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A Questionnaire: Tom Kummer

Tom Kummer, 04.07.2017


Was war heute Ihr erster Gedanke?
Aufstehen? Oder liegenbleiben? Wahnsinn oder Genie? An was will ich überhaupt noch glauben? Brauchen wir Glauben? Und wieso sehe ich in Bern nie tote Vögel auf der Straße? In Los Angeles war das anders. Da gab es Road Kill überall!


Are you serious?
Very serious … to the point that people think I am lying or making fun of them.


Los Angeles oder Berlin?
Ich liebe L.A., weil die Stadtwüste und ihre Menschen immer noch so teuflisch schwierig zu »lesen« sind. Berlin ist mir zu soft geworden. Vielleicht fehlen dort die wirklich kranken Köpfe.


John McEnroe or Martina Navratilova?
Borg was my guy. But then I realized that McEnroe was the smart one. And Borgʼs image of the iceman
was just a sign of dullness. That was very disappointing. When I was 16, I thought Navratilova really looked hot. But I was afraid to tell that to anyone.


A question to which “yes” is always your answer?
Want to play some basketball, one-on-one?


Fahren oder Schwimmen?
Fahren. Der Blick durch die Windschutzscheibe bedeutet Kino, ein Raum, in dem fantastische Ideen zu Realitäten werden. Mit Nina hatte ich immer die schönsten Gespräche beim Fahren. Es floss einfach so aus uns heraus, und es gab kein Entkommen im Wagen.


What is the problem with solutions?
Everybody seems to be happy with solutions. Not me. I love chaos. My belief system tells me: only conflicts, disfunctionality, troublemakers like me, scandals, and more drive us forward, create progress …


Was macht Sie verrückt?
Stress. Zeitdruck. Arbeiten.


Blind or deaf?
Deaf … but nothing against blindness!


Welche Götter?
Film-Regisseure waren für mich Götter. Jedenfalls jene Autorenfilmer, wie man sie damals noch nannte, die an einer neuen Filmsprache arbeiteten.


Is it true?
No idea.


Wann werden Sie rot?
Wenn ich gelobt werde, für gute Eigenschaften, die ich eigentlich auf gar keinen Fall preisgeben wollte.


Your favorite image?
That scene in Stranger than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch when John Lurie and his friends stand at an empty beach, all is grey around them, and they reach a point of existential boredom. I like that human condition, and I think the deeper you can sink into nothingness the deeper you can dig into great ideas …


Vor was fürchten Sie sich?
Abgründe. Ich habe schreckliche Höhenangst. Dabei bin ich ein waghalsiger Skifahrer. Sobald ich auf
Ski stehe, bin ich mutig und wage mich an die brutalsten Steilhänge. Aber ich kann nicht von Hochhäusern runterschauen.


Please complete the following sentence:
As he looked at her…
… she hesitated for a moment. But it was crystal clear that they belonged together … forever.

Where is your center of gravity?


Wer schützt Sie vor sich selbst?
Manchmal Freunde. Aber in erster Linie das zweite »Ich«, das man sich erhalten hat.


What does “home” mean?
Eine Wüste.


In die Zukunft schauend, was sehen Sie?
Mehr Autoverfolgungsfahrten. Mehr Selbsthilfegruppen für UFO-Entführungsopfer.
Eine Ehrenmedaille für meine literarischen Leistungen als Pionier im Zeitalter der alternativen Fakten.
Noch mehr Menschen, die in der Porno-Industrie arbeiten. Mehr streunende Tiere auf deutschen Straßen.


Remembering, what do you hear?
Beach Boys, Pet Sounds.
Die Stimme meines Vaters, der mir erklärt hat, dass man sich nicht neu erfinden könne. Niemals.
Man bleibe immer derjenige, als der man geboren wurde. Und wer was anderes erzählt, lügt.


Apfel oder Zitrone?
Pink Lady.


What should happen after death?
I want to be pulled into a vortex of colored light, as astronaut Dave Bowman is in 2001 – A Space Odyssey. And then race across vast distances of space, viewing bizarre cosmological phenomena and strange landscapes of unusual colors. Thatʼs what I expect from life after death.


Hunter S. Thompson oder Tom Wolfe?
Beide haben mich vergiftet. Ich kam in den 80er Jahren von den beiden nicht mehr los.
Diese Idee, so zu schreiben, dass es aussieht wie Journalismus, aber etwas ganz anderes ist. Von Thompson konnte man mehr über die »Selbstinszenierung« lernen, von Wolfe die sprachlichen Kapriolen.


