Transcript

Text: In 37 ballads Hans Magnus Enzensberger had mon...[Text cuts off]

Text: Harbingers of Plundering / From Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s epitaphs for monsters and heroes of the bourgeoisie

Text: C.M. (1730-1817)

Text: M. The letter M on the astral maps:

M42 in Orion; the ring nebula in Lyra;

Plus the Pleiades, M45; and the New Star of the Chinese, the supernova, M1:

Glowing clouds of gas, cosmic bombs, radio sources / Al-Sûfi, heavenly falcon!/

Oh Swedenborg, extragalactic dreamer! /

This man in contrast: deft, clean, plain /

Starving. In Paris at twenty-one, he brought along

A pretty penmanship, and that was all./

Text: Charles Messier, Astronomer

Text: Five hundred francs a year, plus room and board. /

Delisle had him copy his plan of Peking /

[…] Once his wife cost him an entire night:

She lay dying. /

He wept for the comet

He’d missed./

While old Herschel in London cast, polished, and mounted his giant refractor,

He burnt his measly midnight oil, without theories /

An ignoramus / Sharp eyes, a pendulum clock /

A small quadrant, a shabby telescope (seven inches). /

That was all /

He never slept./ He sought. /

Eclipses, sunspots./

In an autumn night two hundred years ago

He noticed, not far from Zerta Tauri,

A feeble glow /

A comet that was no comet,

For it didn’t move/

The phenomenon, a milky way, bothered him. /

He saw, noted, grasped nothing.

Text: The King - -

Text: […] He didn’t miss the beheaded king,

Nor the beerbrewers and the washerwomen,

The rat-catchers and the bankers

that the stoical ax sliced up./

The astronomers had fled/

He only found one, Bochard de Saron, a friend of Laplace/

[…] In his cell, de Saron figured out a comet’s path for him

Before mounting the scaffold.

[…] Two million light-years from here

A milky way is waning slower than we.

M31. / The smog permitting,

when I look away from the glare of Manhattan Island,

from history, I sight it, tiny,

with my naked eye, in the northern sky

between Mirach, Sirrah, and Shdir, in Andromeda/

Text: L.S. (1729-1799)

Text: The abbé, high handed,

small chin, piercing eyes, an electric temperament,

but rather fat/

[...]Reflecting on a class of questions not previously conceived,

he found the answers by acting

systematically: Systematically, he wielded

the bone scissors, the scalpel, red-hot needles /

Where does the bat fly when blinded?/

The brain of the slaughtered cow,

the muscles of the dead dog

and the lungs of the drowned woman

kept breathing under the bell-jar for hours/

Text: Brain removed from skull

Text: […] Amputate parts of the salamander,

Shoo away the carrion flies,

Amputate and amputate and amputate and amputate again:

Do the tail and the legs and the jaw grow back,

Even a fifth time?/

Divide the earthworm lengthwise and crosswise,

In five parts/

Off with its head. /

Determine the consequences of these actions carefully./

[…] The scholars secretly eye

one another like scorpions./

[…] Experimental reflex:

On the Digestive Behavior of Man

And Various Animal Species. /

Take a sponge, tie it

To a thread, swallow it, haul the gastric juice from your body/

Tear a cat’s stomach out after it’s eaten,

Sew up the organ, place it in warm water,

And thus, on the table, demonstrate the digestive processes of corpses./

Nothing could be more beautiful /

Text: Doctor Lazzaro Spallanzani

Text: […] The Abbé was a sex offender/

He coupled newts and toads:

Monstrous unions./

He removed the roe from opened females,

Then he slaughtered males,

tapped their milk,

and reproduced the dead./

He masturbated a dog

And injected the sperm in a bitch./

I can sincerely say that I have never

Partaken of a keener pleasure. /

The creature whelped. /

(So did, shortly, the first woman.)/

[…] Determine the consequences of these actions carefully./

Alexander Kluge: You describe Spalanzani here...

