At level zero

May 19, 2020


A large sheet of paper on the highest shelve happened to be a drawing, a tightly woven system of lines. It is a map without color or textual demarcations. The lines spread like a web to capture the course of guest interventions in the city of Berlin. Upon my arrival, after crossing the Dutch-German border with a mask on my face

as was required by the states of virus emergency

I scanned with my host, Aleksander, through the residency. Surely, we have talked about other kinds of mapping, the experiments capturing space-time by the irregular structure of recollections.


The serial image-texts that I am publishing here refer to the points of the triangular shapes shown on the map posted here below. I expect to re-familiarise a few traces, a few photographs, a few recollections, a few books, and a few other realities of the search for the missing and (un)familiar person marked by the name Nikola.

I start somewhat outside of the map at level zero, or, the New Year celebration. The next three entries refragment the photograph made at the end of the year 1976. Previously to my Berlin trip, at my new home in Utrecht

that still feels like a temporary residency in a city where I do not belong

I have divided this old photograph into three new frames. It is an image that I have occasionally reviewed for a few decades now. It contains three familiar faces. The three slices of the old image, now waiting to reappear, seem to be cut by abstract aesthetic reasoning. Yet, the cuts serve a practical purpose – by reviewing the fragments separately, I have a bit of a new distance to see something that has become too intimate. The opposite might be true with someone not familiar with the photograph. The sequence of isolated details, a mini-narrative, might push the surface of the image closer to a viewer’s mind. In both cases, the cuts between the fragments are the openings in the fabric of a particular space-time.

As a way of preview, I have included the contours of the photo above as I retraced it some 15 years ago. For some reason, I did not trace the face of the person on the left. She was Nikola’s wife and a widow at the time. Perhaps the reason was my need to idealize her – now and as a child.