Gyoergy Ladanyi Interview
- Berlin, Germany
- April 11, 13, & 15; 2004
[This interview is previously unpublished. Gyorgy was born in Hungary &, therefore, speaks Magyar as his 1st language but he also speaks German & English & 2 other languages. Since I mainly speak English & a tiny bit of French & can only recognize a few German words I had some difficulty understanding Gyorgy's pronunciation & vocabulary. When he said something in German I transcribed it the way it sounded to me. I tried to get Gyorgy to correct my 'German' by email after the interview but he didn't do so. As such, I felt that the interview was too rough. I was planning to publish some form of it anyway in my magazine "Street Ratbag" issue 7/2 but issue 7/1 was the last issue - largely because my coeditor had lost interest in it. Despite the 'flaws' of the interview I think it's an excellent glimpse at the life of an unusual man not widely known - even in the neoist subculture that he's associated with.]
April 11 - 2:05:52 long interview
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: Ok. Do you remember when your ancestors were single-cell organisms?
Gyoergy Ladanyi: If I remember this?
GL: Hhmmm.. I don't think so.. No. I can't, I can't because this relationship goes back too far.
t,ac: Ok. Then can you tell me where & when you were born?
GL: Yeah, sure, this is easy. Everybody knows.. - or most people. This is Southern Hungary, not far from, at that time, Yugoslavian border, city of Pécs wch even has a German name because of the, because of some German minority, city of Pécs in Hungaria. In German it's called "Funfcherchen" - wch are "Five Churches" - it means city big enough of having not one, is like a village, but 5 churches - & all Catholic churches - wch is very odd, the church I was baptized, this is the very, very few churches that was turned from a mosque, a Moslem mosque, to a Catholic church - 'cause, you know, mostly it happened the other way around - like the Hi'a Sophia in Istanbul - wch was one of the 1st Catholic churches - built 400 or like this. &, uh, this one I think, YEAH, Yeah, yeah, this one was built by the Turks when they got into this very town - just 1526 - so they built fantastic mosques & minarets & [?], Turkish baths.. - SO, there is some Turkish culture to see, where I come from, where I was born, yeah..
t,ac: When were you born?
GL: When? '54, August '54, 1954; wch is in last century, middle of last century, so I will be, in a few days, 50 yrs old - in summer, mid-summer - &, um, wch means, um.. - my parents marry because, uh, because I was born in a few days time after their marriage - I mean they had to arrange that way to have a burgerlich - wch is suitable few hrs [?] with a relationship to, um, to gain all this, uh, advantages that society's giving..
t,ac: Hhmm.. Do you remember your 1st dream? Or what's the earliest dream that you remember?
GL: I think one of the very, very 1st dreams of mine is a sex dream. It's a sex dream & it's a jealousy dream & it's, um, I think it's a very English dream because it's a child's dream & it's concerned with sex & with, um.. I don't know, What is shit in Latin? With shit.. so the, um, dream is.. I go with my mother to public toilet & she looks very sexy, uh, What is this idea in English to, uh, to fix this old type of.. look, that time, I was born, women wore, um, um,,
GL: Skirts, shorts, skirts, & high-heeled boots - & then what is this, this American idea of.. the American soldiers brought it to Italy under the skirts?
t,ac: Slips? Or nylons?
GL: Nylons. Yeah, this is the word I was looking for. These nylons, they ended like here & they had these extensions..
t,ac: Yeah, garter belts. Garters.
GL: Garters. Yeah, garters. So, my mom looked like this, yeah? Having these garters - wch is quite important. So we went to this public toilet place & my mum had to have a poo-poo, not me, but her, she had to have a poo-poo & she had to bend forward & there was a guy whose job it was to clean the asses, clean the bottoms of everybody - but it must've been a lady's part because it was a separation in Hungary concerning toilets, as like now, like everywhere [laughs], & there was a separation - & me, as a child, we cued up at the ladies - & there was a guy whose sex was male but his sex wasn't as important & he wasn't so much interested on the sexual projection of his job. He just did the job with, with.. - wch was not very medical, with a piece of iron! Doing with this I found it very odd & exciting! So we just came in & my mom had to have this poop where this guy did this job as like cleaning her anus, yeah, so no water, no paper, no cloth - exactly the same as like you see it in front of my Berlin oven
t,ac: An ash
GL: &, um, a dream wch returned, yeah.. - & it was in a time when I had very little idea of sex life & sexes &.. - so, very early period - &, you know?, I didn't forget, wch means it must've returned couple times - so far, you want to know something more about this dream? Some details?
t,ac: Just how old you were.
GL: Some images?
t,ac: Just how old you were. Do you know how old you were?
GL: Between one & two.
t,ac: Is that your earliest memory? Or is that just your earliest dream memory?
GL: No, my earliest dream memory.
t,ac: Do you have an earlier memory than a dream memory?
GL: Uh, I'm not sure.
t,ac: What was your 1st substantial anti-authoritarian act?
GL: I think there've been.. there've been too many.
t,ac: But when you were a child.
GL: Yeah, of course. One of the most shocking ones, there were many shocking ones as well.. We had a Jewish manager in the hospital where my dad worked as a doctor. So, we lived in the hospital, in an apartment wch belonged to the hospital. SO I lived with my friends, more or less.. it was a fantastic childhood, yes? It was a universuum, wch was fenced around - a huge hospital, with everything, & we've been living in the birth department, yeah?, where the ladies give birth - & this house where they just stored the dead, the corpses - wch is called how? Death house?
GL: Morgue. It wasn't far. So, it was the daily practice to listen to, it's like the 1st memories, the babies, they get the birth, they are born just a few steps away from our very home & when I was playing I just seen some hospital workers with a stretcher with a dead person just walking up to morgue which must've had a separate tiny little house with cooling system & so on to store them there until one of these businesses called undertaker, one of the undertaking company - I think in Communist Hungary, the state company came picking & taking away - anyway, I had, as like one of my best friends, the caretaker's 2 sons, Mutzi & Bolgie, & one day their father told: "We go & we go to the Jewish Cemetary, we go & visit the Jewish Cemetary". &, so, my mom came, my friends came, & my friends' dad came & so we travelled together - probably with a car, even with a hospital official car, a limosine - we travelled outside & we went to a Jewish cemetary - just to have a nice walk because it looked like a park &, um, I was 3 or 4 &, um, & I can't tell up 'til now because I had barely heard the words or even the word of "Jewish", what was "Jewish". We went to church every Sunday. We, um, we had been in a club, more or less. Anyway, I just ripped myself, tore myself free from my mums & jumped on a grave shouting like some Fascist ideas like "A dirty Jew is going to rot here!" So my mom was turning to.. blushing - blushing & telling me "Where have you heard such thing? You come now to me & we go straight home!" I didn't know, my friends were Jews, my 2 friends, we were just been walking there - & their daddy, of course, a lovely polite gentleman running the finance of the hospital - & I can't explain if I wanted to revolt to something, if I wanted to break a taboo, I just cd speak, I cd walk very well, I cd play. It must've come thru such genetic, yeah, some element in that way, because there is no other way somebody is giving me such sentence, the idea of.. about rotten Jews or nice Jews or or.. There was only one idea, we are somewhere where we don't belong to.. So it must be something like enmity what is not ours, what don't belong to us, it must belong to somewhere else - SO! It's really hard to explain but.. my dad & my mum - they didn't come really in trouble but.. so, there's an enigma because I haven't got any source I cd've picked up such primitive Fascist propaganda to go out with friends & family just producing myself, showing stupidity, just displaying something aggressive &, um, I can't tell if I was out to earn sympathies or appreciation or just provoking the opposite, I can't tell.
t,ac: Ok, well let's move onto a different phase of your life then. Tell me a significant story from when you were a teenager.
t,ac: Especially something that's a precursor of your deciding that you're a neoist - & while you think about it I'll go see if there's another bottle of wine..
..wch, thank goodness, there is.
GL: What I 1st think, what is quite typical, I really hated my parents, I really didn't like them, I really didn't like, didn't enjoy Sunday excursions, when we got our 1st car, so we drove to some nice place. I think, um, I had such problems with this, so, I picked up my mind, when I 1st fall in love, maybe 14, not really falling 1st time in love but falling seriously in love, kissing, really kissing the girl - & there were some problems because this girl was kissing but I think I had another idea, I don't know what I really wanted next to kissing, but, I came to this [?] idea of leaving Hungary & leaving the school & leaving my family & I was jumping on a goods train because, you know, for a child, between 13 & 14, it's not as simple because society is protecting children, is protecting people so when you get on a train & when you travel away so the conductor wants to know what the scenario is, like they are curious, & so I choose as another means of transport a good strain & I hid myself in this tiny little cell. What is the English word? This guy who does the brake work?
GL: Brakeman. In a brakeman's box, wch still exists at that time on Hungarian good trains, so, anyway, I hid myself & I was heading down toward the Yugoslav border & then I came to junction, not very far, say, maybe 30 kilometers, 20-30 kilometers from my homeplace when I changed the good trains & then I took another one from Budapest out of the country, out of Hungary toward Yugoslavia/Italy &, uh, I got on the other train. Um, it just started - & the idea of travelling with a goods train is another idea because a few minutes you realize is like hours when you are a child & you, how it moves, & this is something very, very romantic & noisy & very cold & so.., & when I got quite near to border, just maybe one or two stations before the border wch was Notkonosha, I got afraid & I got one to another direction & I travelled home & I was utterly surprised & utterly disappointed because nobody recognized, nobody realized, nobody took notice I been, I had gone, I was away - & I was away, maybe, good half a day - but nobody asked about anything - & I thought, ok, the whole town was looking now for me & the police & the fire engines are whistling, hustling up & down in town [?]. So I get for myself, because I was so ashamed, I kept for myself the idea I wanted to leave & starting for a job in Italy or whatever, the idea leaving home & just running out of work. This was quite important because after that I realized this is, um, I did an excursion just like another dimension, like a fairy tale. I was entering a [?] in a fairy tale. I was running back because I realized it doesn't work like this. You have to stick with this idea & when you don't like an environment you are in, it's a long process of working &, &, &, um, um, um, understanding when you choose to, uh, to leave. I got afraid of being away there when I realize I got further & further away.
t,ac: Ok, what about creative projects? Let's say, a creative project when you were in your 20s. What medium?
GL: I did creative projects much earlier, of course.
GL: I started filmmaking more or less same time when I left my hometown to try my luck overseas or wherever this goods train was taking me.
t,ac: When you were 14?
GL: When I was 14 I was make films.
t,ac: Shooting super-8 films?
GL: There was no super-8 that time. Super-8 was introduced at the Chicago Exposition 1960 or '61.
t,ac: So there wd've been super-8.
GL: Yes, yes, but not in Hungary.
t,ac: Yeah. So regular-8..
GL: So in Hungary they introduced somehow the so-called "double-8" wch was double-perforated..
t,ac: Well, I know what it is so you don't need to explain..
GL: ..double-perforated film of 16 mil wch was joined to half & wch was split in the middle. & this was the format I was using.
t,ac: Yeah? Can you describe an early film?
GL: Easily. So, um, one of the 1st films were a series of car crashes using matchbox cars - leading them on threads - just fixing threads in the front & getting these matchbook cars just running up & down the street & so people understand the idea is some traffic & then, it, it just got [?] to crossing & they lost control about the way-of-right & they went crashing, the matchboxes, tiny metal cars - operating by different friends of mine they went crashing - full stop..
t,ac: Ok, so..
