I look forward (to seeing you inside)

Brechje Krah, Alexandre Guern

Surprisingly chilly. No crisp. Zip up, out through the mouth, cloudy breath. Greet fat woman from the corner store, step and a half, two left turns. Up with the pace. You must be outside as well, struggling with your refusal to wear a winter jacket; I imagine you reconsider your clothing ethics. You’re by bike, so significantly faster than me, even if that time isn’t well spent. ‘As if you could kill time without injuring eternity’1. I know you prefer cycling, but I like walking because I enjoy feeling what Buddhists must have implied by stressing the individual’s impermanence; each step forward changes me. ‘How we walk and how we think turn out to be resonant practices of becoming’.2 Therefore, I have no ego, maybe even no ‘me. ‘Is walking always walking away?’3 From my house, from my bed, towards muscle resistance, towards you. I break in my shoes, I pass a few people I haven’t seen in a while, that’ll freshen up their opinions about me in case I look significantly ‘anything’ to them (myself, shattered). Filter out three overheard conversations, forget two of them. Keep one for personal musings, like: ‘why haven’t I ever considered this?’, and others. You say we merely rethink the same thoughts instead of having ones we’ve never had before. It’s a telling tale on what it means to be forgetful. Get a coffee. People refer to ‘cow’s milk’, but keep saying ‘regular milk’. Black please. I’m behind on you and your way of getting to me, I know. But this walk. The delight in this: the sunlight appears in a bend. I take a right, it disappears. Get stuck behind slow walkers. A very small person turns around angrily as I radiate my frustration. Even a worm will turn. Joy and mild irritation.Yes the distance, yes the lack of speed, yes – I look forward (to seeing you inside) and sometimes backward too. Breakings of the road everywhere – mustn’t forget that dream I just had. I do little to counteract the decline of my body with time, because in possession of a youthful mind, that decline means nothing to me. It’s something people haven’t really been willing to understand. I write down my dreams in a little notebook kept on a stack of other mind-expanding objects beside my bed. Forgot about it this morning, left space for slack. ‘I own six nail clippers but can’t remember ever buying one’.4 Cross the road – excuse me? Thanks. The last person I slept with told me I seemed to them like a cat; uncertain of what I’m going to get, but certain I’m going to get it. Other people will always know me better than I know myself. I think solipsism doesn’t exist, but I’d have to speak that thought out loud to have its potential truth verified. This city is always under construction. May as well start living with the pipes. Don’t remember it being so cold this morning. Can’t I ever have what I thought was mine, rightfully concluded? A one legged man hurrying to catch the bus, I’m almost there, almost there, almost – a rise of heartbeats, mustn’t end up in the approaching rain. In the corner of my eye something solemn is happening. Want to stand still to do justice to it. Speed up instead. ‘Arriving in one piece / jaded, is enough for some’.5

Left or right? Control the upside-down pedal, this is the part where cyclists put their feet, apparently. It isn’t supposed to be this loose. Don’t fall off, please don’t fall off. Go left and left and take another left to stay in the same place. I remember this person sitting next to me outside a bar in one of the gentrified areas in the city saying he was so far right, that if he needed to go left he would turn right three times. I laughed. I was surprised too, because turning right without first steering left is impossible. And I don’t think he knows this, I don’t think many people know this, but it’s physics. I feel like if I go circular too often (probably this circle I stay in is more a form of indirectness) I could stay within the lack of an outside, and there is no outside6. Text her, she should be moving now too. Consolidate; stop. The need for a relationship with something external is self-serving or maybe even fiction at its finest. I know where to go – I know this route, this specific route. I know I’ve been here many times. Repetitiveness is similar to coming to a stop. Much like when a person materializes out in the street, but it might be they just came from between two or more cars in reality, and I bodycheck them with my right shoulder over the handlebar. I don’t mean the cars, but the person. And it’s definitely not intentional, but I do lean into it for maximum damage. Trace the rest of this known route with red markers to make a map in a 1:1 scale. This seems impossible, but it could be done. But then I would need a lot of red markers and I really don’t want to carry a bag while cycling. True scales are interesting though – they still need an outside perspective and that’s the reason I mistrust maps and other forms of spatial representation. Should I check the time? No, not going to either. But now I don’t know if I’m going to be late or not. Am I? That would be okay, I suppose. Stop. Coffee? Yes, no, check time now? The little place is near, so I would probably have time for coffee. Sometimes I still can’t figure out how the doors to the bathroom work. Pretend, I already know where the bathroom is, but there are two doors and one is a sliding door and the other one is a common door because it has common hinges. It’s not really that difficult, but still a little confusing if you don’t practice. See, there is a master plan that I came up with and now sometimes practice. Slide open, stop, don’t go in yet, open the door, go inside and inside again. Turn and close the sliding door (this can be done in one movement). Close the door that turns. Do the thing. Turn, slide, go outside, close and close. Better go for coffee after we meet up. The people who work there laugh when somebody didn’t practice the master plan and needs to figure it out on the spot. I’m not far now. That looks like a rattail under that car, or maybe a piece of string. Probably a rat. A rat king is not really the king of rats with a crown or scepter, it is just a lot of rats that have their tails stuck in a circle because of sap or other things that could become sticky or entangled. And this happens when there are too many rats in a small space (repression always leaves its trace in the present—hence “what sticks” is also bound up with the “absent presence” of historicity)7. I should tell her this, she wouldn’t care. Stop. I have had this thought before. Why did my toothpaste taste like cacao nibs? What was that about? Also, what even are cacao nibs? Hey, that’s you, you’re far away, but I can see how you walk and I love the way you walk, like a little happy something sometimes. Push pedal, don’t let it fall but speed it up. Fix your face, stop smiling like that, it’s too much. 

