A white bear discussing the dirt under the rug at “Den Frie Udstillingsbygning” Copenhagen 2013
The first time the white bear came out of the head, was in 2009 – in a lecture about selfdeceit – in which Dostoyevskijs white bear served as an example of the true self inside us, that works against out own free will.
In historic and contemporary examples, the lecturer managed to prove that it could actually be possible, and in the end the bear came out of the head.
More info about this lecture soon:
“Try and set yourself the task, not to think of a white bear, and the cursed thing comes to mind every minute” Fyodor Dostoyevskij/ Winter Notes on Summer Impressions/ 1863
Beauty within and without, is a makeup-course, in five easy steps, where a white bear from the back of the mind talks about beautiful meateaters, ugly vegetarians, the onedimensionally beautiful and about the history and impact of the idea that it is the inside that counts – from the french revolution until today.
The guide has been presented and taught live at a variety of events and it has been installed as a video-guide in the powder-room of “den frie udstillingsbygning” in Copenhagen.
The video-guide is shown as a flipped-projection on the wall across from the mirror, in the ”powder-room” , and can only be properly seen while looking in a mirror. Next to the mirror, there is also all the make-up necessary to follow the 5 steps in the makeupguide
For the live event the bear presents a flipped over powerpoint, that the audience can only see properly through a mirror that the bear has handed out. While going through all there is to know about beauty, thebear also instructs the audience in achieving a stunning transformation.
Revisioned vido 2016
In 1776 – the scottish moral philosopher and free thinker Adam Smith, proposed the theory of the free market. The idea was, that the free market should be able to make even the beastliest of bears within humans, work for the common good and for the wealth of the nation.
Since then crises’ of the market have come and gone, and in july 2011, at the height of one, this inner bear, went to Smiths cradle of free trade; Glasgow, where Adam Smith lived and taught.
Here it resided in the local Contemporary Arts Centre; CCA wherefrom it ventured out to meet up with local scholars, artists, capitalists and more, and get a new perspective on humanity, bears, money and their crises.
The history of the free market is one of letting loose ones beast. That is of course interesting for any white bear from the back of the mind.
From July 1st – 23rd, therefore, the white bear will be in Glasgow to study the history of this beastly market. A market that seems to have been invented here by the Scotsman Adam Smith in 1776.
The first entry from the white bear’s journey onto the free market. Here, the white bear goes to New Lanark, a Unesco world heritage site and a historic industrialists Utopia – where it seems that adam Smiths idea, that the division of labor can bring more prosperity to more people, was taken very literally. The white bear also thinks about boredom, Candide and the taxpayers money.
In july 2011, a white bear went to Glasgow, Scotland to study the origin of the free market, and it’s first thinker: Adam Smith.
As with any important theory, this theory has undergone plenty of misuse and misinterpretation over the years.
Adam Smith, the socalled father of Capitalism, re-edited and republished his “Wealth of Nations in 1776, 1778, 1784, 1786, and in 1789. Even after his death, new and clarifying versions kept, and keeps appearing. This is only the fourth version of a post in the white bear diary; A post about capitalism, it’s misunderstandings and about language that cannot express our intentions precisely.
On the day that a new South-Sidanese state was declared, the white bear went to the orange marches and speculated a bit about nationality, true colour and the history of “Celtic” and Rangers” – whose fans represent each their side of a complicated conflict.
The presence of “Rangers” and “Celtic” has been estimated to be worth 120 million pounds to the scottish economy.
Diary from a white bear in the free market: In July 2011 the white bear went to Glasgow, Scotland, the birthplace of the free market, that was invented here on 1776, by the moralphilosopher, Adam Smith. This post in the white bear diary is about a brief meeting with blogger John McKlintock and the economy of attention in the brave new world of 2011.
On the day of Primidi, month of Messidor, in the french revolutionary year of 219 a white bear went on a one day highland detour.
A detour away from Glasgow, the historical birthplace of the free market, that it had come to Scotland to investigate,.
On route it pondered over time-economy, decimalized money, measurements, and the
immeasurable depths of the Loch Ness.
Here it also dwelt on matters of certain knowledge mystery and monsters below the surface of even the most rational systems.
