Rezension zu Liesl Ujvary "Das Wort Ich" ( Klever Verlag 2011 )
Der Standard , 5. 11. 2011 , Album , S. A9
Liesl Ujvary (Jahrgang 1939) ist eine Schriftstellerin, die fotografiert. Sie interessiert sich für Arten und Gruppen, insbesondere auch für die Kollegenschaft. 1983 hat sie Porträts neben Aufnahmen von heimischen Drogenpflanzen gestellt, das Lächeln einer Frau erschien neben dem Bilsenkraut, die verwischt festgehaltene Kopfbewegung neben den im Wind sich bewegenden und deshalb leicht unscharf wiedergegebenen Stengeln und Blättern. Eines der Modelle damals war Neda Bei, und auch bei dem aktuellen Projekt „privatsachen“ im Literaturhaus (11.11. – 19.12.2008) begegnet uns die Verfasserin von phantasievollen Anagrammgedichten wieder. Nun aber tritt sie anders auf: nicht mit ihrem Gesicht und geschlossenen Augen, sondern vermittelt über die Dinge, denen sie sich in ihrer Wohnung, an ihrem Arbeitsplatz gegenüber sieht.
In den vergangenen drei Jahren hat Ujvary Künstlerinnen und Künstler, Autoren und Autorinnen in ihren privaten Domizilen besucht. Sie hat auf die Schreibtische und darunter geblickt, auf die Bords darüber und die Stellagen daneben. Vorgefunden hat sie Schreibmaschinen, Notizzettel, Zeitungen, Bücher, Kopierer, Stifte, CDs, Tonbänder, Lampen, Kochtöpfe, Fotos an den Wänden, Stofftiere, Lautsprecher und anderes mehr. Mit der Kamera ist sie so nahe gegangen, dass jede Einzelheit scharf abgebildet, aber kein Überblick möglich ist. Man kann nicht von den Kleinigkeiten auf das große Ganze schließen. Der empirische Blick wird ebenso zurückgewiesen wie jener, der in den Dingen die Verfassung der Besitzer erkunden möchte. Es sind intime Situationen, eine wie die andere, jede für sich eine besondere und doch sich gleichend. Aus der Nähe betrachtet und nebeneinander gestellt offenbaren sich das Ähnliche (der Sorte) wie das Unterschiedliche (des Individuellen). Zu 21 Personen sind jeweils fünf Farbabzüge in den Maßen von 18 x 24 cm sowie eine kurze Biografie und ein Zitat aus dem Werk zu einem Tableau zusammengefasst. Begleitet wird die Ausstellung, die zum mehrmaligen Durchsehen animiert, von einem Katalog, der zurückhaltend angelegt ist und sich gut von vorne nach hinten wie auch umgekehrt durchblättern lässt. Bis der Betrachter die Ordnung und Unordnung in den eigenen vier Wänden erkennen mag.
|Liesl Ujvary: Neda Bei, o.J. (aus: Liesl Ujvary, Menschen & Pflanzen Porträts, Ausstellungskatalog Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Wien: Selbstverlag, 1983, o.S.)
||Liesl Ujvary: "neda bei", ohne Jahr (aus: liesl ujvary, privatsachen. Fotos 2006 - 2008, Wien: Selbstverlag, 2008, o.S.)
- OK, preliminaries out of the way, why tell you about these three Austrian writers on our trusty new-music site? Because among Ujvary’s kalideoscopic interests and activities is music and sound art, which for the last ten-plus years she’s been broadcasting on radio and issuing on CD. The link on her name above will take you to her main website; from there the "musik" button will send you to a whole compendium of these, most available as free MP3 downloads as well as standard CDs. But clicking the other link above this post will take you directly to the 2005 CD Ghostengine - Sprechen ohne Sprache ("speech without language"). In this essay Ujvary, Cotten and Millesi all interact with an Etherwave theremin, trying to create a a kind of intuitive, wordless "speech". Ujvary also processes this using a Kaoss pad - a wonderfully fun device from Korg, that lets you control all kinds of processing in realtime, with a few movements of your fingers. Interleaved between the solo "speeches" are four mixes by Ujvary, where she combines, varies and elaborates the three solos.