What’s wrong with reality?
Nothing wrong with reality. People believe what
they want to believe. It’s how reality is represented by people or media, the sell-out of reality that has existed for decades in our media that fascinates me. How Hollywood sells reality, sells stars in the media, how politicians are created. How journalism pretends that it cannot be bought. That it holds the key to reality and truth. I say: Wahrheit ist käuflich. I was always more interested in hyperreality, that condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.


Rot oder blau?


A poem or song you won’t forget?
The Clash / “Rebel Waltz”: I slept and I dreamed of a time long ago I saw an army of rebels, dancing on air
I dreamed as I slept, I could see the campfires,
A song of the battle, that was born in the flames,
And the rebels were waltzing on air.


Was langweilt Sie?
Flughafen-Lounges. Abfertigungshallen. Warten auf den Abflug.


Your remedy for gloom?
Brainstorming. Running.Planning a new book or art piece.


Was möchten Sie nicht noch einmal essen?
Ich entdeckte Insekten als Delikatesse schon vor Jahren im mexikanischen Bundesland Chiapas.


How to deal with neutrality?
What is neutral about neutrality? The Swiss are bullshitting themselves and their sense of neutrality! There can be no politics without vision, no philosophy without commitment. Neutrality, if taken seriously, will destroy the most distinctive feature of politics. It’s an absurd search for a value-free politics. His philosophy is superficial, just another political slogan. And the Swiss are so proud of it. But they live in a Disney World, a honey pot. Nothing is real about this place. But it is bloody convenient to live here, I must say!

Wald oder Wiese?


Your favorite geometric form?
I enjoy the magic triangle. Specially in a love affaire …


Nan Goldin oder Larry Clark?
I prefer Nan Goldin. I was there when she arrived in Berlin in 1985 and shot her most important book
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency in which two pictures of me are printed. But I always had my doubts about how photographers operate to create “their realities”. I think Larry Clark was even worse when it came to exploiting the objects of desire. In the case of Clark it was mostly teenagers that he lured into believing he was going to make them superstars—as long as they take drugs and fuck in front of his camera.


Your favorite star in real life?
I don’t care about stars anymore …


And in fiction?
Im Kino: Travis Bickle in »Taxi Driver«,
»Nina & Tom« in der Literatur.


Wie sterben?
Wie Nina. Das Hirn mit Morphium benebelt. Durch die Jalousie ist ein blutroter Streifen am Horizont zu erkennen. Irgendjemand schiebt eine Hand zwischen meine Beine.


Welches Buch lesen Sie gerade?
»Acid«, herausgegeben von Rolf Dieter Brinkmann und Ralf-Rainer Rygulla.


Please complete the following sentence:
As she looked at him…
… he stared back in disbelief. He knew immediately: she is out of his league.


Geld oder ein guter Ruf?
Die Frage stellt sich mir nicht. Ich habe Geld… und einen besonderen Ruf: das Resultat harter Arbeit.


Your favorite question?
Pamela Anderson, you embody every materialistic zeitgeist. Reality loses itself in simulation, and the cult of the body is the most consistent reaction to that. Have you found the meaning of life in this?




Photos: © Rudolf Steiner, Haus am Gern


  • contemporary culture
  • New journalism
  • journalism
  • USA
  • reportage

I say

Nicole Bachmann, 11.12.2017

I Say (2017) 3  audio channel 1 screen installation Duration 15 mins, excerpt shown 5 mins Performed by Anna Tierney, Patricia Langa and Kip Johnson Dance choreography Patricia Langa




What was the first word today?
Words don’t come by themselves in the morning. It must have been something like… it’s still dark outside.


How to write?
Let the hand do the work.


Looking back, what do you hear?
A cacophony of sounds. Am still looking for that red thread.


Closing your eyes, what do you see?
Darkness. I listen.


Welches Buch lesen Sie gerade?
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit.


What does why mean?
Never certain.


2 oder 3?
Binary is never good.


What is the problem with solutions?
No multiplicity but a fixed singular avenue to achieve a certain thing.


Peaches or melons?
Watermelon on a field in southern Italy.


Gehen oder Fahren?
Walk – an alternative way of thinking.


Where lies your navel of creativity?
It’s an elusive creature.


Blind or mute?


Please complete the following sentences:
– As she spoke to me…
 I wondered whether she’d say it again.

