If You’re Not Part of the Problem

It used to be said: “If you’re not part of the SOLUTION, you’re part of the PROBLEM.”

But the tide of recent history, culminating with (but by no means limited to) the election of Trump to the US presidency,[1] has changed all that. Don’t think this was a sudden change; all manner of groups have been trying this for decades. Voltaire wrote in the eighteenth century that it is dangerous to be right when those in power are wrong. Now in countries all across the world, in Russia, in China, in America, in America(!), those in power have finally succeeded in making the human rights activists, the environmentalists, and all those who fight for real freedom and fairness, into the enemy.

So, it used to be said: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Now we say: “If you’re not part of the PROBLEM, you’re part of the SYSTEM.”

-BeLessHuman

[1] Which until the moment Trump entered the Oval Office, despite not innumerable attacks from within and an almost congenital degeneracy, still stood as the pinnacle of our modern, western democracy. Thinking of Trump and the symbolism of the presidency reminds me of Groucho Marx’s comment that “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” I can’t help feel a little sorry for Trump that he is the only person who can never get the irony.

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Seeing

They–the pop psychologists and others–say that we hate in others only what we don’t suffer ourselves.[1] A classic example: the fitness instructor who hates laziness. But I have another theory. What if they’re the only ones who can see it? As I’m constantly declaring to anyone who’ll listen and others who won’t, no one can see their own limits–in this case, their faults. It’s simple, biological self-protection. No one wants to live with constant reminders of their failings. Moreover, no one can. Someone who repeatedly makes the same mistake, reminded of it enough times, will despise the complainant and deny the mistake. So maybe it’s not that the fitness instructor hates laziness because she is in no danger of suffering it. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t suffer from it that her eyes are open and she can see it in others.

-BeLessHuman

[1] I write here not of the people who attack in others specifically what they suffer from themselves.[2] I can only they get what they deserve one day, publicly and without mercy.
[2] Though the basis is the same: they also do not see their own faults.

Against Nationalism

Against nationalism, saluting the flag, pledging allegiance, rising for the national anthem, and all blind obedience to authority for all people in all countries.

Today in the news, it’s Egypt, USA, and Germany.

-BeLessHuman

One week to German election

The AfD party is polling at over 10%. Sure that’s not 46.4% but it’s still horrifying. In a country of over 80 million people, we’re talking more than 8 million Germans who are planning to vote for this unashamedly nationalist and violently anti-foreigner party. And of course the 10% aren’t evenly distributed across the country, meaning there are likely areas, maybe even whole towns, where voting AfD is unexceptional. Unexceptional!

-BeLessHuman

BBC: Why Trump’s supporters will never abandon him

I realise there’s a cultural war going on and you think your side must win at any cost. I understand your motivation though I strongly disagree with your conclusion. So tell me you are a selfish, racist, bigoted, willfully-misinformed asshole and I will concede that you simply have different moral priorities.[1] But stop giving me these bullshit justifications and rationalisations for your views and actions.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41028733

-BeLessHuman

[1] Surprisingly, I have heard not one person admit this.

Be Less Human: One Year Anniversary

I started this blog-project Be Less Human [stumbling towards posthumanity] in May of last year with these words:

Whenever someone does something horrible, something reprehensible, something ‘evil’, we gape and wonder how humans can do such things. But what if this is just how humans are and what we need to do is to be less human?

It’s been twelve months now–I can hardly believe it–and in that time I’ve written about various and varied topics but what I haven’t done is defined what it means to be posthuman, or, more specifically, what I mean when I say posthuman. That’s still coming. It’s not that simple. I’ve been making notes but first I wanted to follow my interests and see if maybe a picture didn’t emerge by itself. I can offer you this though: You know when people shrug and say, ‘After all, we’re only human’? That’s what this blog is about. That’s the pivot, the fulcrum, and the bullseye.

Instead, inevitably, I’ve written a lot about Trump, starting with a very long open letter to my girlfriend’s dad, followed by many months of FB slacktivism. But it hasn’t all been American politics.

I’ve also written, among other things, about poverty, that [t]he problem is that most poor people don’t want to eliminate poverty, they just want to be the ones that are rich, about the dilemma of nootropics, about the shakedown that is Original Sin, about our Running Man voyeurism, and about The Great Housing Reset, where one night a year, wherever you lay your head, that house, that brownstone, that flat: tomorrow, it belongs to you. I’ve also published a list of the entire contents of my room, as well as two poems which I’m not going to link to here, ‘cos they shit.

Part of the project was also to share interesting, thought-provoking and well-written articles, of which there were many, including The Guardian’s If you were an elephant…, boredpanda’s sharing of Beth Moon’s photography of really old trees, BBC’s Dissolving the Dead (fascinating read!), as well as articles on the future of sex tech and more politics (here, just one more).

Plus, there were quotes from James Baldwin, George Orwell, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others, links to some cool videos, including Do you have a pointless job? and Keiichi Matsuda’s Hyper-Reality, and some funny pics too, including this one:

think too much

But there was one article I really wanted to write, actually in January, that I never got to. It was to be called The Game and it was very important to me which is likely why it kept getting pushed back. But I am working on it now, though not today because I spent it writing this instead (another delay!), so it should be ready soon-ish. Until then, there is this: Change Everything (or, Warming Up for ‘The Game’). That’s right, time to warm up!

Thank you and good night.

-BeLessHuman

 

Change Everything (or, Warming Up for ‘The Game’)

When Arthur Dent landed on Hawalius, “the planet of oracles and seers and soothsayers” in Douglas Adams’ Mostly Harmless, he found an old fortune teller living in a smelly cave swatting giant flies from dead goat-creatures, who gave him a photocopy of the story of her life with all the major decisions she ever made underlined, and told him to do the exact opposite.

This is my feeling of what it’s like being an American today. We may not think that the way we live, the things we like, and the opinions we hold are bad, each thing taken by itself, from seemingly innocuous indulgences like celebrity YouTubers and pizza delivery to graver issues like education and foreign policy, you may even believe these things are pretty great, but the increasingly unavoidable fact is that everything we do, have done, and continue to do, has brought us to where we are today.

Who can say which thing or things are responsible for what went wrong? No amount of reflection will be able to unravel the tangle of causation. The only thing we can take from it all is that if we are unhappy with how things are, and if we are serious about wanting to change things, we may not need to change everything, but we have to at least be prepared to change everything.

And who can do that? Who can change how they are? Who even wants to? We have a fantasy that civilisations can turn themselves around when they are on the wrong path, when really they move in one direction, and crash, and begin again. People don’t change, they double down.

And so we remain the old lady in the smelly cave swatting giant flies from dead goat-creatures. Because in the end, even a fortune teller cannot prevent herself from becoming what she has become.

-BeLessHuman

The Great Housing Reset of 2017

Why should people who are too poor to own the roof over their head pay money every month to people who are rich enough to own more roofs than they have heads? I have an idea: How about rich people pay for the privilege of housing poor people?

Housing is a basic human right; it’s not an investment opportunity. I don’t care if it’s the smart thing to do; fuck you and your negative gearing. There are people who need it more than you. A person’s right to housing is more important than your right to make money. And we shall defend this through higher taxes on investment properties, through stricter regulation of rental markets, by disqualifying corporations from owning residential properties, and by providing everyone with real opportunities to own their own homes.

Most people live somewhere. They have a roof over their heads, they have a room they call their own. They just don’t own it. The homeless are not homeless because there isn’t enough housing. This isn’t musical chairs.

Welcome to 21st century feudalism. It’s the same playbook as 1000 years ago. Keep the people working to pay their debts. Keep the people working to pay their rent. Keep them working, keep them down. Because as long as the poor are kept scrabbling just to survive, they won’t have time to fight for a fairer system.

So tonight, we’re going to change all that. There’s going to be no more rent and there’s going to be no more mortgages. It will be known as the Great Housing Reset of 2017. And it’s the simplest thing. All you have to do is go home. Go home to that house, to that room; just go home. Because tonight, wherever you lay your head, that house, that brownstone, that flat: tomorrow, it belongs to you.

-BeLessHuman

Nootropics: a future of constant and compulsory achievement

Have you seen Limitless? It’s good; I highly recommend it.

