Peter Waterhouse

Within Words

Ozburger. An Experiment

Ozburger proposed not to be able to find any given points and therefore not to be able to produce thoughts of mimetic quality. He said this was tiresome, give him plenty to speculate about every day and every night, plenty meaning plenty that led to nowhere or nourished his despair or destroyed even the weakest attempt to discover a pattern. The setting of the Ozburger experiment is Ozburger without given points. We can see Ozburger putting on his shoes. The buttons on Ozburger's shirt are pressed through the buttonholes by his fingers at 7 o'clock in the morning, i.e. he points them first of all, then begins to push, now is the true moment for pressing, later he twists, shakes, pulls his buttons, pushes once more, one more pull by Ozburger, finally his attention is concentrated on letting go, after all has been done; here Ozburger lowers his head, takes a close look at the situation on his shirt, and very soon lets go of it. Now his trousers etc. Ozburger's words under the described conditions are: The way I grab that button or the way I catch hold of that button, a grabbing or a catching hold of it, is the way I grab myself. I am a button, I push mvself into holes. In the evening the reverse movement, thoughts directed towards bed and sleep. After midnight the Ozburger experiment begins to sleep. In short, as Ozburger sets out his thoughts during a conversation, in short, I actually lack everything. This sentence could be one of the results of the experiment; let's be straightforward. The second sentence: Ground is yet to come. Third sentence - Over the years Ozburger has got underway, he is way ahead of himself, others make remarks of this kind on a single evening drinking a glass of wine, but when they have caught up with themselves more time has passed than Ozburger required in the experiment-: Everything is giving way; everything is setting fire to its meaning. Fourth sentence: Finally everything points towards silence. Ozburger appears on the doorstep. Zebra crossing. Ozburger is chewing something. Involvement. Fifth experimental sentence: No doubt: I'm way outside.


What cannot be disclosed is wearing a hat and walking by. Look at us, are we any different?
Explosion of thought: We are a little more lonely and beautiful now. A cherry in my mouth: I am not fulfilled, but this moment is sweet. Meaning: Ah, oh, well, whatever, yes, no, noon, good-day, mhmh, thank God, at least and all the same.
Why have we run so wild? Answer: It is ecstasy. Let sadness end nowhere. Let hope not end for a way of bringing destructive sentences to a close.
What is a point in space? A point in space is a center. Everything else transcends into wishing.
We are skipping. We didn't do that before. Who is with us?
What we are anxious about hasn't been forgotten. It is nameless.
There's no misunderstanding. From here wishing sets out.

Dialogue 1

A. Our subject?
B. No subject.
A. Why not?
B. It had a name once, but it undergoes a change, in other, crueler words, it bursts open. It is part of what we see, we speak about it, by speaking about the shoes on the doorstep or about the way the cat curls up or about the sounds of the great cities; you touch it with every step, we are always standing on something, once we call it stone, while we stand on it, once escalator, once wasp. If we step on a wasp then we've stepped onto something that used to have a different name. One exclaims: Right now a wasp is stinging my foot; I'm looking forward to stepping aside very soon.
The actual meaning continues: metamorphosis, metamorphosis.
A. Is that wasp not evidence enough?
B. True enough, it is sufficient evidence.
A. The other name of the wasp?
B. Cat asleep.
A. The other name of a cat asleep?
B. Shoes on the doorstep.
A. Etc. ?
B. Yes, etc.
A. All in all, what do you mean?
B. Tenderness of course.
A. Ah.

The Reduction of Power

He said: That door. Standing in front of it, he said: Yes, meaning no. I contribute towards pulling down the sky, falling in with night, praying substantially, turning into light, taking a walk when promises are not to be expected.
Yes, and the meaning is no.
He spoke of himself at once.
Archway, passage of birds, shaking of hands. He said: I am part of what we call a sun. His name then was Mr. Self-Blinding.
Please switch off light, set clock, sacrifice colors, lines, words: a basic surplus wearing a tie, buttons pushed through holes, jacket secured, head straight, Sunday, distinct step towards the door.
However, he seemed to avoid everything
Look, he's running away again.
It was meant yes by being meant no.
No reason to be troubled.
Unexpectedly his teeth came close to the teeth of the woman he loved. In other words: Both welcomed each other at once. He said: Everybody knows this; tongue may easily go where I can't go. Conclusion: Dancing was easy in the mouth of the woman one loved.
What next? Nothing. What next? Next happiness.
Sometimes a single idea. Once again a single idea. Nothing at the same time.
Nothing at the same time. He was frequently asked: What are we to think about what comes at the same time?
Yes, then he went on to live with thisquestion. He was a question in the way he lived. He said: This is not the way I want to be talked about.
What next? Nothing. What next? This is not the way he wanted to be talked about next.
When thinking of him one thought: Yes, and this was meant no.
He was moved. Changing him meant moving him.
We remarked: One by the other.
No doubt, we had a little too much power over him.