Steve’s click picks #37
Our regular listen to and look at living, breathing composers and performers that you may not know yet, but I know you should... And can, right here and now, with so much good listening online.
Time to leave our standard classical composers and performers behind for a second, to hear what the writers can do:
Liesl Ujvary - Ann Cotten - Hanno Millesi (Austria): "Ghostengine - Speech without Language" (2005)
||Liesl Ujvary (1939-, Pressburg/Slovakia) moved to Austria in 1945 and spent her childhood in Lower Austria and Tyrol. She studied Slavonic, old-Hebrew literature and art history in Vienna and Zurich. After some visits in Moscow she finished her dissertation on Ilja Ehrenburg’s ‘Julio Jurenito’ at the University in Zurich in 1968. She held a university teaching position for Russian language and literature at the Sophia University in Tokyo, and lives as a writer in Vienna since 1971.
||Ann Cotten (1982-) was born in Iowa, but her family moved to Austria when she was five. After growing up in Vienna, she just moved to Berlin last year, having stirred up a raft of critical attention with her first book of poetry, Fremdwörterbuchsonette ("Foreign Dictionary Sonnets"). The Frankfurter Rundschau interviewed her recently, and an English version of that article can be read at Sign and Sight.
||Hanno Millesi (1966-, Vienna) studied art history in Vienna and Graz. From 1986-1992 he worked with Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna; from 1992 to 1999 assisted Hermann Nitsch’s "Orgien Mysterien Theaters"; 1999-2001 hung out at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien; all the while working at his own writing (as well as his guitar, in the band ALBERS).
Mahler it most certainly is NOT; but it is a wonderful soundscape, that somehow captures a bit of each of its collaborators.
Pilots, Gods, Programmers
As low-key as these allusions may be and as tendentious a work of "psychological science fiction" this book may seem, Liesl Ujvary nonetheless manages with these seven texts to subtly blur the borders between future and present - thus we find ourselves in the middle of an intoxicating journey with no beginning or end, overflowing with discourses, codes, programming technologies and materials, we cogs are all mere assistants of mechanical thinking. Cool, because the term "interfacer" is important for the ego. There's more beyond the self, that sounds like some heavy reference to the meaning of existence ...
The input for this tangled network is of course supplied by the decision-making authorities. Ujvary modulates the mechanics of our consciousness with metaphors like "pilot" and "programmer." The latter as code-writer, game-maker serves as an allegory for God and a symbol of power, the former for the spatial controller and simulation expert. As distillations of power they invest in the status quo. The little consciousness cog, by contrast, embodies the paradoxical thought options of deviant beings - everyone knows it's not a crime to just think something. As always, Ujvary is extremely technophilic, very political.
A Kind of Realism
Since the author is familiar with all the popular theories spewn out by her books, the question of how to classify her from a literary criticism point of view is no small quandary. One might even boldly refer to Ujvary's work as new realism, arguing that it is based on a clear epistemological consciousness: "It's always only the dominant scientific discourses that provide the descriptive options," criticizes a line in the book's first text, "Kontrollierte Spiele," which perhaps constitutes a kind of meta-report for the six to follow. She doesn't want to outdo any models of reality, yet every thought is theoretical. And of course bound by the rules of its own linguistic game. Ujvary's consciousness characters know a great deal, above all, however, that they are what they are: cog-brains with limited horizons.
(Marietta Böning, derstandard.at, May 28, 2004)
Of course we all have a certain degree of 'elbowroom' ..." The American comix artist Robert Crumb once drew a short strip entitled "The Box." It depicts two figures huddled together in a very cramped space, discussing or complaining about the sad state of the world. Is it the world's fault or their own if they are unhappy? While one of the figures tries to convince the other of the latter of these two options, the other in a fit of desperation jabs a hole in the wall. Stunned by the unintentional consequence of this rash hand movement they decide to stop up the hole and restore their box world to its former state. Thus they remain oblivious to the fact that their cramped world lies in the middle of a vast landscape.
This phenomenon of box worlds could also be taken as the point of departure for Liesl Ujvary's texts. As a neophiliac, which is how she describes herself, she isn't of course concerned with stopping up holes and filling cracks, but rather with exploring - an activity for which she possesses an acute sensorium - the chinks and openings leading to other worlds, for the purpose of perhaps emerging through them - out of the box and into a larger world. Or at least, if only for a change, into a different - no lesser - box.