In Limitless, there’s this drug called NZT-48, which, if you’re Bradley Cooper, it unknots your scraggly hair and turns your eyes startlingly blue, like someone like Bradley Cooper with really blue eyes, startled. No, seriously, it focuses your mind like a triple-shot Italian dark-roast with a side of meth less the shakes, and allows you to know exactly what to say to that gorgeous out-of-your-league neighbour if you’re Bradley Cooper and haven’t showered in two weeks– I mean, to write that book you’ve been sitting on for ten years in one night and see patterns in business and politics: the business of politics and the politics of business, whoa.

Well, supposedly NZT-48 is based on some real-life nootropics: drugs or supplements that enhance cognitive function. You may have heard of the effects of Ritalin or Aderall when used by ‘healthy’ individuals, or perhaps modafinil, the use of which is reportedly on the increase. On top of that, these days there are swarths of supplements on the market accompanied by more swarths of insane reviews and testimonials that are, expectedly, mostly just paid advertising. My favourite is Addium, because I like the name.

But regardless of the potential efficacy of currently available nootropics, all of this does raise an interesting issue, because one day, and soon, a real ‘Limitless’ pill, a pharmacologically efficacious and safe equivalent of Bradley Cooper– I mean, NZT-48 will exist, and then certain questions will need to be answered, or at least juggled.

Questions like: What do you do if fellow students start taking nootropics and their grades improve and they leave you behind like the intellectual equivalent of a doped-up track star (or that friend who hit puberty a year before you) and now it looks like you won’t get the grades you need to get into the course you want and become rich and successful?(1)

One solution is, of course, you start taking them too. If you’re going to chew gum in class, you have to bring enough for everybody. But what if it’s not you, but your child that’s falling behind in school? Would you let them take it? Would you make them take it?After all, it’s for their own good. Or maybe it would be better to ban nootropics in school (and other educational institutions), just like with performance enhancing drugs in sport, maintain the so-called level playing field(2) (that fairytale meadow unfortunately still full of all those friends bigger and stronger than you, puberty or no). This would, of course, involve massive oversight, testing, litigation, etc., certain to carve a substantial chunk out of education time (easily made up for if we just gave everyone some brain meds).

And what about after school? If nootropics can help improve performance in school, why shouldn’t they help at work too? You started taking them to compete with fellow students and maybe get that job you desperately want, then suddenly it’s a contractual requirement of your job, to ensure your best performance at all times. Wait, is that… fascist? What if you’re job is helping people? There would be a strong argument that doctors should be made to take a drug that allows them to think faster, concentrate better, make less mistakes and, ultimately, save more lives. After all, that’s why we make them go through seven years of med school, make them wash their hands with soap. And it’s not just doctors. What about long-haul truck drivers or commercial airline pilots? What about those scientists, decades on, still working on a cure for cancer? What if nootropics allowed police officers to assess situations more clearly and quickly, to remain calm and resolve conflicts without resort to violence?(3)

Once you start down that road, there really aren’t (m)any jobs that don’t favour competence, where you don’t have a responsibility to others to perform your duties well. Would you then be lax if you weren’t on nootropics? Would you be negligent if something went wrong? And why should negligence be restricted to work hours at all? If there’s a drug that helps people concentrate, why wouldn’t you be at fault if you’re driving and cause an accident because you weren’t ‘high’?

In a world where reliance on nootropics has lost its stigma, and perhaps even gained in prestige, what reason would there be not to take it?

Many will see it as simply being the best humans we can be. We already value learning; education remains one of the most important endeavours in human life and unabashedly directed at improving our mind. What’s the difference between a drug that allows us to reach 100% of our potential, and studying hard? Is it just the work? Of course, you could argue that if everyone is on nootropics then it’ll still be the ones who work the hardest or are more naturally gifted who become more successful, and we’d be right back where we started.(4) Except we won’t be, because with everyone at their best society as a whole will get more done and better, and why wouldn’t we want that?

On the other hand, some may oppose nootropics as taking the ‘human’ out of being human. If what we want is to eliminate human error, we may as well just replace everyone with robots. Of course that’s exactly what is happening anyway, with advances in factory automation, self-driving cars and, ultimately, AI. Soon the only thing machines won’t be able to do is doing things poorly and complain.(5) This reminds me of a story about aliens who come to Earth and, witnessing our seemingly irredeemable struggle with the failings of our basic humanity, resolve to secretly help us to ‘perfection’. Seeing us always running late, they tweak our brains so we can be on time; seeing us procrastinate, they boost our motivation; seeing us afraid, they take away that fear, etc., until finally we are nothing more than living, breathing automatons.

Doesn’t it suck that the one thing that makes us human is that we suck? Maybe not. Because in the end, that may be the only thing that saves us from this future of constant and compulsory achievement: our laziness. In Limitless, the comedown was devastating. Knowing that he could be Bradley Cooper, he had to be Bradley Cooper. But for the rest of us, maybe we would rather not. In the nootropic-fueled world of tomorrow, maybe it won’t even be enough, or even possible, to just stop taking the drugs. Maybe what we’ll need then is something to counter the nootropics, something to bring us down, something called, perhaps, Subtractium™?

-BeLessHuman

 

 

(1) What we should really be doing is fighting–and not just in footnotes–society’s preconceptions of worth, and teach people that wealth should not be the only, or even main, indicator of success. Besides, as everyone knows, if you really want to be rich, the answer is not good grades but YouTube.

(2) A part of me has always wondered what the human body can do if you just gave it the keys to the drug store. How fast could we run? How much could we lift? Similarly, what are the limits of our brainpower? How smart could we be? Or would we just end up a giant amorphous blob like at the end of every anime movie ever made?

(3) There is a more sinister side to nootropics. Did you expect any different? Just because nootropics can make you smart doesn’t mean they will make you good. Helping people is likely to be only half the story, and the smaller half, at that. Imagine nootropics in the hands of criminals, conmen, cult leaders and terrorists. Just as terrifying, imagine them in the hands of the rich and powerful, of corporations and presidents. In such a world, how can any of us defend ourselves, be it from being duped in the street or being oppressed by government, without making nootropics a permanent fixture of our own lives? And so it would seem inevitable that restricting access to nootropics will become the central battle to maintaining the current social order.

(4) This is not unlike the educational arms race where you used to be exceptional if you finished school or went to university, but then more and more people got undergraduate degrees and you needed a Master’s to find a job, and soon no one will even be able to get an interview unless they have a doctorate or post-doctorate.

(5) Originally, I also included ‘learning’ and ‘having fun’ as things machines won’t be able to do for us, until I realised that ‘learning’ probably will be done by machines, uploading knowledge into our brains ‘Matrix’-style (except they won’t even need to, since machines will be taking care of everything for us by then anyway). And as for ‘having fun’, it will be just like the olden days when it was the court jesters who were in charge of the monarchs ‘having fun’, with machines (in the form of computers, etc.) being the jesters of our future.

 

[Ed.: This article was not written under the influence of nootropics. If it had been, it would have been better, and finished sooner.]

To: Reconstruction of a Life through Objects

These are the full contents of my approx. 2m x 5m room in a five person share flat in Wedding, Berlin, catalogued between 16 and 31 August 2014. At this point I have been living here for 1.5 years. Over the past 9 years, I have lived in over 10 share flats in 7 cities in 3 countries with over 30 different people. I only mention this to underscore the fact that I don’t actually have that much stuff. I’m not a hoarder and especially with moving so often, I’ve tried in recent years not to accumulate too much in the way of possessions (including books, which has been difficult).

My desk is made of particle board with fake pine finish with flaps that can be pulled out on each side to make the table longer, albeit lower. Normally fully extended, due to the recent, still unfinished, renovation work, one side is currently completely retracted, the other only slightly extended. The desk is not mine; it belongs to Teresa, the ex-girlfriend of Hans, one of my flatmates, whose (Teresa’s) room this was before me. The desk faces the window.

