GAME ON (8)

X GOT UP AT

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Dearest Xiaohan, (27.6.2022)

I have your first postcard! Thanks so much. I am now really looking forward to retrieving my post for the next month...

I would just say that all the postcards that On Kawara sent were in landscape format. Which isn’t to say that you should feel so constrained.

I would also say that (despite knowing Richard Long, Dan Graham and many exponents of postcard art) On Kawara stuck to commercially available, tourist-typical postcards. Which isn’t to say that you should feel so constrained.

I must begin to think of which day I will make you a Date Painting. I suggest we wait until you’ve read about last week's Date Painting workshop in Kenilworth, which I will be putting a lot into, and which I will be posting soon.

Warm summer breezes,

Duncan



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Hi Xiaohan, (1.7.2022)

Four more gloves dropped through the letterbox today, including the one that corresponds to my Date Painting workshop day. I’m assuming JUNE 24 and JUNE 25 will turn up eventually, maybe even tomorrow… Many thanks.

My mind turns towards which day I will Date Paint for you. I have come back from Birmingham with Covid so am not at full strength. Before JULY 20 should be possible. Any pref between red, black and blue?

I hope you are satisfactorily busy in Riga and that stamping the cards is not too much of an imposition.

Best wishes,
Duncan



Hey Duncan, (1.7.2022)

I’m so happy that you received some cards now!

I’m at the airport of RÄ«ga, going to Berlin. Last days are intense, I played lots of sports with friends like ping-pong, tennis and badminton as Latvia is a sportive country.

I read your email and I feel sorry that I didn’t ask you what kind of postcard you wish to receive. Actually I printed them by myself, and the quality is not average, like formats and printing letters. If you want, I can buy postcards since I arrived Berlin. (I forgot to bring another same series postcards, they are running out now
🤣)

If you have any suggestions for the post cards, please tell me.

I put 24 and 25 in different mailbox maybe they will arrive later. It’s interesting that the mailbox in Latvia are normally at the entrance of big supermarkets or maybe the district I live is not that center.

Wish you feel better soon. I almost forget about Covid until I hugged my friend’s mom and next day she told me she got Covid. Now I feel it’s more like a cold flu. But take care still!

I’m not sure about the date yet haha. Will you travel somewhere after 20 July?About the date painting, please don’t send to me yet, because my roommate is not at home now. I worry that I missed the package. Let’s decide it later:))

As for the color, as black is not a color, out of the concept of time, that would be cool. I also like blue, you can decide it’s blue or black which depends on your feeling.

Take care and have a beautiful day!
Best,
Xiaohan



Good to hear from you, Xiaohan (1.7.2022). (Mind you, I got those 4 postcards from you this morning!)

Ultimately, I envisage presenting the cards in a transparent hanging, so both sides of the card will be visible. Therefore it’s best to keep them landscape format. I suggest you get commercially available cards in Berlin, if you can. You will get an idea of the cards On Kawara sent from Berlin
here. I hope you find that text a good introduction to Berlin.😂

I am not going anywhere after July 20. I was assuming you would stop sending me cards after a month, but I’ll be happy to receive as many as you feel motivated to send.

You may be up in the sky just now. Safe landing in Berlin.

Duncan


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Hi Xiaohan, (5.7.2022)

Two more through the letterbox this morning. And four on Saturday. Which means the 10 cards for June have all got here safely. Thanks for faithfully carrying out your side of this project.

I’m beginning to think about the glove from your perspective. I’m thinking of you putting on a glove, or gloves, before you take up the stamps and go to work on the day’s card. Obviously, once you’re finished your clinical operation, you peel the gloves off your hands and throw them out the window... or discard them on the way to the supermarket or the sports centre… Not that these are single-use gloves, littering the planet. You are assuming that other like-minded people who are also sending out 'I GOT UP' postcards will be looking for fresh gloves to wear.

You are getting up early:

22 JUNE 2022 4.40A.M.
24 JUNE 2022 5.29A.M.
29 JUNE 2022 3.30A.M.

I hope this does not mean you are so busy that you feel you must make use of all 24 hours in day. That makes me feel guilty that I imposed this glove-heavy task on you.
😅

I wonder if stamping the cards is giving you insight into On Kawara’s thinking in those 12 years that he kept up the series. Day after day after day...

