(containing 2004 update)
Can you tell me a story, in the language of your choice,
(Ventriloquism: 'a method of producing vocal sounds so that they seem to originate in a source other than the speaker')
about What Is Your Favourite Year of the 20th Century, and why??
At first I thought about a reply to your anecdote request in the form of ventriloquism 'in the style of C-Theory' (memes and all). A reply full of 'media delirium', Kroker-isms (their work is important!), references to Baudrillard, Virilio, hackers, promises, uselessness, 'global algorithms', and the 'hypermedia infobahn'. Full of ventriloquism and vanities.
you can tell me an anecdote about a day that was special to you or your family and that was also a special day in history. simple example, I have a friend who was born on the same day as the Moon Walk...
But something has always 'bothered me' about 'remembering historical events' (dates/places/people/attachments/cries/whispers), or even 'that special day', when it exists beyond a HORIZON that I can be 'certain of'.
Or hey, what rocks
about the Y2K in your mind?? what worked? what didn't? anything really.
you can be anonymous or not, up to you, and length is completely up to you...
What rocks? Many things rock. But ONE of the troublesome memories, in a place beyond certainty, a 'place' beyond 'physical memory' is DRESDEN, and one of the dates in time is 13-15 February 1945. I wasn't born then.
NOW, to put an end to that 'trouble', to start this response, I pulled up the net and INFOSEEK, and typed in 'Dresden Bombing', and this is what I got:
Re: Dresden Bombing
Posted by Marijonas Vilkelis on June 15, 1998 at 11:49:33:
In Reply to: Dresden Bombing posted by Beth Fordham on November 04, 1997 at 10:41:55:
The Dresden bombing is likely the greatest atrocity and single massacre in human history. Greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The strategy was a 6 km by 6 km carpet bombing - the first in modern warfare. The first bombing raid just on sunset was incendiary to get the city burning and to bring chaos and everyone out of the air raid shelters. The squadrons returned some hours later re-loaded with explosive bombs. This time the city was in chaos and burning so fiercly that people in Berlin - some 240 km away - could see a red glow on the horizon. Before this the Berliners heard a strange and eerie sound - more in their minds than in their ears. It was probably the massive gush of death that everyone around the world felt but could not identify to the meaning. This second raid was designed to kill as many survivors as possible. The intensity of the fire was so great people were sucked into the inferno by hurricane strength convection winds and vapourised. Most of those who survived the inferno were suffocated because the fire used up the oxygen in the surrounding air mass. There was a third raid towards dawn to mop-up evidence for the motive of the bombing and kill off as many of the tardiest survivors as possible. German estimates have it that there were as many as 700,000 refugees in the city at the time of the bombing. The central railway station and surrounding areas had become a giant hospital filled with uncountable German military injuries laid out on stretchers on the tarmacs. Dresden had been an Allied-declared sanctuary until this time of February 13 1945. The motive for the bombing does not appear to have been strategic as proposed by the Allies. Instead it was almost certainly based in economics and a twisted from of mercy killing. Whoever was to take Dresden ( The Soviets or the Americans) was going to be hit with the bill to repatriate the hundreds of thousands of refugees and to hospitalise the military injured. Leaving them to the Soviets would have ended in the creation of another concentration camp, but on the Allied side. Vapourizing the injured and the refugees was the Western Allied answer. Someone in Dresden has gone to the trouble to construct a relief map of Dresden city and its bombing. The depth of the relief is cut in proportion to the density of bombing. The deepest pit is evenly distributed for 1- 2 km surrounding the central railway station. This is where most of the records, the refugee bilets and the injured were. The Allies claim there were around 35,000 that died that night. Some estimates claim the real figure is closer to 500,000. Stories have it that Churchill writhed to his dying day for his participation in this tragedy. The writer's parents arrived as refugees on the morning of the bombing, but escaped by train due to a premonition only to watch the incendiary attack from a few kilometers outside the bombing area.
The last sentence (my emphasis) of this writer who I have never met, Marijonas Vilkelis (a Lithuanian name , also? living in Australia? similar in years to me?), caught my eye. As my mother's story, retold by her on many occassions, would have it: 'a premonition' saved her life as well, and on the very same occassion.
The same place and time.
'Synchronicity'? (Does anyone dare admit to such? A very 'unfashionable admission' that would be. And sentiment? A 'weakness' to pounce on!)
