At the very top, red and black kites, then hooded crows and rooks, then black-headed gulls and herring gulls, all forming a circle, a vortex of crying, fighting, rising and falling; everything is in motion above the rubbish dump, the dirt beside the A7 between Fulda and Kassel. The rubbish bags, nappies, leftovers, plastic packaging, »the Green Dot«, in the birds’ beaks and claws; the vortex gives it all one form.
On the way home a last look at the lake. In the light of the setting sun – haze, dust, filaments, insects, pollen – the image of the landscape is unstable, streaming, undulating, shimmering and turbulent. The landscape vibrates.
I come home, earth from the lake and fields clinging to my shoes, trousers and hands. My grandmother makes it abundantly clear that I must get changed before coming in and leave the dirt outside. Earth dies and turns to dirt when we bring it into enclosed spaces. Every enclosed space is a coffin. The earthworms die, the centipedes, the millipedes die, the mycelium die, the microbes die, the land dies, as soon as it loses connection with its natural surroundings. To die is to descend into dust, layer by layer.
In grandmother’s house, dust dances in the rays of the sun through the living room. Choreographies concentrate near the curtains and above the sofa covered in cushions and blankets. Grandma curses, vacuums, mops the floor and dusts the furniture. Every day is a fight against dirt and dust for her but the fight against dirt and dust turns grandma into Sisyphus.
So to start with the Greeks again for a DIRT space – with Democritus, who saw the original building blocks of all things and nature in general in the vortex. Or the Old Testament: »Ashes to ashes, dust to dust«. The Hebraic afar signifies the farmland, the earth, soil, loam, mud, rubble, ashes and dust.
Dust again and again, this pulverised, smallest and finest pigment and particle. Pulveris, the prototype of dirt? The Prima Materia? Exhaled, rotted and distilled dirt as the philosopher’s stone? Dust as medium of history? How did Leibnitz put it again, with the dusty mantles, the universe wrapped in folds, the marble statues and varnished paintings? Then dusty romanticism that the microscope, bacteria and germs put an end to. And then at the end of the 19 th century the first buildings with glazed facades, so that the rain could wash the dirt away. Then glass, concrete, steel, glass, concrete, steel – smooth, cold, polished. Merci Monsieur Duchamp!
So bring me to your kitchen – the dirtiest place of all, add curtains, carpets, standard lamps and table lamps, everything second hand. Ostrich feathers, feather bouquets, offcuts of foam, fans – everything that attracts dirt and dust. Add dirty light – mercury vapour lamps, sodium lamps, moving lights and the ballet of dust, pigment and glitter. Add digging in dirt boxes, indoor worm compost and space for the dirty pig, the dirty cow, the mudlark, the dirty swine, the mucky pup, the dirtbag, the shit money. How will that all look?