The white bear has an appointment with the furdressers and a wee chat with a professor of political theory about Adam Smiths pretty little idea about “society as a mirror”
The white bear has an appointment with the furdressers and a wee chat with a professor of political theory about Adam Smiths pretty little idea about “society as a mirror”
In 1776, the famous Glasvegan moralphilosopher, and inventor of the free market, Adam Smith wrote that:
” It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. ” Adam Smith/ Wealth of Nations,1776
But scottish dinners are not the same in 2011 as in 1776 of course – and when the white bear, in 2011, went to Glasgow to study Smiths free market, it also met up with a local vegan; Ellie Harrison, whose feeding habits could be an potential challenge to the carnivorous perspective of both white bears and Smith’s selfish butcher..
After some challenging weeks on the free market – the white bear visits the final resting place of it’s first theorizer: Adam Smith.
Here it takes a moment to quitely ponder over new beginnings, warm fur and history’s frozen tundras.
A year after the safe return from the free market, the economies of the world are still wobbly – and the white bear is still in doubt what to make of it.
In May 2012 nevertheless it presented it’s confusion, in a video-diary from it’s journey, and in an artgallery in the shopping arcade “Toves Galleri” in Copenhagen.
Toves galleri is a run down, bankrupt halfempty arcade; a kind of monument of economic crisis – and seemed to be an appropriate melancholic setting for an investigation of sympathetic idea that seems to have failed in it’s mission to bring dinner to all of Scotland.
April 19th 2011 – Press-release:
This 4.th exhibition in the series of shows organized by Suada Demirovic called “Global lokalitet”/” Global Locality” is about the geography within us, white bears, and the whole wide world.
In 1863 Fyodor Dostoyevskij wrote that, if one sets oneself the task, not to think of a white bear, one will also quickly discover, that the cursed thing comes to mind every minute. He wrote this in his travel-diary “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions”, in an attempt to explain how we, besides being ourselves, are also born with an either russian or western (or danish, or vesterbro’ean) inner bear on our minds; An inner beast that has already taken some of the decisions for us, as to what kind of people we are going to be.
For this show, however, through and advanced stew, made out of a variety of national or regional cookbooks, the bear has come out of the head. Thus, out of the head, it will, during the show, sit in it’s library and, with the help of these cookbook’s “own words”, try and rewrite this history of internalized geography.
After many years in the head, with a pure spiritual diet however, the bear has become quite a peckish little critter, that wont eat just anything. By the end of the show, therefore, the bear will, present what is hopefully a new and stimulating culinary experience, and invite everyone for a advanced leftovers. Here, it will prepare a selection of those new recipes that are left in the cookbooks after the bears are freed from them.
Coming Clean – a white bear emerging from all the dirty matter from the back of the mind:
For the event “Egyptian nights”, organized by Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt at a place called Rio Bravo/ April 9th 2011, I once again came out of the head I was in. “Egyptian nights” was a night of confessions and of saying farewell to old mistakes, regrets and failures. Here, I was washed out of the head, together with 25 of the dirtiest little secrets from backthere. Throughout the night, however, a new more hygienic story emerged from all these dirty words.
The story that emerged:
“This mess of words here, consists of 25 dirty little secrets; confessions of regrets and mistakes both personal, big, artistic and petty – in 1635 words .
And speaking of dirty: There is an inherent discussion of hygiene in the notion of airing doubt and old mistakes. Some call it: ”coming clean”, some call it to ”spew one’s heart out, and the classically learned may call it catharsis. Catharsis is, in short, a way of purifying oneself of shit, by rolling in it. Usually an explanation starts with Aristotle:
In ”Poetics” he claims, that we can overcome our unpractical and rather uncivilised excess of emotion by living it out in the controlled environments of drama, literature or art. Some psychiatrists have also had some success with healing disorders by helping patients bring their pent-up, affects and emotion out into the open, in various ways. Catharsis is derived from the word ’kathairein’ which means to purge; a medical euphemism, for the emptying of the bowels. Thus, this timehonored bacteria-infested metaphor may be what justifies the messy but much celebrated disclosure of whatever dirt that is under the carpet. Since the cleanly housewives of the 50’ies were disclosed by the selfrighteously greasyhaired children of the 60’ies for hiding their drugs and alcohol in the back of their clean cupboards, cleanliness has been the symbol of everything hippocrite and untrue – and thus… any dirty little secret a symbol of everything true.
