Drifting in Snow at Equinox

Micro-trip 1: On * Gallitzinberg (Steinhof Gründe)
Temperature: -1° C

Dance Score #1: Drift and slide with fingers in the pocket underneath your armpits. Slow the
pace, speed the gaze, then lower it and creep under the skin cover. Decelerate time, balance night and day, while surrendering to floating above the landmarks. Drift afresh.

The passenger comes – surrendering at the interzone – between inner and outer world.

Skin above skin,
layer below layer,
cutting through and laying bare.

Jean-Baptiste Fressoz writes in L’Apocalypse joyeuse (2012, p.16): “The word disinhibition sums up the two steps of passage a’lacte: the concern and the rejection of the concern; the
consideration of the danger and its normalization.”

(Bruno Latour, 2015, p. 26, footnote 6: “Das Wort Enthemmung fasst die beiden Schritte des passage a’lacte in sich zusammen: Das Bedenken und das Verwerfen der Bedenken; die Berücksichtigung der Gefahr und ihre Normalisierung.“)

The passenger confronts the passage a’lacte de dance in the trans-urban space. No hesitation is the aim – a form of bodily, analogue geocaching.

The echo of the warm home fades – here it’s colder, the air fresher. Vogeltennstrasse. The
literal translation is bizarre: birds trashing floor street – an alley towards the sky, with hardly
any birds sounds. Have they tweeted all their messages in the early mornings? At this very
moment, the bird radio has calmed – the sweet nothings faded with the arrival of the snow.

Drifting along in a slight curve, then turning right to slide downhills towards the Otto-
Wagner green, open doors. A tender white cover on the landscape – here in the expanse of
the meadow the white unfolds its magic.

All has changed, few traces.

The opening is intense. Lungs filled with freshness, the ends of the tentacles freeze. The pace is not steady, no hurry but earthly pleasure. (The song with this title by Villagers came to mind, but only later on.) Following the magnet that attracts inescapable. There is a group of trees, they are especially seductive with long pine needles.

and again the sky as backdrop, patiently carrying the extra skin that has fallen onto them:
white, crystalline, probably causing a significant change in the pine tree’s perception of the
surrounding, probably beyond measuring (exact) temperatures, wondering what the pine feels amidst the whitened landscape. A small pathway pulls the passenger into a tiny
conglomeration of trees.

The green. No, it’s extra green. What on earth is it? Following the intense call of the colour,
meeting the bark. A tree marked among all others, sticking out of the wood, an extravaganza, not of nature, but most probably created by a force with delineated intelligence, humans, extraterrestrials, zombies. It is a trace radiating violence, a violation of peaceful symbiosis where trees generate the oxygen that other beings need and depend upon. Two extra layers of skin – green and white – colour and snow, forming an urban trace amidst the landscape dedicated officially to regeneration of humans.

The colour has a darker shade then the Otto-Wagner-green gates that the passenger saw just in the passing. This green here looks bilious green, strangely looming and glooming. Falling into a time warp – a wormhole – absorbed by details until the cold creeps under the skin.

Slowly parting from the micro world of the outer layer of the fake green tree.

Moving on – out of the small wood, formed by beeches, pines and bushes.

Drifting away, just a few steps later – again arrival. A short distance had been covered, soon
another landing. The gaze has been attracted by another surface, a deep surface, a horizontal double bottom: both mirroring and absorbing, calling one into the darker, reflecting dimensions of another element. The water surface shining with blackness and depth. The ratio argues that it won’t be depth in terms of distance, but rather the micro-biotic business of the muddy waters that corrode all kinds of bodies, patiently and diligently, ongoing decomposition. One fellow passenger got wet feet – he is in kinship with the greened conspecific – but another kind – a willow tree.

Passing through the skin of the body of water – the wild wetland – wet matter that resonates in the body. Astrida Neimanis remembers the watery womb and reminds one that human bodies are bodies of water, primarily comprising water. (Astrida Neimanis, “Introduction: Figuring Bodies of Water.” Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 1–26. Environmental Cultures. Bloomsbury Collections. Web. 21 Feb. 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781474275415.ch-001.)

The breath seems to have come to a halt, just for a moment passing through silence, diffusing great depth, unfolding expanse. “The psyche‘s extended: knows nothing about it” (Sigmund Freud, GW XVII, Schriften aus dem Nachlass 1892-1938, Fischer, Frankfurt/M. 1999, p. 152.) writes Sigmund Freud, body and psyche mutually pervading and moulding each other. The water body engulfing what formed as attitude. Passing the passage, piercing the surface, waves are no particles. Emergence. In The Interpretation of Dreams Freud further states: “The unconscious is actually the real psychic, and according to its inner nature as unknown as the real is in the outside world”. (In German original: „Das Unbewußte ist das eigentlich reale Psychische, uns nach seiner inneren Natur so unbekannt wie das Reale der Außenwelt…“ (Freud, 1900a, p. 617ff)).

