Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Chlorine and people

  • 20 August 2020

It’s hot in Salzburg. So hot that people are moving exhausted like flies on glue, moving sideways past the brutal heat walls, in slow motion. Even seeing only works like this now, lame seeing. One sees differently in the heat, one sees the same thing, but apparently the visual messages arrive at us in a similar way, sideways and in slow motion. Thoughts bend, like solid matter becomes soft, if you argue them to death. Interpretations become elastic. Elastic scissors are useless, they are at best amusing sighs of matter. One should found a “school of soft glances”.

But it’s too hot for that. So instead our sense of smell improves. When we can no longer see clearly because everything is too bright, other senses become sharper, and even if you only imagine it, the very idea that you are getting better in other areas fires up the other senses, that’s practical, but you can’t rely on it, planning doesn’t work, I gouge my eyes out with scissors and can taste that better, what I’ve never tasted before, no, it doesn’t work unless the scissors are elastic.

In the Volksgartenbad, Salzburg’s oldest swimming pool, it smells of David Hockney, you move in crystal-clear chlorine, if you’re lucky, there are hardly any swimmers in the pool; if you’re unlucky, you have to do slalom crawls, around a society somewhat different from the protagonists of Hockney’s pictures, the swimmers here swim upright, and as slow as jellyfish, listless on the way to their execution, as punishment for a crime they never committed. That’s how you swim here. That’s what it looks like. And it looks like that because the state of mind determines the view. And even if Hockney’s pool is not much different from the one in Salzburg, the essence is universal, the content remains the same, chlorine and people, no ducks, and fish certainly not. At the bottom of the Volksgartenpark pool in Salzburg, however, seems to live a man bent out of a paper clip, I would not have seen him, David Lynch points him out to me.

Just as I later translate for him what an armada of arguments the beggar under the magnificent, brutalistic Felsenreitschule by Clemens Holzmeister is producing as to why he should be supported: 7 children, mother without feet, the sister apparently has none either; but the guy is not there now, he may be amputating other family members’ feet right at this moment, we throw money into the cup for the invisible beggar anyway, and precisely because he is not present, his misery could rub off on us, or, if he had been present, doing his job, he would have integrated us into his list: “David Lynch only threw 20 Lewonzen into my cup, I never liked Blue Velvet anyway.“ 7 children and 4 missing feet, that’s a good argument.

We notice the smell here, the walls damp, musty, like algae, what is that? That’s the sea, says Lynch, that’s how the North Sea smells, the rock lives, it’s permanently damp, water trickles down from undefined capillaries, it never dries, the cement is full of shell limestone, hence the smell, it smells of sea, algae, rotten jellyfish, sadness, unfulfilled longing. And again we come full circle.

From chlorine to the sea, in Salzburg, but past Salzburg.


Without feet.