Your stamping operation is going very well, but you still haven’t settled on the technique that gives the perfect finish every time. In Berlin, you will go on trying different gloves until you find the perfect match. Or maybe you will change your approach altogether and stop looking for perfection via the ideal glove. Maybe you will walk up to Berliners at random and ask them to post the cards for you.

I look forward to finding out. Moreover, I look forward to finding out if Berlin is the sort of place you rise at dawn or stay in bed until noon.

All best,
Duncan

PS I got up at 8.45 A.M. as all sensible people do.
😉

Hey Duncan! (6.7.2022)

How are you? 

Oh nice, you're receiving my time traveling gloves/postcards. 

Hahah I'm glad that they arose a bit your curiosity. I think people drop them accidentally and I just like to guess how's the owner look like and feel like. Feels like gloves are part of the owner, so I shot them like a portrait;)

The reason that I got up early is

22 JUNE 2022 
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24 JUNE 2022 
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29 JUNE 2022 
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It’s not a problem. It’s interesting for me to be aware and reflect the important moment of my day. 12 years!!! It’s CRAZY INSANE!! There's a similarity between Zen and robot —— very disciplined. I can't imagine that, or maybe I just didn't get use to it. It might become as necessary as a meal or sleep in one day for On.  He just reshaped his life way. Life Is art, art is life. 

Funny thing is that I'm running out my gloves, what a pity, cannot make them a suit. 

It's so difficult to find postcards in Berlin,  it's not in giftshop,  not decorate shop,  not in bookshop, not in supermarket,  not in kiosque,  not in postbank hahah,  guess only in souvenir shop.  But I'm tired of looking for it and tired of capitalism.  Guess what,  maybe I'm not going to use landscape photos.  Today after failed trying finding them, I entered a boardgame shop and ask postcards by chance.  They showed me many postcards with commercial advertisements on it.  So I got a new idea:  find those free postcards from Berlin——to know what's happening in this city,  what do they produce, what do they need. It feels like a social research.  I found the design is not always aesthetic but can show how does the companies think about what's people's taste.  And from this you might also got Where did I go.  What do you think? 

I'm hard working in Berlin
😂 kind of difficult here,  didn't find apartment yet,  living in Airbnb for short-term, only working not partying. You will know when you receive the cards. 

As it's my first time in this city, I don't really know about it.  What I learned and fascinated from films about this city,  I didn't feel it yet. I worried that I won't have time to study and discover city here because of the work. Have you been in Berlin? What do you like about her? 

Good evening. (Neon lights with techno music)
Xiaohan

(All sensible people record their getting up time?)



Hi Xiaohan, (7.7.2022)

Lovely to hear from you. I am replying the next day after having had a few alcoholic drinks (just so you know!)

Great to get those photos that ‘explain’ why you got up so early in Latvia!

Sad to hear that it’s hard to source cards in Berlin. You would get them from art galleries, I suspect. Why don’t you just steal them from the Brucke Museum? For sure that place would be worth a visit for its collection of Expressionist paintings at the turn of the 20th Century. I say ’steal them’, not having stolen anything in my entire life, so you know how to take that bit of advice.
😉

By the way, I will reimburse you for all the stamp costs that you are incurring. Not the postcards, because you will be getting them by stealth for nothing, but the stamp costs.
🙃

I have been in Berlin once, just five years ago. I was travelling with Kate, who I am still very close to. We lived for a week in a flat that had been on the East German side. We messed about during the day, following the Berlin Wall mostly. We enjoyed a visit to the Stazi HQ. And every day we would have a special Berlin breakfast. I hope that inspires you in your own engagement with the city.
🧐

I urge you again to read the Berlin essay on my On Kawara site. It might provide a way into the city. Though that is probably a ridiculous idea

Good luck with your own work, and with finding Berlin’s fun side.

Neon lights with techno music,

Duncan x

PS I may be painting on July 9. Any preference: size ‘A' (8 inches by 10) or ‘B' (10 inches by 13)? Though I don’t really need your input about that. It will just happen. Soon.