GL: ..&, um, but.. which was a much more neoistic & much earlier.. one of the 1st films.. No, this was, that was my very 1st film when there was some havearea - I mean the, um, water pipe system broke, & so, they made the living room to a derelict - more or less exactly the same as like this very room where we are sitting around because water broke in & they had to remove a cupboard, they had to remove furniture - to another end or out of the room, whatever. There was an empty room & my father was a doctor & he had a very, very strong lightbulb around, like 200 watts, 250, if not more - like 300, a very strong bulb - & I ask him to stay there & then he had to swing it & then the shadow of my sister was jumping up & down the wall & then she was sitting on a toilet, my father was leading this heavy lightbulb & then I do remember back some.. some.. doll came into action, some doll of my sister was taken by her & was introduced. Yes, I just did remember because this matchbox way was very boring child movie, very boring
t,ac: [laughs] So the other one was more exciting, the one you just described.
GL: & the other one was quite of a sick neoist project because it was black & white & they were extreme differences between dark & light & being on a toilet &..
t,ac: What was that one called?
GL: ..& being silent.. I do remember the 1st films of Stewart Home & projects of him with burned dolls, dolls they were vitriolic, their face was distorted - & it went sometime, somehow because I was very interested on the structures of a wall was shown where water came through. Hm, I could tell it to you, I must've been 8 years old
t,ac: 8 years old when you made that movie?
GL: Yeah, yeah, 8 years old
t,ac: So, roughly 1962?
t,ac: Yeah? Or 1963
GL: '62. My sister was about 2 years old & she was acting as the only actress on this, yeah? It was 1st.
t,ac: Ok. So let's go to your 20s. Tell me about something you did in your 20s.
GL: I left Hungary, I left my family when I was 17. I finished A-level. I went to West Germany, I, uh, I visited my uncle.
t,ac: So, wait. Was it easy to leave Hungary at the time or was it..?
GL: Very, very easy.
t,ac: There was no worry about your never coming back to Hungary?
GL: Yeah, there was such a worry. But, um, you know, this is like life so, as like, as like 100 years before there were people of this age they left for America, they left for Canada, they left for Australia, they left for New Zealand, they left for South Africa.
t,ac: But, what I'm wondering is whether there were political restrictions on people that maybe you weren't restricted by because you were the son of a doctor, for example.
GL: Everybody was restricted, everybody - & the restriction was: you could, you could travel to west every 2nd or every 3rd year & I made some family visit the year before I finished my high school & in my A-level.. Anyway, I did my A-level & then I forged my passport which was a neoist project. I was doing a new exit visa, I made a rubber stamp, I rubber-stamped it into my visa so a new window, you needed at that time a window which I could show you because I have, I have
t.ac: So you made a fake permission stamp, basically.
t,ac: You didn't have any problem with that?
GL: It wasn't as simple because I left for Yugoslavia & then from Yugoslavia I went to Austria, 19.., yeah, 1972. 1972 when I was not even 18 years old.
t,ac: So it was thanks to your fake visa stamp that you went to West Germany at that time?
t,ac: Well that's interesting. Have you used fake things like that since then?
GL: Many times. So this is a very stupid thing. When you start something, when you, when you test something & you find out it's working fine & then you come in a similar situation & you use it again & when you see you get advantages, it's working well, you do it again & again. I think it was the 1st time. &, then, I made nearly everything, licenses, even a Hungarian driver's license. My flight license is real but nearly this is the only license which is not fake.
t,ac: [laughs] & you've never been caught for this?
GL: Umph. More or less, once, I got caught. When I got caught with some false passports, with some certificates, in East Germany - because, when you falsify, & you see there's no problem you could do, you get very imprudent & stupid courages & you do, you introduce yourself as a professor or you false passports & you push your luck, you push your luck as far until you just break & get [?]. Hhmm, I was same way, very stupid, & then, so, in East Germany, it got realized I'm travelling with false passports, false rubber stamps, so they jailed me as well - & after all these jail times I won't, I won't speak too much about because I talk already of them. I mean, 15 years ago I talk too often about this - so I say "No, this story I don't like to extend more." & then, then I came one time to the west back & they had my record on this falsifying idea. They told me "George, you mustn't do this again, ok? We realize you did this passport thing, you wanted to travel, you wanted particular freedoms. But, please, don't do it again."
t,ac: Who told you this? West German officials?
GL: West German authorities. They did so. So, I used documents because I see authorities they like very much documents.
GL: They like to see, so, when you like advantages, when you need entry documents for this & this, of course, certificates, I have to a very, very good [?] - not the least problem to produce some. Number plates, for cars, you know, you're a copy artist yourself, it's so easy after invention of photocopy. I had no problem to remove number plate from just a car out on the street & going straight to copy shop, copy shop, & making a color copy on.. from the stamp, for example, this is a German speciality - when you look at a number plate there are 2 stamps - one is the authority you legally drive a car which is registered, which is a registration, & the other one, the colored stamp, is the M.O.T. test, the technical test, which is not existing in the U.S., but exists well in England & wherever - maybe even in Russia - every 2 years you have to take your car in Germany to a specialist place - they look if the brake system
t,ac: It's the same thing in the U.S.
GL: the, the, um.. the steering system
t,ac: Right. It's called an inspection sticker in the U.S.
GL: I don't think so you have this
t,ac: MMhmm. Inspection sticker.
GL: because, um,
t,ac: No it's the same thing
GL: a state of freedom & liberty & you drive that shit you choose & it's up to you when you die or not.
t,ac: These things are.. It's the same thing - things like pollution control, brakes, lights.. it has to meet
GL: It does exist
t,ac: Yeah, yeah.
GL: in U.S. - since when?
t,ac: For as long as I can remember. You have an inspection sticker & then you have a sticker that has a date on it.
GL: I see. So, just to come to this idea: I had no scruples to take a screwdriver & undo, remove a plate of just a car - but moving it back, going back & fixing it back. Then I had this plastic surface, creating my own table, driving it wherever we wanted, hmm.
t,ac: Yeah, ok, so, what other kinds of things were you doing around that time? Like, more filmmaking? Or?
GL: Yeah. More filmmaking, exactly. So when I came to Germany, now, when I got out of jail..
t,ac: When was that? About 1983 or so?
GL: When I was 24. I came out of jail & I told to myself.. It's not.. because probably everybody knows, jail makes people addict as well. This is something like, like a mother's womb - most inmates they want to go back there because they know everything what is inside, the hierarchy, the structures they know very well, they know where is their place, how is their correct moving in this hierarchy & they, they.. I don't even know what is the statistics, what is the percentage in Hungary to go back to jail when you've been once inside.
t,ac: Yeah. In English it's called "recidivism".
GL: I see. So I just made this phenomena immediately & they told "Yeah. Ok, welcome here & you must no.." so.. Then people they'd, I met, they spend more time in prison than out of prison - like 25 years, they look very young & they've been 45 &, um, there was their home. They loved the, the, this guards, this borders & they liked, it was a good relationship &, uh, so they told: "You will see, you will see how, how fast you come back" - but, I wasn't intrigued, I mean I really hated, I really hated..
t,ac: How many years were you in for?
GL: About 3 years. SO after that, when I came out &, & I told to me, I told to myself, uh, um, "Your aim is making films. This is you're really interested for." Maybe writing is quite intriquing for me which is a very cheap way of making films - when you have, when you, when you have no connections, when you have no footage, when you have no, um, no support - you could take a piece of paper & you could fake stories, you could make structures, you could edit, you could do this same idea as like a filmmaker does but it's a, it's a quite limited &, hmm, &, um, hmm, & castrated way of, of, of, of filmmaking. I think when you use your writing you use sentences for this.. ANYWAY, after I came out of prison & I knew enough of mankind &, of course, friendships & enmity, I thought: "Ok, um, You're not an adventurer anymore." Not just a curious cat running around & just sneaking to shit & wanting to work for nothing, to clean up, being a dishwasher or being a clean-up or working as like a, you know, a guy who is carrying food from a delicatessen to ladies' homes.
t,ac: Yeah, delivery boy.
GL: Delivery &, hhMM, dozens of jobs. Of course I needed money, ok I needed money & nobody came, nobody gave me money. I wasn't forced to change every 2, 3, 4 month the segment of job to doing as the friend was - & changing them & telling: "Ok, they don't pay but, you know, you haven't been so, so long seeing all these guestworkers in Germany how a fascist cook is working with some Yugoslav cleaners & so you have, you have to spy this out, you have to spy this, you have to see it" - & the employers they took my person, they've been really embarrassed because I wasn't illegal but a legal person, had legal paper
t,ac: You were still in Hungary then or you were in Germany then?
GL: Yeah, I was in Germany then.
t,ac: East Germany or West Germany?
GL: Look, I came to Germany when 17, then I did different jobs here, I've been earning my own money, I was paying for my own rent with 18 & I was feeding & watering & sheltering myself, I was independent when I was 18. So I got my photocamera, I got my super-8 film camera from this money I made & parallelly I did my job - an 8 to 5 job like carrying shit, whatever, cleaning dishes. So this is what I've done & after a year I went a University study & I started with about 20 years my studies. I was studying philosophy, I was studying German language & which I mostly used to read such books I was interested & I haven't read in my, in my teenage years - & after that, when I got really bored in my studies, I went back to Hungary, I went back legally to Hungary & I wanted to be a Hungarian again because I thought it's a fantastic country which I just left because of, of enterprise, of adventuring around, because of curiousity - but, when, when, when, when you didn't like very much the ideas you got carried on by family values or it mustn't do something with your native country - so I travelled back & I was quite sincere, I thought "Ok, you're a communist, you found the German capitalist system so bad & so rotten & so selfish - Why should you be there?" So I went back. I went to factory, I told "Look, I spend some times in Germany - now I'm here, I started working there" &, you know, I had a life of a [?] - meeting lots of people - having the 1st commune - you say "commune" when people living together
GL: very freely. So, I founded the 1st commune in Hungary, I guess
t,ac: Did it have a name?
GL: in Budapest. Yeah. "The White Flower Community" because it was situated in a White Flower Street. So, there was just a student, a, a, a spontaneous student housing which I broke, I came there & the students didn't like me because I wasn't a student, I was a worker - somebody who had really rough skin on my hand because of my physical working. I was like a, like a locksmith - working with iron & working with welders, working with a worker's hand you see & so I moved to some students & the students all left - & there were such guys coming as like myself so we lived together, we had parties, we met girls. They stayed with us for a day or more or less. They left & other came, they had a good time & my friends, my companions, they enjoyed very much to being freaks. & they painted blue walls or black walls with stars & moonshine on the ceiling & they found they are something very freaky, very odd because it wasn't the norm of neighbor - he hasn't got a black wall - & the girls they came & my friends met them on a subway. They found it fantastic to see an apartment with black walls with stars so they came &, um, &, um, that time I had 3 jobs! I got up early morning & I delivered papers to apartment & then I went to my working class job & after that I delivered papers & then I went even to study to prepare myself to be an engineer to be a mechanic
t,ac: This was before you were arrested?
GL: This is far before I got arrested. &, so we had, we've been living in this commune, this is, you say "commune"?
t,ac: Yeah, commune.
GL: when guys are sharing an apartment & there are different ideas & um, & uh, a hippie mentality atmosphere is, is lived with friends & girlfriends - exchanged & letting them pass through - so, & yeah, this is the way I lived until they wanted me in Hungary to come to the military - which I could not do, yeah. I lived in this White Flower community & I did my job, I met people, I had a very good time, I did my art work [?] which was very, very low key, which was mostly writing which were sketches, which was quite a neoist work in its weirdness, if its, in its, uh, chaos. Until they wanted me to a military service as like a citizen - educating me this way as well. I think I just.. so they didn't want to start a war with me - their idea was I had to, to play around with a gun for a few weeks & then after that to come to a shit hole with shovels to build something for 2 years, whatever - or just educate you to know: "Ok, this is communist Hungary." I said "No, I don't do this." I don't do because I wasn't in, I've been living in West Germany, I told I was doing these different jobs - meeting guys they were communist, they were anarchist - being student in West Germany - & I got indoctrinated - this is army is something basically bad. Yeah? It's something dodgy. It's something which is no good, which is taking away your precious time, bringing ideas & values towards you which is not really your idea. You, you, you exist or you've been you're around, yeah. & so I said: "No, I cannot do" & I tried to dodge, I tried to dodge, & I tried to falsify. I tried to play around & tell & so lying didn't help & so I left the country, I falsified again, I left the country & I came to East Germany because I couldn't go to the West - & then I was living in underground East Germany - being really hidden by some East German nurses in a nurses home
t,ac: To help you escape the draft?