"As if one had spent one's life in a small, stuffy box and almost felt comfortable in there, not knowing any better ... and then discovered a little hole, an opening, dug around at it until it got bigger, until the crack kept getting bigger, until the whole box had fallen apart, and one was able to step out in the cool clear mountain air, in the midst of deep ravines, sighing forests, lofty peaks, sparkling lakes, glistening fields of snow, and a deep-blue sky.
The typical setting of the traditional-reactionary novel, which may appear all too obvious here, is however, deceiving. This would be as unlikely in Ujvary's work as that of a negative traditional-reactionary novel - as she puts it - which is quite common in Austria. The titles of the prose works in this collection suggest the same: "Bad Sector," "Heavy Tools," "Im Wahrheitsraum," "Secret Signals, Word Sequences" ... They give perhaps some indication of the themes that moved the author and occupied her thoughts before appearing in her texts, processed, transformed, and reshuffled. Among other topics they address artificial intelligence and brain research, theories of studying the observer and theories of perception. This overall endeavor can be regarded as a large-scale, ever changing experiment in perception that invalidates uncontested presuppositions, interferes with the very rules that govern controlled games. "Relax, everything has been taken into consideration," they say, while at the same time provoking uncertainty in the reader again and again: "The whole thing is highly illegal."
One should be aware that the author doesn't refer lightly to her texts as Artifakte (roughly: artifacts). For in addition to making reference to the art production aspect of her texts, the title also includes the electrotechnical denotation of an "interference signal" as well as the medical denotation of the German term: "an artificially induced physical alteration (e.g. injury) generally associated with an intent to deceive - each of which can be used to characterize Ujvary's texts. Her approach, which is a cross between political essay, science fiction, and poetry, as is described in the jacket blurb, is strongly responsible for the formal complexity. The shift from essayistic to fictional writing manner becomes a balance act. In this way the readers' attitudes of expectation are interfered with subtly, sometimes even painfully. Images are evoked one moment, and allowed to implode the next. Shifts in genre occur as a transition from one imaginary world to another, yet this doesn't make them irreversible; rather they assume an aspect of shimmering iridescence. The model of the box, therefore, isn't sufficient to cover the various layers of states and overlappings of worlds that lie at the core of Ujvary's prose.
This is the source of the complexity of these texts, which at first glance seems to consist of a simple, clear language with predominantly paratactical structures: "You can find 50% of my sentences in the Die Krone!" Paradoxically, the said tabloid consists almost entirely of nested sentences (in German literally: box sentences) and in this way retains its simplicity. Everything stays, so to speak, in a box, whereas Ujvary's sentences are not only constantly scratching their outer limits, but can also be read on different levels at once. "At least I don't write for Die Krone," the author once said at a reading.
Ujvary sees the task of the writer in the function of an agent who mediates between the worlds, as she once put it in another context. "Maybe we writers should regard ourselves as contact people who are able or allowed to live both in our large world and in the little virtual art worlds that some of us create in literature."
"Of course we all have a certain degree of 'elbowroom' ...," one reads in the text "Kontrollierte Spiele." But what if it were possible to enlarge it?
Martin Reiterer on Kontrollierte Spiele. 7 Artefakte. Epilogue: Im Stroboskop der Wahrnehmungsblitze. An Interview with Liesl Ujvary by Martin Kubaczek.
Vienna: Sonderzahl, 2002. Literaturhaus, original review, March 3, 2003.
The individual sections of the book are presented as "artifacts," which taken together portray a perceiving individual in different experimental constellations. "The laboratory for these new spaces of perception are the street, the factory, the shopping arcade, the movie theater. Technology subjects the human sensory system to a complex kind of training regime. What determines the rhythm of production on the assembly line becomes shock in the film: work as waiting for something to happen." Nearly every sentence produces these types of interlocking images. (...) What begins as a loose succession of associations soon becomes a stroll in terrain carefully plotted out by language. "My investigations concentrate on the relation between technology and body." Yet the entire progression of the text goes against the principle of concentration; it crumbles treatise-like logic or narrative coherence; it is content in the knowledge that it is enough to focus aphoristically on a problem in order to immediately give the next aphorism a chance. The procedure is disturbing; here every didactic intention to make us immune to the mass media has been suspended, and what's more, the disturbance that originates with the media is opposed by a counterdisturbance. Thus, mixed into these dynamic texts is an effective enzyme that not only catalyzes our interest in awareness but also our desire for sublime humor.
Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler, über Kontrollierte Spiele. 7 Artefakte. Volltext Nr.4, Dezember/Januar 2002/2003
Liesl Ujvary is a declared "neophiliac": she loves all that is new, familiarizes herself with the most up-to-date computer programs and scientific discourses, and uses them in the cryptic game she plays, in which the self loses control. L.U. insists her her texts aren't difficult and even calls them "mindlessly simple." L.U. claims that every single one of her sentences might be found in the tabloid Die Krone: "I'm doing it constantly," for example. But what exactly is she doing? L.U. constructs simple sentences. Yet her prose does not consist of single sentences, but of tableaus that paragraph by paragraph reveal different realms of consciousness. These realms are abruptly closed off, cut, in order to enable the next immersion; an immersion in the perception landscape of an elusive self drifting along in a stream of consciousness. The reader should not, at this point, imagine touchy-feely prose. In her latest book "Kontrollierte Spiele" L.U. confronts a self with symbolism borrowed from science fiction, her descriptions use the "metaphorics of new media technology," and through this strategy of alienation she achieves subtle grades of perception. In effect, what the author wants is to describe a general situation: "Of course it has to do with Austria too, but I'm not writing the same kind of negative, soppy-romantic, traditional-reactionary novels everyone else is writing. That's such a narrow viewpoint, whereas we live in a completely different world, where very modern things interweave with very archaic things, where the stone age and virtual spaces are both present at all times." (...) The text "Bad Sector" is "a portrait of the individual." He is flawed and is always on the verge of losing control, as expressed in the manifestation of paranoid structures. Conspiracy theories, delusions of persecution, and diffuse fears pervade Ujvary's literature, unfolding in all their complexity in the character of the mutant in "Heavy Tools". What the author considers to be "mutant" she makes contingent on the given context and point of view: The Nazis used it for the Jews; Franz Josef Strauss for the 68er rebels, today people apply it to foreigners. It's the "metaphor for deviant people" and denotes the foreign, the other who scares us because he eludes control. (...) Who is there left to trust? Greetings from the "Blade Runner."
Alexandra Millner, Cool und kriegerisch. Über L.U. Kontrollierte Spiele. 7 Artefakte. Falter 42/2002
Vacillating between sound sculpture and techno tracks, between musique concrete and clicks 'n' cuts, somewhere between classical and popular music, one catches a glimpse here of a world of mutation and everyday life, which come together to create a collage of paranoia, trance states, banality, and a not yet foreseeable but possibly shady future.
Oliver Stummer, skug 51, 2002, über "heavy loops version" CD Kunstradio bei Extraplatte
Inventing, inverting, investigating, this composer of texts, sound worlds, and image configurations experiments her way along a path of genuine discovery and interest. Uncompromisingly bound by the pure curiosity of an artistically pure brain Ujvary's oeuvre reveals itself as a multimedia work in the truest sense: a work in progress consisting of thoughts, words, images, and sounds that tirelessly explores new contexts, areas of expertise, and media implications. A humanities background and a strongly modern understanding of literature intermingle here with stray elements of pop culture, there with facts gleaned from the natural sciences. In blade running the demarcation line between the sublime and the trivial, Ujvary crosses techno with anagrammatics, neurology with game theory, cyberpunk with discursive criticism. The author is by no means attempting to level these samples by reducing them to mere building blocks, but by invoking them she is exploring and activating the connotations of each of them - thus setting forth her permanent search for new "justifiable" metaphors. (...) Linguistically distinct, the concentrated prose structures tell of an ongoing process of ever new versions and visions of self-experimentation. "Reines Gehirn" (pure brain) and "NeuroZone" are different names for the fundamental matter on which L.U. conducts her experiments. The text and illustration protocols dissect the self and its consciousness and perform a methodically reiterative autobiopsy. Where the texts trace the fever curve of complex feedback loops between the self and the environment, creator and work - in other words between the realities of different