Exercises in New Meaning: Rek

Cordula Daus is a writer and artist working across theory, fiction, and performance. She has founded artist institutions such as S.OG.buero, BCNova!, and The New Society for Applied Toponymy with a focus on experimental forms of writing. Since 2009 she publishes the geopoetic journal series Toponymisches Heft. She currently is a PhD candidate at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

This new work, Rek, is from her ongoing series: Exercises in New Meaning.


Kay: You changed the sentence.
Rek: Excuse me?
Kay: You said you’d like to suck my „hobby“.
Kay: I like the idea.
Rek: It’s all about context
Kay: I’m on a dancefloor in Copenhagen
Rek: Sucking context, I mean
Kay: I will think and consider
Rek: Think
Rek: Dance
Rek: I’m Glaswegian
Kay: If I could only hear you talk
Rek: My accent is strong
Kay: We have a dust machine here
Rek: Dust?
Kay: Ehm fog
Rek: Come here, there’s a whole country made out of fog

Kay: I translated your 6.6 feet into meters
Kay: I’m in
Rek: Deal

Rek: Verpasster Sprachanruf
Rek: Where are you?
Kay: Berlin. Walking
Rek: I can’t think of anything else in this moment
Rek: Come back
Kay: Wait. I need to focus
Rek: Seriously. Let’s sit down for ten minutes and focus
Rek: Ten minutes, yes
Rek: I’ll make sure, I’m in private
Kay: Are you at work?
Rek: I am
Kay: Where are you?
Kay: What’s your profession?
Rek: Music business. Like a consultant
Kay: Consulting whom
Kay: Record companies
Rek: No, artist side
Rek: What are you?
Kay: A stylist, kind of
Rek: I feel the blood
Rek: I’m going to go down in the lockup here
Kay: What
Rek: The lockup is a storage unit that’s part of our building
Rek: I await your focus
Rek: I’m going to be focused for you
Kay: No touching, please
Rek: Oh god. I need to go to the lockup
Kay: You better do so
Rek: It is pulsing
Kay: How does it look down there?
Rek: Corridors with piles of records
Rek: Smell of vinyl
Kay: Damn, a bus almost hit me
Rek: What?
Kay: I was walking and writing
Rek: Go to the library and sit down

Kay: This is a preparatory session
Rek: We need a strong connection
Kay: Understanding
Rek: Trust
Kay: 3G
Kay: We will only script the very first 5 minutes of our meeting
Rek: I’ll wait outside
Rek: Walk up to me and stare at my face
Kay: I need your eyes
Rek: I want to see your eyes lock on mine
Rek: Look at me and say something
Kay: I will be looking at your eyes
Kay: I look at you and say: Olympiastadium. Spielfeld für Rekorde
Rek: Shut up and look at my eyes again
Kay: Your eyes are more tired than you are
Rek: I’ll be so awake with you
Kay: It’s our first encounter
Kay: I search your chewing gum
Rek: You spit it out
Kay: It’s made out of vinyl.
Rek: I want you right there, before we speak
Kay: First we take a seat at the upper tier
Rek: I tell you
Kay: Tell me
Rek: Look at this mouth
Rek: I submit it to you
Kay: I place the words
Rek: What’s the capacity?
Kay: 100.000
Rek: For us to share
Rek: Look at this mouth
Kay: I still can’t believe
Kay: It’s huge
Kay: You will have to say it again
Rek: It’s gonna suck for you

Kay: I have to leave you now
Rek: I’m gonna call you first
Kay: You can’t, I’m in the library
Rek: Can you answer and not speak?
Kay: I could
Rek: I’ll describe it for you
Kay: Wait, I put my earphones on
Kay: I won’t say a word
Kay: Wait
Rek: Wait?
Kay: Just for a moment I was afraid of your voice. I mean, it’s the very same mouth

Sprachanruf 4:34 min

Rek: Shit. I’m worried I fucked up
Kay: No
Kay: I just couldn’t take any more. My ears
Rek: I might burst
Kay: Explode
Rek: I have a meeting in 40 minutes
Rek: I beg you
Kay: It’s not about release
Rek: I beg you
Kay: Hold it, take it and use it for the script
Rek: I have a meeting in 20 minutes
Rek: I am going somewhere private or it’ll be a disaster
Rek: Talk to me please please please
Kay: I’m on the tram. It’s full.
Rek: I am a bit, um, full on. I’m gonna call you
Kay: I will disconnect
Rek: Damn
Rek: Gimme some script
Rek: I’m close
Rek: You’re so cruel

Kay: 000007PHOTO-211062342-04-13-23-53-44.jpg
Kay: Is this you?
Rek: Believe it or not, this was me only 3 years ago
Kay: What happened to the boy?
Rek: Been a tough ride
Kay: What kind of drugs
Rek: Why do you ask? You use?
Kay: No
Rek: Good
Kay: I mean your face, then and now
Rek: Go on
Kay: No, you tell me please
Kay: Heroine
Rek: No

During the 1700 Glaswegians developed a taste for snuff, inhaled or “snuffed” into the nasal cavity, delivering a swift hit of nicotine and a lasting flavoured scent. Pipe smoking instead was viewed as unrefined. Snuff used to be a luxury commodity which only few could afford. Glasgow made its own variety but many wealthy people preferred German snuff.