GL: Yes, yes, exactly. So this is, we lived at, it was a quite a very new experience to live illegally you know, you can, you can't meet cops, you can't meet, um,um, so.. - but, um, if you never lived illegally which you never because you never lived in a political system as like in Iraq or in Soviet Union or in Nazi Germany so you cannot understand the idea so when you're not in a dictatorship - & you're a wanted man. So I was a wanted man in Hungary & I love this idea of moving around with nurses & coming to East Berlin as like a wanted man in Hungary & somebody says: "This is a wanted man in Hungary" & I came into an underground scenario - an anti-communist Christian counter-group. They just heard I left Hungary because I didn't want to go to the army & they loved it, they loved it because I didn't bullshit, I was telling the truth, &, &, & it was just true, nothing but true - so I moved around, cross-country, meeting these insurgency groups, you know, they haven't got weapons but they were very much against & very critical against the system & they've been fighting the system & it was very risky for them to tell alot around about their activities to somebody they've not trusted to & I just felt the idea they trust me because they look into my eyes & that was all & they listened to me & I was enclosed into their trust & something, something very good, something very important. So we moved from Berlin to Leip-, sorry from Dresden to Leipzig, I visited some other acquaintances somewhere at the south of the Bavarian border. We came to Berlin &, uh, they just gave me addresses & they say: "Ok, you will sleep tomorrow somewhere else & you will sleep there" - more orless organized - so, I felt more or less as like.. What is this witterschtand idea of those guys they've been fighting against Hitler's Germany & they just underground worker& doing, & being active against something. So, I haven't felt, as like later, like, like later - when I was an artist, when I was a neoist arriving in Paris or in Lyons & asking somebody: "Do you know somebody I could stay 2 days wit?" or Toronto or Vancouver or whatever, anyway, "I am just here & quite out of schedule" - it wasn't that feeling because I haven't, I had no need to organize anything but, uh, they got organized for me. They travelled with me, they followed me, they introduced me, & so on.
t,ac: So let's jump ahead then to after you got out of prison - between that time & the time that you came to London for the 8th International Neoist Apartment Festival. What did you do during that time & how did you find out about the apartment festival?
GL: Hhmm, yeah. After I came out of prison I established a job
t,ac: In Hungary
GL: No, in Germany.
t,ac: In Germany.
GL: I came out of Hungarian jail. Ok, I left Hungary within hours via Yugoslavia again & Austria again with false papers & I was in Austria. I was in Austria, & then in Austria after jail I was.. you must've heard about these com-, these Otto Muehl communes?
GL: Yeah, & there were some people they've been like breaking off the Otto Muehl line, leaving & hating Otto Muehl but loving the idea of educating children, of getting children, they have no mom & no dad but the group as mom & dad - as one unity - & like changing partners every evening - having a community where dreams & fantasies are the arch-enemies of mankind, dreams & fantasies - dreaming about, yeah, having a guitar & a [?], having a picture about Hawaii - & they said: "Look, we hate Otto Muehl because he's a patriarch, he's a god, he's a tyrant.."
t,ac: Did you meet Otto Muehl?
GL: No.. He was on some island or in jail because of pederasty..
t,ac: Is he still in jail now?
GL: Which I don't know. Anyway, he was already completely out of this political & artistic for the public as like us - but all those guys I met & they accepted me when I came to Vienna, they said "Ok, Gyoergy, you come & you live with us, you work with us, we take care of you, this is your money" & I was doing, I was working for them, this [?]
t,ac: Was there a name for the group that you were..?
GL: Yes, "B-B[pronounced like "Baby"]-O".
GL: "B-B-O" - which was against the "A-A-O", which was the Muehl group, which was the original, "Acciones Analasia", "Acciones Analasias, something, Organization".
t,ac: What does that translate into in English?
GL: Acciones is Actions, when you analyze your actions.
t,ac: So, "Action Analysis Organization". So, what would the "B-B-O" mean?
GL: I can't tell, I can't tell.. Maybe they wanted to express: "Ok, we come from the 'A-A-O' but we're not the 'A-A-O' we're 'B-B-O', we are the same as like 'A-A-O' without a boss." So, without a flaming creature on top.
t,ac: [laughs] How many people were involved? Roughly?
GL: About 30, 40 people.
t,ac: So, you were living with all these people?
GL: MmpNn.. No, I wasn't living but I was working with them. So, I felt after prison, I felt after leaving Hungary: "Ok, you're not going to be in any army or in any police" & it looked like being so indoctrinated in, in, in a philosophy, so deeply involved as like you move in a barracks. This is what I radiated & it didn't really make propaganda: "Gyoerg, you should move" & this should be your bed in a new type of prison, in a new type of barracks. I had my own place, I had my own friends, but I went every early morning to make removals with BBO people - as like when an old lady died we came & we threw out everything from her, through the window
t,ac: So, you're talking about 1979? Something like that?
GL: Exactly, yeah. Exactly like 1979. So, so I was working with them, I was doing this.. Anyway, we are disturbing here - we have to interupt..
[Gyoergy's son & girlfriend were preparing for bed]
t,ac: We can move to a different room.
GL: We move. We move to somewhere else. We move to over here.
t,ac: Good night.. Well, actually, let me get my vest 1st..
GL: Yeah. Try to settle here.
t,ac: Yeah, no problem.
GL: Yeah.. this recorder not.. I mean that kind of rubber stamps.. [shows stamp in a passport] - doing this, like pure neoist work
t,ac: But this is a real one here?
GL: This is a real one. You see how primitive, how easy.
t,ac: Yeah. Did you hand-carve those rubber-stamps or did you have them made?
GL: I made, I used very, very primitive techniques - like rubbing some ink on paper, on some transparent paper.
GL: This is my grand-uncle's communist passport.
t,ac: Is he dead?
t,ac: So, more about the BBO then.
GL: Yeah. I don't know what happened to them - & I tried to pick, to pick the line & to find any in Vienna - like Oscar or Wilhelm - I haven't found any.
t,ac: Oh, on the internet you haven't found mention of them?
GL: So.. I didn't try, I didn't try the internet. This is a great idea. Mmm.. I didn't think of.. So, uh, I liked many of the ideas. They felt it's not a job for me to make my living - &, uh, I did go to these evening assemblies & I spoke what I think about this & that - like picking my brain & giving it all that I found.. I, I, I, I accept to.. I feel, feel something against.. This was my Vienna time which was very closely tied to the BBO group.
t,ac: Did they perform actions in the same sense that Otto Muehl & other Vienna actionist people did? In other words, things that were
GL: Nothing like this. No. Just political work. Making some.. you know there was a time of, um, of, um, being independent, all these attack movement, anti-gloabalism was quite far away but, which wasn't far away, the Green movement which just more or less started
t,ac: In Germany.
GL: In Germany, yeah.
t,ac: Yeah. Mostly as an outgrowth of Rudolph Steiner & such-like folks.
GL: Yeah, exactly. & this was really the idea, like let's meet some farmers from Auxitania they do their own wine without any industrial & any financial help from the big banks & this idea. So we met farmers from Auxitania, they brought their wine & we bought their expensive wine with some propaganda label - which was fine, which was ok - & doing the same, ok, we can't accept coke or we won't accept the product from a big company but we do our own primitive distribution or production system.
t,ac: Did you know any Viennese people like, uh, like Valie Export? Did you ever meet Valie Export?
GL: Yeah. Like Export, like exporting? This is her name. So, I've met her.. but, um.. You know when I started to be , to be an artist & a super-8 filmmaker who was, in brackets, "known" in his environment, Germany, just around Berlin, so, I went around with my work, there was a huge gap to my teenage work, what I was talking about, which was a child's work, more or less. So I had the opportunity, I had the potential 'cause my daddy was having a camera & giving me the camera & supporting my work because, yeah, when I was 8 so he was buying the film. When I started to become a super-8 filmmaker I just had to become born again, yeah? &, so, I don't think so I really picked up this tradition - maybe I did. I have no idea. Anyway, when I went to movies, when I heard about Valie Export & when I heard about all the artists of the, um, '80s, as like Muehl & the Viennese Actionists, it wasn't my participation, I was more or less an adventurer who loved very much to make falsifications, who escaped from army, who was founding one of the 1st Hungarian communes who liked this atmosphere & who had some very clear political ideas & wanted to be active
t,ac: Yeah. What were your political ideas? Other than anti-militarism.
GL: Which was quite consequent. Yeahhh..
t,ac: Were you..
GL: It, it, um.. Yeahhh.. I don't think so I was ever asked about that so what was really this leftism?.. I, anyway, after leaving Hungary & this Hungarian prison I gave up - so, I abandoned this classical communist party power system like my political home. I had no nostalgia after that, after I came out of prison & when I, when I, um, returned back to Hungary after when I was 20 & a few 22, uh.. 20, I returned back to Hungary in '75, I've been 21, so, um, I've still been full of nostalgia & no clear ideas about Hungarian communism or Soviet communism & party system & distribution & such bullshit like like what Istvan told about '56 & so nothing like this. Anyway, who was a legend. It's a very, very difficult point of this crystalization of such, such a fairy tale like legend like, it's very [?], very decorative
t,ac: Well let's
GL: So my position , it was something very anti-military & very anti-capitalist idea of expressing yourself &, um, &, um, & organizing yourself in a system where you work & where you work you're not just .. you stay as just like a stupid bastard, as like I..
t,ac: Ok, so let's skip ahead to what happened. Where did you go to after Vienna?
GL: After Vienna I went to Germany.
t,ac: At this point, of course, Germany was still divided into West Germany & East Germany.
GL: Very much so.
t,ac: You were in East Germany? Or did you go to West Germany?
GL: No, look, I left Vienna. Vienna was finished for me. I wanted to meet people, I wanted to travel, I wanted to make my films. That was my idea. & I knew Berlin, I knew Germany, &, to tell the truth, Vienna was, even if I was very, very young, very unexperienced in a spiritual or in an artistic sense, I found already Vienna very, very, very provinicial. I didn't want to stay. Very few people you could meet in, when you go to cafés, when you go to the few discotheques interesting people are frequenting - so I found it quite provincial & it wasn't my dream to become an Austrian citizen, an Austrian artist, an Austrian, a Viennese somebody - so I wanted to go back to Berlin where I been a student
t,ac: To West Berlin or East Berlin?
GL: To West Berlin, there is no question, to West Berlin. So I wanted to move back then & then it was quite genius for me, I went to Germany, I already spoke very good German, & I didn't tell to anybody my German history & my Austrian history & so on but I just told so I am a person of German origin & I came to live here to you. So I went to a special camp so, & this was the point, so I went to a special camp which registered me within a few days
t,ac: Which what you? Rejected you?
GL: No. Registered me.
t,ac: Oh, registered you.
GL: Registered, registered me, & then they wrote for me a German ID card & a passport. They told me: "Ok, go ahead & do what you want." So, with this paper & with a fly ticket to Berlin, because you had to fly
t,ac: Yeah, I understand.