Hans Magnus Enzensberger: The biologist who was among the first to study the artificial reproduction of living beings, he experimented with in-vitro fertilization etc.

Kluge: Grafting...

Enzensberger: He grafts...

Kluge: Snakes, toads...

Enzensberger: Yes, snakes.

Kluge: Usually the plants and animals die in the process, but occasionally something happens.

Enzensberger: Sometimes he gets results, yes. And I mean, Stanley for instance: the great Africa explorer, and a pillar of imperialism in Europe, of course, comes home and builds a garden, a miniature Africa in his garden shed. In his garden shed he plays like a child.

Text: Henry M. Stanley, Africa traveler

Kluge: Tell us what kind of man he is. He's sent by the "Herald Tribune," a big newspaper, to find Livingstone who's gone missing in Africa.

Enzensberger: … to find him, yes.

Kluge: He travels on foot with a caravan across Africa …

Enzensberger: He has people carry him.

Kluge: … he has people carry him. He finds Livingston...

Enzensberger: He finds Livingston, yes.

Kluge: But then he is also an instrument …

Enzensberger: Congo, the Congo issue is related to that …

Kluge: He brings cruelty to Africa.

Enzensberger: He brings cruelty, and a systematic cruelty at that. Surely the societies down there were not idyllic either, but the systematic exploitation is something that comes from outside.

Text: H.M.S. (1841-1904)

Text: […]False consciousness in a pith helmet/

Heroism, hand painted/

Jungles, deserts, prairies: nothing but backdrops/

Every gesture posed,

History, a pretext for scoops/

[…] Hack writer, idealist, mercenary,

Expense-account spender, go-getter, agent/

Tourist of blood-baths,

blow-fly of genocide:

Quelling the Kiowa, Comanche and Sioux (1867),

Massacre at the Gold Coast (1873):

Always there in his high-minded way/

Text: Inventory of an Expedition:

A leader, an adjutant,

An assistant adjutant, a rifle bearer,

An interpreter, a staff sergeant,

Three sergeants, 23 guards, 157 porters,

A cook, a tailor, a carpenter,

Two horses, 27 donkeys, a dog, a few goats;

71 crates of ammunition, candles, soap, coffee, tea, sugar,

Flour, rice, sardines, pemmican,

Dr. Liebig's meat extract, pans, pots,

three tents, two folding boats, a bath tub /

Text: Gulliver and the Lilliputians

Text: Gulliver and the Giants

Text: “A healthy man he, an unwitting carrier

of the disease, a selfless harbinger of plundering, a courier

who didn't realize he had come to announce the annihilation

of what he lovingly painted until ninety, in his Views of Nature."

Text: Alexander von Humboldt

Text: “An unjust trial”

Lima (Peru)

October 23 – December 24, 1802

Text: [...] The viceroy Castelfuerte gave the councilor Antequera

An unjust trial./

He had him tied to a bony mule and

Made him ride from Paraguay to Lima/

He falsely accused him of wanting to cause uproar in Paraguay/

Later he regretted that and saw

That there were only two options:

Either to let the defendant escape

So that his trial could not be concluded,

Or to hang him./

He allowed the councilor to walk around town,

But when the prisoner didn’t flee,

He had him hanged. /

There was a crowd of people

angry with the viceroy/

The Franciscan monks told the councilor

To have faith/

The viceroy was cruel enough to want

To enjoy the spectacle of his revenge/ On horseback

He arrived on the place/

Once the monks saw him,

They assumed he’d come

To pardon the prisoner/

They screamed at the top of their lungs:

“Pardon, Pardon...”/

At these words, the people wanted to free the councilor

From the executioner /

The viceroy did not lose control

And ordered the soldiers

With loaded guns to:

“Kill the monks!”/

Indeed, the soldiers shot

And killed two monks/

The executioner who saw that monks were being killed,

Believed that time should not be wasted

And hanged unlucky Antequera/