On the desk that is not mine are: 1 laptop (Dell Inspiron 1370, Windows OS, problem with overheating) with 1 power cable, 1 pair of speakers (present from Jeff) with 1 power cable and 2 audio cables (1 connecting the speakers to each other, 1 connecting the pair to the PC), on top of one speaker: 1 half roll of toilet paper; on top of the other speaker: 2 small Kinder Surprise monsters (purple and green, a third ran away somehow) and 1 pad sticky notes (BühnenRausch, improv theatre venue); 1 thick novel (Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and 1 French/German dictionary (Langenscheidt Universal, which means small) used as chocks to raise the laptop and allow extra air circulation for cooling purposes, 1 phone charger (Nokia), 3 French books (1 novel (translation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon), 1 novella/short story for learners (Daniel Pennac, Kamo, l’agence babel), 1 verb book (Bescherelle)), 1 letter for an ex-flatmate Kristin (from TU, an income summary for the year,  I’m seeing her tomorrow), 1 small jar of sea salt (divides its time between the kitchen and here), 1 wine bottle which I use as a water jug (green glass, 750ml, almost empty), 1 glass (my favourite glass, old jam jar tumbler, half full, lots of dried water flecks, needs a scrub), 1 postcard (faux-membership card to TigerEnte Club, Janosch, which I use as a bookmark), 2 ballpoint pens (1 red, 1 blue), 1 spiral-bound notebook (80 pages, for guitar music), 1 almost empty packet of corn chips (chili flavour), 1 metal lid used as a tray, holding: 4 small bottles india ink (red, blue, green, black), 1 small corner of a kitchen sponge, 1 malleable eraser, 1 plastic pencil sharpener (2 slots, thick and thin), 1 Kinder Surprise egg for old pen knife shards (5 shards), 1 dropper (from ink bottle), 2 pencils (2B, almost stubs), 1 self-made bamboo calligraphy pen, 1 calligraphy pen holder (wood), 20 calligraphy nibs (1mm to 15mm), 3 undernib reservoirs, 1 leaf (dried, shrivelled), 2 ball bearings, 2 pen knife blades (half remaining, slightly blunt but still usable), 1 small cluster of dried, flower-shaped seed pods (species unknown), all items on tray covered in layer of dust from recent renovation works in the room; 1 metal flower pot (white, with handle, used for stationery), containing: 1 pair scissors, 1 sticky tape dispenser with tape, 1 pack colour pencils (14pc, Staedtler), 1 highlighter (pink), 1 pencil (HB), 3 thick permanent markers (red, blue, black), 1 thin marker (black), 1 ink pen (white), 5 assorted ballpoint pens (1 black, 4 blue), 3 thick sticks of bamboo for making bamboo pens (1 cut, 2 uncut), 2 plastic rulers (one 30cm, one 20cm), 3 rubber bands, 1 nail, 1 packet sticky tack (quarter remaining), 1 plastic cup (Kein Mensch ist illegal) used as subdivider, containing: 1 pen knife, 9 paintbrushes (for acrylic, very fine to 3.5cm), 3 calligraphy pen nib holders, 7 self-made bamboo pens (fine).

On top of the radiator beside my desk are: 2 rags (1 large pink, 1 scrap blue checked), 1 thumb brace (right hand), 1 rectangular palette, holding: more seed pods; 1 packet organic fertilizer sticks (6 sticks left). Stuck to the side of the radiator is: 1 small pad with magnet back. Hanging from the radiator valve is: 1 decorative wooden heart (green with gold stars and gold band, a christmas present from Monika).

On the sideboard (actually a wooden chest of drawers with all drawers still functional but slowly loosing ball bearings from the tracks) which is also not mine, at right angles to my desk, and whose top I use as an extension of my desk space are: 1 small jar honey (clover), 2 large glass jars (old jam jars with hinged lids and rubber seals), containing: mixed organic nuts and dried fruit (Rossmann); 2 tubes organic hand cream (neobio, the cheapest organic brand, one empty), 1 glasses case (dark blue plastic with fake leather print), containing: 1 pair glasses; 1 mobile phone (Nokia 3110? 5110? old, very old by today’s standards, bought in Australia where I left over 7 years ago, on/off button broken, screen often impossible to read, charges sporadically), 1 wallet (Billabong, very old), containing: 1 appointments list (occupational therapist for my thumbs, RSI injury), €68.15 (various denominations), one 5c stamp, 5 BVG tickets (2 used, 3 unused), 2 library cards (HU (mine), public library (Helene’s, which she left me when she moved back to Paris)), 1 health insurance card (AOK), 1 university cafeteria card (HU, bought off Paula, on it approx. €5), 1 bank card (norisbank), 1 ID (German visa, expiry end of February 2015); 2 flyers (art workshop), 1 scrap paper (name of dentist recommended by Viola: Thiessen); 1 carabiner (black, very worn), with: 2 keys (house door, flat door); 1 plastic water bottle (Adelholzener, 500ml, empty), 1 small glass jar (for holding water for washing nibs and brushes, empty), 1 roll kinesiology tape (5m, hot pink), 1 business card (Dario Rossi, drummer, who I saw perform in Mauerpark), 4 tablets paracetamol (500mg), 1 kitchen sponge (green (soft), blue (scourer), for hand strengthening exercises), 1 bottle naturopathic tincture (for detoxing metal fillings), 1 post-modern bookmark (large, wooden isosceles triangle which one splays the book over), in the hollow of the bookmark: 2 woven bookmarks (turkish carpet designs); over the book mark: 1 book of poetry (Mascha Kaléko, Das lyrische Stenogrammheft); leaning against the bookmark: 1 doctor’s sick note (injured thumbs 13.08.2014-24.08.2014), 6 postcards (4 b&w photos of Berlin for a Vattenfalls competition, 1 marketing shot of wedding, 1 watercolour sketch of Görlitzer Park from Laeti), 1 CD with MRT diagnostic (left hand), 1 card (handmade thank you note from Klara, one of my flatmates, and offer of one theatre ticket of my choice), which came with: 1 big bouquet of flowers (big yellow ones, strands of hundreds of little yellow ones bifurcating like chaos mathematics, small purple ones, some with an inner layer of white petals, medium pink ones like ears hanging off a stalk, little green ones with spikes like eyelashes and no petals and dark purple ones like nipples on old furniture), in: 1 ceramic jug (brown and blue, quite ugly); a dusting of pollen can be found on some of the above-mentioned objects; 1 metal tin (purple mosaic design) with built-in music box, containing: 2 walnuts, 2 hazelnuts, 3 almonds (all still in shell); 1 cardboard box, containing: 1 bag white feathers, 1 light bulb (screw, 42W, broken), 1 travel sewing kit (needle, pin, safety pin, button, only white thread remaining), 2 white feathers (swan), 1 black/grey feather (crow?), 1 malleable eraser (in case), 1 paintbrush nib protector, 1 small bottle nail polish remover (for cleaning nibs), 1 metal tie, 1 piece aluminium foil (cut from Coca Cola can), 1 Kinder Surprise monster (!, the third one that I lost from on top of the speakers, red), 2 bottles India ink (gold, red, both dried up), 4 bottles India ink (gold, fake gold, black, white), 1 small paper bag (with green leaf stamp), 1 small bag nibs, 1 small plastic bag (resealable), containing: 1 matchbox, containing: assorted nibs; 5 small origami boxes (made by me), containing: assorted nibs; 1 small piece of paper (160gsm, sand, draft of design for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy manuscript), all items in box covered in dust like the items on the tray on the table.

There are 2 windows. Across the upper, smaller window is self-adhesive flyscreen, ripped along the right edge, with a second scrap of fly screen glued over the rip. Over the whole window alcove hangs, from 2 screws, in place of a curtain: 1 black and tan cloth (not mine though I may have by now inherited it) with tribal pictograms, possibly South American, knotted in one corner over the screw, tied with a short white rope to the other screw. The curtain is held open by a belt of alternating wooden rings and balls on a leather band hanging from a nail.

On the window sill are: 1 chipped unframed mirror (usually on my desk), 1 cork board (ugly thing made by a friend as thank you for translating for her wedding, usually hanging on the wall by the window), with: 1 abstract picture (sketch/print?) of a woman angel; this month’s library books in 2 piles (read (past tense): Richard Brautigan, The Abortion; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Love of the Last Tycoon; Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano; George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier; Vladimir Nabokov, Despair; John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces; to read: Matt Ruff, Set This House in Order; Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved; Charles Bukowski, Women; Aldous Huxley, Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited), books also normally on my desk; 1 receipt for library books (on faded thermal paper), 1 wooden tray (boat-shaped), on which are: 1 avocado plant (Avo Caesar! My baby! 3 years old, atypically short for an avocado tree but with lots of great broad leaves), 1 small, hunched succulent plant (it fell once from a high shelf, thus the bent back); 1 plastic water bottle (Adelholzener, 500ml, for watering the plants, haven’t used it in a while, have been watering with my wine bottle).