GL: over half East Germany, I came to West Berlin, & since then, look, I rented an apartment, I found a job.
t,ac: What kind of job?
GL: As, as.. the best paid job of my life since.. I was working as an engineer in a paint factory, yeah, getting 3,000 Deutchmarks which is more than I get now as an artist for my unemployment, for my dole or unemployment security &, um, so I had a very well-paid job. I haven't got to do more than I knew & I worked there for nearly 7 months, 8 month - so I bought the best super-8 camera
t,ac: I remember that camera very well.
GL: & you remember so well this fantastic camera. & I did all
t,ac: Yeah, 400 foot magazine.
GL: Yes. & I did all my work with this very camera which I got from that money, so, I got this camera, I started shooting these films & then, the possession of this camera & the potential of this camera to know how to shoot & how to edit, yeah, what to throw away & what to keep, yeah, it gave me, it gave more or less an artistic ego going & meeting people as like Claude & Stiletto & this & this & I went & I told: "Ok, here I am, my name is Georg, I am from Hungary & I am a filmmaker." So, I identified myself without feeling like I am bullshitting somebody or I am, um, or I am, um, uh, yeah, I am telling the truth. So, & people liked this straightforwardness & some of them they liked the work & I got support same as like I gave support - so the rest you know because we made these screens, playing with the wall, playing with being at the edge between East & West.
t,ac: So you're talking about between 1980 & 1984 now, right?
GL: Yeah, exactly.
t,ac: So you stayed in West Berlin for those years between 1980 & 1984?
t,ac: & then how did you find out about coming to the apartment festival in London?
GL: Yeah, I started in Berlin, I stayed in Berlin & I got my 1st commission work from Heaven, 1982, when somebody called me, don't ask me how, God was calling me & telling me: "I'm a German hippie & I'm gonna travel to India & Kathmandu, Nepal, & we want a filmmaker with us."
t,ac: & you went to India with them? Yeah?
t,ac: With them paying for it?
GL: Yes. I had not a dime & somebody phoned me: "Come with us" & I said: "Yeah, for sure, I will" & I shot a 16-mil movie with these guys.
t,ac: What type of camera? Do you remember?
GL: An Aeroflex SR - S R, which is a quartz
t,ac: & you had what? A Nagra sound system?
GL: Yeah. A perfect Nagra sound system. I still have some [?] boxes from sound & even from films, yeah, so, this.. I identified myself as a filmmaker who had general idea about editing & I had my aesthetics, what kind of images I like
t,ac: Did you have long hair at the time?
GL: Yeah, long hair. &, so, I travelled with those guys overland 3 month & we've been living there, yeah
t,ac: & you made a film? 16mm sound? Do you still have a copy of that film? Or did they take it?
GL: No, they took it away, they took it away. I had huge problems.
t,ac: Do you know what the name of the film is?
GL: Yeahhh.. Something with, something stupid with "We're Gonna Build A Pagoda"
t,ac: But in Deutch - not in English.
GL: Yeah, in Deutch. I think the work title was "Pagoda" - which is a Chinese construction, house construction
t,ac: Yeah, yeah.
GL: So, I travelled, I made the movie, &, uh, the guy who was hiring me, it wasn't his money but he was a great organizer & a junkie & he could convince people, other hippies, other junkies, which were rich, to give to him as their money & so that way I got paid
t,ac: So the film was just about basically their experiences in India?
GL: Mostly to build a statue for a megalomaniac
t,ac: [laughs] A German megalomaniac?
GL: A German megalomaniac.
t,ac: In India? A statue that was of the megalomaniac or something that he just thought of?
GL: Of the megalomaniac. Yeah.
t,ac: Do you remember who the megalomaniac was?
GL: Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is Joe, Joe Ryer, guy from Munich, who, uh, move from Munich to Australia, but 1st to Nepal & then with his family to Australia. So far I know he even move back. &, um, & so I shoot this film about, it turn very, very dangerous to me because he was a paranoid junkie & he thought my idea is to make a document about his junkie & coming back & blackmailing him: "Ok, you pay now, you pay me now $100,000 & tomorrow. Otherwise, I go & I show this film to somebody" - I don't know to whom - to the wife, or the society, or the police, I have no idea. Anyway, he got it into his head I am a potential criminal & blackmailer, not a police or not
t,ac: Yeah, yeah. Was the film ever shown?
GL: Yeahh, it was shown in the Nepalese exhibition in Rome, in a Munich [?] exhibition
t,ac: & you edited it? You finished the whole film? Or did somebody else take over the editing?
GL: I started the editing work & they took away the footage from me
GL: & they gave it to professional lady who did the editing work
t,ac: & you saw the finished thing? Or not?
GL: Um, I did not or I've seen some, some in parts when it was edited & they needed my help so I do remember this editing lady, I do remember the conditions they edited &, uh, I know I was stupid enough, in a position to my master Kubelka who would have kept, so I hand it over because I felt, yeah, it's their film, I mean their material, they paid for this, for this purpose of erecting this exhibition hall, making their businesses with selling some products, some handicraft products from Nepal, making a very good profit & to show how culturally interested they are
t,ac: So, was, was part of their motivation a profit motive? Because they knew they could make money from selling these products from Nepal?
GL: Yeah, mostly, most of this & financing their own [?] with junk
t,ac: So, ok, what did you do after India? After Nepal? Did you go back to West Berlin?
GL: Then I went to Canada.
t,ac: HmMM. Where in Canada?
GL: Hhmm, so I travelled to Canada, after India, & I went to Montréal.
t,ac: Is that where you went to 1st?
GL: I went to, uh, Vancouver, I've been flying to Vancouver, I must've had some connection to Vancouver. Anyway, from Vancouver I travelled to the East. So I crossed the whole Canada & I made everywhere filmmaker's connections. I stayed with the Video Inn [?] people in Vancouver, you must've heard about?
t,ac: Are they, no I'm not familiar with them, but are they Western Front connected?
GL: Yes, Western Front people, exactly, all these Western Front people I got very familiar. & I stopped everywhere as like Regina & Banff & these tiny stops & I met nice people like Chris Gallagher, as like, I don't know, everywhere as like the Funnel in Toronto
t,ac: The Funnel, yeah, so John Porter.
GL: John Porter I stayed with & Hamilton
t,ac: Richard Hambleton?
GL: No, Richard Hambleton, but there is such a town as like Hamilton.
t,ac: Oh, ok. Hamilton, Ontario.
GL: & Kitchener.
t,ac: & Kitchener, yeah. Did you know Richard Hambleton, though?
t,ac: "Mr. E" as he was otherwise known.
t,ac: So you knew him before he became a junkie.
GL: Yes, definitely. So, I travelled across Canada & I must have projected of my work & this is, I met Istvan, in Montréal
t,ac: So was he the 1st neoist that you met?
GL: I think I heard about neoism by Stiletto in Berlin when he was extremely intrigued by the idea & I understood neoism 1st when I was already working as a filmmaker as like a few, as like a, yeah, yeah, through the introduction & translation of Stiletto which means people more or less a little bit as like tENTATIVELY, they are very much interested as on design, how do they look like, for Stiletto, is extremely important, what kind of helmet
[Stiletto's a motorcyclist]
This is a helmet built in '50-X, '59, in Bologna, & it's very important, this is a moto-racing helmet
t,ac: That's a minor aspect of what I do, but..
GL: Yes. Anyway, so, the, uh, the cop-like looking as like he even performed just a week ago out at this Polish Club we penetrated yesterday & you going to screen
["Club der Polnischen Versager" - the "Polish Failure's Club" in Berlin]
He didn't change since I know him. So, this motor-racing lookalike, collecting historic outfit & looking a little bit militaristic. Maybe I am paranoid but I don't think so
t,ac: Well, no, there was an aspect to neoism, certainly in the '80s, that was based around the idea of so-called "severity" which had some militaristic aspects, in a sense.
GL: I see.
t,ac: But, but, uh.. Tell me about meeting Istvan for the 1st time in Montréal.
GL: So, I've been recommended to him as like his, his, uh, ex-pat countryman who is living in Europe & in Germany, travelling & screening in Canada so I came to him & I was surprised about because, uh, you know, I wasn't as famous that time, I beg your pardon, I'm not famous at all even now, living in Berlin since I don't know but this hospitality, this kindness & this interest, I really met by Istvan, I was wondering of. I marched in & I was very laid-back & I very, very easy, & I thought: "Yeah, maybe if he is having a good time so he.. this is a guy having a cup of tea together" - this is my general idea. &, instead, he understood himself as like he must introduce me to neoism. I do remember & we made a really official guided tour in this neoist embassy - packed with cages full of rats, dozens, maybe, or maybe a dozen.
t,ac: All white rats?
GL: Yeah, or grey rats, or whatever. Anyway, so, I had this guided tour & the impression was like a little bit so he's enjoying, yeah, having an impact on me, making an impression like walking along cages of jumping rats because I don't like very much rats, they turn up in this Berlin apartment where we stay now, so I got nearer to the idea maybe through Istvan so I wasn't as horrified, I didn't let them become generations of rats, so I fought them.. Anyway, meeting Istvan, meeting his artwork & getting into all this, this tableaus & all this documentation he was showing me & this, uh, macho openness as like even ordering a concubine to be my assistant with me. I mean not forcing somebody but just arranging, just telling: "Yeah, this person is interested on you, why you not stay with her?", this way. Which I never really
GL: experienced before
t,ac: How long did you stay in Montréal for?
GL: A good couple days, maybe a week.
t,ac: Did you make a film together with Istvan then oranything like that? This would've been 1982 or 1983?
GL: '83. It must've been '83. We have not & I can't tell why not because I made some, some in Vancouver.
t,ac: So did he tell you then about the 1984 Neoist Apartment Festival in London? Is that how you heard about it or did you hear about through correspondence afterward?
GL: Well, I knew already about neoism, I met Istvan so I met Canadian neoists
t,ac: Such as Kiki Bonbon & Zbigniew Brotgehirn?
GL: In Montréal & Toronto & I heard this neoist gossip of Kiki Bonbon killing cats & throwing them off a roof & trying really hard to be offensive towards, towards social emotions. So, I have heard all these different gossips so I got sensitivised, yeah? I got sort of sensitive for these things. Anyway, I think afterward I return back to Berlin. We just discuss with Stiletto whether who goes to London & who not & he said he's having no time & I said: "Yeah, I had such fun with Istvans & I don't dislike him" & I wanted to have, you know, I didn't understand myself, I was intriquing with the idea of having, of wearing, of carrying a neoist passport being issued by Istvan but, you know..
t,ac: Was the neoist passport issued by Istvan, though, that wasn't something that you could actually use as a passport, it was more of an art object?
GL: More as like an art object - which wasn't issued, it was promised & told: "Yeah, when you're interested, so we show you & you get a neoist passport" but I wasn't as interested to have some objects which I do have problems with object as you see, to sort out things & to have my proper orders I have extreme problems. So my dream is when, when I could afford, is not a really good food but to have a secretary, to be able to pay a secretary who could do really..
GL: ..an organizing work, what you naturally can do
t,ac: Oh, yeah. I'm very organized.
GL: You're very organized..
t,ac: But you & Gordon W have that in common. He's very, totally disorganized.
GL: & like guys like, like Pete Horobin &, & Mark Pawson & such guys they just have everything
t,ac: Yeah, totally organized
GL: in boxes & Stiletto
t,ac: Right. So, ok, so you knew about neoism, you went to London for the 8th International Neoist Apartment Festival. What was your impression when you arrived? What did you think about the people & what ideas did you have about the festival? Did you feel like it was an important moment for you? Did you feel like you belonged or what?
GL: Uh, um, I travel with my American friend Jennifer who was my lover as well & we had a very good time & we had fun, you know.
t,ac: I thought that was not until 1988 that you knew Jennifer. 1984, as I remember, you were by yourself.
