Archive for the ‘Colours of Life’ Category

Bye bye Adlershof…

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Sunset in Adlershof

2003-2008. Five years studies of mathematics in Berlin, Adlershof. Near the end of the city. A great part of my life.

Photo: Sunset seen from Rudower Chaussee 25, Haus 3, 3. OG, Working Group “Algorithms and Complexity”, Institut für Informatik, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin where I worked from 5/2007 until 7/2008. The photo must have been taken in the semester break 2-4/2008.


Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

As I was ordering my books today I saw a book that makes me smile and feel a great regret every time I look at it. We usually regret things that we did and hurt someone, or things that we did not do and could give pleasure to someone, but this strange story does not belong to these two categories.

Christmas 1999 was approaching and I wanted to buy a present for my girlfriend that was living at that time in an other city. Some months before, a fellow student had shown to me a nice book that had fascinated him; it was Minotaurus by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. He was very impressed by it and his description attracted my interest. As my girlfriend was a person with nice taste in literature, I thought of buying this book for her (although I had not read it, but I liked every play by Dürrenmatt that I had seen).

But time limitations —or rather idleness— pushed me to forget totally this idea and prepare a self made present.

The day came and I visited her. I gave my present to her and she gave me hers. I opened it and you can imagine my surprise discovering that her present was Minotaurus by Friedrich Dürrenmatt…

We had never mentioned that book before. Making the same present would have been one of those extremely rare coincidences that make life seem magic. This perfection had been spoiled by an unjustified inactivity and this is what I regret. It is a strange sort of regretting, because I smile every time I think of it. If the event of the double present had been realised, then the feeling would have been symmetric; both would have been astonished. Now it was only on one side.

That’s how it is with experiencing a non provable rare event. The feelings that is causes cannot be shared, in contrast to joy or sorrow. Either it is a common experience and therefore magic or it remains strictly personal.

At home

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Being at home is a feeling that is deterministic defined for persons who live all their life in a unique place: in that place they feel at home and not elsewhere. This is the place where they work, the one that they know best; it receives also a higher significance if they do not plan to leave it in the near future. This feeling is much more complicated for persons that have lived for a long time in different places. Its differentiation is finer and its perspectives are multiple. In this text I will try to expose a few thoughts about these fluctuations and perspectives.

I would distinguish between two types of the “being at home” feeling. The one is experienced at home, and I will call it affirmative. The other type is the displaced “at home” feeling: it appears in means of an illusion at that place, where the current residence of the subject is being found.

It is very interesting that the latter comes totally spontaneously, triggered by trivial causes whereas the former is always expected. It happened to me while being in Berlin, to think for a moment that I saw mountains in the horizon (they were mere clouds) and for a second I felt at home. Or once I heard a guest from Greece speaking in a way that I only heard in Thessaloniki (Greece) during my first study years; this forgotten element made me feel that I was there, back.

Small trivial factors that were never noticed when someone was living in a specific place, gain an unconscious reference function when they disappear and suddenly appear for a moment. But the most interesting event is this special feeling which they awake: it is a displaced feeling of being at home, that can only be experienced when the person lives elsewhere for many years. It is a mix of familiarity and belongingness, that has been never activated before. The first time it appears is also of great importance, because it makes one realize the covered time distance.

The affirmative form takes place during a temporary return, especially if this is in the form of vacations. Revisiting the place of a previous residence while being in a vacation mood, a contrast is caused: the places where one now stands as a relaxed observer are exactly the places where the same person was once in a hurry, was working, feeling happiness, sadness, was in one word “active”. This contrast in time between activity and inactivity combined with the identicalness of the place is the gate to several important and trivial recollections. Only then one can understand, why a certain place is felt as home.

For wandering persons, every place they lived, where they experienced many and important parts of their lives, is a sort of home, each one in its own manner. This is not only dependent of the past, i.e. of the memories related to that place, but of the present as well. This is constituted by the relatives and friends that live there. It is the most important part of the home reference. A place could have almost no meaning, if the living part that is linked to the subject were not there. Sometimes, especially with regard to friends, more than presence is needed; if the respective life tracks of the persons acquire great distance between them, then no common references to the past can save the contact and the subsequent home-feeling.

As you have maybe already noticed, home is associated in my examples with a left home. For wandering persons, home is always left. The current home will gain its symbols after being left as well; then the projections of the experiences that took place there will be filtered through its currently unimportant localities.

Kot w Butach

Monday, April 7th, 2008

It meant a lot to him. It was not only the magnificent colours, the clever setting up of the figures, or the sweetness in the seriousness of the representation. It was a symbol for a whole era of naïvety and joy, which only the children can live. For the adults this era is considered as a lost paradise whose recovery is only possible when being in love.

It was there, to be seen every morning and every evening. It awakened tenderness and familiarity; no one could resist smiling, looking at it.

But on one day it was not there any more! Had it fallen off the wall? Had anyone removed it? Impossible to remember…

From that time on he took it with him to every flat he moved in. At the first time, he didn’t know that he was taking it; he had totally forgotten about it and if someone had pointed the transport out to him, he might have left it back, as he did not consider it to his own belongings. But in a way it had followed him by itself. At the time when he found out that it was there, he was glad, took a glance at it and then rolled it up and put it back in a safe place.

He was taking care of it. He was afraid that it could get scratched, cut or crumpled up. But he left it always in a place, thinking that one day he should treat it with all the deserved care and respect.

And the day came. He went in a shop and bought the largest holder that they had. He put it carefully in it and tried to fix it on a single nail. It was too heavy… He took then his PBH 2000 RE Bosch hammer with pneumatic mechanism and bored a hole for an 8mm wall plug. The screw could now bear the weight. It was protected by the glass and could be seen from almost every corner of the main room.

Now he had gained it… From the moment it was up there, the symbols of the past faded away. Because the presence of its colours, its figures, and its representation is so much alive. It is a source of endless pleasure. He lies in the bed gazing at the cat for hours. And the cat gazes back at him.