Where Does Knowledge Come From?


I learnt by wandering. In two days last August we found the fotoautomats, with teenage girls clustered around them, we went through clothes in the Humanas (thinking about Momus), we followed the coloured pipes that hoop over the roads.


In thinking up ideas about places I am forever shuffling pieces, with the knowledge that I will always know less, rather than more. There’s a freedom in this. I can arrange and rearrange the pieces so what I have is an ever-changing, growing city, made up of moments and snippets. These flow through the architecture, are activated by different seasons. As I look at the map, the details multiply, it’s a time lapse film, the vines are growing thicker.


“All through September the countries in the region were trembling with the movement of people. Thousands of East Germans were quietly packing their bags, piling into their Trabbis, driving across the border and making for the West German embassies in Prague and Warsaw. To the consternation of the Communist Czech government and the delight of Czech dissidents East Germans continued to abandon their Trabbis – some with the keys still in the ignition – on the cobbled streets of Prague before running to the West German embassy at the beautiful Lobkovic Palace. By mid September the embassy grounds were packed: hundreds of people, many with young families, lived in the assorted tents and shelters dotted amongst the mud and rubbish. More than forty people arrived every hour, threw their small cases and packages over the high iron railings and climbed over into the mass of people already waiting below.” (p. 829)  Faust’s Metropolis – Alexandra Richie.

It cost me a wrench, but in the end I decided not to wear the simple blue frock-coat I had on when I first danced Lotte any more; it had become quite unpresentable. Still, I have had a new one made, exactly like the other, down to the collar and lapels, and the very same buff waistcoat and breeches as well.” (“p.92 The combination of buff waistcoat and breeches and blue frock-coat was very fashionable in 1771 and 1772…Following the success of Goethe’s novel, it was for some rime the usual dress of those in sympathy with the life of sentiment.”) The Sorrows of Young Werther – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

“Then he was brought before the king, and the king said, “You shall never have my daughter, unless in eight days you dig away the hill that stops the view from my window.” Now this hill was so big that the whole world could not take it away: and when he had worked for seven days, and had done very little, the fox came and said, “Lie down and go to sleep; I will work for you.” And in the morning he awoke and the hill was gone; so he went merrily to the king, and told him that now that it was removed he must give him the princess.” The Golden Bird – The Brothers Grimm 

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” A Berlin Diary – Christopher Isherwood

 “In 1994 I found a town built by accretion. The streets wound crookedly, there were crumbly passages through buildings that led unexpectedly into the next block, and low arches funnelled people into underground bars. My map bore no resemblance to how life was lived in Leipzig. People in the know could take hidden short cuts through buildings, or walk along unmarked lanes between each block, moving above and below ground.” Stasiland – Anna Funder  

“The pedestrians are as instinctively disciplined as Germans have been for generations. They cluster dutifully at pedestrian crossings; and warning voices – even officious ones – are always raised at the incipient jaywalker. Germans are nervous crossers of main thoroughfares, which indeed are more dangerous than those of many other European countries, and most of them suffer from a chronic sense of social and economic inferiority to the motorist.” LIFE World Library – Germany (1962)


3 Responses to “Where Does Knowledge Come From?”

  1. bree Says:

    you’re in germany already? jealous!! i’m right now looking up what those poles are for.

  2. froschperspektive Says:

    not yet! I realised my love of present tense made it seem so: the photos are from when I was there last year. But I’ll be there in a week + a few days.

  3. Fiona Says:

    I miss Vanda already. Today I let Krolly out in the garden and he hopped about blissfully. When I went to get him a few hours later, he was perched atop the wooden table. He took one look at me and fled for the bushes.

    Got him in the end, however; I reached in amongst the leaves and plucked him out. I left a carrot in his hutch for midnight snacks.

    Oh, and this morning when I filled up his grain dish, he was so crazy for grain that he stood on his hind legs and snuffled at my hands. Grain dish was EMPTY. Someone’s been nibbling.

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