Marks of Destruction

What I told you on the train, some time ago, about what I call a terrible formation of things and a true formation of things - of course these words are wrong (ah, what happiness I feel from having said this, how bewildered I am again from having used a few words, from having called a sentence into being, into being, how much I enjoy reflecting on this moment, despairing about this moment, a beginning, a direction, a gesture), what I told you then on the train carriage about the formation of things in a way that is destructive and a second way that is not destructive, yes, a tree at night, a door swung wide open out of the shade at 12 o'clock noon, high fencing around an asphalt covered childrens' playground, benches, crushed grass, the tennis field when I passed by -a place to die, the river straightened by flood control structures - a swing of the axe into the soul, but then a move towards being saved, the true formation of things, but we can't call it a move towards being saved, we can call it eyes, nose, mouth, skin: what should there be questionable in this respect? (Interruption, too many words, I curse this blockade, only for moments all that is fleeting comes together, long is only a long destruction.) Where are we now?


Mornings begin this way: looks towards the sky, the door being opened, window-cross, nothing is able to hold its own. Oh well. The dry residue in a wine glass is what remained red after a Spanish summer. What comes together with the help of this day, which parts make up a story of meanings, a story not intended at all, what is it that drives despair up and up etc. Excrescent pattern: the tree is a cat, the spectacles are the neighboring house. Ah, here begins a large breath followed by quick exhaling. Tender eyes. What a morning this is. Oh well, Rasurel thinks. Enter Mrs. Mercier. Rasurel to Mercier: How do you feel about evidence today? Mercier wearing a silk blouse of incredible lightness, a way of walking which Rasurel thinks should be defined as: undescribable, more or less garden-familiar/wasp-avoiding, according to Rasurel one is reminded of a system of coordinates and at the same time, but why? of the erotic. Oh this unsystematic confusion, Rasurel says to himself, let me begin again, here is my question again, how do you feel about evidence, while it poses such a problem for me? At this point, Mrs. Mercier made a severe remark: Whatever you are able to bring together will become a center of power suddenly. A little later: Dear Mr. Rasurel, why aren't you happy with living so apart? Do you really want to be able to say perfectly: I, here, the world in force, name, reasons, result, sense? Rasurel, sadly: No thank you.


At last it became possible to say: The table is a table, a wooden floor is a wooden floor, a door handle is a door handle. These sentences, spoken by a certain individual whose name is Massly or Messly, were true for a short time only. When Messly spoke the sentences for the first time they delighted him. Half an hour or so later he recalled the above sentences and found them largely wrong. I must accept that this table plainly isn't a table, Messly exclaimed. I like that. The chair isn't a chair: I couldn't be more precise. Why not? According to Massly this is a fault of the language. Language assigns an entirely wrong meaning to objects. According to Massly even an insignificant tautology adds up to nothing less than emphasizing magical qualities. Messly: How shall we ever be able to see ourselves, with this language? How can we face ourselves, for heaven's sake? I must ask you for more silence.

By Tropes

Lucy of course comes through different places such as hangars, fields, water, window. Of course she screams for love in these places. She says: I have considerable wishes. A certain infinity has come across my sweet face. But in the meanwhile Lucy has gotten lost, a metamorphosis, something has been added and at the same time taken away, the names have increased and diminished, what looks like us and what looks as if it were Lucy has become so different, we shake hands but something tremendous is close, our conversations are hopeful, but who is talking and who is addressed, we have stepped outside, Lucy has left her position at the window too, in other words, we are dealing with a single question: what has come to pass? Obviously something that was meant to stay together, that was to be measurable repeatedly, that was to lie on the table as it had been left the evening before, that was to remain a table and remain a table as before, that was to conserve the name and meaning of what had been the former name, the earlier meaning, obviously that one which should have stayed has become slightly boundless, has received a push or has made a jump or better still: It is quite unchanged, it its going away has gone away, no jump, simply a going away, a having gone far away. Miss Lucy in the water: arms and legs bend consolingly, greetings are exchanged with an erotic personality on the shore, everything is quite true, one could be more accurate as to the angle of light and wind speed, the least is almost satisfactory. A field: Lucy wants to seem at ease. Her sensuality and thoughtfulness make her appear dark, beautiful, sad. lf only something were coherent. How close we are to being angry and laying hold of the world's collar and calling out threats and demanding a stop. Suddenly everything turns dark, beautiful, sad. We are very serious about understanding and that is a beautiful mistake.