Hey, good to see you.

Yeah same, you’re keeping that coat on inside? 

It’s not that warm in here, right, aren’t you the one who doesn’t wear coats at all? P: True, yeah, I just don’t like their weight on top of the stuff I’m already wearing.

Queer use as refusal, […]. Not all use can be or even should be foreseen.8

I’ve been waiting for a bit, I thought I was late, but got here early, actually. I already looked at some works so I’d say we start in the dark space there on the right, I haven’t been there yet.

Sure, I usually start somewhere else, but I don’t mind switching things up.

And where is that?

Probably the -1 level, because that space is most likely to cause me some sort of cognitive overload if I don’t visit it with a fresh mind. It has all these little details that I otherwise can’t really process.

I never even visit the depot, for a similar reason. I do like doing this in a certain way though.

Residual categories are those which cannot be formally represented within a given classification system. That which is left over after classification is built.9

Do you usually walk a set route? As in; do you have a linear way of walking through museums?

What do you mean, linear?

I don’t know, just linear? Straight lines, reading descriptions, go work by work, in – and out the rooms as per pre-designed route? In order to maintain your ‘cognitive capabilities’?

No, reading those descriptions or signages kind of distracts me from digesting the exhibition.


Interesting, I feel like they made less effort this time.

Hey, it’s on the left

Sorry, I got a bit distracted by these paint chips, and it’s kind of dusty here too.

Oh maybe it’s not on the left, all these people are coming our way, I think we need to enter from the opposite side.

I think I can see the screen, but it seems broken – it looks different from what I remember? Let’s see if we can get in from this side.

… Resolution determines visibility
…Whatever is not captured by resolution is invisible.

When something stops working or cannot be used, it intrudes into consciousness.10

Seems like some things become obsolete so quickly. I do like how they use the resolution target from the desert as a design feature in the video. They actually use it for orientation, which reminds me of cartography, that’s pretty cool, I think.

Obsolete, why?

The fact that this target is reused for something completely different, but it still does some of what it’s trying to represent; it’s still about how resolution determines visibility.

And then in turn the visibility of the piece also shifted for me. It’s not like when I saw it the first time, something’s very different. I don’t remember seeing the whole thing, or where I saw it. I just remember thinking a lot about the film’s presumed opposition of subject versus object.

That’s not really anything new philosophically, though.

True, I recall the idea of person versus digital image being new and interesting to me at that time, with people’s emerging and growing disembodied condition through being online constantly. And this sentiment increased of course, like, how is a person not an image?


I think Steyerl herself also talked about ‘being spam caught by a filter’ or something. But of course, 2013. That, and after seeing it a few times, it doesn’t really speak to me the way that it did before.

But a person is an image. We mirror ourselves to all the representations around us, and we’re doing the same over and over and over again. It’s exactly this “redoing of a motion” that creates reality. Seeing the same kind of things over and over is performative in that sense, right – you become the image.

Who said that again? Baudrillard?

Yeah, I think it’s the simulacrum or simulation thing that he’s talking about. We’re literally images throughout the reiteration of the things we encounter.

Same goes for language, we understand words because the meaning has been forcefully repeated time and time again. Which is somewhat contradictory, but seeing a thing over and over again would make you numb to it at some point.

It is unnerving to realize how much one’s compass or tastes can shift throughout a lifetime, how one’s sense of “okayness” is contingent on a host of factors, including the simple question of whether one is experiencing something for the first or the second time, not to mention the twentieth.11

…Being a wifi signal moving through human bodies.

…To go offscreen


What do you think it would do to watch this on a loop? Like, now that we’ve seen it for a second time, what happens if we watch it a fourth, tenth twentieth time in a row? 

I’d say the meaning gets lost. I mean after a couple of times you can read the work in different ways, and although there are so many possible meanings, you’d get bored after the ‘so-maniest’ time.

Experience is itself a funny notion. It is real-time; it has duration and intensity; it takes place in the present; it is imminent, and perhaps most of all, it is irreducible.12

Invisible people retreat into 3d animations.

I’d actually wish I could walk around it, but I can’t.

Brechje Krah is schrijver (van poëtische proza en autotheorie), (performance)kunstenaar en ontwerpt publicaties. Alexandre Guern is freelance schrijver en werkt momenteel voor een kunstinstelling.

  1. Henry David Thoreau, Excursions, 1862.
  2. Kathy E. Ferguson, Anarchist Women and the Politics of Walking, 2017.
  3. trans, Point Break, anonymous author, Das Magazin, no. 12, solo, winter 2015.
  4. excerpt, Heather Christle, Suggested Donation, 2019.
  5. excerpt, John Ashbery, Recent History, Quick Question: Poems, 2013.
  6. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, 1967.
  7. Sara Ahmed, Affective Economies, 2004.
  8. Sara Ahmed, What’s the Use, 2019.
  9. Susan Leigh Star & Geoffrey C. Bowker, Enacting silence: Residual categories as a challenge for ethics, information systems, and communication, 2007.
  10. Sara Ahmed (2019).
  11. Maggie Nelson, The Art of Cruelty, 2011.
  12. Susan Leigh Star & Geoffrey C. Bowker (2007).