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Hi Xiaohan, (14.7.2022)

Yesterday, five cards arrived. July 1, 3, 4, 5, and 7. They are all most welcome - thanks - but I especially like the all-German text ones, which Google translates as:

'WHAT IF IT DOES?'

'DO YOU WANT TO BE TEMPTED AGAIN?'

'FIRST HEATED UP, THEN THROWN AWAY'

In the meantime, I have done a Date Painting on July. 9. This may end up being the one I give you, though I expect to do another one in the next few days, so hopefully you will have a choice to make. In any case, I will hang on to the paintings until October of this year, if that’s all right, when I hope to have a show of them in a tenement close in Glasgow.

I took
JULY 9, 2022 up to Knockie, my local hill, which is where I’ve been taking each Date Painting on the day of its painting:

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From here, the view back down to my house in Blairgowrie is another constant:

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And so to the most recent photo, taken a few minutes ago:

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Of course, the above photo would be more effective if it was the JULY 9, 2022 card, which I imagine is on its way to me now. Still, this is a cute way to end:

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FIRST HEATED UP
THEN STUBBED OUT

FIRST HEATED UP
THEN WAGON-WHEELED

Hoping things are working out for you in Berlin. I am going to look up the address you’re staying at, to see how close that is to where I was when I was briefly but memorably a holiday-maker in Berlin.

All best,
Duncan


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Hi Xiaohan (19.7.2022)

Four more cards today. Being July 9, 10, 12 and 13 (in a clever envelope). Those cards missing, I can say - as I’ve lined all the cards up on the carpet - are July 2, 6, 9 and 11. Perhaps 9 and 11 have been delayed in the post. I worry about July 2 and 6. But not unduly.

The July 9, 2022 card is a good match for the Date Painting I’ve made for you, as according to Google, the postcard’s printed words translate as “you are made for me.”

Yesterday, I made a second July, 2022 painting. After it was done by about 4pm, off I went up the local hill. On this occasion I forgot to take my water bottle and I was forced to crawl up a potato drill in order to keep out of the sun. During this process I came up with the phrase ‘global worming’.

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In England it has been 40 degrees centigrade, a record for the UK. Though here in Scotland it is not nearly that hot, despite what this text suggests.

At the top of the hill I went to the ‘LET TIME PASS' bench and took the usual photo:

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However, on this occasion I couldn’t help noticing some litter around the bench. So I gathered it up before putting it in my backpack. Yes, for every selfish Rudyard Kipling there is a selfless On Kawara:

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I did check first that there were no cherry bakewells for me to eat, and no drop of Fanta. I didn’t care about the absence of cake but I could have really done with a sip of Fanta to revive me.

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Things were pretty hot-but-cool at the top of the hill, so I took a few photos.

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Then I was ready for my return journey. (You can just see the enormous derelict church right beside my house, directly under the ‘1’ of ’18’ in the above photo.

Crawling downhill along the potato drill was much easier than going uphill. Though it was also much hotter for some reason.

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Back home I was pleased that my airbnb guest was willing to pose with my Date Painting. Stuart told me about his round of golf that day at Rosemount Golf Course, including birdies at the 10th and 11th holes in his attempt to qualify for the British Seniors Open. Stuart worked out that he needed to birdie the last three holes, and in the pressure of that situation, he took birdie (or was it par?), bogey and quadruple bogie. I don’t think Tiger Woods would have done any better, not under that sort of pressure.

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At 9 P.M.he was out sampling the delights of Blair’s summer pub season. For breakfast today I made sure he had all the usual treats plus a good view of this Date Painting. Though sad to say
JULY 18, 2022 was by this time ‘YESTERDAY', as it now is for you as you read (or at least I presume you do) this email.

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Damn, I forgot you don't favour red Date Paintings!

The above mention of today's breakfast reminds me that I had to pop out and buy some apple juice last night. Never follow orange juice with another bottle of orange juice, is this airbnb superhost’s top-tip. Otherwise, guests think that one has an orange juice ‘well' in the back garden, from which one regularly hauls up pailfuls of the stuff, complete with drowned birds, autumn leaves, etc.