On the outside window sill are: 1 dead horse chestnut sapling, 2 metal braces for securing a flower trough (flower trough removed).

We move to the corner of my room to the right of the desk. There are: 1 standing lamp (IKEA, inherited from German), 1 large cardboard box (approx. 1m x 1.5m x 20cm, KAPA foam board bought for mounting photos for my exhibition last winter), containing: 1 large and 2 small boards; 1 old wooden military crate (Martin’s, currently, at least in Berlin, fashionable), containing: 1 plastic bag, containing: 1 paint roller and rack (borrowed from Heather & Mathew when they were still together, never used by me); 1 padded envelop (B4, empty), 1 plastic bottom (from a recycled plastic, reusable shopping bag), 1 pair reef sandals (hardly worn), 1 medium cardboard box (empty), 1 postpack (slightly smaller than A4, what my calendars came in), 1 blue IKEA bag, 1 large clear plastic bag. On top of the crate are: 1 brown envelop (A4), containing: 2 X-rays (left hand, right hand); 1 dirty plate (dinner two days ago), 1 dirty spoon (same meal), normally there are other items on the crate, currently displaced because of the construction work. On the side of the crate is: 1 sticker (with Martin’s name as reminder).

On the wall over the crate are: 1 painting (10cm x 10cm, Play, by me, balanced on a nail), 1 large bunch of the same flower-shaped dried seed pods that are on the tray on my desk and on the palette on the radiator (hanging from a nail, except it isn’t actually there any more, I had to take it down when they installed the heating pipes for the upstairs flat but I’m including it here anyway because it will be back when they finally finish the construction work). On the adjacent wall, close to the corner, is: 1 mounted photograph from my exhibition (30cm x 45cm, Art behind Bars – Summer, though it spend very little time in the exhibition as it was decided that it didn’t actually fit with the rest of the pictures, large crease where I tried to peel off and re-glue).

On the floor behind the crate is: 1 backpack (70L, navy, Black Wolf, old but in good condition, bought when I left Australia to travel to Europe 7 years ago), containing: 1 flat sheet (ivory, queen-sized, wedding present from Jeff), 1 black winter jacket (5 years old, really an autumn jacket though it has seen me through 5 cold winters, I definitely need a new one), 1 sleeping bag (Cosmic 800, 5 deg), 1 pair jeans (blue, ripped at the crotch where it always rips, kept as spare fabric), 1 pair boardshorts (white with red trim, had for many years, worn maybe once a year), 1 hoodie (grey and white striped, served me well, sad to throw it away though I don’t need it any more), 1 sweater (grey, blue, white stripped, found at Frankfurt airport, smelled for months despite repeated washings like the perfume(?) of previous owner, then worn by Monika in winter to sleep in), 1 plastic bag, containing: 2 cables (unsure for what any more); 1 charger (Nikon camera), 2 travel divider bags (1 containing 7 pairs underwear, to be thrown away, 1 containing 1.5 pairs socks, to be thrown away, one travel divider bag), 1 camera belt (present from J., never figured out how to use it or why anyone would want one, nice thought though misguided), 2 plush bags with drawstring (grey, for speakers, 1 containing: 1 cable (unidentified), 1 containing: 2 small plush bags (grey)). In small inner pocket of backpack: 1 plastic garbage bag (black), 1 broken rubber band (thick), 1 button (crayfish, Marcel’s band), 1 online banking code, 1 passport sleeve, containing: 1 expired passport, 4 sheets notes (phone numbers of friends or people I used to know in Europe and Australia, old traveller’s cheque numbers, passport number (old), travel insurance emergency numbers), 10 cards (World of Video, Westminster Library, Waterstone’s employee card, Waltham Forest Library, Hanau Library, Australian driver’s licence, HSBC debit card (expired), Oyster Card, 2 health insurance cards (AOK, both expired)), World of Video bonus card (with 12 stickers from 25), 1 business card (Schön und Gut, a gift shop where I tried to sell some of my handmade notebooks), 3 biometric passport photos (2 the same), 1 traveller’s cheque (American Express, 10k yen, from when I was 16), some of this stuff should definitely be destroyed. On the handle of the backpack is: 1 name tag (Lonely Planet), containing: 1 Lufthansa tag (with Taos address (crossed out), Hanau address).

To the left of my desk, over the radiator and so-called sideboard runs for approx. 2 metres a fairly-stable but rickety-looking wooden shelf thrown up by some unknown predecessor and painted mostly red. It slants forward somewhat. On it are: 1 typical green house plant (in a brown pot with 2 runners, 1 hanging out over the desk exposing little white flowers to the sunlight, 1 creeping along the shelf), 1 baby wooden easel, holding: 1 playing card (joker); 1 mounted photograph from my exhibition (30cm x 45cm, 17,80), 1 calligraphy doodle (Cold Days, upside down), 2 pine cones (from holiday in Thuringia), 1 iron ornament (elephant with indian get-up, loop for hanging), 1 metal ruler (60cm, boesner), 1 fossilised or at least dried starfish (or relative, mounted on card, wrapped in plastic), 1 fossilised shell (pleuroceras spinatum, 170 million years old, with info slip), 1 difficult-to-describe piece of art (whale, felt pen on wood, nail through the middle to hang keys(?)), 1 antique calendar (1960, Berliner Zeitung, illustrated with Berliner Bear), 1 clay/terracotta(?) tile(?) (plant imprint), 1 small red vase, containing: 3 dried roses (one unopened); 1 small clear glass bottle (gourmet balsamic vinegar, label removed), containing: 2 thistle flowers (different species); 1 small black vase with 1 cork stopper (not from the vase but looks good together), 1 tall thin glass bottle (grappa, label removed), 1 small bunch of dried flower-shaped seed pods (same as on tray on table and bunch currently not hanging on the wall), 1 clay flower pot (green with white plant pattern, cracked, actually Paula’s), containing: approx. 50 tea lights, 1 ping pong ball, 1 thistle branch (different species again from 2 in vase); 1 mirror (faux-antique, worn metal frame), 1 small twig dried star-shaped seed pods, 1 small bowl (orange, hand painted pattern in gold), containing: 2 lighters (1 grey, West, 1 green), 4 boxes of matches (Europa, Aro, Lucky Strike, Intimes Cafe), 3 pieces of wood (extracted from coffee grinder, 2 shards, 1 badly chewed stump), 16 acorns (deprived from cemetery squirrels winter before last), contents of bowl very dusty. Hanging from underside of shelf are 7 postcards: Schönheit Kommt von Aussen/Russen, Dresden streetart, Velo, kangaroo, Ganz ohne Druck gehts nicht, strawberries flowers birds, Think with Your Heart.