GL: '84? I'm very much afraid maybe I mix up my 2 stays
t,ac: Yeah, 1988 was when you came to Scotland with your friend Jennifer but 1984 you were by yourself & you showed up at the house that Pete lived in in London. That was when Stewart Home 1st got exposed to neoism, that was when, uh, I was there & Istvan was there, etc. But I think that was before Jennider if I remember correctly.
GL: No. I turned up there very near to Oval Station when you came with Gail & you acted as like a guide dog. It was this day with Jennifer, probably, & I can't remember 4 years later when I turned up in Scotland.
t,ac: 4 years later was when you had just recently gotten your pilot's license & you had been driving in a car that had burnt out & somehow managed to get up to Scotland. I just remember your being around at Edinborough, I think you may've had a place to stay in Edinborough, &, uh, you helped me carry my, as usual, very heavy equipment.
GL: Hhmm.. No Jennifer Campbell came with me to London only 1st time, & 2nd time, I do remember exactly the little car which was burned out
t,ac: Yeah, so that wasn't Jennifer then? That was someone else?
GL: & Jennifer was far out of the picture
t,ac: Ok, so who was the girl then?
GL: My wife, Ann, Ann Griffin.
t,ac: Ok, Ann Griffin, alright. But Jennifer Campbell I don't think I ever met so did she not come to the apartment festival? - because I don't remember her..
GL: Jennifer Campbell you never met?
t.ac: Yeah, right, I don't think I ever met her.
GL: You have met her, yeah. She was quite intrigued by you & intrigued by all these different neoists & just doing this work of titillating neoist & trying to make, to turn their heads around as like of, um, of Stewart Home. They wanted to marry. They went to the American church & they asked a priest or some person person to marry them.
t,ac: Marry who?
GL: [laughs] Marry Stewart Home with my American girlfriend, Jenny Campbell. So they've been lovers, they became lovers. They walked hand by hand.
t,ac: Was she the.., she didn't.., she wasn't the one who had the dog named Yantoh? No, that's somebody else.
GL: This is somebody else.
t,ac: No, I don't remember her at all.. But, anyway.
GL: It must have been for photographies they.. I, I do remember we went down to Thames River, & everybody, you as well, we built a tiny little ship with a message
t,ac: Well I took a, a fish that had been cut apart & sewed it back together again & I put that back in the river.
GL: Yes, yes.
t,ac: Ok, yeah. So what was your impression of that festival?
GL: Hhmm, yeah. Nothing really odd, yeah. It wasn't.. I, uh, so, I didn't drop into an alien world as like Sport
[his Russian expatriate friend who he involved in a recent performance at Club der Polnischen Versager in Berlin]
dropped to an alien world to walk down with us & doing this performance without knowing the idea of a performance this same day, being handcuffed together with a Monty & being Monty & so & even being weird the day before yesterday when he arrived & he wanted to know if he was, if the idea was to bullshit him, to misuse him, bullshitting openly. So I came down there & I met lots of good, lots of, or a few of aquaintances &, uh, I met Pete Horobin & I do remember very well how puzzled I was by Pete Horobin who was one of the bishops, which I felt so, one of the bishops of neoist movement - identifying me, as like asking if I am an ambassador of Stiletto
t,ac: Hhmm, I have to take a piss.
t,ac: I missed that aspect of things altogether.
GL: Yeah, To make you understand very easily, so it's still running?
t,ac: Yeah, yeah. It's on a very slow speed, so..
GL: I see. It takes 4 hours or even more?
t,ac: Well, I had other things on it 1st so I'm not sure how much longer it will.. It's running for 5 hours & 20 minutes but there was already about, uh, 75 minutes on it so it's roughly 4 hours worth & we've only gone through an hour &, uh, close to 2 hours by now - so there's still plenty of time.
GL: Yeah. I think there were already apartment festivals before this London festival.
t,ac: Yeah, 7 apartment festivals before.
GL: 7 & I think one of them was in Bavaria.
t,ac: Well, no, there was the neoist training camp in Weisbaden
[actually it was in Würzburg]
GL: One in one vineyard of somebody's
t,ac: Well, it was in Weisbaden, I don't know if it was in a vineyard or not but Pete was a participant in that one.
GL: Uh huh, & Stiletto was as well.
t,ac: No, I don't think Stiletto was, I think the 1st one Stiletto participated in was the 1986 one in Berlin that I know of - but I could be wrong about that.
GL: No, you definitely wrong.
[looking superficially through the documentation from this event I get the impression that Stiletto visited on the last day, June 27, 1982, but may not have participated otherwise since he's not listed in the program of events.]
GL: When I went to London, 1984, I've heard
t,ac: Peter Below, Peter Below was the one who organized the Weisbaden one.
t,ac: Ok, & Stiletto was a part of that?
GL: Yeah. So he must have been there & he must've worn funny things & experienced the very 1st time the idea himself as a performance artist - to do some quite simple things as like cutting a bread upside-down or, or opening a motor-bike's tire & he was facinated by the people, of Peter Below & telling me all these details - partly I do remember & partly not - so I felt as like, ok, um, when I travelled to London, I met Istvan, I heard so much about neoism, what Stiletto told me, more or less on the level of a very good joke - when you tell somebody, yeah, this is me, this is I experience & this what I heard, this is.. - but having some distance, yeah?
GL: To not taking out a, not taking a pissof the thing but making reflective, this way, not being really having involved in a ditch, not really sticking in a deep hole - & so I was quite surprised because I lost this idea of, how this is a secret brotherhood like Rosaria [?] when I arrived to London, when I looked at.. There was a very funny guy who wrote, um, screenplays for BBC Radio. You remember this guy?
t,ac: Who lived with Pete?
t,ac: Yeah. I forget his name now, but - oh, Steve Thorne. Is that who you mean?
GL: Steve Thorne, yeah. & he got married later on?
t,ac: Oh, that I wouldn't know.
GL: He got children as well. But I do remember he was even playing records from, from a play, a broadcasted radio play he was writing. Anyway, this variety of characters, these peoples like your Gail, like my Jenny, as like Stewart Home, some teenagers they just picked, being turned up because they felt, yeah, we are creatures not being understood by anybody so this is our spiritual home - variety, so, I was quite surprised when Pete let me identify as like: "George, you have revealed, you are, you are Stiletto's"
GL: "ambassador", so I was.. because I thought: "Yeah, it's.. you could come, you could tell you a neoist & you could tell you not" or, being curious &, &, uh, being revolted or being surprised or being not surprised or being cool or being sexy or whatever you want but not some heavy orthodoxy of, uh: "Ok, this is my party book & this is my belief & so I swear" & so, yeah.. & I liked very much the seriousness of Pete who just lay these heavy trails of neoism & really working & so this is the way we became friends & we became close friends, so, so I, uh, I am missing him, & accompanying him along, many projects, like cutting bread & making chapati & going to the I don't know what government, what, what
t,ac: The Canadian Embassy is where we went to in 1984.
GL: Yeah, yeah, & fruit markets to pick up
t,ac: Yeah, yeah, the Covent Garden Fruit Market
GL: edible vegetables & having a very good food & cooking out & how I, you know, his idea was to stay very clean, of distance, & walking to the garden, to the Covent Garden Market &, uh, not avoiding but ignoring those guys they've been cleaning, they've been collecting all these remains & I found it very disciplined & very straight-forward, very well organized.
t,ac: So after that you participated in the 1986 64th International Neoist Apartment Festival here in Berlin but you weren't a part of the 9th International Neoist Apartment Festival in Ponte Nossa, is that correct?
GL: I don't remember what happened here in Berlin. Could you refresh my memory?
t,ac: There was the.. They did the tv show, for example, where there was Istvan, & John Berndt, Stiletto, & you, & a guy just walking around throwing paper airplanes, a black guy who was playing guitar. Do you remember that?
GL: I do remember, yeah, but.. I'm unable to explain: Why did this Berlin idea fade so? So away, in a position to be very 1st London one, I could tell alot about Gail & our journey on this bus & what you told & what you recorded, & how, how to behave, how you behave, your jokes & your girlfriend &, & how we stayed at Oval Station or at the [?] Station next to this park & the happening to Thames when you've been, you've been sewing
t,ac: sewing the fish together
GL: & the other objects, maybe you couldn't remember so well, yeah
t,ac: Well I remember Mark Pawson
GL: But this Berlin idea, it must've had a smaller impact on my.. because
t,ac: Well I think the 1986.., at least that tv show, I think was, in a sense, one of the low points of neoism [laughs]
[on the other hand, I wasn't there & have only received scattered reports from it & it did mark the publication of Monty Cantsin's Neoism Now book which at least one neoist considers to be still the best neoist book published so far as of 2004]
GL: You think so. So it faded away, must've faded away, I don't know much about, I don't remember..
t,ac: & after that, then. What have you been doing from 1986 to the present? We met each other again, in 1988, in Scotland &.. so you were married to Ann.
t,ac: What happened to that? Did you stay married for very long?
GL: Look, um, I married Ann & then we had a child called Olivia &, this is my big problem, I abandoned my English family, I fell in love with this mysterious Reika, I found tENTATIVELY correspondence with, with my own eyes, & I'm quite, I quite sure.. so, because I, I experienced the idea of, of, being in love maybe the 1st time, wha, & then, um, I just fall into this idea & after I got rid of.. because she was escaping, was running away, I was chasing her, acting as like a madman, getting her back, anyway, I told: "Ok, this is, this is no more with life because your only idea is just, just to, to fantasizing around female" which is real, not as like, uh, the husband of Kirstin, but I told: "Ok, you say goodbye, you say goodbye, uh, to life, you say goodbye to spiritual & intellectual activities" &, uh, quite a terrible thing I was in & I gave up my family, I gave up Ann, I gave up my child
t,ac: What was Ann's last name?
GL: Ann Griffin, Ann Mary Griffin. But she's not identical with a performance artist called Ann Griffin. She was straight-forward London architect. Yeah? An avant-garde architect but not identical with a very famous British performance artist called Ann Griffin, yeah..
t,ac: So you have a few families then?
GL: Yeah. It's quite boring to tell but I thought, um, after I abandoned London & I abandoned my family.. so they finished with me, but.. because I start, I am very much afraid, I developed ideas which is the attribute of a madman, a serious madman, I have to tell you very critically, I thought this lady I was in love with was a satanic lady, I was seriously believing, so, Satan was wanting her & this, some, some evil is, living inside of her & like, radiating some, some, some very luring & very dangerous food & so I can't get away & I have to.. Ah! Terrible! Terrible, &, um.. & I came, I came together with her & I met her, we could, we could be lovers again, we could have sex again, & I was dreaming of, & I wasn't interested in other people, how could I be unfaithful to her, so-called, OH!, really terrible, which happened '90, '92, very much up to '99, '98
t,ac: Oh, that's a long time!
GL: It's a very, very, very long time.
t,ac: But what happened to her? You didn't have any children with her?
GL: Um, she was pregnant, but, thank God, this baby couldn't be, couldn't
GL: This baby was taken away, was killed, was having, she was having an abortion, this baby was a few month old, so we are not having children again. This, I don't know, I don't think so, there is such a thing as like Satan or devil running around on Earth, being a black guy or having a tail or not or dwelling in humans but she is a very courageous lady, having a quite a dark soul, but being a neoist, you know, living since in slums of South Af-, South America, living in Sao Paulo, & Rio, &, at the moment, she is with a rich lover in the Havana &, just a few weeks ago she was, um, starting her career as a cleaning lady in Cayenne, French Guiana, speaking dozens of languages
t,ac: How many languages do you speak?