I look forward to receiving more of your wonderful ‘I GOT UP’ cards. Have you decided on a finish date yet?

I note that you have moved from Stepanstrase to Gottschdstrase. Are you having more fun there? Or is life in Berlin all fun-fun-fun no matter where you wake up in the morning?

All best,
Duncan


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Hiya (26.7.2022),

The card for July 6 turned up this morning, twenty days later. You know, the day you got up at 7.34 A.M., feeling hazy, while still at Stepanstrasse.

Duncan



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Dear Xiaohan, (3.8.2022)

The card for JULY 17 turned up today. I guess this is the last one. You got up at 7.36 A.M. in case you’ve forgotten.

Did you send cards off on July 14, 15 and 16? Just wondering.

Are you still at Gottschdstrase 4? I hope your summer is going well.

Duncan

(Latvia)/Berlin

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Latvia /(Berlin)

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Hey Duncan, (3.8.2022)

How's going? Sorry for the late reply, I was working as dog last weeks. Life is so busy and I feel exploited, maybe we can have a call soon.

The overview of postcards seems amazing! I think I should keep sending you the gloves, they look good in your photos hahah.

I sent you other dates too, but some of the language on the cards is neither German nor English, maybe they took some time to arrive or they were sent to investigation department just in case they are spy mail.

Yes, I'm living in Gottschostrase 4 and I will keep living till the end of September. It's a super interesting place. Do you know where this place is?

Hope you enjoy summer too.

Talk to you soon!

Xiaohan



Hi Xiaohan, (4.8.2022)

Working like a dog are you? Sorry to hear you feel you are being exploited. What are you being asked to do?

Yes, we should have a Zoom call together. I might be away from Tuesday to Friday of next week, but otherwise I could do anytime. You tell me when you might have time.

Today the 16 JULY card came that says ‘Vladivostok’ on the picture side.

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So a card from a Chinese woman, living in Berlin, sent to a man living in remote Scotland. No wonder the German authorities didn’t process it until 30 July!

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Let’s listen in:

"So the Chinese spy got up at 7.59 A.M. Which must be code for something else, something that is to happen in Vladivostok. Only the spymaster, lying low in the middle of nowhere, knows what the inscrutable Chinese spy in Berlin is planning."

"Maybe she is telling him that the orange gas supply to the West has been cut off for another day as from 7.59 A.M..”

“Ja, that will be it.”

“So can we let the spymaster have the card?”

“Why not. Deliver it ASAP. If he takes it up to the bench on Knockie and takes photos of it then we will know who is boasting about the long, hard winter we have ahead of us.”

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Let’s you and I speak in secret before the end of September.

Duncan



Hi Xiaohan, (6.8.2022)

I had begun to make a Date Painting when the post arrived at lunchtime. Two cards!

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I carried on with the painting until I was happy with it. As happy as you can be with something that memorialises the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on the 6th of August, 1945.

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Spending the day applying white paint to black background makes me keen to scrutinise the message side of your cards quite closely. I mean the painterliness of the black ink on white paper.

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Berlin is twinned with Blairgowrie. Just as Blairgowrie is twinned with Hiroshima.

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Aren’t these marvellous?

DUNCAN: “Thank-you, Xiaohan.”

XIAOHAN: “That’s OK, Duncan. I have to do something to fill the time between when I get up and everyone else does."



Hey Duncan! (13.8.2022)

Thank you for your email!! Sorry I that I was too occupied because of work and new life in Berlin.

How are you? I guess you received most of the cards right?

“Berlin is twinned with Blairgowrie. Just as Blairgowrie is twinned with Hiroshima.” Because of your project, 3 spots in this world has built connections, isn’t it fascinating? If people send cards, everywhere is bonded to everywhere, we are the world.

I find free time tomorrow, if you’re available, let’s have a call! If you want a Zoom or google call, you have my email address!

Enjoy the weekend of beginning of the autumn~

All the best,
Xiaohan




Hi Xiaohan, (15.8.2022)

After our Zoom I tried to carry on with the essay on Evelyn Waugh that I am in the middle of. But I soon realised that I had to go back to the On Kawara project and put together 'GAME ON 8'.