– When I speak to him, he…
listens intentively just to lick my hand in response.
A dog’s love.


Joyce or Stein?
Stein. Tender buttons.
American female writers it must be.


What would you like to get rid of?
Ouf, that’s a long list. Let’s start with hypocrisy, torture, violence, hunger.


Egalité ou fraternité?


Are you serious?


The first sentence of a story that doesn’t end?
This is the story of Mucla the worm who went to look for égalité for all sentient beings.


Do you know what you are hoping for?
I think I do until I realize I don’t which would lead you back to the snark.


How to deal with neutrality?
You have to take sides. Raise your voice.


Ihre Lieblingssportart?
Ping Pong.


Lark or nightingale?
Mornings are my dark side.


What drives you mad?
No milk in my coffee in the morning plus the other obvious ailments of the human race.


Your favorite painting? (Please describe)
Hanging  on the wall opposite where I’m sitting. It’s not figurative. Easier to say what is not.
Red yellow blue green black. Held back by gray. Quite small, unassuming, no frame. I love it.
It’s by Anna Bauer.


What is the snark?
If only I knew.


A poem or song you won’t forget?
“You Want It Darker” by Leonard Cohen.


Birds or cats?


Qu’est-ce qu’un miroir sans regard ?
Ben voilà la question du moi.


Wald oder Wiese?


Your remedy for gloom?
See Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass at the Barbican in London (as if they played there all the time).


A question to which “yes” is always your answer?
Would you like to come for dinner?


Do you want to leave a message after this?









I Say (2017)
3  audio channel 1 screen installation
Duration 15 mins, excerpt shown 5 mins
Performed by Anna Tierney, Patricia Langa and Kip Johnson
Dance choreography Patricia Langa



Hush Now Ha Part Two (2016)
Performed by actor Anna Tierney
at Eastside Projects, Birmingham.
Duration 10 mins


  • journalism
  • reportage
  • New journalism
  • contemporary culture
  • USA

This is not your blood.

Aya Momose, 11.12.2017




What was your first thought today?
A snow storm apparently hits New York City. I’m wondering if today or tommorrow.


Is it true?
I’m not sure.


East or West?
East, if anything.


How old is your consciousness?
28 years old.


What is the problem with solutions?
Unchosen choices constantly create all the countless parallel worlds.


Can you recite a poem?
I can’t, but only in fragments.


What is the personal form of “our”?


Where is your center of gravity?
Around liver.


What is your description of the word “anonymity”?
A voice without a face.


Duchamp or Warhol?


 What is your spur?
An absolute difficulty of understanding the other


Are you serious?


What does “why” mean?
Throwing a stone into a pond to stare ripples on the water.


Which groups do you belong to? Choice of three to five.
Something not being male, something using words, and something walking on two legs.


Do you translate these questions into your mother tongue and back?


What is the name of that difference?
Things like holding a sponge hammer to face each other.


What book are you actually reading?
The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster.


Dogs or cats?




What would you do if not art?
I would harvest honey in a damp thicket.


What should happen after death?
Staying there for a while, I gaze my body like through binoculars.


What is the personal form of “your”?


Where do you think you are going to?
Voice, the place where voices come from.


Blind or deaf?


Who does your past belong to?
Aged mother.


What Knowledge?
To find a new constellation.


Which faith?
Depriving while giving.


Can you describe the face of strangeness?
Surely different, although they’re pretty similar like twins. However, I don’t know what makes them different.


Your favorite geometric form?




What drives you mad?
The label of bottles. I couldn’t peel them off properly.


North or South?
To south, definitely.


What are your main worries?
After my death, no longer do I clear up all the misunderstandings in the past.


If you wouldn’t be you. What would you be the most alike?
A leaf-mimicking insect.


Looking forward, what do you see?
A white squeaky door.


Your favorite food?
Japanese wild plants, taste bitter and a bit earthy.


What would you like to get rid of?
The exploitation of something, that I wouldn’t intend.


Thinking back, what do you hear?
I hear someone singing high notes. That’s in foreign language though.


What would be the antidote?
A diary of the other.


Your most valuable possession? Only things.
Something to write memories down.


Your temporary frame of mind?
What if these simple days in our life had its script written by someone, as a series of these answers itself shaped a certain narrative just here.





All illustrations:

Lesson (Japanese)
2015, Single channel video, 7'16'' (looped)

© Aya Momose


Questionaire by Michael Heitz