GL: I just speak about 5 languages. On that level I'm just beginner, like, like being able to exchange myself
t,ac: So, now you've also been to Iraq & various other places. What countries.. & Siberia. Can you tell me about those other countries you've been to & the conditions under which you went to them?
GL: Yeah, um, you don't think so because this is.. Maybe we could do this tomorrow?
t,ac: Mm, that's fine. Tomorrow we'll do part 2, I'm about to end this right now.
April 13 - 7:45 + 51:36 + 21:05 = 1:20:26 long interview
t,ac: Ok, this is part 2 of the interview with Gyoerg Ladanyi taking place on Aprillllllllllllll
GL: the 13th
t,ac: the 13th, 2004, in the year of their Lard. Now, as I remember, where we last left off, you were talking about 1984 activities & your experience with the 8th International Neoist Apartment Festival - or, perhaps, we'd gotten past that.
GL: Which is what? London? Or Edinborough? Glasgow?
t,ac: London & then, yeah, Edinborough. Well, no, no, no, that was, you're confusing that with 1988 - with Pete Horobin's Festival of Non-Participation - which was in.. somewhat in Glasgow, somewhat in Dundee, not really in Edinborough, but I did something in Edinborough. Sooooo, 1st tell me though about getting your pilot's license, learning to fly, how did you do that?
GL: mmMm, I, I don't pay, um, yeahhh, I wanted to say I don't really pay such a huge, such a tremendous meaning to that act. I do carry a pilot's license & so I was, uh, I was allowed to learn flying, same way as like the 9/11 people being allowed in U.S.
t,ac: You went to a school? Or what?
GL: But this is more or less the same idea as like when, when, when I went to the U.S.Army to, to work for them. This is how I got introduced to, um, to the computer & I got really 1st time introduced to the so-called internet, e-mailing, contacting via e-mail.
t,ac: What year are you talking about then? I thought you worked for the U.S.Army in the late '90s.
GL: Yes, it's true. Yeah, this is the same idea, so, I was intrigued by the idea of being as like a bird or as like having an image of the earth from above & to be an engineer of such, uh, sophisticated but very traditional engine like, uh, uh, an airplane engine, & it's avery romantic idea as well & at the same time as well sometimes, sometimes when you reach it's very, very practical when you up to, when you go to Africa. It's, uh, you ok with your tape? You ok with your technique?
t,ac: With this?
t,ac: Yeah. I'm just checking.
GL: Yeah, so I think I was simply, uh, simply intriqued by the way, by the idea to get off the trails because, uh, because, uh, human culture, especially in the 20th century, it got industrialized. So there were countries, there were industrial zones, there were holiday zones, & they set up some airlines, putting people from Chicago to New York or to Hawaii or to particular, very, very particular places & my idea was to be free - when I want to move to somewhere nobody really goes or not many - as like Wogoland - tENTATIVELY's not even knowing, never ever heard about Wogoland & many people are sharing this experi-, this non-experience he is. So my idea was, just going off the traces, um, you get suggested by, um, by, um, agencies & literature, &, which is even more dangerous, snobbism, yeah, just because the Kuchar brothers have been to Cairo,
[this had nothing to do with the Kuchar brothers - we had just been talking about them as filmmakers so Gyoergy was just pulling their name out of recent memory rather than targetting them specifically]
they have been there because Rimbaud was there as well & Rimbaud just went there because another asshole was there as well - great people, great people - yeah, you know, just copy art, copying behaviors because they had a great experience in Cairo with their friend & staying in a fantastic hotel & this is literature, this is mutual culture, &, &, uh, this is a whole trail of copying those & exactly getting into the same bliss, yeah, some ancestors came into & I thought: "Yeah, yeah, I would like very much, I would like very much to belong to the pioneers." They think pioneerly, they move pioneerly, so they, uh, they experience things no ancestor or no pioneer did it before. So that was the reason I was very much interested - just for movement without using traditional way as like airplanes, like, like airliners, as like trains, but..
t,ac: But how did you learn to fly? Did you go to a small airport & ask someone to teach you how to fly or?
GL: Yeah, exactly this way. So, I was, uh, reading an article about an Alpine Club or about one particular person, Herr Berkmann, Herr Berkmann, made an announcement in a paper like: "I teach you how to fly in 30 days", I teach you how to fly in 3-zero days, which is very, very little, yeah? It sounds very American, I teach you how to speak Arabic in 5 hours, it sounds very much like this. So, um, I travel down to, o meet this Herr Berkmann &
t,ac: Where was this? In Germany?
GL: In Algoy, which is at the Swiss/Austrian/German border - down there in the Alps, which is beautiful, which is a nice little village, so I went there & at the same afternoon, maybe, we started practicing - so, we, we've been airborn, we went airborn, & then at this same evening I started, in a very, very small group, in an extremely small group of neoists to learn how to fly
t,ac: Was that your doorbell?
GL: Yes. Maybe you stop it.
[pause in the recording]
GL: An old lady who, uh, who got a parcel from.. what is this American idea? Pheresanthaus? A big, big shopping & mailing company? They have catalogs & you pick, when you can't decide you pick something & you order
t,ac: Mail order.
GL: Mail order, so, I received her mail order parcel several days ago & I was very, very happy because I knew so this lady is afraid of mine, yeah, this is what people told me this lady is..
t,ac: So now you got to give her her parcel & she's less afraid of you? Is that what you're saying?
GL: Yes, yes. This is the 1st time I met her face to face & so she was so courageous, she was so brave, she came to my door, she rung, & so she got her parcel. Well, so about flying, so we have been a very small group of people. I remember one countryman of mine, a very, very stupid guy from Switzerland was as stupid as telling me his trade which was being a courier of child pornography from Amsterdam, which is a source for material from U.S., I don't know, Asia, U.S.. wherever, this is terminal, this is, uh, this is a window for & his job was not trafficking cocaine or heroin but child pornography in media, like mostly media tapes & he took to, uh, huge boxes stuffed with banned material, heavily banned & restricted material & taking in down to Geneva or Zurich, handing it over to, uh, to those he was working for - & I met this person & we spent a tea together [laughs] & we went on learning flying & he told me this story & I was, uh, not chilled, but I, I don't know about, it was strange to me because I still very unexperienced on this field & somebody is having an urge to tell things is odd.
t,ac: Yeah. It's pretty amazing. I would think that he would be more afraid to let anyone know he was doing that.
GL: Hhmm. Well, so..
t,ac: So, have you spent much time flying since you got your license or?
GL: So we had this, uh, this course, this flight course down there but it turned out this guy doesn't like me at all & I didn't like him.
t,ac: The one who was giving the lessons.
GL: The lessons, giving pilot, yeah-ah. Anyway, I have to tell when somebody is not a man of leisure - which I am, I am a neoist, & an artist, & a man of leisure but, uh, the idea of social flying, which means being in a club, not owning a plane, but being forced, more or less, to share a plane with others & to arrange, you have to be a very social figure, so you have to be a bird of the same feather as like this company & this is a prototype of man, the private airman's club - in Germany as like, not so much in England because this is some remainder of the aristocratic English, uh, empire time when an Earl had to own a plane & had to take off to Cambridge or off to Scotland to land in a private spot so this is more like this but not in a continental Europe like France, Spain, & Germany. You have to be, you have to look exactly, you have to think exactly as like the others & you have to sit regularly to have this type of beer & the same type of jokes & the same type of reactions so, which limits very much, except you are a great neoist & everybody loves, everybody loves your jokes & everybody loves your leaflets & everybody loves your super-8 movies & everybody loves your cellular phone movies [laughs] & you have a huge cash-flow & you buy your Cessna 172 ot your Piper Archer or your, whatever, Russian plane. Yeah, so I learned this, it turned out very, very freq- recently, Herr Berkmann doesn't like me at all & he wrote a special letter to the, to the authorities, to the federal, FAA, Federal Air Control Authority of Germany: "I don't think so, Mr. Georg Ladanyi, um, um, would help, um, building the safety of the airs" or some bullshit "supporting the safety of the airs, air traffic, or air but the opposite & I think when Mr. Ladanyi would have a license it would be hazard on air traffic." This is what he wrote [laughs].
t,ac: So what did he think about the guy who was smuggling the child pornography in?
GL: He loved this guy, he loved this guy. It was a love at the 1st sight, yeah.
t,ac: Did he know he was smuggling child pornography?
GL: I don't think so. Because I'm more or less the type personality everybody at the 1st moment starts talking about lots of things about their, as like ideal interviewer - some sort as like you, even, um, much better than you because some people are afraid, not of your spirit but your design, your self-design, & think you're something very marginal, yeah, as like, uh, gypsies at Mount Baté - they have tattoos telling like: SPIRIT or MIND
t,ac: On their forehead.
GL: On their forehead.
t,ac: Written in Roma?
GL: Written in Hungarian, written in blue ink, black ink. MIND, SPIRIT. Which alienates some, some in town. Anyway, just telling this idea, they loved each other & they have such a fun & they laughed & this guy, this Hungarian guy, this porn trafficker, he, uh, yeah-ah, he make bunches of money with this job so he didn't know how to spend, so he did all this stupid spenditure as like, as like a poor, an ex-poor working class background person could spend but he wanted to have something extraordinary so he went to this school, it was a [?] at the 1st stop [?] & he had serious problems to learn all this air law like this foot up to this foot, this is restricted for this & you allowed to enter & this is this approach & leaving this zone - which is, yeah, it's very interesting because it's international, yeah, dictated by American air philosophy so all the rest had to adopt.
t,ac: But even though he was against you, you still got your license.
GL: Mm, uh, I told him: "After 30 days I haven't got my license as like I got promised in this advertisement & we had some lessons" - not very, not too many because we had bad weather - & in flight life, going experience & when you have lessons with a small plane as like I had like gliders & moto-gliders & tiny Cessnas - like 1-5-0s - uh, when there is, when there is, when there is tempest, when there is, uh, harsh wind, a new airman can't do so much - it's quite dangerous, it's true - so you up to the idea of nice sunny weather with little wind & that's all. & this area I started with Herr Berkmann it was everything but this so I left the are-, I left him & maybe just because of the revenge, of, of, of leaving him, just giving a portion of money he promised for himself, I wrote him goodbye, then he wrote this letter to the authorities: "I say, I do see, in Mr. Ladanyi's airmanship a peril for air traffic." So, I went back to Hamburg where I lived at that time & I was an art student that time. I started after being back from Canada, after being back from Nepal, I went to a film festival in Oslenburg with some super-8 footage& I had something very spectacular, yeah, I had, which was working up in a very neoistic manner, my life so far. The "Kunstteilhardt dei aus der keilerkant" - the "art which is breaking out of the throat".
t,ac: Out of the throat?
GL: Throat. Yeah, which are 8 Eskimo songs, 8 Eskimo songs starting with my early childhood going on 'til like somebody's discovering sociality until that very time so, so I use this Eskimo throat songs which you maybe, or it's, um, it reminds of intercourse, of human intercourse, but it's not, the idea is not but singing in a [starts imitating a sort of hyperventilation] like this, this is how Inuit at church they do sing, which I visited when I was in Canada & I made a film with them when I visited the northwest territories of Canada & I lived with those people.
t,ac: For how long?
GL: For, uh, for 6 weeks, less than 2 month.
t,ac: You made recordings & shot film of them?