The postcard project got off to a shaky start. I now realise that you began to send me cards on June 19, 2022, and that the first three cards were sent from France. However, I only got one of them, the third, which was sent on June 21. I have now looked up this address (Saint-Denis, Rue de la liberté, 93200), on Google Maps and realise it is in Paris.

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I didn't know you had been in Paris. The city's name isn't on the message side of June 21's card, and the glove was photographed in Bourges (I dare say).

After the Zoom call, I thought I had better look up your Riga/Latvia address. Why hadn't I done so before? Well, those nine cards were sent from June 22 to June 30 when I was in Kenilworth and then writing up my Kenilworth Date Painting workshop experience. But hang on, that's not when I received them. I received them from July 1 to July 5, when I was suffering from Covid, so I didn't engage with them as much as I should have. Also they came in batches of four, two and three which also seems to have overwhelmed my curiosity about exactly where they were coming from. I think you were here (see below), although the address is not an exact match.

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In wider terms, you were here (see the red tack):

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Uncomfortably close to Moscow, is how I would describe this location. Latvia shares a border with Russia. That must be truly disconcerting for the Latvians you came across. I now interpret those gloves on the postcards as calls for help. Yet Latvia has been in NATO since 2004, Google tells me. Looking closely at the stamp on all nine of your Latvian cards, I see a man with a white beard sitting down for a meal. But instead of being in the company of his family, he is surrounded by snakes. He is trying to remain calm, and I wish him luck with that.


I am glad you are enjoying Berlin so much. I hadn't noticed that you had been living at Stephanstrasse 19, the same address that is printed at the bottom of some of the slavsandtatars cards, such as those last two that I received. Thanks for pointing that out, though I wish I had made this obvious connection myself. Interesting what you told me about what slavsandtatars are doing. Trying to teach decolonisation in remote regions of Russia via children's books!

Of course, 'Berlin' is a word to set the pinheads in the Kremlin shaking in their jackboots. It has been ever since On Kawara, David Bowie and Samuel Beckett, amongst many other enterprising artists, visited the place in 1976. Long may post-War Berlin retain its capacity to strike fear into the mean-spirited.

Life sounds great at Gottschedstrasse 4, living with people with such diverse backgrounds. I think it is odd that people speak English rather than German in Berlin, but I understand that it is in a good cause, so that no-one is left out. This means that when you all get together over breakfast and describe what animal or colour you feel like that day, everyone understands. I think it is even odder that you are getting up in the middle of the night to meditate. And that the demands of work and meditation together are not giving you enough time to sleep. Or have I misunderstood your situation?

How sad that I will probably not be receiving any more cards. The final situation is thus:

JUNE 19, 2022:
JUNE 20, 2022:
JUNE 21, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.47 A.M.
JUNE 22, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 4.40 A.M.
JUNE 23, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.26 A.M.
JUNE 24, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.29 A.M.
JUNE 25, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.39 A.M.
JUNE 26, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.17A.M.
JUNE 27, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.33 A.M.
JUNE 28, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.26 A.M.
JUNE 29, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 3.30 A.M.
JUNE 30, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 10.22 A.M.
JULY 1, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.27 A.M.
JULY 2, 2022:
JULY 3, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.48 A.M.
JULY 4, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.48 A.M.
JULY 5, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.36 A.M.
JULY 6, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.34 A.M.
JULY 7, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.40 A.M.
JULY 8, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.03 A.M.
JULY 9, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.52 A.M.
JULY 10, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.58 A.M.
JULY 11, 2022:
JULY 12, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.20 A.M.
JULY 13, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.24 A.M.
JULY 14, 2022:
JULY 15, 2022:
JULY 16, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.59 A.M.
JULY 17, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.36 A.M.
JULY 18, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.15 A.M.
JULY 19, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.24 A.M.

Of the 25 days that you've told me at what time you GOT UP, seven were before 6 A.M. I can tell you that in the same month I GOT UP before 6 A.M. on no occasions. Still, it's not a competition.

Indeed it is not a competition, it's international co-operation. Thanks so much, Xiaohan, and I will be sending. 1.65 + (1.77 x 9) + (0.95 x 21) = 37.53 Euros to your bank account once you send me its details.