In 1987, however, selfproclaimed scientist David John Oates made a claim, that the truth was not actually this shit and dirt in itself, and he found a way to disclose all the actual truths behind the bullshit: In his “Reverse Speech, The Voice Of The Inner Mind” he claimed that one would always subconsciously produce sentences that, when played backwards, would reveal your true inner mind; your: ”dnim renni eurt”. Today, as I spilled my heart out here on the floor, it does actually seem that a tidyer truth is available behind my words.
When my coughed up innermost regrets are organized correctly, a critter emerges that may just turn out to be a white bear with concern for it’s fur. A white bear that was planted in our minds 1863 by Fyodor Dostoyevskij in his book ”Winter Notes On Summer Impressions” . Here he wrote that: ”if you set yourself the task, not to think of a white bear, the cursed thing will come to mind every minute” . Such a white being would of course not only find the idea of cathartis immensely indelicate, but also insulting, as this vain critter would then logically be one of those dirty ideas itself.
Instead this bear has come clean from the dirty withheld truths within me, with a roar that can hopefully complicate the unhygienic assertions that it is the dirt in the fur that makes a bear true. Perhaps it is a roar in favor of those utopian housewives who will not succumb to the gritty conditions of life nor reduce the grand idea of truth to a matter of mundane dirt, that was never good for fur.
The following text was written on the back of one of the books in the white bear library – in the words of all the cut up national dishes:
Text from book:
An Acquired Taste the mindblowing cookbook
In 1863 Dostoyevskij wrote that if you try and set yourself the task not to think of a white bear, the cursed thing comes to mind every minute.
Everyone have probably, at one time or another kept something to themselves, and this knowledge, that there can be a difference between what is on our mind and what comes out of it, has nested an idea of a true and inevitable inner roar, within us all..
In 2009 an unnamed inuit put it like this to Paul Watson from the Toronto Star:
“We will kill anyway because it’s our culture. We need to hunt polar bear meat. Once we haven’t eaten it for a long time, we miss it. Just like if you haven’t eaten steak for so long, you miss it.”
However –the thesis of this revolutionary cookbook is that you, through the same techniques with which we can acquire a taste and learn to like for instance blue vein chese, olives, and coffee, can also change our minds about white bears, and possibly even get them out of the head. When they are out, these white bears, they will be free to rewrite the history of those compulsive thoughts inside us. A history that has rendered all our unroared roars the truth and the cultured surface-growls deceitful.
This roar-theory is an all-encompassing theory, that defines principles of both law (like the law that inuits can kill a certain amount polar bears in canada, because it is part of what makes them inuit ) and all kinds of other fields; like cooking, geography, psychiatry, politics, love, parenthood, beauty, healthcare art and much more. In the long run, this book argues, the idea of this true inner roar, may be an undynamic version of the truth, that enlightened truthseekers had hoped could liberate us from the static belief in eternal, unchangable and divinely created conditon.
In the pursuit of the earnest, it seems, we may just end up being stuck with nothing but bombastic integrity, backward looking authenticity and regional dishes. Getting the hungry white beast out of the head however, may eternally change our diet.”
“You are all invited
To everyone on the outside!
I, the white bear, the beast inside all, have since the 21.st of April, been sitting behind this library, trying to extract new universal meaning from national and regional cookbooks. I guess that I, as such a book-enclosed bear, could somehow justly be called: the truth behind all the words.
The truth, however, must eventually come out, and on May 12th, 2011, this deep bear, cordially invites you all, to celebrate the surface and it’s surfacing. Let us all meet on the exterior, sip chilled wine and eat hors d’oeuvres, prepared according to the remnants of recipes from these passéist monuments of national truth.
Welcome on Thursday the 12th of may at 18.00 – 20.00, here , at Vesterfælledvej 63
The bear behind the facade.”
Before the white bear returned to the back of the mind – it invited the gentle people of Glasgow for a dinner and a Farewell.