Under the desk which is not mine are: 1 six-outlet extension cord (3 used: 1 laptop power cord, 1 power cord for speakers, 1 Nokia phone charger (Australian plug) in 1 adapter (universal)), 1 large paper bag (boesner, for paper recycling), containing: assorted scrap paper; 1 ceramic flower pot (used as rubbish bin, lined with 1 plastic bag), containing: 3 dried leaves, 1 broken rubber band (found while itemising contents of backpack), 1 strand dental floss (used), 2 balls of tissues (masturbated into), approx. 10 sheets of toilet paper (crumpled, noses blown into); 1 grocery bag (of recycled plastic, Bio Company, used as laundry bag), containing, today: 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear (green, black/grey stripes), 1 t-shirt (Gray Scale); 1 large cardboard box (one of two I posted here from Hanau when I moved, still quite full), containing: 1 painting (acrylic on canvas, Klug werden), 1 plastic bag (extra stuffing from my pillow), 1 unopened CD ROM (Duden Korrektor, present from awkward Russian classmate from my VHS C2 German class), 1 instruction manual (Canon 550D), 1 box (Canon 550D), containing: 1 bubblewrap bag, 4 CDs (1 for Nikon Coolpix S220, 3 for Canon EOS 550D), 3 empty cases (1 camera lens UV filter (HAMA, 58mm), 1 camera lens cap (HAMA, 52mm), 1 SD card (Sandisk, Extreme, 16GB, 45MB/s)), 2 receipts (camera accessories), 1 warranty (Canon), 1 info brochure (Canon), 1 tag from camera case (Lowepro Apex 110 AW), 1 packing slip (Camera), 3 instruction manual (Canon; Dutch, French, Italian), 1 audio cable (in plastic bag), 1 USB cable (in plastic bag), 1 plastic bag (scraps of packaging), 1 camera battery case (Canon); 1 flat box (from online calligraphy shop), containing: 1 handout (analog photo course), 1 packet inkjet transfer film, 1 plastic sleeve with label (for handmade notebook), 2 rubber stamps (made by Ita, wrandom photograph, 18 black cards (calligraphy, funny old German expressions), 3 photo-envelops, containing: various photos; 2 piece handmade paper, 1 sheet instructions (for making handmade paper), 1 photo-envelop, containing: brochures: photo developing/ printing, calligraphy; 1 scrap paper (with dimensions for frames), 1 plastic sleeve, containing: newspaper cutouts; 6 receipts for art supplies, 1 print (Endstation, in passpartout), 7 passpartout (in plastic bags), 3 packets of plastic sleeves (small, medium, large), 2 small ziplock plastic bags, 1 packet origami paper (small, silver/ gold), 1 sheet calligraphy paper; 10 chemical hand warmers (from Jeff), 1 box business cards (wrandom art & design, almost empty), 1 3D card (wedding present from Jeff and Jessica), 1 cardboard box (from laptop), containing: 1 birthday card (my 30th, from ex-flatmate Anna), 1 Christmas card (from Dave & Alecia), 1 cardboard envelop (FOMA photo paper), containing: test strips from photo course; 2 power adapters (1 universal to Australian, 1 Australian to UK), 2 rolls film (black and white, new), 2 film cases (1 containing shell from film roll, 1 empty), 1 camera lens cap (Canon), 1 box business cards (wrandom art & design), 1 stamp (wrandom art & design), 3 large bulldog clips, 1 Batman action figure (present from Nico), 2 The Incredibles figurines (1 Violet, 1 Frozone), 1 Smurf figurine (gagged), 1 small wooden christmas tree (flatpacked in box, present from Dave), 1 Nikon Coolpix S220, 1 camera battery (Nikon), 1 small kitchen knife (blue handle), 1 box Minibausteine (present from Ita), 1 friendship bracelet (from Ita), 1 retainer (for teeth, in yellow case), 1 pair tweezers, 1 keyring with temperature and compass (bought from army surplus store in US, never worked), 1 keyring loop, 1 bag foreign currency, containing: 2 ten pound notes, 1 half (torn) 1/4 Kuwaiti dinar, 1 Romanian lei, one 1000 Libyan livres, 1 fake pound coin, 2 one pound coins, 1 US half dollar, 1 German 2 pfennig, 1 German 10 pfennig , 1 German mark, 1 Arabic(?) pound, 1 Turkish lira, 12 Islandic kroner, 30 Swiss cent, 95 Polish groszy, 1.7 Russian ruble, 1 Israeli shekel; 1 ziplock bag, containing: 1 scarab beetle souvenir (from Dave), 1 Tommy og Tigern (Calvin and Hobbes in Norwegian) squishy heart (leaking grease), 1 travel sewing set, 1 bottle holy water (from Basilika Mondsee, in Jaegermeister bottle), 1 button (Slumming Angels), 1 painted cane (cheapest cool souvenir ever), 1 bracelet with wooden beads, 1 badge (Edelweiss, from Sound of Music tour), 1 bookmark (with Egyptian alphabet, present from Dave), 1 Australian penny, 1 AUD10 note, 5 cards (1 oyster, 1 Croydon library, 1 Cambridgeshire library, 1 Medibank Private, 1 Medicare), 1 Sim4Travel info brochure (in plastic sleeve); 1 CD (1000 photos from Gerd Danigel), 1 paperclip, 1 button (MAN), 2 gift bags (made of upcycled newspaper, Luxus International), assorted postcards, pamphlets, programs, tourist maps for events, places visited, 4 wedding invitations (Dave & Alecia, Paul, Brett and Bek, Tina), 1 card (Ohne dich ist alles doof), 3 maps (1 Germany (large), 1 Germany (pocket), 1 Switzerland (large)), 1 booklet (WWOOFing Germany), 1 info brochure (HPV), 1 envelop, containing: random notes; 3 large envelops (1 containing wedding documents and notes/ papers/ photos on/of Ita, 1 containing bank documents, 1 containing other old documents), 1 plastic sleeve, 1 plastic bag/case (from pillow), 1 small plastic ziplock bag, containing: documents for Nikon Coolpix S220 (manuals, 1 warranty, 1 software suite CD, 1 receipt), documents for Dell Inspiron (manuals, 3 Dell software CDs), manual for AudioEngine speakers; 1 plastic sleeve (for ruler), 1 plastic bag (Hugendubel), 1 elastic band (gold), 2 lanyard card holders, 1 shredded drumstick (present from Marcel).

Also under the desk, between the chest of drawers (aka sideboard) and the radiator are: 1 cutting mat, 1 pad universal paper (approx. 20 sheets, A3, 310gsm).

Set into the wall under the window is a cupboard, containing stuff I was holding for Natasha when she was back in Canada and are still there thought she is back: 2 medium cardboard boxes, 1 leather satchel (brown), contents unknown.

At the desk is a wooden chair that belongs to Paula. On the chair, are: 1 cushion (red, made by Monika, so thin as to be simply 2 (possibly 3) layers of cloth sewn together), 1 me, wearing: handmade house slippers (from Monika’s sister), 1 pair cargo pants (black, at least 10 years old), 1 pair underpants (blue checked), 1 t-shirt (Threadless, The Composition), 1 hoodie (brown and blue stripes), 1 pair glasses (currently not in the case on the sideboard. On the back of the chair is: 1 hoodie (grey, thicker).

Back to the sideboard (aka the repeatedly inaccurately, perhaps falsely, referenced chest of drawers) that belongs to Teresa (along with, for the record, the desk, one other chest of drawers, one mattress, and potentially: 2 cushions (one flat, one roll), one leather pouf), there are: 5 drawers (2 top drawers (half-width), 3 drawers below that (full-width).

In the top right drawer are: 1 external hard-drive (Treksor, 400GB, with USB cable, instruction pamphlets, etc., in original box), 2 3D movie glasses (1 normal, 1 IMAX), 1 camera lens box (Canon, digital, 50mm, f/1.8, empty), 1 zoom-lens (Tokina, analog, 50-200mm(?), in leather case), 1 Canon lens lid, 1 battery charger (Canon), 1 battery (Canon, in protective case), 1 camera lens (Canon, digital, 18-55mm), 1 Canon FTb (analog, functional, black marks on viewfinder, exposure counter broken), containing: 1 roll black and white film; 1 padded divider (from camera carry case), 1 SD card (4GB, slow, in protective case), 1 mini tripod (in original box), 1 pair sunglasses (Bollé Coachwhip, polarised, very old, perfect condition, replacement for pair I got from Jeff for 21st birthday, in soft case), 1 suction-cup toothbrush holder (cow), 1 combination lock (combination 637), 1 security number generator (HSBC, expired), 1 instruction slip (kinesiology tape), 2 strips foam (for padding thumb braces), 1 small sheet stickers (Threadless, one sticker used on side of military crate), 2 twisty-ties (1 white, 1 black), 5 rubber bands (4 small, blue; 1 extra large, normal colour), 1 tube superglue (unopened, still in packaging), 1 audio cable (old, loose connection), 1 condom (Durex, regular), 2 contact lens cases (used), 1 DVD (Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit re-installation DVD), 2 buttons (one for jeans(?), in plastic bag; 1 found), 2 plastic strips (for collars(?), in plastic bag), 4(?) lengths string (2 brown (1 rolled together, 1 loose), 1 gold (loose), 1 red and white (loose)), 1 roll red ribbon, 1 length fishing wire with loop (from exhibition), 1 adjustable hook (for screwing onto fishing wire, from exhibition), 1 screw, 1 ball-bearing rail from chest of drawers (snapped off), 1 scrap jeans cloth (already with 2 squares cut out of it), 1 plastic clip (removed from backpack), 1 band (from zipper of backpack), 2 things you put, for example, a drawstring through and it’s spring-loaded and you can pull the drawstring tight, 1 metal clip, 2 cork stoppers (1 with pourer), 2 beer caps (Coopers Stout, Coopers Pale), 1 metal key ring, why I still have some of this junk I simply do not know.

