Thomas Wagner: A Man with Opportunities

“Everything repeats itself. It is amazing that everyone thinks everything is new, though everything is repetition.”

Andy Warhol

“Everything that is said, one observer says to another, who might be himself.”

Humberto Maturana

Chapter 1: From what, remarkably something emerges
There was an area of low pressure over the Palatinate; it drifted eastwards, towards an area of high pressure over Hesse, and did not yet show any inclination to move northwards to evade the latter. The weather forecast proved to be accurate. The air temperature was commensurate with the average annual temperature, the temperature of the coldest and warmest month and the acyclical monthly temperature fluctuation. Admittedly air humidity was high and in the early morning hours the mist settled in the river plains, but the sun following its upward course soon caused the moisture to evaporate. Or to express it succinctly and give an accurate description of the facts, though it is somewhat old-fashioned to do so: It was a pleasant day in October, 2006.1 Liebschers shot from the images and populated every conceivable kind of world. The stock exchanges were inundated with Liebschers and the market was bullish. Liebschers sporting neoprene suits surfed in the sea unnoticed by the sports agencies. When the Liebscher Bros. performed, Liebscher was at the bar and on the stage. In the concert hall he played violin and conducted, played viola and wind instrument. In the editorial office he wrote and talked and cheered one person alone: Liebscher. Welcome to the club.

Chapter 2: Martin or reproduction
One Liebscher. Impossible. Liebschers do not occur singly. Liebscher is many Liebschers. Liebscher is fertile and plural, you could even say autopoietic. Liebscher is in the plural. Liebscher is an entire universe and Liebscher is universal. Liebscher is the multiplied personality, the plural in person. Liebscher is the individual in the age of the masses. Liebscher is the spoilt son of Elias Canetti, and determined to be everyone. “The urge to grow is the first and principal characteristic of crowds”2, said the father. And Liebscher grew. In the digital. In masses. After all Liebscher is the digital mass. Liebscher is the mass media. He is the image of the open mass, the natural mass that knows no limits.3 Like them, Liebscher does not recognize houses, doors or locks that exclude him. And just as suddenly as this natural Liebscher mass crops up, it turns up elsewhere just as suddenly and unexpectedly. One minute still in the casino, the next in a museum or concert hall. Liebscher is management and Liebscher is the public. Liebscher is the people and the population. Liebscher is everywhere and everywhere is Liebscher. Liebscher is the person without power but with masses of imagination. Which is why Liebscher is infinite. Even Gertrude knew: Liebscher is Liebscher is Liebscher is Liebscher.

Chapter 3: A man with opportunities
Every order results in the absurd. The man with opportunities is a phenomenon of cursory reading. He treads the fine line between reality and possibility. But the man they called Liebscher is a man with opportunities. After all, whatever he does, he is always Liebscher amongst Liebschers. He is and remains Liebscher. But he is always in the plural. Always in the majority. He exploits all the opportunities open to him as Liebscher. But whatever he does he cannot escape being Liebscher. Which is why his opportunities are limited. If perception hinges on being able to distinguish between what can be changed and what cannot then Liebscher per- ceives. And we perceive how in a wide variety of situations Liebscher only perceives Liebscher and stays Liebscher. In other words Liebscher is a dream of subjectivity. Always true and honest. Always true to himself. Whatever happens. You can rely on Liebscher. Does that make Liebscher a drunken solipsist? Someone who only imagines his Liebscher world? What does he get from his many roles? Does Liebscher have experiences? Is Liebscher interchangeable? Nothing but questions. The old questions. There is nothing better than the old questions. According to an old Chinese saying a fish is the only one not to realize it is swimming in water.

Chapter 4: Liebscher or Pataphysics
Perhaps he is assisted by pataphysics. Or, as Jarry called it, pfuisics, which is after all one of the three factors, which determine the existence of King Ubu. The others being pfuinance and shrit. Fair enough. But pataphysics is the science of what is beyond metaphysics, it is the science of the particular. It aims to explore the laws that govern exceptions.4 And Liebscher is the exception. The exception in the majority. Pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions.5 And as such the world of pataphysics is one of the possible Liebscher worlds.