Invitation: A Farewell to the free market:
-in the Creative lab – CCA, Sauchiehall street 350, 22nd. July – 2011, 5-7 pm
”it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Adam Smith in ”An Enquiry Into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations” from 1776
So, what Adam Smith seems to say is, that when it comes to supplying dinner to all of
Scotland, humanity is an over-estimated idea and thus, It was not just our humanity, that in 1776 was supposed to make sure that there would be dinner enough for all of Scotland, but rather perhaps each our own selfinterested beast.
Now I am such an inner beast, I am a white bear that has been stuck on minds since 1863, when the Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevskij put it there with a cunning mind experiment: Dostoyevskij proposed, that one should “try and set oneself the task, not to think of a white bear, and the cursed thing would come to mind every minute”.
In 2009, however, I took things into my own paws, and managed to come out of the head I was in and from the 1st-23rd of July 2011, I have been on this historical free market-place called Glasgow, to study this relationship between inner beasts, dinner and the wealth of nations.
On July 22nd, I will take the responsibility of being a dinner-distributing beast very literally and host a farewell-reception where I will share a bite to eat with you. A bite, that is off course obtained, by addressing myself to the self-interest of local butchers, brewers and bakers.
The White Bear
noun, the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions, Medicine purgation, from Greek katharsis, from kathairein ‘cleanse,’ from katharos ‘pure.’ The notion of “release” through drama, derives from Aristotle’s Poetics.
Inspired by Roskilde festival that I attended this summer, this is an entry cleanliness, written by a whitefurred beast from within, on whom dirt stick like fleas to brown bears.A beast who, for that reason, cannot seem to engage in the cleanliness discourse of this easygoing crowd.
As a beast who had to look on from a safe and clean distance, I was somewhat abhorred by the vile and uneducated ways of my beastly brothers engaging in a cathartic cleansing ritual of letting out their unpractical over-emotional steam, in vulgar music, mud and matter.
The aristotelian metaphor of catharsis is a timehonored, but perhaps outdated history of the filthy mind. From my my clean point of view it is a sadly mundane metaphor for the dichotomy of the mind and the beasts on it that I am borne of. The claim inherent in the medical origin of the term; that beasts on the mind are comparable to the the dirty bacteria infested excess fluids of the body, is just plain insulting to minds and the refined troubles on them; such as white bears with concern for their fur!
However septic..I mean sceptic I may seem towards this emotional concept, I am not an insensitive bear though – I did take note of how this raw and muddy experience seemed to nurture a brotherhood between thousands of not otherwise related dirty buggers and I must admit to certain envy when I saw them recognize themselves in the dirty looks of the next bear.
In all my books of the history of the inside that counts, I turned to Henri Rousseau who found that the cathartic use of emotion in drama was ”a fleeting and vain emotion which lasts no longer than the illusion which produced it; a vestige of natural feeling soon stifled by the passions; a sterile pity which feeds on a few tears and which has never produced the slightest act of humanity” – I find myself dwelling on the word ”sterile”. Maybe there really is a way for white bears to indulge in this emotional frenzy without staining.
Comes April, comes milder weather, birds that are back from their southern havens and the ever recurring discussion that inaugurates the season of legs shaved silky smooth:
‘Tis a strange discussion; the discussion of whether or not the hair on the legs, in an irreversible process, starts growing longer and stronger once one has begun to shave it off. A discussion that is perhaps best suited for the mild mood one has on sunlit days, that makes one able to overcome the immediate impulse to despise it as folly – and despise such folly in a desperate world.
Nevertheless, this furry discussion seems to arouse some degree of passion; So much so that mothers give out fateful ill omens of irreversibility and eternity to their daughters as a warning against such seemingly desperate measures, and scientifically minded skepticists feel the need for a tint of life and death drama to their matter of factness, when they – through the fact that the strain of hair itself is dead, and that life is only in the follicles deep down under the skin – explain how unlikely it is that the hair will be able to react to being cut off.
Cosmetologists however, diplomatically accomodate both parties, and with political flair, and arguments of both feeling and fact, they politely agree on both theories. A cosmetologist would be able to tell us: that the stubble left on a shaved leg is all root, which makes it correct that the hair on the leg feels stronger than before one started on the folly of shaving it off; because roots are stronger than the tip of the hair.
