Excursion 1: Recent Texts from Thomas Körner

d r ü b e n oder erinnerungen an ein tollhaus / Over there or Memories of a Madhouse

The term “over there” is known to every former West German, that meant East Germany, at the time of the GDR.

The title suggests that this is probably a lost, all known land “Das Land aller Übel”.

There was even a separate calendar in the vacuole of the GDR : before and ndm – nach den maßnahmen means after the (forced) measures.

Have fun reading this.

This is the latest text by Thomas Körner, published in 2017. He describes how propaganda in the GDR worked, but in the narrative voices of the commentless realist or rather barbaric cabaret artist. Which one is used you have to decide yourself.

The excerpt above is taken from page 4 of Part I of the Toll House Memoirs. Here you get to part II of the memories of a madhouse by Thomas Körner, 2017 and part III. Whereby you can relate many of his “memories” to the present. There are still many vacuolities, in states, in minds …

Fragment of the Book and its 5 boxes

The Fragment of the Book consists of 5 boxes and is part of the online novel by Thomas Körner, which he describes as a “system of a way of life in five index boxes”. This system should be looked at more closely by calling up these five index boxes in detail:

The First Box contains Das Karteiprogramm – the index program – and gives information about the writing worker. Körner describes it as his workbook in which he writes down the concept for the novel and loose notes, which are re-emerged and elaborated in the other fragments. The first box consists of 1,533 index cards or pages.

The Second Box is called Der Karteibeitrag – the index posts – and contains words from everyday life in the GDR, expressions by other writers that are ambivalent and ambiguous, but often they seem to have been invented by Thomas Körner himself. For example, do you know what an Ideenbordell – which means idea brothel in English – is? Look it up at Körner, under the letter i.

The Third Box is titled Das Karteimitglied – the index member – or The Ego as a subjective object. Or perhaps as an objective subject? What would be the difference? This you can only clarify by delving into the file box. (1488 index cards await you).

In the Fourth Box we read of Die Karteiführung – the card file management. On more than 1,400 pages, Körner has compiled his reading notes and quotes on other writers, in the form of a very systematically organized order. He has developed his own system of how the reading notes are arranged. Knowing this makes it easier for the reader of the online novel to retrieve quotes.

The last file box is called the Fifth Box Der Karteitag – The index day – In society of prevailing conditions. We read in a kind of diary of Thomas Körner’s everyday life or from his travels (after his escape from the GDR). These records go into the year 2005. (The box ends with the page number 1463!)

We can also try to replace the K in the titles (of each box) with a P from Kartei (index in english) to Partei (political party): party convention, party program, etc. Then new worlds open up. The five index boxes show us the “system of a way of life” as a whole. Is that the life of Thomas Körner, or of the commentless realist klr or the barbaric cabaret artist brk? Which immediately addresses the next topic – the two narrative voices brk and klr, whereby brk is the more ironic side of the system.

Manuscript Model

The manuscript model DOSSIER is the graphical guide to play the Reading game of the State visit. Körner has alienated the Fidel Castro Visit to the GDR in June 1972 into the fictive story about the Cumban prince Tandi. In addition, he fancifully and ingeniously incorporated the talks of the secret services of various nations. The unfolding directions (more than four!) of the Leporello embody the voices of the secret services, as Körner explains in the manuscript model:

Körner adds to his explanations of the model:

Actually this reading game can be understood as a performance of his ensembling-idea, as the author explains in his model under Zum Stoff:
By writing the text, while reading the newspaper, I got into playing like gambling, the situation of the intelligence agencies not quite far away. ‘Dossiers’, plans, distractions, pseudo solutions, minor characters were created as if by itself to the output you find here …

For the virtual reading game, the author has taken an alienated text and pictures from the daily newspaper Neues Deutschland. He has cut the heads off the embracing statesmen (Castro on the left and Honecker on the right) from a photo in Neues Deutschland from June, 14th, 1972 and uses the bodies (without heads) in his reading game as background picture on the first day.

The fictional and rather ironical conversation of the secret services can be reached by pressing the Omega button (to the right of the arrow keys):

Here you can continue play-reading by clicking on Reading game of the State Visit

Formula for vertical ensembling

Ensembling according Körner means intensive reading, dismantling metaphors, phrases and words and reassembling all to new meaning.

Körner distinguishes between horizontal and vertical assembly. For the vertical assembly he finds the formula: a-f-t-org-ord-r / sv or bwz: act fact tendency organization order result SV Seinssachverhalt or BWZ status of Consciousness. This formula specifies the ratio of one card file to one or more other cards. Act (as a point of space) is the elementary particle of the ensemble, with fact the relation of several acts to each other is described, wihich shows their trend. The tendency organizes several facts to each other, ultimately they are in order. Körner himself gives practical literary examples for the application of the formula in the Fragment of the Book Fourth Box, where he noted his reading findings on Shakespeare’s Richard III, i.e. on index card 0940:

Further examples you can find in the Fragment of the Book Fourth Box.

Reading with System

In the novel The Land of all Evil reading is a process and means first dissecting sentences and metaphers to words and then reintegrating the words into (new) relationships. Reading can follow a system, too. Körner gives a very good example in his reading notes of Shakespeares Richard III in the Fragment of the Book Fourth Box.

The reader should intensively and deliberately read the text material “in mental and physical activity”. To read physically means to perceive each sentence, each word individually, without regard to grammar, punctuation, structure, i.e. to break every sentence into words, metaphors into its individual components. To read mentally means to reload the gained individual parts with meaning and to reassemble them in the right proportion (for the text created by the reader). Körner understands this intensive reading activity as “ensembling”. At the same time, the reader should follow his own ideas, e.g. arrange the material anew, experimentally.

If you want to follow Körners reading system for his Shakespeare findings you might click the following link: Reading system for Shakespeares Richard III