I hope you are proud of this joint work. And when I say 'joint' I mean, On Kawara, me and you.

Do you know the David Bowie song 'Everyone says Hi'? It can be found
here on Youtube. The bonus is that the performance is live from Berlin circa 2004. All today I have been singing a version that repeats the line 'Xiaohan says Hi' I just hope I've been pronouncing your name acceptably.

The Date Painting monk aka,
Dunc xoxo




POSTSCRIPTS

Card received on September 3, 2022:


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vxeGsTmeSkmqWSpiehMNAA_thumb_e714

Email received from Xiaohan on October 1, 2022:

Hiii Duncan,

Thanks for the email and analyzing game! I like how jumpy your mind is. I'll tell you about the answer soon.

I just came back to France and I was welcomed by the French strike on the exact day back. Sorry I was trying to enjoy the last month in Berlin, so I didn't check email that often. I went to the International Literature Festival with some friends who write, we hung out together and wrote on the street and metro, and we shared our writings. Berlin is such an active city that exaggerates what I want. These experiences encouraged me to write more. I would like to be a writer. I wondered if you wrote from a very early time or if the sense of writing just came to you at one point. How do you practice writing?

About the address in Paris, it was also about writing. I went to Paris 8 for an interview for Creative Writing. But my French is not enough to enroll in the master (they ask for C1), so I still need to take a language test.

About the address in Riga, I lived in my friend's place. It is a soviet style building, with lots of similar buildings surrounding it. Many maple, linden and oak trees live with people.

I really enjoy Latvia with its plenteous nature and its ancient culture (I found it has connections with Aryan people, through swastika and Latvian has many similar words with Sanskrit), unfortunately habitants here forgot about their old gods because of longtime colonization of german or slavic people. People are nice and a bit distant. Society has a macho problem, men almost never show their feelings. In india, snake is sacred and powerful so I assume that this old man on the stamp is powerful but yeah a bit lonely (holding too much patriarchal pressure).

'Berlin', a word to set the pinheads in the Kremlin shaking in their jackboots. This sentence is powerful. I never associate these two places, now I'm curious where the root "-lin" comes from. As we also have Dublin and many Russian names end with "-lin". Is it from slavic or german?

What I like about Berlin is that this city was rebuilt after the war, it's more open to new concepts. Compared with other bourgeois cities in Germany, it's very left and would be enjoyed by the working class. I opened my eyes about gender issues and reflected on human relationships here. Mean-spirits might renew themselves through past lessons and new embrace.

Ahahah it's not middle of night, just the beginning of the day. We meditate till the sun rises, which is nice.

It's a pity that some cards are missing. Maybe they're too beautiful and someone just stole it. Btw, I heard that stealing in Berlin is a very common phenomenon. Some friends I met and their friends steal for fun or rebel...I try not to judge people who did that, because people are complicated. But I realize it's an interesting topic that the law is always a bit more delayed than the reality and the law is always in preference of people who are in power. What is justice? How to find balance between different people? I thought that I should have thought it over when I was a teen but this question comes to me again here in Berlin. So I wondered what you think of stealing?

It was funny that even though I sent you postcards from June to July, until the very end of Septembre, when I visited museums and found free postcards I was thinking about "Oh this is a good one, I wish I found it earlier, wish we can still be on this project." It became a subconscious habit. I would say one month is too short for a project to develop just as 3 months is too short for me to get to know the core of the city-Berlin. But for you it's a long project, so through your book, we will experience the essence of time of how you and On Kawara experience.

Hahah I would practice more to wake up early now. It's not a competition, just a wonderful feeling. Thank you again for this experience and exchange. I learned and reflected about myself a lot. Let's keep in touch
!
Autumn is here. I Hope you enjoy it.
All the best,
Xiaohan


Second email received on October 1, 2022:

Hey Duncan,

Seems French post did something wrong! I just found in the mail box that they sent me back the first and second postcards. So ridiculous
🤣🤣🤣
Now you got infos of another two. What a surprise
🙃

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Email sent on September 2, 2022:

Hi Xiaohan,

Good to hear from you again. Glad you have enjoyed the summer.