At the same time every strong root can eventually grow out to become a fragile tip. Thus, the immediate feeling is not the whole truth, because over the course of time, the scientifically minded are also right in their assumptions that the hair – in the end – will once again be in just the same state as the bygone.
And what a wonderful scientific fact that is! A fact of chances not lost forever for an exhausted, stressed bear who gets lost over and over again in this world that it can only perceive through those same deceiving senses that tells it that shaved hair grows out stronger, although it knows that that is only half a truth about hair.
I wonder what kind of a beast I could be, if I would shave off the hollow transparent hair on my body that is not really white, but reflects the light of the world in such a wonderfully deceiving white way.
for more information on these subjects see:
On september 8th 2009 I wrote from Beijing “…It may be that there really is no word for blllrlrlrlllw” in Chinese? If that is really so, then one would have to take everything people say seriously in Chinese – and I am sure the Chinese, like anyone else, have heard enough bullshit to be careful with that..”
On the 26th I announced my idea for a change of mind, and set out to represent: “the thoughts that hadn’t been thought yet, and all the experiences beyond expression”
This confusion about what a bear can be, peaked yesterday, when Ulla Hvejsel, the head I used to be in, in hope of a whole new way of thinking, and an eloquent presentation of what was beyond expression, let herself represent by me – her inner bear; this bear that had somehow made a promise to be a living, conceivable example of all kinds of complicated otherwise inexplicable truths.
For some reason however, these truths turned out to be less wellspoken than she had dreamt of. But as we all know, the truth is on the inside, and since the bear is from the inside, even it’s blrvvvrrr or groaarrr cannot be ignored. Maybe the yet unthought thoughts are really to be found between the lines of such halfspoken sentences. Maybe there is tranformative power in clumsy phrasings.
The best danish translation for blllrlrlrlllw yet, was by the situationist Jørgen Nash. In 1963 he used this translation to answer a question from a reporter, regarding his involvement in the decapitation of the national symbol: the little mermaid. It goes like this:
“chi chi chi chyk bdyk chi chi chi svivi svi svi svivi svi chi chi ci svivi botji votji votji hø he votji tju tje vutji, tju thje vutji, vutji våtji tje høh, ss she svi svi svivi, svivi svi svi schouk, adtjiu adtji, svi vutje che svivi , svut ci – åhh chi!”
Another attempt at translating the whole profound meaning of the word blllrlrlrlllw was recently spoken by Jony Ive, Senior Vice president of Apple computers:
You know it’s true.. when something exceeds your ability to understand. It sort of becomes magical!
Today I had a minor disagreement with the head I used to be in. I feel she reduces me to just the uglyness from within. I can’t blame her really, it is in her culture to think that the within is made of all the ugly hidden away truths, but I will do my best to complicate matters further!
I can feel it annoys her that she doesn’t know where I am going. She calls me a concept that has gotten out of hand, and I know that she doesn’t mean well. In better times it could be a compliment.
Instead of being the bear of all the unspoken hideousness from within, I would like to be the bear of the mind that represent all the thoughts that hasn’t been thought yet, and of all the great experiences in the heart that are beyond expression. I believe it is possible for a white bear to be so much more than just an unwanted thought!
In China it is said, that one is not a real man before having climbed this particular peak on the great wall. There is indeed something that feels particularly real in the stunning view and in the feet that are trembling from fatigue and heights, as well as in the the staggering yet illogical feeling that ancient history is present, even though I know that the past is the past and the now is now, that contemporary is contemporary, tomorrow hasn’t been yet, and that I am not a real man, but a bear.
Part 1 – Contemporary Romance:
In the middle of an exemplary image of progress and modernity, a bear gets a weird feeling of uncanny romance by the ghostly rumbling of metal, fire and hard labor, from a no longer active pit.
