Psychological Bar Reviews (4)

Everybody and everything at Schuhmann’s Tagesbar appears to make an effort to contribute to a specific script, emulating mid-century day-drinking and one of the later iterations of the Leisure Suit Larry series of computer games at the same time.

Regulars line the bar on stools upholstered in oxblood leather, having crémants and trying to coax nightlife credibility out of the well-informed and strategically tattooed bar staff. The latter communicates like a disciplined sports team – orders are shouted across the room in shorthand language, matching requested drinks with staff members closest to the required appliance or bottle.

There is a short moment of silence, slightly moving air and long gazes. A party of three enters, surveying the establishment, a shaggy dog in tow. A short tour of the sparsely populated interior seems to end inconclusive and unsatisfactory: „There is no place for us here“, one declares as the group exits stage left.

The same moment, two women in sand-colored robes enter, their faces veiled. Nonetheless, they are recognized and treated to the usual: two slices of apple pie and two iced chocolates.

Underneath it all, faint bossa and tropicana muzak is heard and immediately forgotten, evaporating over ruby-colored drinks and a dazzle of miniature canapés, all traces of crust surgically removed from soft toast slices. Time slows in the most pleasant way.

Psychological Transit Notes, Kuala Lumpur

When I was a child, I would sneak from my room on saturday mornings, and switch on the TV. I would watch CNN World News, not catching much of its content, but savouring a diffuse internationalism that was lacking from my environment. It was of endless fascination to me. My favourite segment was the global weather forecast. It always included Kuala Lumpur, showing a hazy, grainy cityscape as filmed by some rooftop-mounted camera. The city’s name and its dreamy optics resonated with me every time, and I would give in to daydreaming about this place and others, that somehow were supposed to lie on this same earth I was beginning my life on. (03-31-17)

The specific south east asian rain poured down yesterday, observed from our condo on the 27th floor. The rain announced itself by a thick haze settling down in a matter of seconds, descending from the sky, filling the voids between arcologies. The light did not fade, but is dispersed, refractured in a different way. Then, the rain started. A grey veil, blending with KLCC’s monolithic architecture. With it come the lightning strikes and thunderclaps, feeling close, almost as if originating from inside our room. (01-04-17)

(Aus meinen Reisenotizen in Kuala Lumpur)


Neapel ist eine Art zusammengeschmolzener Klumpen der vergangenen zweitausend Jahre am Mittelmeer. Wohnhäuser, Fahrzeuge, Marktstände, Statuen, Pflanzen – alles ist Teil eines gleichen, texturierten Stadtmaterials. Vollkommen unbekannt ist die lineare Folge von Straßen zu Plätzen zu Bauten, wie man sie aus dem irgendwann in die Pläne einer aristokratischen Klasse gezwungenen Inneren großer europäischer Städte kennt.

Vielmehr entspricht Neapel dem unüberblickbaren Gewirke ostasiatischer Großstädte: geeignet, Invasoren zu desorientieren, ohne Unterscheidung zwischen Infrastruktur, Architektur und privat organisiertem Räum. Bauten sind Material, Ruinen sind Material, Märkte und andere temporäre Raumorganisationen sind Material. Via San Antonio Abate ist näher an der Jalan Tun Razak als am Place d‘Aligre. Neapel altert uniform, in einer gleichmäßigen Patina aus Sandsteinschmirgel, Schwärzung und Bruch; die Übergänge sind fließend. Mit jedem Tag schreibt sich das Gefüge der Stadt tiefer in sich selbst ein, Wildnis, Steppe.

Die Straßen Neapels sind der Ort der Performance (und der Ort für alles Andere), wie das häufig der Fall ist in Städten, in denen um vieles gekämpft werden muss. Was Stil angeht, fallen zwei Dinge auf.

Erstens: Die überzeichnete Silhouette der Ramones-Sneaker von Rick Owens hat in Neapel die subtilere des Converse-Originals abgelöst. In einer Art Möbiusschleife kultureller Referenzierung ist die Comic-Version des simplesten Sneakers der Welt hier wieder angekommen und zum Default geworden: Der 25-Euro-Fake eines Luxusprodukts, das vermutlich weder seinen ostasiatischen Herstellern noch seinen Käufern bekannt ist. Jede Altersgruppe trägt die massiven weißen Sohlen und den Zip auf der Innenseite – mutmaßlich ohne den Versuch, Status und Geld zu demonstrieren, sondern aus Lust an der Lautstärke, an Präsenz und Sichtbarkeit.

Zweitens: Pyrex‘s not dead. Das (Fake-) Echo1 von Virgil Abloh‘s Streetwear-Versuch hallt durch die neapolitanischen Straßen, das Momentum der Beflockungsmaschinen war zu groß, sie laufen weiter. Gemüsehändler tragen die Shirts zur Arbeit, ihre Freundinnen die Trainingshosen zu Pumps. PYREX, eine Reihe ziemlich guter Buchstaben, der Name eines Kochtopfherstellers, encodiert von Pushern und Tickern, gesampled, geflockt, gefaked, cargo-kultiviert am südlichen Ende des geistigen Europas. Semiotik kann schwindelerregend sein.

  1. Turns out: Das Label führt ein untotes Leben auf dem italienischen Markt, in größerem Umfang und vermutlich höherer Qualität als das kurzlebige Original.

Psychological Transit Notes, Singapore

Night food market across from Fu Lu Show Complex, stall after stall clad in foam and polymer plastic, covered with laminated color prints of laksa bowls, tou foo and noodles and neon-colored jelly desserts. Everything here is good, if a single dish was not, its vendor would be driven from their stall by a mob of blue-collar workers. Here, they gather to slurp mie and use their Samsung phones to watch the amped up stuff that evolved from american sitcoms in the studios of Chengdu. The satay tou foo may be the best chinese I had in months, despite the knifelike edges of the thin plastic spoon they handed me to ensure I finish every last drip of the spicy sauce. (03-28-17)

Lounging on one of the grey stretchers that line the Park Royal’s fifth-floor pool, the sounds of Pickering Street blend into Carsten Joost’s Ambush playing on my headphones. Unable to separate the faint pink noise that softly lines the track from the humming of cars. Singapore is measured and efficient, foregoing the transitional elements of urban life. Citizens and visitors alike are expected to be driven, moved, teleported from capsule to capsule, all but removing the urban fabric as ground for experience and life. There is soft light and well-kept brutalist architecture. There is Perrier with lime and always a hawker stall close by. Nowhere to be found is Tokyo’s depth and profoundly logical spirituality nor Seoul’s frantic pace and ubiquitous lust for consumption. It is an irritating place, but by now a far cry from Disneyland with the Death Penalty. An amalgam of soft places, connected by a pragmatic system of hyperlinks. An exceptionally fine void has formed around me, from the greenery draping concrete isohypses above to the domes of Esplanade, extending to the far right of my view. I am at ease, but the calm does not reach my heart. It may be emotional boredom, it may be my restless nature. (04-12-17)

The faint iridiscent glitter of small square tiles rushing past below me, reflecting Singapore’s hazy cloudscapes, distorted by my lazy swim strokes as I dive the length of the pool, imagining the view of an southeast asian metropolis gliding past, wondering whether it will still be there when I open my eyes. (04-12-17)

(Aus meinen Reisenotizen in Singapur.)

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