To briefly DIGRESS:
The rules of ventriloquism have changed. Now po-mo theorists conjecture-speak with all forms of special meta-critical jargon and on various subects: pan-capitalism, the rejection of mythology and Jung, rejection of ideology, their (and their dummy's) 'states of mind', the 'acoustic mirror', avatar malls, the virtual 'other', or Leary's cryogenic ambitions (until the plug was pulled). They pronounce on 'digital deleriums', theories of 'surplus capital', 'uselessness', the simulacrum, hypermedia, and all the 'infobahm'. And mostly 'second hand'. Since all 'information' can be appropriated, and all that ventriloquism needs is a keyboard and some chipsets.
But, back to the 'STORY' ( and to end with):
After Dresden, conception followed. Don't ask me how. I wouldn't know.
Known 'fact': I was born the next year, in a 'DP' (displaced persons) camp (near Bamberg). So? Born to 'do political art'? We'll see. Born to kick the ass of every oppressive motherfucker who proposes more of the 'ancient same' (incinerate/incarcerate/oppress/retire with a medal/lie about your past)? We'll see.
Time can be 'STRANGE':
At times it feels like I died four years ago in a hurricane-surf accident. Real? Some 'times' are getting difficult to 'place', chronologies are unravelling. Chance encounters seem strange. The strangeness of a somnambulist walk along the streets at night. And then I meet another. Like waking up. Another life is 'born'.
More 'things to do'.
Where does this lead? To PRESENT TENSE (which was not the 'topic' asked for, but enclosed). It leads to the 'rest': to further stories, histories, to other forms of 'ventriloquism', ambitions, vanities, recollections, achievements/failures, pronouncements and denunciations. The REST is in the MAKING. "Strange", said Breton.
As for YOU reading this:
Most (of us) will never 'meet', except in image-word, in thought, in memory, in 'projected speech'. In different times. And on the NET or WEB, where 'place' and 'time' and thought/memory is recombinant, collective, hyperlinked, unconscious/conscious. This. Preyed on by vanities and useries. Now keep it free.
(For Sheila Urbanowski, 1999)
March 23, 2004 2:20 PM
A remarkable letter from Marijonas Vilkelis:
Came across the Dresden - Story for Shera - on the net again.
Looked over a lot of your site and got inspired to send you some of my alchemy I received while visiting the mass grave in which much of the ash of the people of Dresden was buried. I'll cut the story as short as I can. As a Lithuanian you will probably dig it.
Maybe it will have something for you regarding your own mother's saving premonition.
I was once initiated with the 'hair of the dead and of the living' by an aboriginal elder from a N.W. Australian tribe. When an elder of this tribe dies, some hair is cut from him. Hair from a living elder is cut and weaved with it and joined to a long strand wound into a ball reaching back to the Dreamtime. A length of this hair was broken from the ball and wound around my wrist. I was told that I would remain wearing the hair even if it fell away, unless I removed it by an act of will. I have never done so, and now wear a cloth wristband so I do not forget I still wear the hair.
In Dresden I found a taxi driver willing to take me to the grave for 50 bucks. I and my traveling partner were looking to take flowers, but something didn't fit. My eyes glanced across the wristband and I knew what to take to the sacred site. I tied a new band to my wrist. The driver walked us the last stage to the grave site, I walked alone onto the center of the grave while my companions stood on the edge. The ground was too frozen to dig so I dislodged a small rock. With a special knife I cut the old band from my wrist, placed it in the hole and buried it with the rock.
I stood glancing for a moment. In front of me was a long 2 meter wall upon which an inscription described the atrocity. I began to hear a rushing sound like a distant wind. I looked into the trees, but there was no wind. As my mind noted there was no wind, it recognized the sound as the voices of thousands upon thousands of people. As soon as my mind noted voices, my (dead) mother's voice crystalized clearly above the rushing. This was the one and only time I had 'heard' her voice since she died more than 20 years earlier.
"Premonitions work where the soul sees the future.
Depending on the love affair the body has with the soul
Determines how well it hears what the soul said
And how well it is able to respond to it.
On the morning of the bombing,
I began to fall into doubt that we should leave.
It was you inside me, who told me "It's tonight." "
As the last line entered my mind, my eyes were on the last line of the inscription: "Februar 13 1945". At my mother's time I was a 4.5 month fetus in her womb. From there I saw myself as a 50 year old standing on the ashes. My definition of soul for the above chanelling: the nexus of the ethereal and physicality. In other words, the point at which spirit and body are one.