Part 2 – Contemporary sunset in the rubble of the recent past:
“Contemporary” Part 3 – Yesterdays news in 798:
Tian’anmen Square, (天安門廣場) the very center, of the kingdom in the middle was blocked from view and the access on the rainy sunday where I went there. Policemen, and restrictions indicated that something was going on that did not concern white bears. I pulled in my claws and strolled towards Jingshan park (景山公园 – prospect hill)
it is always hard to find ones way around things one is in the middle of. However, in the kingdom in the middle, on a hill in Jingshan park, the trees are chopped off at the top to give the best view. This huge artificial hill that gave a 360 degree view of Beijing, was built in during the reign of the Ming dynasty, from all the rubble of the excavation for the forbidden city. That makes me think that the chinese have a tradition of believing in truth from above; in believing that things can only be seen as they really are, from the distance of height. As a true white bear of literature, I must quote Heinrich Heine’s lines about being on top, from aforementioned Atta Troll:
Droben in dem Sternenzelte
Auf dem goldnen Herrscherstuhle
Sitzt ein kolossaler Eisbär
Fleckenlos und schneeweiß glänzend
In dem Antlitz Harmonie
Und des Denkens stumme Taten
Mit dem Zepter winkt er nur
Und die Sphären klingen, singen.
Atta Troll/Heinrich Heine/1843.
*see below for english translation
Furthermore, knowing how the era of these immortal words on the white bear, were mystified and inspired by the strange faraway Empire of China, and how European parks from the era, like for instance the Parc De Buttes Chaumont in Paris (Haussmann 1867) look much like Jinshan Park, I feel a strange kinship with China – as though I myself was born out of it.
*“Up there in the starry heavens/On the gold chair of the ruler,/Governing the world, majestic/Sits a giant polar bear.
“…”In his visage, harmony/And the silent acts of thinking/With the scepter beckons he/And the spheres are tinkling, singing”
In 798 one you could be anywhere in the world – and yet, I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where you would find anything like it.
In zone 798, an apprentice policewoman voluntered for an artsfestival, an artsfestival-organizer sold his house to invite more than 150 artists from all over the world, a dedicated audience stayed for more than 7 hours of performances for four days a week
– and in 798, a thousand cameras made the perspectives of other apparent, and although I did not always quite understand their angle and perspectives; the why and what they were taking photos of, I got all carried away in their photographic enthusiasm, and ended up taking photos of whatever other people were shooting – maybe in the hope that if I hade the same shot, then one day, with some future pespective of mine, I would be able to look at it, and see their intentions more clearly.
For years doctors have assured me that there is no reason to feel like I do, but as I still feel that way, it makes sense to look for a cure beyond the limit of reason. After a tibetan paw-reading, the doctor had a cure – but I didn’t have the money. It is not cheap to keep a white bear healthy anywhere in the world I guess.
grooaaaauwwww! In the Beijing zoo the brown bears danced for crisps, and in my head I kept hearing”Atta Troll”- an epic poem by Heinrich Heine about a trained bear, and it’ s tame melancholic entertaining of man. In the streets of Beijing” my head manically repeated Katie Melua’s: “there are nine million bicycles in Beijing.” Not very original uses of chorus I guess, but my stomach ached due to my change in diet, and in such conditions it can be difficult to think new thoughts. That is how the body got a say, even over this bear, that came out of a mind.
At the Iberia Center of Art, the translator had no translation for “the back of the mind” where I am from. Maybe I should not think too much of that, because then I would probably also have to think something of the dazzled look of the translators when a friend of mine wanted to indicate that she had by accident let a load of rubbish come out of her mouth by saying: “blllrlrlrlllw”. It may be that there really is no word for blllrlrlrlllw” in Chinese? If that is really so, then one would have to take everything people say seriously in Chinese – and I am sure the Chinese, like anyone else, have heard enough bullshit and lies to be careful with being serious, as well as with and taking everything too literally.
In The Beijing Zoo, i found Chinese workers on display. Look at the smile – he is happy. I smiled back. It was a good day.
On an internet search about Beijing, I found a traveller to traveller site, with 2 listings of “artists” filed under “annoyances”. Zone 798, where I am staying in Beijing, is an enclosure of artists, fashion-photo shootings and tourists doing the V-sign in front of enormous sculptures, and other characteristic groups of people. Zone 798 is a safe haven for a white bear.
Smacking mosquitoes with “Winter Notes on Summer Impressions”, by Fyodor Dostoyevskij, 1863, translated by Kyril FitzLyon 1955