GL: I shot film then but, uh, this piece of singing, one of them just tried & the other, the others they just burst out of laughter because this is a classic art work I bought in Berlin which I played to them as a recording & one of them started something similar but, you know, so white man has spoiled them so far so much they didn't understand the cur-, the, the, uh, oddness & the interpretation of their art in cross-cultural relationship & then it didn't really work & then when I ask: "Tell me, tell me, explain" me seriously, of course, so they made jokes, made jokes & funny jokes.. So, uh, so I met Mary, my lover, there, a lady who had 6 children from 6 different men, living together with an American or a Canadian guy who was a wheelchair guy, a stupid wheelchair guy, who got into wheelchair because he sold booze for $100 a bottle to an Eskimo person, to a, to an Inuit person who drunk this bottle of whiskey & then he tramped & danced around this white person as long he must've taken with a chopper to the next hospital but he couldn't leave for a lifetime his wheelchair because his spine was broken & so..
t,ac: The guy that he sold the booze to jumped on him & broke his spine?
GL: No, the guy who bought the booze, & who drunk the booze, who consumed his booze got drunk & when an Eskimo person gets drunk he's very drunk & very aggressive so & he, he got this booze which is illegal for Inuit people, it's illegal to sell booze to Inuit - & this guy, the consumer who consume this booze, uh, he had, he had this businessman facing him who was selling the booze, jumping on him & beating him not to death but to crup-, to cripple?
t,ac: Yeah, to cripple.
GL: To cripple, yeah. So I went & I stayed with this family & so I offer this Mary who was, um, an Inuit wife of jis to be a lover which, uh, we had been just, uh, very good friends but this is one of the very few opportunities I missed in my life of making love with somebody, so I quite sure about one: I'm not having an Eskimo child. This is the very few things I know, I know on Earth. So, but I wanted to tell you something about airmanship, so I went to Hamburg, I went to another businessperson, I went to another school, I mean..
t,ac: another flying school
GL: another flying school to Wittenserner, a very, very lovely Bavarian, a very funny, a very, very, very extraordinary person who was running a club, anyway, from this club came this fucking idiot who landed at Kremlim Square, the Red Square, maybe you've heard this story?
t,ac: Tell it again.
GL: During communist time, Matthias Rust, a German redneck was flying illegally from Helsinki, Finland. He made his route legally to Helsinki
t,ac: How do you spell his name?
GL: Rust is like "rust".
t,ac: R, u, s, t.
GL: Like Romeo, uniform, sierra, tango.
t,ac: Is there an umlaut over the..?
GL: Matthias. No.
t,ac: Matteus is his 1st name?
t,ac: What's his 1st name?
GL: Matthias, Matthias.
GL: Yes. Mike, india, double tango, hotel, alpha, seirra.
GL: Rust like rust, rust. Yeah! Anyway, this guy landed at Gorbachov's starting times at the Red Square, yeah, gurting nobody, being arrested, but telling in a courtroom: "It was a freedom flight to demonstrate freedom & friendship among mankind." Yeah. & so, after that, they declare whole Moscow for closed airspace so that it could never, never happen & top military was removed
t,ac: Because he was managed to get through?
GL: Because he was managed to get through. Very low flying, just going along the railroad track of Leningrad , which is Petersburg now, down to Moscow & managing to land as like you would land at Central Park, yeah? With families, with push-chairs, with babies, with children playing balls, with people going to shopping to the Gum magazine & so on & he managed without tourism
t,ac: What year was this?
GL: Uh.. Look, it might've been just one year after London Apartment Festival.
t,ac: So maybe 1985.
GL: Maybe '85, maybe '86, yeah. & then I learned how to fly just a few days after that happened. & everybody who knew so-called "Mad Gyoerg", they all thought it msut have been him
t,ac: Who flew to Moscow.
GL: Yeah. Who flew to Moscow. But, uh, you know.. Anyway, this poor guy served his sentence, came back to Germany, & which is even more interesting, so he fought to extend his flight license, because you have to extend it every 2 years, as like in America, & you have to fly for your hours, which is quite a, quite a small amount of flight hours. You have to have 20 hours every 2 years.
So, so Matthias Rust came back to Germany & he tried hard to extend his pilot's license, which he could not, & then he, he, he became, not really alcoholic but, yeah, he was really sick, he was even, even basking for celebrity, by going to a bar, spotting a sexy nurse, going to her, telling, yeah: "I am Matthias Rust, you want to make love with me" & she said: "No, you not attract me",taking a knife & stabbing her, yeah, so he just ended up at that lee-vole
t,ac: He ended up what?
GL: He ended up, Matthias Rust, ended up just at that lee-vole, at that level
t,ac: At that level, ok.
GL: Like a, yeah, like a, like a, like a, like seeking & begging for acceptance.
t,ac: Was he ever famous? Or?
GL: Yeah, through this Kremlin flight, through this Red Square flight.
t,ac: But how did people interpret it? Did they think he was really trying to accomplish something? Or did they think that he was just being crazy?
GL: Very, very few, just because, you know, you know how public opinion & political opinion works - so somebody declares Monty Cantsin alias Istvan Kantor to a hero, whatever he has done before, & then this person declares it, he didn't meant it so - like spilling blood in museum, he meant it really for peace & for achievement, for safety, for.. Yeah-ah, so, if, & then he gets declared & he gets the medal of the General Governor & he's on a good side, yeah?
[Monty Cantsin alias Istvan Kantor is a friend of mine & I disagree with this harsh opinion of him]
& this Matthias Rust immediately declared by news & politics as like, as like one warrior for the free western enterprise.
t,ac: Oh, really? [laughs]
GL: Yeah, & nobody mentions such thing as like: "This is really a mad thing" because there was a miracle he wasn't shot by Russian.. military, by the Russian fighter..
t,ac: on their air-space
GL: their air-space, yeah. So he took some courage, you know, very bourgeois mentality, very rednecky, very Kleinburgherish, thinking of, yeah, this way of neo like Stewart Home or Istvan they want to get famous at whatever price - so even if they get shot that they take their chance
[actually, I don't think this is a very accurate appraisal of either Istvan or Stewart]
so & he went off very good with it. I don't mean the stabbing of nurse
GL: But so for landing there & then all the whole west protected him & declared: "Yeah, he's just a freedom seeker, he just wants understanding & communication between East & West" & all the papers, & all the tv channels, & radio around Germany, but even Europe & even in U.S. you could see on CNN: "Ah, Matthias Rust, a German private pilot.. managed, & landed" & so, yeah, just, um.. This was a time, this was Gorbachov time, this was this, this era of, uh, the double, the 2, double-fold.. earth, [?], break-up the systems, this approach.. Gorbachov's idea from Glasnost, which is "Clearness", & Perestroika, which is "Rearrangement", which is "Rebuilding the system", Perestroika, like this, & Glasnost, to see what happens in politics, what they think, what politicians think. So in this era I learned how to fly in the days when Matthias Rust landed in the Red Square & got back to Germany a very few month after that.
t,ac: So before you mentioned going to Nepal. Can you tell me what you did in India?
GL: Yeah. I enjoyed very much travelling with the junkie group of Germans, being junkie & having..
t,ac: That was a theater thing, right? Or, no, they were making a film about that guy. That's right, I forgot we were talking about that the other day.
GL: Yeah. Their idea was very, very simple. I don't think so, I, I.. because this is, uh, 22 years ago, exactly 20 & 2 years from now - & the idea was, just, to traffic heroin & to traffic ganja the most sophisticated way to Europe as a cultural neoist project.
t,ac: Ok, so, skipping that then, because I remember that we were talking about that the other day. What were you doing, say, from 1986 to 1988?
GL: Yeah, I was shooting this Indian, this Indian-Pakistan-Iran movie so I've been just brushing my 1st real hot war theater. It was the year of the Iran-Iraq war when the United States was, uh, was sending his dog Iraq against Iran which was [laughs] one of the "Axis of Evil", one of the most injurious enemy because of Ayatollah Khoumeni & the idea of Islam & the Islamic revolution here was the 1st time on earth through Khoumeni - the U.S. got really afraid.
t,ac: So you were in both countries?
GL: Iran, I was.
GL: Just brushed the front.
t,ac: So did you actually shoot battle footage or what?
GL: Pseudo-battle footage, yeah, you know, parking lots, parking place, nighttime, soldiers are moving, coming back, having, having not badge, badge is this. What is this gaze?
t,ac: Or gauze.
GL: Gauze or bandage & talking to them, seeing them asking them, seeing them how they take a some, some tea in a bodaga. So, very, very interesting place. Living in Tehran where there were not one bed in a hostel for us because we have been westerners &, I didn't know as much on Islam as like now, I didn't know as much about, about cross-cultural differences as like now I do know, so I wore the same tank uniform as my little future daughter-in-law
[he's referring here to his visiting son's girlfriend Saskia & coveralls that she wore]
is wearing here. Exactly the same & I, I went out Tehran, evening-time when the U.S. hostages were still around, were still taken, kept as hostages, & I went to have a pee in a public pee-house & I queued-up, or whatever, having a pee, yeah with my stature which is higher than average Iraqi & some Iraqis they came
t,ac: some Iranis
GL: some I-, I-, Iranian people, I'm sorry, from Tehran citizens, some guys gathered, telling: "This is an American, this is an American who just parachuted, who just [laughs] touched ground to"
t,ac: Did you speak Farsi? Persian?
t,ac: So what did you do? Did you talk to them in German?
GL: Yeah, well I'm a communicator, so, it doesn't make a difference to.. communicate is this sense as like a U.S. trooper is not a good communicator [..] He is just trying very hard but not identifying himself with those they queue up, they gather, they hostile
t,ac: So, they figured out that you weren't American.
GL: Yeah. Thank God & so they figure it out I'm not American. Then it came into jokes & it came into fraternization & so we became good friends but it started like in a, in a very few seconds, um, I could be lynched, yeah. It felt like so because this was a question of seconds it got decided you are good or bad & nothing between. So I walk off &, & I took more care from then which doesn't mean I didn't make mistakes after that because of such cultural misunderstanding as like in the bad design at the wrong place & behaving a way people don't like very much. Uh, so, I did this filming, I did "Kunstteilhardt dei aus der keilerkant" - the "art coming out of the throat" & then I was screening & I went to festivals & in Oslenbrücke maybe in '83, '84, '83 - '83 or '84, Sprinternland, Oslenbrücke, I met, I met wonderful experimental filmmaking colleague who, who was teaching, who is still teaching at Hamburg art school & he approached me & told: "Gyoerg, I've seen your movie, I like it very much & I like to support you. Could you tell me," as like in a fairy tale, "Could you tell me which way could I support you best? Should I give you footage? Should I give you some [?], some developing bonus tickets, bonus marks? Anyway, I'd like to support you on your production with your film expenditure production" & then, then I told him, maybe the wrong thing, I told him something he didn't like to hear: "Ok, take me into your class" as like in a fairy tale when, when, when, when, when, when the wizard is coming & asking: "Ok, you ask me one thing or 2, 3 things. It's up to you, it's [?] or gold." So, I wanted to come into his class
t,ac: You're talking about Peter Kubelka now?
t,ac: Someone else.
GL: No, before Peter Kubelka. I went to Hamburg to Neumann, Rutiger Neumann, Neumann - like many Americans they're called Neumann
GL: November echo uniform & Mann with double "m", I guess - I'm not sure.
t,ac: No, I think you're right.
GL: One or 2.
t,ac: Like Thomas Mann.