orders - the manipulated self-portraits clearly reveal how Ujvary uses her own (symbolic) body as the material for artistic-experimental machinations. (...) This has just as much to do with terror as with playfulness, depending on which perspective the viewer chooses: are these self-inflicted mind bendings a masquerade of representation or do they constitute an autopoietic theater of monstrosity? What is without a doubt clear is that in these images L.U. reveals a process of reflection that has little to do with vanity and self-protection, and even less with the currently accepted aesthetic jargon. (...) As a work in progress being constantly reformulated, an ever-changing experiment in word, sound, and image, Ujvary's work is intransitive: what is being proposed here is not a true-good-beautiful already attained something. No nicely smoothed plot with a bad or happy ending. You won't find the characters of the novel obediently serving as the identifiable mouthpiece for familiar discourses. Nor will you find the author trying to convince her readers or overwhelm them with special effects. The artistic means are not intended to produce a market-compatible, aesthetic thrill and missionary message/massage. We are not being handed any easily hummable melodies. Intransitive therefore implies that the artistic experiment is being presented in the very act, and that the reader is invited to accompany the project and author along part of her quest for insight. L.U.'s works with and in various cultural art forms do not seek to achieve the effect of a synaesthetic trance, but quite the contrary: they are parallel laboratories for quenching the experimental desires of an unrestrained explorer.
Christiane Zintzen, Wespennest 119, Aus der NeuroZone ins Reine Gehirn. Prolegomena zu Liesl Ujvarys Text- und Bildarbeit
Picking up a book like "Heisse Stories" or "Das reine Gehirn" may be shocking: is it possible to write so accurately about oneself? Can one observe oneself in such an unforgiving way? (...) Liesl Ujvary is in a sense uncompromisingly modern: she has given lectures in Vienna about the chaos theory at a time when only scientists were familiar with it. Today she lectures on electronic music and makes it herself too. She experiments with the latest software and in "NeuroZone" she plays out the various options available in the garden planning program "3D Landscape." "One has at one's disposal various metaphors for describing something," says Ujvary. "I just happen to use urban technologies. There are more than enough Austrian novels set in kitschy traditional 'gamsbart' worlds."
Bettina Steiner, Die Presse 27. 12. 2001, Bunt ist die Technik, lustig die Paranoia. Porträt Liesl Ujvary
I can be a me-god or a dead doll, those are my choices if it is, as it seems, that the other in me is the puppet master who plays the role of societal control mechanisms'. The consequences of inner revolts, the products of psychogenic development disturbed by social surroundings backfire: my inner system, socialized as well as debilitated, rebels with the traces of the past in their nerves. The consequences are clear: it has to do with the realization that there can be no overlap between the others and me. A real, ideology-free We is not possible. This drama of a first-person point of view is the center around which the works of the Viennese author Liesl Ujvary revolve. (...) In Ujvary's work the erratic functions of the subject and its self-enactments, the parallel observer levels, are what distinguish her status from the metalanguage as the intended only metalanguage. World representations emerge, which in the sense relevant here are in no way better served by scientific explanations. "She" is saved through the literary style of this writing. And realistically speaking it still isn't a utopia, or at least we hope not.
Marietta Böning, Lichtungen 85, 2001, Reinstes Drama der Analyse. Zu Liesl Ujvarys literarischem Paradigma des reinen Gehirns. Lichtungen 85, 2001
In novels like "Lustige Paranoia" (1995) and "Das reine Gehirn" (1997) the author, who - starting with her Hoffmannsthalesque linguistic skepticism - is part of the sphere of influence of the linguistic criticism of the Wiener Gruppe, presents the reader with dangerous thinking games: hallucinations grow seamlessly out of the nicely ordered thought systems of a hierarchically rigid society. (...) While writing, Ujvary often feels like "a soldier, a lone fighter." Sometimes this writer with a strong affinity for science fiction wonders whether this world isn't perhaps just a "microbe farm," kept by aliens who are playing a crazy game with the different possibilities of human existence.