In the top left drawer are: 1 hollowed-out hardcover book (Alexander Stern, Ein Mann steigt ans Ufer), containing: six 60c stamps (sticker, Kaiserkrone), €60 (1 fifty, 2 fives), 1 TAN list (norisbank), 1 pin generator (HSBC), 1 credit card (Westpac Ignite, Mastercard), 1 pin number sheet (EC-card, norisbank), 2 keys (1 Kaffeemitte, 1 Monika’s flat, on a key chain with green felt foot), 1 USB stick, 1 voucher (50c, from rest stop toilet), 1 mobile sim card (Medion, expired), 1 business card (Erich Meißner, dentist, whom I will never visit again); 1 folder containing: assorted documents (telephone numbers, Australian tax, health insurance, superannuation, credit card (Westpac), bank statements (HSBC, HSBC UK, norisbank), German address registration and finance documents, health related documents, visa information, german health insurance documents (AOK), salary statements (Kaffeemitte, Sankt Oberholz), birth certificate, sundry); 1 Australian passport, 4 ibuprofen tablets (200mg, in box), 1 travel packet tissues, 1 christmas card (2012, Franzi), 4 sheets bank statements (HSBC term deposit), eligibility for integration course documents, 1 scrap paper with notes (how the world may be at the end of my life), 1 photo (of Monika, taken by me with Canon FTb as part of photography course, developed manually by me, clipped to the flower pot stationery holder until we broke up), 1 box (Aldara cream, empty), 1 small piece of cloth (black), 1 cloth (for cleaning eg. computer screens, dirty), 1 scrap paper (torn from a street art poster, trying to learn what kind of paper they use), 2 metallic (?, I guess it must be) ‘letter racks’ for magnetic travel Scrabble pieces, 1 safety pin (extra small), 1 piece of paper (folded and tied into a knot, from memory, about going into a relationship thinking already that one might meet someone else during the relationship and being open to the possibility of letting your partner find out if this other relationship is potentially better, written in anger or at least sad desperation), 2 business cards (Physiotherapy Wendler, Standesamt Mitte), 1 appointment card (physio), 1 post-it note (Helene’s birthday, also pin of her library card), 1 set English scrabble pieces (in plastic bag), 1 hand-bound notebook (hand-sewn and -bound by me, with upcycled book cover (mathematical rose)), 1 lip balm (Labello, almost used up), 1 cent, 18 buttons (3 loose (1 i hate mondays, 2 owls), 15 pinned to scrap of black cloth (Shakespeare quote, bicycle, Ich bin Experte, mushrooms, seed pod, radiator, Madman, fresh air, car, astronaut, Bluebottle Kiss, Jack Skellington, Tintin, house with legs, Tube map).

In the second-from-top drawer of the chest of drawers (I still prefer sideboard) are: 1 yellow legal pad (US letter size, which I got Peter to send to me from the States, the pad would’ve cost 50c or so, the postage was 5 or 10 dollars!), 1 sketch pad (A4, blank), 1 sketch pad (A3), 3 scraps of paper (1 from legal pad with top cut off, 1 half A3, 1 small blue strip), 1 sketch pad (A4, fine quality), 1 writing pad (advertising, Achilles), 1 notepad (dark recycled paper, blank), 3 packets seeds (physalis, chives, sugar corn), 1 roll masking tape (yellow, 50m), 6 roller sponges (3 pairs of different material and size), 1 roller handle, 1 box watercolours (12 colours, which Monika had lying around, dried up), 1 small box, containing: 1 watercolour pellet (white, Van Gogh), 1 tube watercolour (Chinese white), 1 wax crayon (clear); 1 packet adhesive loops (for hanging pictures), 2 rubber bands (extra large, red), 1 box chalk (12pc), 1 receipt (Pfennigland, €2.67), 1 strip flexible magnet (used to make a set of German letters for my travel Scrabble), 1 roll fishing wire, 3 strips fishing wire (2 with adjustable hook, 1 without, left over from my exhibition), 1 compass (Faber Castell), 1 large bulldog clip, 1 roll twine, 1 roll electrical tape (red), 1 wrapper for watercolour pellet, 2 tubes acrylic paint (titanium white, black), 7 tubes gouache paint (white, black, primary yellow, vermillion, carmine, primary cyan, ultramarine).

In the third-from-top drawer are: 1 advent calendar (2013, Kleine Maulwurf, in envelop), 1 re-usable envelop (with window), 1 padded envelop (C5(?)), 9 brown envelops (C4), 1 padded envelop (C4, used), 1 black folder, containing: 1 sheet negatives, 1 contact sheet, 8 photos (approx A5, in passpartout), 1 certificate (analog photography course), 1 painting (wind turbines, watercolour, by Ita), 1 postcard (Berlin quote from Anneliese Bödecker), 12 newspaper clippings (Berlin photos), 2 notes (1 prostitute looking for apartment, 1 from Ordnungsamt to bicycle owner), 1 stack photos (20cm x 30cm); 1 packet envelops (standard size, no window), 1 stack cards (for making greeting cards, blank), 1 plastic sleeve, containing: assorted photos (for the above greeting cards); 1 stack envelops (for greeting cards, fine quality), 1 stack bookmarks (from old calligraphy manuscripts), 1 stack cards (black, assorted calligraphy alphabets), 2 packets photos (test prints for exhibition), 1 piece paper (calligraphy alphabet, from The Great Gatsby), 15 calligraphy manuscripts (12 on sand paper (10 History of Calligraphy with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy text (1 unfinished), 1 Love/Hate draft, 1 Bob Dylan draft), 1 on recycled paper (shopping list draft), 2 on white paper (1 watercolour with Rossetti poem draft, 1 watercolour with no text)), 1 Yogi Tea label (with wisdom).

In bottom-most drawer are: 1 stack of scrap paper and used envelops, 2 hand-bound notebooks (made by me with upcycled book covers, 1 small (Das Weltbühnchen), 1 approx. A5 (Die Trommel des Mahdi)), 18 notebooks (A5, 15 full/begun (some without covers), 3 new), 1 sketchbook (approx. A5, boesner), 1 photograph (of Christopher, black and white, taken and developed by me), 1 stack scrap paper (with notes), 1 stack scrap paper (blank), 2 sheets paper (inside covers from Die Weltbühnchen), 1 sheet stickers (from do-it-yourself calendar).

On the floor between the ‘sideboard’ and the post of my high bed, along the wall, are: 1 cushion roll (the cover a stained pinkish/purple from being washed with:), 1 flat cushion (with tie-died purple cover), 1 pillow (duck feather, no case), 1 blanket (brown, thin, cosy), 1 leather pouf (round, low, pattern of light and dark brown squares on top surface). On the pouf, more or less folded, are: 1 pair jeans (blue, regular fit), 1 long-sleeve shirt (black), 1 t-shirt (Threadless, Sea Saw), 1 pair draw-string shorts (red). Beside the pouf is: 1 backpack (Black Wolf, can be attached to my 70L backpack), containing: 1 euro coin, 1 rubber band (small, blue), 2 half-packets chewing gum (Airwaves, 1 with 1 piece left, 1 with 3), 1 appointment card (Peterhansl, orthopedic surgeon, helped my hands not at all), 1 beanie (grey, handmade, Christmas present from Viola), 1 slip paper (address of Diagnostikum Radiologie), 1 ballpoint pen (blue), 1 notebook (A5), 1 clip-on key chain (part of backpack, on it: 1 mini torch (LED), containing 4 watch batteries (flat); 2 tiny keys (1 don’t know what for, 1 for:); 1 small padlock. On the floor beside the cushion is: 1 postcard (Friends not Meat). On the wall above the pouf is: 1 painting (acrylic on canvas, from me, If no one jumped off a cliff would you? but was supposed to have been, If everyone didn’t jump off a cliff would you?).