Dialogue 2

C. Are you with me, all this time?
D. Yes, I am.

The Soul Turned into Language

SOUL 1. Out of, into, close to, in front of,
near to, with, because, already, now,
never, no, yes, and,
and we rose and became light,
wrong again, Morris, wrong again,
hello, good day, embrace,
over, to, away, far, tender, nevertheless,
it is us, it is us,
books, books, books being read, books, a book.
SOUL 2. I like the way you wait, we haven't started yet, no agreements so far, I enjoy being in two minds day and night, our measurements have become more accurate, so many more methods, but all this hasn't changed us much, what is unnameable, I take it up tenderly, I shall not lament, we have practiced thinking for a long time, despair has not given up assailing us, I won , t draw any conclusions from this, or suppositions are vast, I never find them confirmed, no place for knowing oneself, it is best not to doubt meaning but walk other ways, what we talk about is yet to come, no, I can't be chased, I increase the pace of what is pushing me but slow down quickly to think of something else, what is fast is becoming faster, it's not me, I can't be frightened by particulars, my attempts are hardly conceivable, I don't observe them, a system of successions and soundless moves, sometimes I am happy for I am neither, I emerge somewhere else saying: All right.
SOUL 1 What's that wall ahead?
SOUL 2. We've come close to the wall of power. We are admirable anarchists. We are close to the heart of change.
SOUL 1. Oh really? There's something beautiful about us. May I add: No way of grasping myself?.
SOUL 2. Yes.

Lorberg's Speech on Premises

LORBERG. The first premise is the idea of presence. Everything is reported to be the way it is and we are part of it. I don't know much about that, however there's surely a mistake in this fine premise. Because the second premise is the unmistakeability; everything is the way it is as before, us included. Our condition is such - and probably this is true for everything - that we are absolutely factual and entirely without given points at the same time. This is funny and difficult to bring together. If you bring it together or draw it together what you get is something that looks like a deep mistake. But you can't count upon that mistake because it concerns our innermost, possibly at precisely that place which should be doing the counting. A personal non-disposition for arithmetic. But besides the spot alluded to in this moment there are others, and it is from these that one can start to discuss the drawing of premises and the possibility of withdrawing them.
LORBERG. Withdrawing a premise happily enough yields a certain profit. You could describe this profit as improving an ever so endangered presence.
LORBERG. Language is the third premise. lf asked about language we give strange answers. As soon as we give answers we cover up our premises. Oh, what an effort. We also live effortlessly. Oh, yes. But where?

Anne Encourages Coincidence

In disenc.hanting places, along the edges of meaning, layout, consensus, etc., where for instance nobody walks for obviously metaphysical reasons, where the birds fly close to the surface, where what is called one is only to be found in silent objects, in splithearts, where, to put it quickly, all is the case while what is alongside the case turns dreamless or turns into a lion in a cage if we were visiting the zoo, becomes unreliable, almost forgotten, this is the place for Anne to appear and declare something that we needn't reflect upon, but you will find expression in Anne's cheerfulness. Apparently this is all about or almost only about - I'm taking care-about outwitting death. Here everyone hesitates of course. Basically there's nothing more to be said, everything or too much anyway is close to being illustrated by a name, it's time to look back, this turning back may be connected with a certain direction, the strange light of the absolute has cast a reflection, you could say. Anne has come close to meaning, meaning was close to developing a swinging movement, an attempt to bend, or whatever it is, a movement towards sensuality, but no, Anne has suddenly discovered something that looks like a snack bar, turning, she goes in, she chooses something that soon tastes awful. Anne thinks: I only intended to encourage coincidence because I thought it necessary, because I thought it beautiful, but instead I've encouraged a suspicion. I walk through disenchanting places and all of a sudden I find myself accompanied by a suspicion, a suspicion concerning the destructive gesture by which power operates. As long as power exists we have no chance to outwit death. A cruel suspicion. Who wants to be in Anne's hesitating position? Usually a next step follows: Encouragement and hesitation are put in the melting pot. A flashing across categories takes place, as if ecstasy were that which explains us, a flashing across a number of historical categories. What is Anne up to? She intends to encourage coincidence. The walk is over, bedtime.

A Story Set in a Garden

We became friends under a sour tree full of pears and thereafter withhold all words about what friendship is, friendship has a shape of its own, etc., but the tree grows in a place which a while ago had a different meaning. Evidently meanings change and this means places as we describe them shift. Close to the sour pears, but the tree isn't that old, the eighteenth century, at least this southern aspect, this village part, these farmers, priest and council secretary and innkeeper and postmaster, close by the pears the sense for justice, if hurt considerably, used to attach ropes to people. Today we put two chairs there. As to the ropes, they are still in use, wrapped around stubborn cows, hanging from childrens' swings, pulleys, and hammocks. We shake hands and exclaim: Now we are friends. The person attached to the rope was asked to step onto a chair, right away the rope was fastened somewhere above him; all one had to do now to make him die was pull the chair from under his feet. A peaceful garden today, some of us have memories, which actually means the bellows are inside us, the eighteenth century takes a seat in the garden if we remember. Conclusion: The answers are yet to come; late somebody may remember us.

