2 December 2021

one reason to be cheerful (sort of) or rather, a reason to be grateful that i am in europe and not in australia, especially now, is the objects i encounter here and their place in history and how they connect my life now in a very material way with my history.

i never anticipated this becoming so meaningful for me as i descend further into a miserable and meaningless old age but this is the new reality where moving between australia and europe, which was relatively easy during my 36 years in australia and the first few years when i was back in europe is, to all intents and purposes, impossible.

during those first few years back in europe i lived in utrecht and i would frequently, on my morning walk, stand in front of descartes's house for a moment thinking about how i am not because i think and, on my way there, walk past the buildings which housed the dutch headquarters of the ss, the office of the sicherheidspolizei, the headquarters of the dutch nazi party, where its leader entertained heinrich himmler two weeks before the deportation of the dutch jews began.

i am here and i would not like to be in australia right now. i would feel marooned, exiled, imprisoned.

yesterday i found a copy of 'das capital' in german published in berlin in 1952; the introduction was written in 1932. the book was sold by a bookstore in rotterdam during the cold war. i don't read german but it is interesting to hold it in your hand and to examine this object which is like a time capsule. you could use it to teach a lesson on 20th century history or you could use it to make an artwork. i haven't made art for 15 years but i am always thinking of artworks i could make if i was still an artist. thinking about them is actually better than making them ha ha because making art takes a lot of effort and a lot of time.

when i was looking at the book my little 14 year old sort-of-friend happened to be in the room preparing for a german test the next day and i asked her to read aloud from it which she did with great enthusiasm. i immediately thought of an artwork.

the soundtrack would be a non native german speaker, born more than half a century after the book was printed in a completely devastated city where ten years earlier the mere fact that it was in your possession would have lead to you being sent to a concentration camp, haltingly reading aloud from 'das kapital'.