Kay: Would you shave so I find the place?
Rek: Take a walk to Shawlands
Rek: Find the Gorbals. My family is from there one generation back

The word may be related to the Latin word garbale (sheaf), found in the Scots term garbal teind (tenth sheaf), a tithe of corn given to a parish rector. The taking of garbal teind was a right given to George Elphinstone in 1616 as part of his 19-year lease. The placename would therefore mean “the Sheaves“.

Kay: Stop it, please
Kay: It makes me mad
Rek: Why mad? What makes you mad?
Kay: You fucking move me from that fucking distant town
Rek: Is that a bad thing? You move me, too
Kay: Where am I?
Rek: The pulsing. That’s you
Kay: Fuck
Rek: Trust me that I’m to be deployed for your absolute pleasure
Rek: Kay?
Kay: Rek
Kay: I need to take care
Rek: Stop thinking so hard
Rek: Is that too much?
Kay: You’re not here. You’re so here
Kay: The intention. It wears me out
Rek: I can’t believe you’re this attuned. You’re probably the most
Kay: We will see each other, will we?
Rek: I have never wanted that much

Kay: I found the newspaper note. About you stabbing that man.
Rek: Stabbing? What?
Rek: Verpasster Sprachanruf
Rek: I’ve never stabbed anyone
Rek: Despite growing up in Glasgow
Kay: http://news.bbc.co.uk/3/scotland/3126886.uvp
Kay: The guy has your age and name
Rek: What a coincidence. Same age, same city, unusual surname.
Rek: I’ll find a picture of him. If you want I’ll get you a copy of my criminal record to prove it
Rek: If you need me to prove it, I will
Kay: I don’t care. Prove me, you are real

The medieval French origins of his surname. The diminutive implying ‘son of’ or ‘little’ of the Olde French word “borel”, which described a type of coarse reddish-brown woolen cloth with long hairs. An occupational name for a worker in the wollen trade, possibly a wool carder, or alternatively one who habitually dressed in clothes of this colour.

Kay: A wool carder, possibly
Rek: What? Can I call?
Kay: No I want loose sentences. Answers with a lot of delay. I want you spaced out in time

Kay: Can we talk?
Kay: Verpasster Sprachanruf
Kay: Rek?
Kay: It’s been too long. Answer, please
Kay: Or end it. I can’t wait anymore
Kay: Goodbye, Rek

The increasing gap in time in perfect concordance with the cavity of his nose.

Rek: Sorry. I went off map
Kay: A full month!
Kay: You’re the on/off man
Rek: It seems someone else has hacked this. I didn’t intend doing it, due to my condition
Rek: I fully intend and want to now
Kay: I‘ve become tired
Rek: Verpasster Sprachanruf
Rek: I will come
Kay: I can’t continue
Kay: Need to get out of here

The faster it is absorbed, the more intense the high. On the other hand, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of action.

Rek: Give me til the end of today
Rek: Can you be in Lyon on 13/14?
Rek: Verpasster Sprachanruf

Kay: Verpasster Sprachanruf
Rek: Sorry.
Rek: Hold on, running for train
Rek: Hey
Rek: I didn’t tell you, I’ve had a seizure last week.
Kay: What?
Kay: How does this look like?
Rek: Light green walls, view to Oxford Road. A vacant bed next to me.
Smell of vinegar.
Kay: I can’t come to Lyon, Rek
Kay: Where will you be after Lyon?
Rek: Nimes. Then Bulgaria. However, I may be able to come 20-22
Rek: Shall we pencil 20-22 in?
Kay: No pencil. Bold textmarkering

Kay: 00001645-PHOTO-2034352-06-07-20-10-49.jpg
Kay: 00001655-PHOTO-204562-06-07-20-10-49.jpg
Kay: 00001656-PHOTO-210245-06-07-20-10-49.jpg
Kay: Too many?
Kay: The seats are covered with pure virgin wool
Kay: Sorry for the dust
Rek: Excellent research
Rek: 00001667-AUDIO.mp3

Rek: 0000175PHOTO-20234662-06-08-21-08-45.jpg
Kay: Looks like a flight ticket. I see your name. Money has been paid. Berlin Schönefeld
Rek: See, there’s proof now
Kay: Just proof of intention
Rek: Oh. Fear
Rek: Please stay up for me

The reality really turns him on. More than she perhaps realizes. There is, of course, a minor element of trepidation attached to that.

