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On Doors  into other worlds

A hidden floor, an office door, a wardrobe, a rainbow, a hurricane, a train, a rabbithole, a train platform wall, a bedroom wall, a pill, a tunnel.


Since childhood my world has been populated by membrans into other worlds. Their reality is  fading away the older I get and only the screen ( cinema , computer or television) is staying with some continuity. Our culture has many examples for stories that include these transitional spaces , transporting us into another world.  I asked myself : What is the reason for these phantastical doorways . Where do they come from and what role do they play in our lives.


We are living in a world that is held together by shared imaginations. Myth we all believe in and trust ,so our societies are stable. Shared imaginations like money , law, hirachy, art, capitalism or religion. These shared imagined realities we are taught from childhood onwards .  They have an extremely important function and they form our cultures. Without them humanity would have never evolved into large empires and a global societies. They help us to cooperate with large amounts of strangers and trust them. But they are imagined.

Maybe the stories and imaginations about membrans and doorways are hinting to the fragile character of these shared imaginations. For most people it would be a unthinkable to  say their religion or belief system is purely imagined. For them they form solid realities. Historically if you seize to belief or doubt a god , law or a leader there are truly very real consequences. The solidity of the shared beliefs is important to sustain our societies, but at the same time there is always the suspicion in some that they are purely imagined and that there is no true solidity, just an imagined one. Stories about world membrane might reflect these ideas, give relief to suspicion, include these stories in cultures and so ultimately help stability.

Suppressed ideas, especially if they have truth in them will not go away , but erupt in a uncontrolled way. The acceptance and inclusion of membrane stories in a culture are psychologically disarming.

They give room to possibilities of other orders, other possibilities, other worlds. They create momentum for change, if it is necessary. They help motoring our culture through this dynamic battle between belief and disbelief.


The Flammarion engraving is a wood engraving by an unknown artist that first appeared in Camille Flammarion’s L’atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888) (source: wikipedia)


Dorothe’s house in “The wizard of Oz” . A film from 1939.


From ” Where the wild things are” by Maurice Sendak


If we look at the individual instead of the sociological , one could argue  our cognitive ability to form ideas about the world is nothing else then opening the door to another world. The process of “Thinking” itself finds representation in these metaphors of doorways and membranes. When I think about something a form appears outside of myself, somewhere. I can close my eyes and develop the idea in front of my inner eye. A new place appears as I have self consciousness.

From the movie "Being John Malkovitch"

From the movie “Being John Malkovitch”

from the movie "Being John Malkovitch"

from the movie “Being John Malkovitch”


As I do notice that I had many more doorways and membranes populating my mind ,when I was younger I wonder if the developmental stages of the brain might have also something to do with the presence of these metaphors. Almost like  an outward projected fluency that points to neural networks that are still open and possible to form unexpected connections.


Drugs that are influencing our brain processes and change our perception and actions are also part of  this complex of stories. Taking a pill can transport your mind and some of your body into another world.

From "The Matrix" movie 1999

From “The Matrix” movie 1999

In “The Matrix” Neo the main character is given a pill that can transport him out of a controlled purely imagined reality into a reality where he inhibits his body consciously again.  The chemical pill is his doorway.  “The Matrix” is an essay on control through shared reality. Doorways and Membranes are everywhere in the movie.

"The Matrix" 1999

“The Matrix” 1999

Other examples of Movies with Doorway or Membrane Stories

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will expand its three-month celebration of anime with a screening of the 2002 Oscar¨-winning animated feature ÒSpirited AwayÓ on Friday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m., and ÒA Tribute to Animation Master Hayao MiyazakiÓ on Tuesday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m.  Both events will take place at the AcademyÕs Samuel Goldwyn Theater and will include extended gallery hours for the AcademyÕs ongoing exhibition ÒANIME! High Art Ð Pop Culture.Ó Pictured here: SPIRITED AWAY, 2002.



Harry Potters Platform 9 3/4 at Kingscross Station

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

The Chronicles Of Narnia The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe-04

The Wardrobe in ” The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe”


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How artists want to be seen

Some Artist are interested in their self image. They make specific choices how they want to appear. Here are two different sets of collections: Artists referring to the motive of the hand or the mouth or both and Artists with different animals. I find both revealing and engaging.



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Everybody I met

An ongoing project where I draw Everybody I met from memory.