Sandy Lang, Der Standard 23. Juni 2000, Die Zeichen der Mikroben. Liesl Ujvary über Spracharbeit in der Industriegesellschaft
Liesl Ujvary's new CD "language of the genes" (Kunstradio on Extraplatte 1997) uses the permutations and repetitions of the genetic code as a basis of inspiration. The four building blocks out of which it is composed, their manifold combinations, the repetitions which ultimately determine which information will be passed on, are represented here as musical loops - repetitive, constantly yet almost imperceptibly changing cycles - and voice a subtle irony: the irony of the language of the genes. At certain points I could have sworn I heard a snickering in the background, a diabolical, spiteful "nana nanana" or the menacing seething of the so-called "primordial soup," out of which in the 1950s Stanley Miller succeeded in creating "life" in the form of amino acids with the help of electrical discharges (who isn't reminded at this point of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?). "Minimalist repetitions and displacements of analogue sound patterns represent life. Randomizations tend to generate evolution, structural displacements point to false replications, to illness, cancer, and death," L.U. says of her work. Snatches of conversations, samples of speech employed as if it were commentary, make reference to the linguistic level. The CD, which depending on the theme is either sad and ironic, cheery and mischievous, funny and sneaky, fulfills the expectations of the ambient listener, and yet it goes a step further: when I ask Ujvary about this, she coins the term "hardcore ambient" for her music, which skillfully "unites" (ostensibly?) contradictory forces.
Ilse Kilic, An:schläge 1997/5, über L.U., sprache der gene, CD Kunstradio bei Extraplatte, Wien 1997
Liesl Ujvary is an author whose writing should should be a constant reminder that reality is an equivocal concept. Ujvary is not interested in tackling it as a problem but rather in understanding our notions and working models of reality. Her most recent book tries out various models and creates a link between the realities of text and image. Or does it? What is actually happening here? With the help of computer software Ujvary creates artificial landscapes, models of a non-existent reality, art projects in any case, "the simulation of a simulation." These are accompanied by short texts, which are fully autonomous because they never attempt to explain an illustration. The sober, unpopulated world of the image, an alter ego that rebels, wants to find itself, that encapsulates itself because it feels incapable of dealing with the outside world: "I am a member of the solipsistic nation. What goes on outside doesn't concern me." (...) The self that is speaking here is the creator of reality and its observers. The self creates a world that can, by virtue of its artificiality, be abandoned at any given moment.
Creation can be corrected. "I can pull out whenever I want." (...) It's by no means an inert literature because it has apparently banished from the text that which we would like to think of as life. Life sneaks in the back door. It's literature in motion, literature as a process and metamorphosis of an erratic consciousness.
Anton Thuswaldner, Salzburger Nachrichten, 12. Okt. 1996, über L.U., NeuroZone, edition ch, Wien 1996
A nightmare? A video game? End time diary? Computer simulation? Solipsistic critique of civilization? Streams of consciousness in cyberspace? Projection Babushka? The reader takes part in an almost perfect synchronization of psychic processes and technical program processes. (...) The illustrations in this A4-format object, which feels like a 60-page grade-school workbook with a fluorescent, "highlighter"-orange cover, are reminiscent of the video stills from Holzeresque "virtual reality" with its pages that were generated by the landscape and gardening design software "3D landscape." In Ujvary's NeuroZone we are dealing with a subtly designed plan of human surroundings underscored by a vague sense that "language can be unbearably fragile and imprecise." (...) In literary criticism there is a common expression, the cliché of "crystal clear prose": Liesl Ujvary gives us insight into what that might be in the ideal sense. In her staccato style she abruptly jolts the reader from his or her cozy nest; thus paratactically in linguistic leaps and bounds the crystal-clear author confronts the restlessness, the sleeplessness - and provokes them once again through a prose that in the most fascinating way seems quite theoretical and at the same time physical and concrete, transparent and inscrutable.
Petra Nachbaur, Inn 1996, über L.U., NeuroZone, edition ch, Wien 1996
Das reine Gehirn - the pure brain - only brainwashing can produce a truly pure brain. (...) The narration is by no means commonplace; on the contrary, one has the impression of taking part in sentences of a universal narration that have passed through the speaker.
Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler, Wespennest Nr. 111/1998, über L. U., Das reine Gehirn, Ritter Verlag Wien Klagenfurt 1997
"... not literature, but psycho art ..." is what the narrator-character in Liesl Ujvary's most recent book makes, a "first person" who addresses and prods itself with "you," that also uses "we" and "they," swimming in a monologue that she herself continuously produces, speaking written words as the only exorcism against the impertinences, influences, manipulations, and against the ever more horrible course of development today's psycho-, bio-, and genetic technologies are taking. If paranoia was introduced as an underlying structure of the narrative process in "Hoffnungsvolle Ungeheuer" published in 1993, in her new book paranoia becomes the subject matter, motif, theme, content, and ultimately the organizational form of the prose. It is observed, described, experienced, suffered, enjoyed, cursed, and celebrated by a subject that has surrendered itself completely and utterly to the drugs that "brain activity" and "observing (one's own) brain activity" constitute. At the same time it attempts to discern, define, codify, the bounds (also linguistic) between "own" and "alien" brain activity. The fact that we are dealing with a process whose expansion in whatever direction, except for a certain increase in complexity, is quite precarious, makes Ujvary's book a furiously fathomless reading experience that unintentionally triggers efforts to attain self-control in a gravity-free psycho space written into existence by the author. "Someone is protecting me. Meaning someone is observing me," writes Ujvary, whose character plays a non-definable game with itself as the other, plays the other, a game determined by the poles of loneliness and control. Any relationship is acceptable, even if the price she pays is paranoia, even if a relationship is only possible as paranoia. In this sense Ujvary's book is the ultimate relationship novel, or the first descriptive part of an open project called THE EDITED WORLD. Thus Liesl Ujvary demonstrates the constantly developing bundle of theories of radical constructivism as a self-referential level of her literature. Self-organization and open self-reference, the world as text, which is forever bringing forth self-observing authors just as these do the text - constantly improving, expanding, reducing, incorporating and integrating. And all the while the memories of the reactions always come from the present.
"Lustige Paranoia" conveys with great insistence a terror and desire, a danger and gratification, a being swallowed up, and deserted streets; he who makes himself vulnerable, is constantly in danger of feeling he is "stranded on the shore of unconsciousness," as the provisionally sketched character of the "psycho-surgeon" once said. Ujvary has succeeded in creating densely packed prose that produces an energy field for reading, into which the constructing psyche as a mosaic of a simultaneity has literally been inscribed. In other words, first-class Austrian literature, state of the art work brought out by a bankrupt publishing house, so that no one knows how the finished books will exist or not exist in book stores in the future. Schödinger is watching us.
Herbert J. Wimmer, Wespennest Nr. 105/1996, über L. U., Lustige Paranoia, Ritter Verlag Wien Klagenfurt 1995
On war reporting (...) Liesl Ujvary states: "I take the presence of countless invisible eyes and ears for granted with all people, with secret whisperers of insinuations, commentators, seducers, superiors, and accessories." (...) You and I have no names, and the text treats theory seriously. It allows its two characters to merge linguistically, blurs the borders, creates space for fuzzy, unclear borders. And this has interesting consequences: "war reporter" and "war participant" can no longer be separated (...), again and again the same questions: who is the principal character, who is the observer, which structure directs the "wars"? (...) This book knows no truth, just "truths," and allows them to exist deconstructivistically side by side, lets them thwart each other. Sometimes the author refers in an over-emotional way to "people" - the next moment the reader is faced with computers. One moment the planed revolts against the force of the "system" are the yearning for a redeeming act; the next moment they are interpreted by the characters themselves psychoanalytically as a violent fantasy entirely devoid of any political motif. At times it is the language itself, whose totalitarian attempts to influence meaning must be undermined. And then again it seems as if the "system" were a gigantic computer, which the characters who, acting as viruses, keep launching attempts to disorganize. These ten works of prose that assemble everyday language and theory in a fast-pace sequence of short sentences into a complex whole, represent what Liesl Ujvary has achieved: the linguistic depiction of the complex intensity of the nervous perception all of us, "whether we know it or not," are subject to.
Hans-Peter Kunisch, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 10. März 1994, über:
L.U.,Hoffnungsvolle Ungeheuer, Zehn Prosastücke. Deuticke Verlag, Wien 1993.