Kay: Are you at the airport?
Kay: If no, tell me, please
Kay: I see you received my messages
Kay: You can’t be ON the plane

Rek: K, I am back at hospital

This is your city, Rek. I arrived last night. I stay at friends of friends close to the old Battlefield. It’s raining again and I bought myself a coat in a cancer charity shop. The smell of waxed fabric you can’t wash away or it would make the cloth lose its water resistance. You mentioned the resilience. I’m walking down Hope St. and as I walk sites occur to me like feelings, Asia markets, laser hair removals, bureaus of mindfulness and counselings. How can Gmaps think I’m a car? The longer you don’t answer, I get closer. My feet found footage in an interview you gave years ago: “Favorite places of a Scottish expat“. Queens park. I follow the path up the hill. The city is all fog underneath. A copper plate shows the contours of what should be seen. Churches and stuff. They forgot about the skyscrapers, Castlemilk. When I crossed the park last night I wasn’t sure whether it was more dangerous to have a cunt or to carry a computer around. Rek, as you stay strange to me, I’m tempted to tell you anything. There’s an image of you after the accident. You’re lying. A selfie you’ve taken from above, just lying on the floor, arms full of scars, undertitled “Always outrunning myself.” Maybe I’ve never wanted to see you. I prefer you lying there. On James Barry’s Plan of Glasgow from 1775 it says “Gorbells burying ground”. I went further South and the houses, the tenements lost hight and ornaments. If that was Glasgow style or just contemporary social housing, I don’t know. Gmaps says‚ Leicht rechts abbiegen auf Cowcadfens Road‘. Would you bend me slightly? I pass the Royal Conservatory of Scotland and wonder what’s being conserved here. The National Piping center. Renfield Street. Your ancestors were on strike against the Prussians. I see the river. Red wool floating in the water. If that country was a landscape it would be a filthy carpet. If Kay was a woman she’d be a band called Rita and the Nonsense. Treat me, like a place name, Rek. I can’t find anything like the Gorbals, only new building blocks. An old man passes. He says, all is gone. There’s nothing left of the Gorbals, just me. He laughs and continues to talk. His accent is so strong. I only understand “apple trees”. There is a community orchard on the Gorbal’s burying ground. I look for apples. A woman in a wheelchair feeds the doves. She greats me with “dear” as startled doves fly up in the sky and move my guts. I walk along the walls reading about death reasons. “I think”, you said, “it be remiss of me not to do this. Not to put an immediate date on it.” John Steele, shoemaker, died 15th January 1837 aged 75. Willim Gible, spirit maker, year unreadable, Alexander Ure, writer, aged 42 years, his daughter, Mary Ure, aged 16 months, Margarete Ure, seven years and two months. Sue Williams, aged 3 months, Dave Coleburn, 5 years and 2 months. Many many children. And then – the Memory of Rachel Clark. Daughter of William Clark, printer in Glasgow who died on the IX of October MDCCCXXII in the ninth year of her age. She was a child gifted with the most endearing sensibility and goodness of heart who departed this life at a period when those amiable qualifications were beginning to develop themselves which, had it pleased GOD to spare her, would have rendered a blessing to her parents and an ornament to society leaving her afflicted FATHER and MOTHER inconsolable for her loss. I counted the times YOU called and I did not pick up. Maybe you had wished someone would pick you up. There is no substitute for your drug, they say. I found a guy for you from the outskirts of Halle. He is very young. He told me: “Vor vierundzwanzig Stunden habe ich Kirschen gepflückt und daran gedacht, dass wir uns in vierundzwanzig Stunden sehen. Kirsche um Kirsche. Einige klebten aneinander, andere waren verfault, die Stengel aber so hartnäckig, was mich irritierte, denn wenn die Kirschen Äpfel wären, und mit Äpfeln kenne ich mich aus, würd ich dir sagen, die sind noch nicht reif. Da war ein Apfelpflücker, aber der Metallring hätte die Zweige gekappt. Jetzt weiss ich wie ich’s mach. Ich zieh die Zweige mit dem Pflücker runter und nehm die Kirschen mit der Hand. Kirschbäume, die soviel tragen, sehen mitgenommen aus.”

Rek: I’m back st hospital.

Das ‚st‘ deutet darauf hin, dass er nichts erfunden hat, dass ein heiliger Ernstfall eingetreten war. Eine Notfindung. Rek returned to his natural habitat. The doctor said a sudden attack (as of disease); especially: the physical manifestations (such as convulsions, sensory disturbances, or loss of consciousness) resulting from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain (as in epilepsy) induced through context e.g. the world. Rek is leaving behind one daughter, tons of records and hobbies unsucked.