………………….Marcel Vater ,Anne Duffau, Signore Burmeister, anonymous, Karina Schmitt, Herr Reifers, Graham Crowley, Mark Dickenson, Petra Vater, Martin Sullivan, anonymous, anonymous, Sandra Burk, Frau Phillippi, Friederike Clever, Peter, Steve, anonymous, Frau Breil, anonymous, Sandra, Girolamo, Nigel Rolfe, Alexandra, anonymous, Frau Balkenhol, Wolfgang Tilmans, anonymous, Dan Fox, Allessandro Raho,Valentina Bin, Matthias Dettmann, attempts Anne, Christoph Wedding, Orla Kiely, Attempt Andrew, Marvin Gay Chetwyn, Nasim Weiler, Raphy Tailor, Dorothe Nett, Geelke Gayken, Emma Sullivan, Anthea Sullivan, Heather, Sebastian Burkner, Joe Scotland, Michele Rowbotham, Andrew Parker, Andy, Babette, Sven Sachsalber, Dave Hanger, Tim Braden, Saskia, Hans Vater, Nathaniel Mellor, Michael Zoellner, Patrizia Cristaldi, Jemima Montague, Faye, Paul O’Neill, anonymous, Wiebke Loseries, Lou, Anthony Taylor, Achim Hoops, Harriet, Mick Jagger, anonymous, Miranda Symonds , Andreas Oennerfors, Jemima Montague, anonymous , Clea Sullivan , Nick Laessing, Timothy Taylor, Herr Saftig, Andreas Gursky ,anonymous, Gavin Houghton, Thomas Knaps, Bjoern Bicker, Nike, Steve, Alfonso, Sam, anonymous, Sophie von Hellermann………………






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“Infinity is just not what it used to be” , Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

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two thirty in the afternoon

state of 2.30...

state of mind…at 2.30…

(written for the Royal College of Art catalogue 2014 )

Agatha Christie made sure that nobody ever saw her writing. She didn’t have a study or specific space where she would work, but instead placed her typewriter on the kitchen table after the children had left for school and she had cleared the dishes. By the time when everybody returned home her typewriter had disappeared again and she would be in the middle of making tea. At least this is what I read.

At 2.30 in the afternoon I start shrinking. A little bit like hulk, who slowly looses his anger and turns back into a small naked man. I have to prepare for a quiet, powerful and invisible portal that is awaiting my mind to cross through daily at around this time. It’s school pick up time. Behind the portal awaits another world: Tedious, structured, exhausted, obeying, with tied shoelaces , brushed teeth, money in bank accounts, hands shivering, stairs, flag poles and homemade pizza. A world strange and deterministic. Slowly it opens its wings and around 4 pm it stands in front of me glorious, cold and all engulfing with fingers, tasting sweet as jelly babies. I rehearse one last time and dissolve once again like fizzing aspirin. A small naked man, fairly happy, mysteriously normal.

The gaps that were wide open during the morning have disappeared, the world is solid again. It has to be. I exchange words with people that look like my parents; I look like my parents. I am boring, serious and use the word “No” during every other breath. At least that is how my son describes me. It doesn’t help that I try to explain the dialectic virtues of using the word “No” and what Hegel thought of it. At 4.30 pm I look at a tree and don’t see the tree, but only a symbol of a tree. While before entering the portal the world was breathing a complex, surprising and somewhat paradox pool of light and words, it now had collapsed into textbook symbolism and the logic of cause and effect. It wasn’t always like that and isn’t always like that, but like a pendulum that is kicked, after a while it starts steering the same course again. Its monkey business ! I explain to myself . Biology. The work that has to be done is to kick the pendulum, to create unbalance and take a glimpse through the gaps of matter and mind that open up in the process.  After all, it is said that it has been a tiny unbalance that had created the universe. Now it is drifting back into vast and cold balance. The process we call time. I piss on time, I throw rocks at it and grapefruits. Recently I noticed the portal getting tighter. Clearly soon I wont be able to pass through it anymore. I just hope I will be on the right side of it, when it happens.

Markus Vater

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The Pebble

New Poetry?

Not long ago I bought an iphone.  The little flat pebble took over large parts of my communicating activities. A thought though started to worry me: ” How will in the future pictures tell us stories when there are less and less carriers of “visualised doing“present? Devices are merging together. The Book, The Telephone, The Television, The Personal Computer, The Letter, The Walkman, The World Atlas, The Typewriter,The Encyclopaedia, The Alarmclock  are all disappearing poetic objects. They all are turning into one small black pebble. As a maker of visual poetry, I feel a little sad about the disappearance of these objects. Mustn’t it create confusion and impoverishment in image making? A person looks at the pebble. It is impossible to say if he watches a film, reads a book or a letter. The same image can mean a variety of different activities. At the same time I wonder what other new poetic interfaces will appear and how they will find poetic uses.

Sculpture by Dali

Painting by Dali

Ikea Alarmclock

Painting by Alex Katz

Sculpture by Nam Jun Paik

Painting by Magritte
Painting by Konrad Klapheck, The Language of the Powerful

Painting by Neo Rauch

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