lugsail
4: a slender horn-shaped glass about three feet tall; also: the amount it contains <a yard of ale> - the whole nine yards: all of a related set of circumstances, conditions, or details <who could learn the most about making records, about electronics and engineering, the whole nine yards -- Stephen Stills> -- sometimes used adverbially with go to indicate an all-out effort.

Yarded for Moulin turf I venture out.


How does any one pay attention? If you were not confused you were not paying attention (Michael Rothschild, at the first Bionomics conference, 1993). (Paying) attention was all the hype when I started this publication back in March 1998 — to ‘deplete my attention’, as I hoped for. When I look at the studio photo's in Liberman's, when I look at any artist's studio photo's or paintings for that matter, or of people's studies or workshops, I know the locations where attention is paid. We pay attention in quiet seclusion. Things we find then and there are different from things that we find under other conditions.

Different media allow and demand different sorts of attention. I would not go as far as to say they cater to different kind of tempers, yet I find different people have different media preferences, which follow their character — and can be as absolute.

LOCAL COLOR 20040622

When I open the door the smell of sun drying rain mixes with the strawberry/balsamico/pimento mint jam broil which G. left me to watch closely. At the kitchen table I finish the Wassenaarseslag write-up. This morning R+r show us their final marks of this school year. They forgot about them last night... they're too modest and we're too proud. Rolf enters high school after the summer, just turned 11 to enter the sixième, au collège in Clamecy, a school with some 350 pupils. Socially that will do him good. Roemer will have to do without him in Courcelles — another 2 years before he will follow, if he doesn't skip a year as was suggested by their teacher at some point. Medical examination showed R.'s myopia increasing, which is worrying. Then of course he hates his glasses, but the cosmetics are minor to us. We'll see an ophthalmologist again soon. Also there's an unreadable note about his back. Hm.

Other local news includes Feu de St. Jean and last day of school party preparations. In one week school holidays start. The family will most probably join me to NL when I'll be installing ExE. They'll have to stay out of my way during that time, so they will make another tour like last time, or camp out at the Bakkum seaside, 4-18 July.


hans arp in studio
Jean Arp in his studio, 1959

The Artist in his Studio by Alexander Liberman is a historical document from a time not so long ago when artists had studio enclaves. I retrieved the Thames and Hudson ‘World of Art Library’ paperback edition from the hands of another artist in his studio, or little store: Diederick van Kleef's book shop on the Amsterdam Sarphatipark. When the shop is closed titles are displayed in the window sill and can be taken at the deposit of 50 euro cents in the letter box. Diederick tells me about this one customer who dropped € 10 as a down payment for 20 titles, of which 7 have been collected to date. That's genuine little store spirit!

On Arp Liberman writes:

Arp showed me a collage they (Jean Arp with Sophie Tauber-Arp, JK) did. He said: “We attempted perfection; we wanted an object to be without flaw, so we cut the papers with a razor, pasted them down meticulously, but it buckled and was ruined... that is why we decided to tear prewrinkled paper, so that in the finished work of art imperfection would be an integral part, as if at birth death were built in.”

A return to the studio means the return to the imperfections of birth and death, material disobedience and carbon license. Copydrift. All your blotted traces are belong to us.


half moon doubles
two half moons make a hole memory drain

NL 6-19 June. Long days for a lot of concentrated work on Exquisite Enclave, some unforeseen and some highly anticipated reunions. Like in the first category with Caterina who to my surprise turns up with Rogério on the other beach: Bleyenburg in the Amsterdam IJburg area, at the occasion of a friend's birthday party we catch a glimpse of each other, almost like dropping by the blog, after a day that I had spent at the print shop in Amsterdam, at the end of my stay, exhausted, when I find myself back at the garden shed at Joes and Marjolein's with a view of their pond. Like, earlier that first week, with old friends of the Wassenaar 1970s scene, most among whom haven't seen each other in over 30 years. Rienke and I share room 9 at the Duinoord hotel, while J. and friend are in room 19, R. and friends in room 2, K. in room 1, C. and H. in room 20. Room 9 — if ever you have the opportunity to visit this sand covered place — being the best, spacious, with two long windows W. and N., simple comfort and the better view. Number 9 . . . number 9 . . .