Chapter 5: Liebscher and his Galaxie
Liebscher feels at home in the land of unlimited opportunities. The United States. Freedom and adventure. Just like the cliché says. For which a flashy car is indispensable. Big, a gas-guzzler, a vessel for cruising, gliding and dreaming. A vessel whose roof is like an oversized hat resembling the Cadillac in Kaurismäki’s movie “Ariel” in which anti-hero Taisto drives through the snowy Finnish wilderness. And in the same way the taciturn Finn drives through the snow, Liebscher drives through the Californian desert. In search of UFOs. Which he naturally finds, because he sees them – hovering above the gas station or the motel. Liebscher is in the picture – straight away. It is the others who cannot see them, even if he photographs them. That’s because like the people in science fiction movies they are lacking in imagination, don’t have an eye for them. But Liebscher drives around the world in his Ford Galaxie 500, 1969 model, color gold. The top of his Galaxie is down so you can see the stars, and the UFOs. What else. Baby you can drive my car. Let’s take the Lost Highway.

Chapter 6: Liebscher and autopoiesie
Liebscher the driver, and Liebscher, the moving photographer, and Liebscher, the man with opportunities, all of them are through and through autopoietic. After all, Liebscher is constantly creating himself. He is not a Luhmann, but a Liebscher, yet he is an operational, self-contained system. In the same way that communication only seemingly refers directly to the surroundings, but in actual fact only refers to the inner image of the environment, it perceives based on its own laws, in other words, is ultimately self-referential, Liebscher permanently refers to himself as a Liebscher, who refers to an environment as perceived by Liebscher, which is in actual fact only the picture of the environment perceived by a Liebscher according to his laws, in other words Liebscher’s … well, you know what I mean. Liebscher is an ouroburos, a Liebscher, who kicks himself in the ass. And the dynamic stability of the images of Liebscher produced by Liebscher rests on circular causality, which means that you can recognize a constancy on the level of the image (lots of Liebschers at the camping site), but simultaneously you notice a system change on the level of thinking (what are they all doing here, when there is only one Liebscher, who must have made an exception).

Chapter 7: The moving image as parallel action
Liebscher loves moving images. But not in the usual way. In his case it is the film he moves. In other words his moving image is a static one, motion is not simply fixed, rather the image itself is moved by the simultaneous, parallel movement of camera and film. As such the image does not capture movement, but as a negative in the camera is set in motion — in order to record movement. However, from Tokyo to Chicago movement is not recorded for the sake of movement but to get wise to the madness of all the simultaneous perceptions. To this end Liebscher has manipulated his camera so that the film strip can be moved in the camera when the shutter is open. The equipment allows Liebscher to move his body in space with the camera and simultaneously to transport the film in the camera via an undefined stretch determined by the hand on the film transport lever. Consequently, Liebscher’s photographic perception becomes an action parallel to the action of his body and his hand. And by way of this parallel action the equipment’s perception becomes the perception of the perception of Liebscher’s action.

Chapter 8: Liebscher at the workplace
Liebscher dreams the nightmare of simultaneousness. Liebscher is sitting at the computer and look over his own shoulder. His naked body is lying on a table and is being examined by many Liebschers wearing safety goggles. He throws his double to the floor, he drinks beer, he sits on the floor, he lies on the floor, he gives himself a kiss, he looks at photos, he pins photos to the wall, he fiddles with a camera fitted with a telephoto lens, he thumbs through a book, looks through files, two of him play with a model car, he puts his head in his hands, at his “workplace”, which like a reflection in a spotless sphere forms a spherical structure. After all Liebscher is his own sphere. Always. When Liebscher takes a boat ride there are nine of him. When Liebscher appears, then in mass numbers. As such Liebscher is never alone yet he always keeps to himself and his own. Liebscher is a unique medial echo, an echo chamber full of images by the producer of images. His panorama-like universe is an absurdity.

Chapter 9: Let’s drink to futility
“Nothing is possible without LiebscherBräu.“ After all: “Everyone drinks LiebscherBräu.” Until the images are totally drunken and it says: The rest is Liebscher. (Now please rewind the film.)

1 vgl. Robert Musil, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Roman, Erstes Buch, Erster Teil, Kapitel 1, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1978, S. 9

2 Elias Canetti, Masse und Macht, München Wien, o.J., S. 15
3 vgl. Canetti, a.a.O. 4 Alfred Jarry, Heldentaten und Ansichten des Doktor Faustroll, Pataphysiker, Zweites Buch, Elemente der Pataphysik, zitiert nach: Klaus Ferentschik, ,Pataphysik. Versuchung des Geistes’, Berlin 2006, S. 51

3 See Canetti, op. cit.
4 Alfred Jarry, Heldentaten und Ansichten des Doktor
Faustroll, Pataphysiker, Zweites Buch, Elemente der
Pataphysik, quoted from: Klaus Ferentschik, ’Pataphysik.
Versuchung des Geistes’, (Berlin, 2006), p. 51

5 ibid.

Thomas Wagner

A Man with Opportunities

Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter König, 2007