Emerging from that moment the feet walk on, following the path, somewhat automated, but who had preprogrammed that direction? The passenger follows, no idea, how it was decided to surrender to the trodden path.

“We can feel the trees and the rocks underfoot, because we are not so unlike them,” because “we are not pure mind-stuff but are tangible bodies of thickness and weight, and so have a great deal in common with the palpable things that we encounter”. (David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, 2011, p. 46.)

Stopping to read.

Much hot snow.
Defocusing the gaze and finding the field. Open, expansive, wide. Widening the fields,
caressing the landscape at skin layer by seeing. The field doesn’t end, it doesn’t even make a difference between organisms. It seems all to merge into horizontal expanse – hills, trees,
water, houses, streets, distant railways and motorways – all forming ‘the field’. Surprisingly,
this field feels different in quality from the previous water field. Each is creating its one
differentiated field of forces, that bind attention so captivatingly, yet at this very moment,
feeling the connectedness of fields (yes intendedly plural – contingent plural to be precise) as it is dependent on the passenger’s reception, otherwise the field might not happen.

A resonance emerges, I had read that passage on the day and it lingered within me, echoing, reverberating. “Incommensurability is never absolute. The question is: Where is that field in which we can live?” (Ben Spatz, Blue Sky Body – Thresholds for Embodied Research, 2020, p. 40.) The attention passes from the eyes to the feet – the earthbound contact – Kontaktflächen – feeling the stark profile of the hiking boots – a bit stiff when gently rolling the foot from heal to toe. Step by step until the pair of eyes stops walking, because they cling onto a small detail. Green again and in geometrical clarity stating a slim, fine line. It is a counterpoint to the organic forms of a piece of bark of a tree that seems somewhat displaced on the ground, covering probably life underneath its dark, rough skin, a shelter for small living organisms such as ants, worms, other bugs and microbes at home on (and in) earth. There live more microorganisms in a handful of earth than humans on this planet.
Zooming back to the mesozone of a walking body on the outskirts of the skin of the planet.
The pair of eyes rests on the white spot on top of the bark. Cool.

A tiny green stick calls for attention. Is it a lollypop stick? A geometrical mathematical tool? A useless, cheap imitation reminiscent of the glorious green noticed at the gateway?

Then the gaze wanders further away surprised by the heaps of material compiled next to the timber yard.

A picturesque somewhat romantic square arises, a place of waiting.

Waiting to get picked up in some years probably. The wood maturing until it is dried and
useable for making fire. Yes, it’s freezing cold as the wind blows. Not on the photo is the
wooden hut that stands nearby were most likely the machines (of the ranger) are housed,
sheltered, protected.

A few steps further I hear burble, the rain gutter narrates and overflows.

Narrations of melted water bodies.

What are the clandestine stories the water is telling – about falling, seeping away, evaporating and falling again? Is it all exclusively a bio-chemical process or what other ideations can emerge when absorbed into/by the hilarious burble of the water, attending to its rhythms, speeds, dynamics. Here it is liquid, gay (gaia) form appearing as melted snow. There on the plant it is a cover, a white hood, that is gently rocking in the wind.

Radiating softness, cloudiness when touching however it wouldn’t feel warm. The fragility of the plants seeds is covered with a heavy hood.

Passing through a narrow following the curve towards the remains of the horrid war apparatus that had raged and haunted this place leaving landmarks, memorials. More than
7500 patients were killed by homicide medicine of the “Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Am Steinhof” based on eugenics and euthanasia. Today the psychiatric hospital is named after the Art Décor architect Otto Wagner.

The remnants made of concrete and steel soften when intimately approached. They allow for an optical peephole – blurred or precisely opening up towards the layer behind or ahead of the now, foregrounding the background, concealing what stays intangible on the other side.

The cold pushes on when suddenly stopping to bend down and find a material that cannot be identified.

Sans papier though its material qualities are residing between a form of thick paper, woven texture, a fabric and reminds of some sort of skin, of an animal or human, maybe the wrap of a precious letter ripped apart food-box whose colors had faded as its contents have been digested?

Flowing further on – passing by the rivers and lakes covered by snow.

Then another nodding towards Otto Wagner’s green, this time outshined by luscious gold.

The golden skin and its variety of boundaries, abstract, inconsistent, painful. The boundary is not necessarily concrete, it can also be abstract. Wondering, what might be on the inside of the boundary? Abundance and plethora? On the outside of the limit it often manifests as
“enough, stop”.

Head floats up, neck muscles loosen.

We’ll see the bright and hollow sky
We’ll see the stars that shine so bright
O the passenger
And all of it is yours and mine.