So I find myself at the Wassenaarseslag, at dawn, in high spirits. It's rather cold out here. Even in this condition I do care. I walked out of the hotel just like that, around 5. It's summer. Sun's up early. Some drops fall on my shirt. I'm not that drunk. The Gouden Bal beach café, where we will meet again in a couple of hours, has some lights on. The terrace, beach, dunes, sea are empty. The party is long over, we got back to the hotel and spent some hours in our rooms reviewing what this is all about, seeing old friends, who were there, who were lacking. I took up wine and our home made eau de vie from the car. Now that everyone has gone to sleep I have to walk to the beach, this grey morning of the 12th of June. Decompress. A couple of rabbits run off before me on the bicycle track. Most of the photos I shoot out here, left, right and at my feet, in the air, I will delete later. In a week, at the Moulin, I will review this trip. Only those pics where I rest the camera on a chair or table or pole, are focused. Not the rabbits. Not the rain speckled shiny tin without a label, reflecting the pale light along the path. Not the Gouden Bal wooden three steps down to the beach. Not the half moon which nevertheless I will not delete. You don't delete a half moon, you just don't. Nor two of them.

Wassenaarseslag the beach is where I find myself after the party named after it brings together a group of friends which in 1970, our reference year, shared the youth ‘facilities’ in Wassenaar: 't Honk, De Brug, Inntro. In these outlandish places we gave ourselves to social and creative pastimes like ‘Xoelapepel’ a sensitivity training game ‘which’ purpose was to have no purpose’, as Jaap remembers to have understood at the time. We wrote poems and drew imaginary worlds, told each other stories and listened to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida or Quicksilver's Who Do You Love Suite, danced, made music and smoked our first cigarettes and dope. When De Brug burned down, we lobbied with the town council to get a new place. We organized the Firehouse festival to raise funds. We belonged to the sixties and the sixties belonged to us.

You can't estimate in any sense what happens in 34 years of a lifetime. Between 16 and 50, you live a life. The last time that I saw H., in the fall of 1971, one evening in the school's bike shed, where she and a couple of friends hung out, I still felt the pain of having been in love with her, just before our family moved only half a year before. I had returned to my old school for a sports exchange, to find everything the same and different already. Just like at the Wassenaarseslag after 34 years, but different again. Time passes, we change but we don't. When she walks in at tonight's party I am back in that bicycle shed immediately. A couple of months or 34 years make little difference. Time is easily crossed in two directions. Her green eyes haven't changed, yet 34 years are at home behind them and look through them into the world. The gaze is the same, the reflection has changed. She tells me her years have been spent all over the world, all of those years. No wonder she was supposedly dead, or lost. Stories were manifold. Now she lives around the corner from here. She devotes her time to writing and painting, a little job, strolling the beaches. Airports have become so busy with commodity travellers she doesn't want to go anymore, unless her presence would be needed. Things in her life had to go by themselves. If not they were no good. All of our lives have begun changing as we turned 16. All by themselves.

With few exceptions like H., the once candy colored band of gypsies turns up unrecognizable at first sight. This could have been just any group. Uniforms and hairdo's and waist lines have changed, they fit our ages, milieus and times, our current walks of life. But some faces and postures are unaltered. Voices remain largely the same. After the first amazement at this hole in time which coincides with that whole which you call your life, you recognize more treats, a general atmosphere settles, a recognizable sense of humor returns. The holes in our memory are filled in and filling up. A small slice of a past that was shared between these people maybe even just simply returns, for one evening, for one party, for one long night in rooms 19 and 9 of the Duinoord hotel. For one bottle of eau de vie, for one chew of dope. For one solitary walk back and forth to the beach at dawn. For once, we all turn 17 tonight.


little shops under table
little stores under JvE wood workshop table

Soon on the table in a museum near you,, Soirée Poétique and Bazar de Varzy.

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