I sleep on a loft bed directly over the door; it came with the room. Hooked on one end of the bed is: 1 ladder (wooded, steep). Hanging on the ladder are: 1 pair boxer shorts (blue), 1 pair Superman pajama pants (Christmas present from Ita), 1 t-shirt (apartment building with roots). Across the high bed frame is: 1 separate frame with slats (one side only barely on the frame, one end tilt-able). On the frame is: 1 mattress (double, inner spring, IKEA), covered with: 1 fitted sheet (blue). On the mattress are: 1 pillow (synthetic), in: 1 pillowcase (light and dark blue); 1 duvet (IKEA, warmth grade 2, 200cm x 160cm), in: 1 duvet cover (light green with foliage pattern, wedding present from Jeff). Clamped between the bed frame and the wall is: 1 wooden board, holding: 1 IKEA lamp, 1 notebook, 1 box tissues, 1 tissue box (with top cut off), containing: 1 condom, 3 ear plugs (1 pair in travel case, 1 loose), 1 lighter (red), 1 ballpoint pen (blue), 1 glass, containing: 1 tea light; 2 extra tea lights. Wrapped around one leg of the high bed is: 1 folded piece of cloth (leaf pattern). Strung from the high bed to the ceiling lamp are: 15 origami cranes (inherited from Teresa).

Under the loft bed, on the floor against the wall by the door, are: 1 acoustic guitar (Hans’, D string worn almost through), 2 old windows (different sizes, 1 white, 1 sanded to reveal a mottled green, ivory and wood). Hanging on the bed frame are: 4 coat hangers (3 on the frame, 1 on twine tied around the bed frame), 1 hand towel (cyan, on hanger), 1 travel toiletries case (red, Mountain Designs, going away present from Tina before I came to Europe, hanging on the twine), containing: 1 mirror (detachable, part of case), 2 boxes contact lenses (Proclear, -4.5, -3.25, monthly, 4 of each left), 2 cotton buds, 1 nail clipper, 1 metal nail file, 1 pair tweezers, 2 nose strips (in packaging), 1 toothbrush (Oral B Kids, Pixar Cars design, blue, unopened), 1 can deodorant spray (London Playboy), 2 coldsore gels (1 chemical, 1 natural), 1 anti-fungal cream, 1 propolis throat spray (in box, present from Jeff), 10 tablets paracetamol, 1 case for ear plugs (empty), 6 condoms; 2 long-sleeve dress shirts (1 black, 1 blue striped, hanging over each other on hanger), 1 leather belt (had since end of high school, on inner crossbar of same hanger).

Hanging on the inside of the door are: 1 large decorative acorn (made of felt, polystyrene), 1 pocket umbrella (black, in sleeve), 1 tie-dyed cloth (blue with large palm frond pattern, covering the glass panel in the door. Hanging on the outside of the door is: 1 poster (Resistance of the mind against the supremacy of money, Bread & Butter Theater).

Still under the loft bed, left of the door, entering, is, at an angle, a wooden chest of drawers (with 3 drawers), which also belongs to Teresa. Beside it, flush against the wall is a bookshelf (IKEA) which I inherited from German and transported here from his place in Prenzlauer Berg on a skateboard. On the wall above the chest of drawers is: 1 art print (house on a hill).

On top of the chest of drawers are: 1 portfolio of my calligraphy, 1 pile of scrap paper (calligraphy drafts and notes), 1 art print (Potma, birthday present from Viola), 2 mounted photos (30cm x 45cm, Two Bicycles, Penguins, from my exhibition, presents for Clare and Heather, wrapped in brown paper), 1 Alnatura magazine, 1 empty square metal tin (pineapple cakes, present from Jeff), 1 plastic sleeve containing poetry (by Perlick, failed calligraphy commission).

Left of the chest of drawers, in the angle between it and the wall are: 1 glass bottle (Almdudler, empty, to be thrown away), 1 brochure (Otto online shop, in plastic sleeve, kept as reminder to cancel subscription), 1 plastic bag (for swimming), containing: 1 pair flip-flops, 1 pair swimming goggles, 1 shampoo (Garnier Fructis); 1 paper gift bag, containing 3(?) sheets brown paper; 1 extension cord (extends behind the chest of drawers and up the back of the bookshelf and affixed with sticky tape half way up, where the IKEA lamp is plugged in). Behind the chest of drawers are: 2 cardboard boxes (1 for posting calligraphy manuscripts, 1 square tube), 1 postpack (used).

In the angle between the chest of drawers and the bookshelf are: 1 roll brown packing paper, 10 sheets paper (4 Canson Mi-teints 160gsm (sand), 4 boesner fotocarton 300gsm (black), 2 boesner 300gsm (white, wrapped in plastic)), 4 poster rolls (1 containing: 1 poster (Bird and Mirror); 1 containing: 1 plastic sleeve; 1 containing: 1 print (I Love Berlin), 1 piece of paper, 1 thin poster roll, containing: 1 plastic sleeve; 1 containing: 8 prints (Two Bicycles, Belusconi, Wall, Bird, Hello. Hi, 17,80, Beauty in the Chaos, Dandelion)).

In the top drawer of the chest of drawers are: 17 t-shirts (2 Bluebottle Kiss (green, blue), 10 Threadless (So Long, Old World, Take Off, Let’s Plant, Vitamin, Quit Howling at Me, The Beach, Icarus, Stone Jungle, Picket, Peacock at Night), 2 Babeline (Goodmorning London, The Building), A Short Low-budget Semi-silent Movie, Save the World, plain black (H&M)), 10 pairs socks (2 ankle, 8 regular), 2 single non-matching socks, 8 pairs underpants (2 Relax (spandex), blue stripes, black, green stripes, light blue, green circles, grey stripes).

In the middle drawer are: 3 long-sleeve shirts (2 black, 1 white), 1 t-shirt (Biosphere), 1 pair shorts (grey), 2 pairs boxer shorts (beach party, blue check), 2 beanies (1 Carhartt (navy green), 1 hand-crochetted (by Ita, red/black), 2 work aprons (black), 1 scarf (blue, found), 1 pair thermal longjohns (blue), 4 pairs winter socks (2 from Jeff, 2 from Ita’s mom), 1 pair gloves (grey, found), 1 single glove (suede, found).

In the bottom drawer are: 1 baseball cap (Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006), 1 pair boxer shorts (Australian flag, waistband elastic dead), 1 pair shoe laces (brown), 1 beach towel (had for over 15 years, been with me everywhere), 1 wash cloth (light blue), 1 bath towel (orange), 2 pillow cases (green with leaf pattern, matching set with duvet cover, wedding present from Jeff), 1 pair swimming trunks (blue, Slazenger), 1 pair gloves (grey, Stormlite), 2 scarves (1 red (7 years old), 1 plaid (found)), 2 dish towels.

The bookshelf is mine (currently my only piece of furniture). On top of the bookshelf are: 10 mounted photos from my exhibition (30cm x 45cm, Flower, Clown, Bird, Caterpillar, Pegs, Brother and Sister, Van, Worm, Wall, Yellow boy). Sticky taped to the side of the shelf is: 1 art print (Potma, birthday present from Mone).

On the top shelf are: 1 painting (acrylic on canvas, by me, Position of Power), 3 stuffed toys (1 penguin from Wallace and Gromit), 1 TigerEnte, 1 tiger (painted orange by me to look like Hobbes for a costume party where I went as Calvin)), 1 handmade doll (going away present from Sofia), 1 cardboard star with ‘Wil’ written on it (part of present from Viola), 1 bobble (removed from top of beanie, part of present from Viola), 1 solar-powered dancing flower (kept out of the sun because of its annoying clicking, inherited with the room), 1 ray gun (cardboard, made by me), 1 small bottle (Proletariat schnapps), 1 Fernsehturm souvenir, 1 glass stopper, 1 wooden ship (like Titanic but with only 3 chimney stacks), 2 small origami cranes, 6 rubber bands (small, blue).