A Breakneck Love Story

Later on I drove full speed to Venice (Graz, Tarvisio, Gemona flew by), through the left door of my car I eagerly entered what has been given such a clear name, Signora Buonarotti is my landlandy, coffee, mussels, all this in one long moment so to speak, at 4:30 I fell in love in an express vaporetto, and your name please, touched all subjects of interest, wonderful understanding, unbelievable happiness, etc. 5 o'clock: our first quarrel, diagonal looks, no, I'm not hurt, yes you are, no, I'm not, yes you are, no, I'm not. Dinner, cinema as far as half-time, sight-seeing tour, Holy Mass and thoughts wandering, second dinner, shopping, dancing, restless sleep. For breakfast I had a boiled egg which I finished as a whole biting across through its body. Out on the street I finished the honey, last piece of bread in a bitter petrol station. Over.

Perlman Invokes the Muses

For which moment must I wait to see myself, Perlman asked when he left his bed in the morning. Perlman collects scattered pieces of clothing, Perlman has put the kettle on, he is spreading butter onto two pieces of bread. Perlman looks at the milk storm in his tea cup. How everything passes. Today's milk passes like yesterday's. I can foresee everything while still in bed. Too bad. This is the point where Perlman decides to invoke the Muses. Remember, I don't wish to overvalue the milk, it is enough if it's milk. But when I say this I also hope for something that I would describe as undisguised and free of speculation, let's say I hope for a kind of continuity within all the depreviation and impossibility and dispersion, a continuity of love, yes, not to become possible, that cannot be said, not to turn out well, that cannot be said, not to relieve our burden, that cannot be said, we shouldn't have begun to ask in this way. I am saying this without really knowing how to go on, it might arrive in an unexpected moment and shed light upon us, onto our impossibility, onto our unforeseeable condition, onto our total diffusion, onto our language where we fail, onto the world in which we fail, onto our language where we don't fail, onto the world in which we don't fail-how beautiful that would be. What I'm trying to say is: Our existence cannot be proved; we are the storm. Oh well, it's time I washed the plates and thereafter stepped onto the street, wearing a white shirt, a tall hat on my head, shoelaces fastened twice. Perlman.

History and Tenderness

1. Pablo Garcia Rossetti is climbing or climbed down from his crane, there he is, I was looking through a couple of plan drawings, he asked me from his position beside the axis of central perspective whether today was the twenty-fifth of July. My watch has a little window which shows the date by name and number My arm bent and elevated, I detected the exact number twentyfive in the window, on Rossetti's side all this time the following action: a closing in of the upper part of his body on my wristwatch, the latter unreadable due to the angles between Rossetti and my arm, an opening of the mouth, a looking towards me - if that is the true way to say all this-maybe it was his politeness that made him hesitate to refer to my error - he of course didnt know about the window - and when I was about to say yes, Pablo Rossetti calls out oh and places his forefinger on his thumb as one does as a sign of good work and misses my answer. I tried again and Rossetti called out right away: Thank you, missing my answer a second time.
2. How wonderful it would be to report, about those not involved in ruling and about what we call a class society. A curse hinders such a report; each word reverberates the curse of power.
3. Coming down a second time from his crane Rossetti said: By the way I am not I, I'm only an anarchist; you see, first there's the fierceness of the I, then there's the surface of the not-l; I myself seem to fall out of what we call history or into what we call history, out of what is wrong in history into what is true about history. I've said too much, yet little about direction, there's only one direction. Good-bye.

Kolberg's Theoretical Sameness

According to Kolberg, sameness is obviously something stuck fast, very solid, very consoling, etc., but in the end, or should I say later, when we find everything, I won't say more it will turn out to be closer to the end than we are now, unclear words, but anyhow, in such a place everything stuck fast becomes terrible, now for instance, am I wrong, no, I'm not talking about myself, there's no sense in rushing to conclusions, I was talking about different things, the difference and not about sameness, at this point Kolberg calls out: A metamorphosis, ha, we can be in two minds; even if it is only a theory don't be afraid of insulting me. In other words: a: an apple is an apple; b: an apple isn't an apple, in this way I theoretically deduce what couldn't move but

Vienna, june/july I985

Für Quereinsteiger: Zur Hauptseite von Urs Engeler Editor