Interesting about those first two cards. Why don’t you put a line through your address and a circle around my address, and maybe add the word "ici" followed by an exclamation mark! And stick them in a post-box and see what happens. I think they will get to me. You will see from my webpage postscript that the card for July 2 has recently turned up.

You will be getting back the postcard you sent me on July 9 when I send the Date Painting of that day to you.

You talk about writing. I began to write at the age of 25 as a way of dealing with how much I had hated working as an accountant. I qualified as an accountant and I quit at the same time. As soon as I began to write, I loved the pattern-making and the sense of relief that getting emotions onto the page gave me. I was dealing with the unhappiness and unhealthiness that had been welling up within me as I’d tried to hold down a ’normal’ job.

You will have some big decisions to make as you continue to write. Because your first language is Chinese but your English is very good and you have experience of some extreme and ‘advanced' western cultures. Are you going to write things that will increase a western audience’s appreciation of China? That could be very useful as I’ve a feeling there is no great appreciation of what Chinese culture is about in Europe. Are you going to criticise the closed nature of Chinese society, in contrast to, say, Berlin? Are you going to take the weight of your heritage on your shoulders like Ai Weiwei does? I hope you don’t feel you have to do this, as your health and happiness have to be prioritised. But it was a brave thing he has done and is still doing.

I feel as if I have finished the On Kawara website. It is enormous. However, I have written a synopsis and chapter summary for a book that I would like to see published in print, which is basically PART ONE and PART THREE with some of the self-referential stuff stripped out. The synopsis/summary can be found on the website just above this sample chapter: onkawara.co.uk/styled-68/

It will take me ten weeks or so to edit the other chapters. After that I may try and create interest in a blog called The Date Painter which I might put on medium.com or try and place with a weekly newspaper. The idea is that as I Date Painted I would work away at some thought or idea, reflect on current affairs, or something I’d heard on the radio (officially, the Queen died of old age!). So I am not finished with On yet.

If you manage to get to the UK, you must come and stay with me in Scotland for a few days. It would be great to carry on our dialogue. Though we must do that in any case.

Autumn is here. Pears are dropping from the big, old pear tree onto the ground. I pick up two and eat them (stewed and sweetened) with my porridge every day. I leave the rest for the birds.

All the best for your new academic year,
Duncan


Email received from Xiaohan on September 5, 2022:

Hey Duncan,

I'll try to send those two postcards as you said hahah Great that I'll receive your date painting, that will be cool to hang it in my apartment. July 9, 2022 is my very new experience in Berlin, it will remind me a lot of my life there (very hardworking moment, too).

I guess I understand what you feel about accounting life, as I recently got to know Charlie Bukowski, a poor real and powerful poet who wrote: "The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life to a function that doesn’t interest you. "
His words are not delicate but very sharp and real. I appreciated his works and realized that in China, in our education, we filtered out too many thoughts and voices from the lower class, but boosted morality which serves the ruling class. Life is incomplete to only see the good and beautiful qualities. Bukowski used to work in the post office for at least 10 years, and he got by and wrote books during this time. Guess writing set you free from harmful work too.

Seems you've been writing for a long time. Do you read many books to improve writing skills? Who are your favourite writers? Recently, I finished a book of Kazuo Ishiguro called
Clara and the Sun and Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. I was touched through the subtle details of characters and the reflections about human self. At the same time, I read a skill book for shaping characters and plots. I Hope I could send you some finished stories to read soon.

I write about China for sure, but not for anyone to appreciate or to be like Ai Weiwei. It might be meaningful for women as there's a storyline that goes through 4 generations of my family, especially about women. I'm still gathering materials from my relatives.

The chapter is cool! I fully respect that you stick to this project until it's so rich. I believe this huge artistic archive will inspire many people just like how it inspired me. I checked the postcards page too. It looks really good with the location and lost gloves! I should keep going on with this project. Thanks Duncan, I learned and enjoyed from this interesting and meaningful project.

Sorry for the death of the Queen, I wondered what this meant for you?

Nice to know your idyllic harmonic life with nature. I'm going to pick up some mushrooms with friends too!