On the second shelf are: 62 books. In the front row (to read) are: Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged; Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks (HC); Thomas Mann, Tonio Kröger/ Mario und der Zauberer; Hermann Hesse, Jahreszeiten; Charles Dickens, David Copperfield; Roddy Doyle, The Barrytown Trilogy; Erich Maria Remarque, Zeit zu leben, Zeit zu sterben; Marx/ Engels, Manifest der kommunistischen Partei; Umberto Eco, Foucoult’s Pendulum; Patrick White, A Fringe of Leaves; Kurt Tucholsky, Schloß Gripsholm; Theodor Fontane, Effi Briest; Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates; Luise Rinser, Bruder Feuer; Benjamin v. Stuckard-Barre, Solo Album; Horst-Dieter Klock, Der Baum muß bleiben (HC); Bastian Sick, Der Dativ ist dem Genetiv sein Tod; Goethe, complete Faust in five volumes (mini books, HC, present from Ita); 3 mini books (HC, aphorisms with illustrations: Quellen indischer Weisheit, Quellen japanischer Weisheit, Quellen östlicher Weisheit); Neue Scheidemünze (HC); Das sehr kleine Blumenbuch (HC). In the back row (have read) are: Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (HC, rescued from Tom); Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume; Tom Robbins, Villa Incognito; Wolf Spillner, Gänse überm Reiherberg (HC); Rudolf G. Binding, Keuschheitslegende (HC); Bret Easton Ellis, Glamorama; Umberto Eco, In the Name of the Rose; Frederich Dürrenmatt, 4 Hörspiele (HC); Frederich Dürrenmatt, Romulus der Große (my second copy, first lost); Frederich Dürrenmatt, Die Ehe des Herrn Mississipi (HC); Frederich Dürrenmatt, Der Besuch der alten Dame; Frederich Dürrenmatt, Der Verdacht; Halldor Laxness, Das wiedergefundene Paradies; DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little; Gottfried Meinhold, Molt oder Der Untergang der Meltaker (was HC, covers cut off, by me, rebound with dust jacket); Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince; Paul Watzlawick, Anleitung zum Unglücklichsein; Max Frisch, Homo Faber; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz; C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity; Hermann Hesse, Unterm Rad; Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha (present from Viola); Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistiche Detektei; Douglas Adams, Per Anhalter durch die Galaxis (purple print); Douglas Adams, Das Restaurant am Ende des Universums (green print); Douglas Adams, Das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest (dark orange print); Amos Oz, Bericht zur Lage des Staates Israel; John Wyndham, The Midwich Cuckoos; John Wyndham, The Chrysalids; John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids; John Wyndham, Seeds of Time; John Wyndham & Lucas Parkes, The Outward Urge; John Wyndham, Chocky (all 6 Wyndham novels found together, given away by a bookshop); Tim Winton, Blueback; Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Erna Taege-Röhnisch, Tieden un Lüd.

On the third shelf are 28 books: 1 Berlin street directory (Knick mich, ring bound); three 2009 Mauerfall Festival companion books (Dominobuch, “Wir sind das Volk”, Berliner Zukünfte); Burckhardt, Von wunderbaren Büchern (HC); Wilhelm Hauff, Das kalte Herz (HC, rescued from in Kaffeemitte); Julius de Goede, Die schönsten kalligraphischen Alphabete (HC); Deutsche buchmalerei (HC, inside: 1 card (in envelop) from previous owner); David Harris, The Art of Calligraphy (HC); Leunig, You and Me; Leunig, The Travelling Leunig; Leunig, Ramming the Shears; Leunig, Strange Creatures; Leunig, Goatperson; Leunig, A Bag of Roosters (‘stolen’, ie bought from Amazon, didn’t arrive, email exchange, waited, more emails, refunded, arrived the next day); Leunig, The Second Leunig; Leunig, A Common Prayer; Leunig, A Bunch of Poesy (HC); Various, Klassiker der Erotik: Italien (HC); Goethe, Conversations of German Refugees/ Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years (present from Ita’s dad); Robert A. Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body (present from Monika); Forrest Carter, The Education of Little Tree (present from Ita’s mom); Taliesin/ Aneirin, Altwalisische Heldendichtung; Immanuel Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft (HC, present from Nico, inside: 1 bookmark (present from Helene)); Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (free to request from Bundestag); DK Garten Kompakt: Bäume; Stephan Aust, Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex; Hermann Vaske, Why Are You Creative? Also: 1 metal frame, containing: 1 letter (from Martin for opening of my photo exhibition), 2 calendars (Clean Streets, Dirty Walls 2012, 2013), 1 plastic sleeve, containing: newspapers (celebrating anniversary of fall of Berlin wall), 6 magazines (Stern Extra, Die sechs Weltreligionen; 2 GEO Epoche (Die Germanen, Die französische Revolution, borrowed from Nicole(?)); 2 Bild der Wissenschaft (1/2013, 2/2013), GEO (11/2012). In a second row in front are: 6 borrowed books (3 from Nicole (Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Meine Schweiz; Max Frisch, Biedermann und die Brandstifter; Philip Roth, American Pastoral), 1 from Monika (Anne Delbee, Der Kuß), 1 from Ronja (Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay), 1 from Martin (Günter Grass, Katz und Maus)), 1 slip of paper (labelled Martin, as reminder of 1 other book from Martin on loan to Viola (Hermann Hesse, Das Glasperlenspiel).

On the fourth shelf are: 4 travel books (Berlin Highlights, Berlitz Berlin, Time Out Berlin, Lonely Planet Europe (torn on purpose into 5 sections and 3 loose pages (I took only the parts I needed when travelling), complete except for the page on Berlin), plus the suggested itinerary pages from Lonely Planet Germany), 4 language books (Lonely Planet Eastern Europe Phrasebook, Collins English-German dictionary (present from Alicia when I started learning German), Wörterbuch Schweizerdeutsch-Deutsch (present from Kathrin or Sandy, I don’t remember), Liliput Dictionary English-German), 4 novels to sell (Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry (HC); Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago; Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong; Italo Svevo, Vom guten alten Herren und schönen Mädchen), 1 camera bag (Lowepro), containg: 1 camera (Canon 550D with lens (Canon, digital, 50mm, f/1.8); 1 book bag (for attaching to camera bag, handmade by Monika), 1 shoe box (Memphis One), containing tickets, brochures, pamphlets, business cards, postcards, etc. from exhibitions, concerts, events, artists I have visited or were interested in, 1 Mexican $10 coin (because: why not?).

On the bottom shelf are: 1 stand for business cards (made by me for my exhibition to hang on the wall), 1 travel MyRummy (in metal tin), 1 pocket umbrella (red), 1 double set mini playing cards, 1 cardboard box (IKEA lamp), containing: 1 cable; 1 piece of cloth (black, 1m x 1.5m), 1 can spray adhesive (Photo Mount, 3M), 1 bottle craft glue (Meyco), 1 bottle India Ink (black, 250ml, Lefranc & Bourgeois, in cardboard box), 1 roll packing tape (clear), 1 metal can (Illy Espresso), containing: 28 wine corks; 1 travel Scrabble set, 1 old toothbrush (for cleaning not teeth), 1 bottle opener (present from Couchsurfing Tom), 2 teaspoons (from Sankt Oberholz(?)), 1 short screwdriver (flat), 1 tube superglue, 1 mug (Gendarmenmarkt Weihnachtszauber 2009), containing: 4 plastic bags; 1 ziplock bag, 1 empty glass (yogurt), 5 CDs (Wintersleep, Hello Hum; Mumford & Sons, Babel; Robert Mirabel, In the Blood (present from Ita’s mom), Elbow, Cast of Thousands; Jamie Hutchings, His Imaginary Choir), 5 old books (to be cannibalised for their covers), 4 sets of books covers (already cannibalised), 13 hand-bound notebooks (blank, made by me, with upcycled book covers), 1 shoe box (Puma), containing: 4 sheets sandpaper (2 Nr. 180, 2 Nr. 80), 1 piece wood (sanding block), 1 pair shoelaces (dirty white), 13 mounted photos (10cm x 15cm, Ausstellung zur Ausstellung: Armchair, Bird and Mirror, Denver Self-portrait, Eyes Closed, Frankfurt Street Musician02, Honigfabrik01, Ironman, Kreuzdorferhof05, Paradise, Songwriting, Sven, Tacheles03, Wings); 1 cardboard box, containing: 4 small cardboard boxes, 1 lid (of box on sideboard containing calligraphy supplies); 1 box (leftover flyscreen scraps).

These are the full contents of my approx. 2m x 5m room in a five person share flat in Wedding, Berlin, catalogued between  16 and 31 August 2014. At this point I have been living here for 1.5 years. Over the past 9 years, I have lived in over 10 share flats in 7 cities in 3 countries with over 30 different people. I only mention this to underscore the fact that I don’t actually have that much stuff. I’m not a hoarder and especially with moving so often, I’ve tried in recent years not to accumulate too much in the way of possessions (including books, which has been difficult).

-BeLessHuman