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

The Gorbals, 1822, nude-colored. S-shaped river Clyde.


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: So true.
Rek: Sucking context, I mean.
Kay: I’m on a dance floor in Copenhagen.
Rek: I’m Glaswegian.
Kay: If I could only hear you talk.
Rek: My accent is strong.
Kay: I will think and consider.
Rek: Think.
Rek: Dance.
Kay: We even 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: Your height. Your accent. 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: Not now.
Rek: I’m going to go down in the lockup.
Kay: What?
Rek: A storage unit that’s part of our building.
Rek: I feel the blood.
Kay: No touching.
Rek: God, I need to go to the lockup.
Kay: You better do so.
Rek: It is pulsing.
Rek: I await your focus. I’m focused for you.
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 to you.
Rek: Go to the fucking 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 five minutes of our meeting.
Rek: I’ll wait outside.
Rek: Walk up to me and stare at my face.
Rek: 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 something.
Kay: Something.
Kay: No, I say: Olympiastadium. Spielfeld für Rekorde.
Rek: Shut up and look at my eyes again.
Kay: Your eyes are more tired than you.
Rek: I’ll be so awake with you.
Kay: It’s our first encounter.
Kay: I need your mouth.
Kay: I search the chewing gum.
Rek: You find it and spit it out.
Kay: It’s made out of vinyl.
Rek: I want you right there, before we speak.
Kay: No. 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.
Kay: Olympic Games.
Kay: Can you say that again: Olympic Games.
Rek: What’s the capacity?
Kay: 100,000.
Rek: For us to share.
Rek: Look at this mouth.
Rek: It’s gonna suck for you.
Kay: I still can’t believe.
Kay: It’s huge.
Kay: You will have to say it again.


Kay: Rek, I have to leave you now.
Rek: I’m gonna call you now 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: I’m afraid of your voice. I mean, it’s the very same mouth.
Rek: 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 forty minutes.
Rek: I beg you.
Kay: No. This is not about release.
Rek: I beg you.
Kay: Hold this and use it for the script.
Rek: I have a meeting in twenty 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 can’t take your call now.
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 three years ago.
Kay: What happened to that 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: Heroin?
Rek: No.

During the 1700s Glaswegians developed a taste for snuff, inhaled or “snuffed” into the nasal cavity, delivering a swift hit of nicotine and a lasting flavored 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: I fell in love with that picture boy.
Kay: If you don’t come, I will.

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.
Kay: Gorbals?
Red: 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 nineteen-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: Is that too much?
Rek: Stop thinking so hard.
Kay: The intention. It wears me out.
Kay: The attachments.
Kay: The For.
Kay: You sucking for me.
Kay: I have been thinking so hard for such a long time. That hard thinking has sucked me in. I can’t do anything else anymore.
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 woolen trade, possibly a wool carder, or alternatively one who habitually dressed in clothes of this color.

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 dispersed in time.


Kay: Can we talk?
Kay: Verpasster Sprachanruf.
Kay: Rek?
Kay: This is 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!
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 of your intension.
Rek: Verpasster Sprachanruf.
Rek: I will come.
Kay: I can’t continue, on/off man.

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: Give me some context.
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 marker.


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: That last one is made of virgin wool.
Kay: Sorry for the dust.
Rek: Excellent research.
Rek: 00001667-AUDIO.mp3.

During the 1980s Kay developed a strong sense for peculiar places, particularly for peculiar people with strong accents coming from those places. This feeling-link between person, mouth and place occurred in random flashes to her first; later she was able to consciously seek and dose her logophilia. Rek triggered an unknown dimension.


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 turned him on. More than she perhaps realized. There was, of course, a minor element of trepidation attached to that. Kay, on the other side, had become addicted. How he would suck for her. He had described, circumscribed it. He had taken each word. For her. Out of all prepositions available – with, to, in – for was at the front. It made her sick. She had never felt such sucking complicity.


Kay: Are you at the airport?
Kay: If no, tell me, please.
Kay: I see the double tick. 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’m staying at a place 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 loose its water resistance. You mentioned the resilience. I’m walking down Hope St. now. Sites occur to me like random 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. I’m looking for further evidence of what has happened to you. There’s an image of you online from after the accident. You’re lying. A selfie you’ve taken from above, just lying on the floor, your arms full of fresh scars, subtitled “Always outrunning myself.” Maybe I never wanted to see you. The text, the attachments is all we have. It’s preferable that we never meet. 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. Glasgow style or just contemporary social housing, I don’t know. Google maps says‚ ‚Leicht rechts abbiegen auf Cowcadfens Road‘. Would you bend me slightly, Rek? I pass the Royal Conservatory of Scotland and wonder what’s being conserved here. The National Piping center. Renfield Street. I see the river. Your ancestors on strike against the Prussians. 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, “there’s nothing left of the Gorbals, just me”, laughs and walks off. 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 January 15, 1837 at the age of seventy-five. Willim Gible, spirit maker, year unreadable, Alexander Ure, writer, aged forty-two, his daughter, Mary Ure, at the age of sixteen-months, Margarete Ure, seven years and two months. Sue Williams, at the age of three-months, Dave Coleburn, at the age of five-years-and-two-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. Your life. There is no substitute for your drug, they say. I found a guy for us from the outskirts of Halle. He’s huge. “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.

The typo ‘st’ points at the fact, that this was not a lie, that the holy case of emergency has occurred. Rek has 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.