Best wishes,
Xiaohan


Card received on October 12, 2022:

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OAzEApJDTRG0xBvgZcfQzw_thumb_e80e

Card received on October 15, 2022:

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Email received on November 2, 2022:

Heyyy Duncan,

Nice to hear from you. Sorry that I was occupied by lots of lessons and work. 

Congratulations! So happy that you finally received these special two postcards with 2 times digital postmarks on it. Seems they’ve been doubted many times and almost been thrown away or sent back to France, like big adventures for them. 

I showed your website today during the class, and the professor heard about On Kawara for the first time, it seems interesting to him. And he found that the free postcards I found in Berlin is more interesting than gloves cards hahah maybe I should keep doing this project;)

Hope you are doing well!
Enjoy golden autumn!
🌻
All the best,
Xiaohan 


Email sent on November 6, 2022:

Hi Xiaohan,

I've now got a chance to round off the 'X GOT UP AT' page.

Good to know that you made a presentation of our recent work at the art school. It reminds me that we owe Neal Beggs thanks for having brought us together. He said that energy has a way of finding its way to other sources of energy. Cheers, Neal!

You raise some interesting points about writers in your previous mail. Yes, I know about Bukowski, but it is decades since I read a book by him. A couple of years ago, Kate and I read aloud
Klara and the Sun to each other. We both really enjoyed it, as we have enjoyed reading aloud several Ishiguro books. I think it is the very slow, logical development of a scenario that he completely fills with convincing imagined detail that is so impressive. One day I hope to read your tale of four generations of Chinese women. (The British Queen meant very little to me. The only time I ever saw her getting excited was when she was watching, through binoculars, her own horse win a horse race.)

I've re-done the summary table of postcard results. Alas, this program (Rapidweaver) is not good on the presentation of tables, but still:

JUNE 19, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7,24 A.M. 11B RUE DE FONDMORIGNY, BOURGES
JUNE 20, 2022:
XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.03 A.M. 11B RUE DE FONDMORIGNY, BOURGES
JUNE 21, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.47 A.M. Saint Denis, RUE DE LA LIBERTé
JUNE 22, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 4.40 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 23, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.26 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 24, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.29 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 25, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.39 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 26, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.17A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 27, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.33 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 28, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.26 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 29, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 3.30 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JUNE 30, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 10.22 A.M. DUBULT IELA 4-90, RIGA
JULY 1, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.27 A.M. WARSCHAUR STR. 43, BERLIN
JULY 2, 2022:
XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.52 A.M WARSCHAUR STR. 43, BERLIN
JULY 3, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.48 A.M. WARSCHAUR STR. 43, BERLIN
JULY 4, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.48 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 5, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.36 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 6, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.34 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 7, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.40 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 8, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.03 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 9, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.52 A.M. STEPANSTRASE 19, BERLIN
JULY 10, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 9.58 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 11, 2022:
JULY 12, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.20 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 13, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 8.24 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 14, 2022:
JULY 15, 2022:
JULY 16, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.59 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 17, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 7.36 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 18, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.15 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN
JULY 19, 2022: XIAOHAN GUO GOT UP AT 5.24 A.M. GOTTSCHOSTRASE 4, BERLIN


I see now that all the missing cards were posted from the same address, the one you settled down in in Berlin. I think you said that some languages other than German or English may have been involved on the picture side of one or more of these cards. So maybe they were indeed confiscated or censored. I wonder if one or more of them could be 'recreated', but perhaps that is not necessary.

'Will this project ever end?' you will be asking yourself. I hope not. But maybe it should end now. I am going to call on Klara for some help with the recreation of the missing postcards you sent from Gottschostrasse 4, Berlin.

Klara suggests this was how the picture side of July 11, 2022 looked:

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And for July 14, 2022 she has in mind:

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I don't even have to ask her for July 15, 2022, so enthusiastic is her AI+:

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In other words, I think you were right. The cards were stolen because they were too beautiful. Some Charles Bukowski of the Berlin postal service has kept these cards and is constantly showing them to fellow workers so that Germany sticks to the Western script.

That works for me. How about you?