GL: Anyway, this guy was really nice, really nice, really laid-back, really leisurely in speaking, experimental filmmaking gay guy who loved my work & he said: "Ok, whatever you want." So I went to Hamburg, I started in his class but, you know, to be friend of, of, of, of mighty gay person is very, very difficult because they, the American term is "being a queen" & they are queens, they want to be beautiful, they want to.., most of them or some of them, they like to be admired, &, & they are having a court around them & it was a huge court of nice little talented or less talented guys. They, they arranged a non-stop party. I think you could find such in Greenwich Village in New York. Such teachers or such artists they are keeping their own court & he was keeping his court & I didn't fit into this court &, & I wasn't intelligent enough to fit into this court or to know my position, to know my role &, uh, I was more or less acting as like my spiritual son Frithjof, wearing army stuff, looking odd, looking masculine, making very short sentences, being very straight-forward. Anyway, this court around me didn't like me very much so - & all the mechanism is the same as like in a court of a tyrant [?] when somebody is giving, giving, putting wings on a gossip - as like on you yesterday - you are a 'thief'. If you are or not is not interesting, but you are having a badge, you're 'thief', you done or not is not as important. The main thing, Gordon Monahan is declaring you to 'thief'. & I was declared to some not returning back to a film or taking back of a film from the [?] Lodge just to watch it - as like I would go into your cabin, where you sleep, to take out your precious videos, running down to a screening place to have an illegal screening, not putting it back to right time, just a half a day, & you realize: "Gyoerg, I'm missing my precious videos" - something like this story, which I didn't do, & it wasn't so important, it wasn't so interesting. So he said to me: "Ok, I don't like your attitude because you came to this school & you are teaching here, yeah? You're screening your movies, you hold performances, &, ah, so you came here as being my pupil of learning & mostly realizing. So.. Fuck Off! I don't want to see you anymore in my class." Then, I was really hardly hit, yeah, I was quite hardly hit but I put my stuff & I moved away to Ham-, to Frankfurt - & Iasked to Kubelka: "This is my work. Look, I'd like to be.. I'd like to be in your class." Which is the same way as like being in Chicago or an apprentice. Maybe not, this is a very medieval thing, you know, because in Hamburg in an art school I met this, uh, this art heroes - they came from U.S. or they came from Denmark or wherever &, & we lived together. We lived together, we worked together, we went out together. They padi always in the restaurants when we went to the Chinese or we went even to whores they paid & they enjoyed it extremely to teach you how to smoke a good Havana cigar & how to drink a good Japanese rice wine. So, & it happened not singularly but on a daily base. So when I stayed with Walter, when I stayed with, um, [?], when I stayed with, um, I don't know, there were too many. So, uh, so, uh, I wanted to learn something. I wanted to learn something how to, how to, um, how does feel to be a commercial artist. So, that's the reason. I made maybe a very big mistake but, but I went to the art school, I went to Frankfurt, Stadt Schule, I went to Kubelka's school & I did learn alot about filmmaking. I did learn alot about how to watch movies, how to classify movies - which means how t explain to myself it's a piece of shit or this is a precious piece of art. To say WHY because most people they could say: "Yeah, my stomach says 'I don't like' or my stomach tells me 'Uh..'" & so on & Kubelka could say: "This is, is a wonderful piece of art" just because of why so "Go ahead guys who is 1st who would like to speak about this what you've seen?" &, so, so uh just verbalizing things, it was very important because I could verbalize so I have learned & I really wonder why I'm not teaching film now, I'm not teaching somewhere film. I don't think so, I'm old enough to. Anyway, I went to Kubelka & made films, I made films with Kubelka &, which is very important, before I went to Kubelka's school so my education was very rednecky & very average & then I've seen everything, I've seen nearly everything which is worth being seen from the Kuchars to Kenny Anger &, I don't know, Kubelka himself & so all these nazis like Reifenstahl & I.. we watched movies & we did this, we did this analysis & Kubelka's film analysises they are legends. I recorded them. I did the same job as like what my friend tENTATIVELY is doing now. I sat in the 1st row with a very similar equipment as like he does so I was recording & I do have somewhere here the tapes. Maybe they're worth the cash-money. Maybe. Anyway, uh, & they were performances. So he started & he had an editing table which you know what it is, a Steenbeck editing table, & he projected the images & he went around & he told: "Look, look how empty is this idea" or "Look how stupid is this idea" & what he mostly did, he made fun out of that bourgeois culture-system told they are some geniuses like Truffaut & all these French Art Nouveau & so this guy just showing: "Look, look it's bullshit. Look this. These criminals. Look. This is something which is worth of nothing being declared to worth of something." Yeah, so, I didn't waste time there, so I was doing.. So, end of the '80s, '86, '87, '88, '89, uh, like this. Learning how to, how to fly, flying around to the earth, like, uh, making neoist performances, yeah, taking the money, doing neoist performances. My friend [?] Hoffmeister & me we just flew from Cambridge to Moscow to free the East German tyrant, um, Hoeniker & to fly him to, to arranged, to his arranged asylum which was the island of the Seychelles.
t,ac: How did you get involved with that?
GL: This is a neoist performance, this is a neoist project. I went to London, I went to Switzerland, I went to the Libyan embassy & I told: "You know, you guys, you are completely tapped here", yeah, & so I made the sign language in Bern with the Libyan ambassador: "I would like to fly out Hoeniker from Moscow to Libya if he would get an asylum there" because Libya was one of the worst evil that time & he's a good friend now at the moment. & so he said: "I understand you. Come back next day" & so probably Khaddafi himself gave the message: "When this, when your plane comeinto air, into our air-space we will shoot it down." Just one sentence answer. SO I went, I went to the high commisionaries, high commisionaries, ambassador, whatever is his title in London - telling him: "Look. You have one pearl of the Indian Ocean with, um, with the main income source of tourism & you have as many Britons & Germns & so. What do you think about this advertisement idea of sheltering Erich Hoeniker at your soil? You like it?" & they said: "Yes, sir. We would like it."
t,ac: So, which country is agreeing to this now?
GL: The Seychelles. This is an island as like Hawaii.
t,ac: Yeah, yeah. I've heard of them. S,e,y,c,h,e,l,l,e,s.
t,ac: Right. So they agreed to that & who was this person who was in Russia? I don't know, I'm not familiar with him.
GL: The, uh, East German dictator who jailed Frithjof - this guy you just seen before.
t,ac: Alright. What was.. So he was under arrest in Moscow? Or what?
GL: No. The political system has changed here in Germany because you have heard the wall broke down. It fall down.
t,ac: So, we're talking about after 1989
GL: After 1989
t,ac: he was
GL: he was the 1st person of communist East Germany just went into illegality because the new system took, took away, uh, his apartment, his state
t,ac: So how were you in touch with him to be able to meet to fly him out?
GL: uh, apartment, &, um, I connected his family in Chile. So, his sister was, the daughter was married to a Chile revolutionary person & they left to live in Chile. So this is where they went.
t,ac: So they told you how to get in touch with him & then you told him that you had arranged the asylum in the Seychelles?
GL: No. He stayed in Germany a good while - like a priest took him, a priest whose family was completely ruined by the system because no of his sons & daughters were accepted at university & they, as a christian mind & a christian spirit took this communist couple of Hoeniker & his wife, yeah, into their attic room & giving them this hocus-pocus food everyday &, of course, he didn't like this idea of being a moral prisoner of somebody who as acting as like being a very good human - & then he seeked asylum in, in a Russian military hospital, not far from Berlin, he seeked asylum in a Russian military hospital because the Russians stayed here for another 2 or 3 years when the wall fell down they didn't leave immediately but the, uh, but West Germany, uh, arranged
[he speaks in German to Saskia]
So, we have to make another break because they are about to leave
[pause in the recording]
t,ac: It's back on again.
GL: Go ahead with this story. Anyway, this guy, as like, you could imagine, Gordon W. Bush of the East Germans. So he lived in a Russian military hospital as more or less in an asylum after the unification of Germany but Russian troops they still stayed here because there was an arrangement: "Ok, we withdraw all the troops within 2 years or 3 years."
t,ac: So then, eventually, they took him back to Moscow with them.
t,ac: & why did you want to do this?
GL: & they took him back to Moscow or he was asking for: "Please, take me" because, so, I don't like to, to be, um, um, victim of class justice, of politic-, politically motivated class justice - & I was a victim of politically motivated class justice, so, why not to make a neoist action? - of flying there, taking him out of his asylum, &, &, &, & taking him into safety, yeah? This was the idea because Russia entered, that time, with Glasnost & [?] & with, with rebuilding - a pro-western road which is still, which they are still going along but, in, in, in, ni a tyrannic way. So, my idea was like, I don't like this idea when systems are change, what Frithjof was telling you, I was just the opposite. I thought: "Ok, they did something.." maybe they did injustice to me but they didn't really because there is their law when they tell I am their subject I have to go to their army - Ok, when I am their subject, when this is your book, it has to be open for you to be written into & then this is your recording machine, it has to be open to obey your fingers - & so & I said: "No, I am your tool but I am not going to do so" so they jailed me nearly for 2 years - & they jailed Frithjof because he was spraying: "Down With the Wall", yeah? So, my idea was, so, my law is a different one & I'm not the same idea as like this ancient Jewish idea so when you take sword you have to be stabbed with sword [laughs] It's very stupid! & why not to make a neoist performance to take this - even if, uh, even if, uh, I don't know, even if he is not my greatest hero.
t,ac: Did you get paid for doing this? Or?
t,ac: Yeah. Did he pay you to do it?
t,ac: The guy, Eric Hoenegger or whatever his name is.
GL: I wasn't ever, ever paid
GL: by anybody except this, um, these junkies.
t,ac: Ah, yeah.
GL: Yeah, they travelled with me & they paid costs.
t,ac: So was he happy to go to the Seychelles?
GL: Uh.. So we, we flew to Moscow, my friend & mine, & we had some negotiations with the ambassador of Chile but we couldn't even get as far to Hoeniker we could say hello to him. He was next room, he was at the rear of the same building. We went, yeah, surrounded with Russian secret service everywhere these box or even these special cameras they could hear you what you speak because the vibration of the glasses. [?] & so we went there & we told: "Look, this guy is a problem for Russian government because the German government is blackmailing them. Ok, we would like to execute justice on this person, take us this person, but this person was seeking asylum because, he was, he was trusting to this system & to this culture, so, & trusting when I hand my life over to you & you let me go & you tell: 'I don't know this guy. Just take him & lynch him.'" So, I went there & I told: "Look, when I steal him away, wherever I take him, it's good for everybody. It's good for the Russians, it's very good for the Germans because this is the German mentality of principles. We have these principles, it has to be done, it has to be taken. It's a biblical idea like, like, you know, you have done something wrong, even if it's a symbol, even if you have an, you get an amnesty on, it has to be handled, it has to be spoken,
GL: addressed. Same as like Moynihan yesterday. Maybe he would like to have a good time with you or have a cup of tea with you, having a chat & laugh with you, but it has to be dealt, yeah? You a fucking thief.
t,ac: Except in his case, it's totally
t,ac: his own fantasy.
GL: This is another, this is another idea. Anyway, so, I tried to, uh, really hard & very, very, very smart to make it clear: "So the Germans will be happy, the Russians will be happy, the Chileans will be very happy because he when, when, when the Russians declared: 'Ok, we extradite him to the Germans" then he was escaping to the Chile embassy. The same thing as like some Chile diplomat was escaping to the East German embassy during the Pinochet crew
GL: coup. So, &, &, & this Chile ambassador to Moscow, he was Hoeniker's personal friend. Hoeniker's. So, we went there, we wanted to see him, we wanted to tell him: "Look, we got arranged an asylum to you. I feel very much for you & your particular situation. We are here now to help you." & so we just wanted to have a neoist performance to fly down to Iran, Somalia, Seychelles [laughs] with, uh, with a plane borrowed in England, with the 2 Hoenikers at the rear, filming it, interviewing it, same as, same as like you doing to me: "Why did you do?" What was his 1st dream? & so, How he decided to become a communist.
t,ac: So, did you make this movie?
GL: Uh. The Chile, the Chileans told me: "Look," uh, so far we came, or I came because my friend was there to do all this recording, they wave me off, they just wave me off, after half a week of negotiation, uh, telling like: "This is not a political solution, this is a neoist solution, this is an adventurer's solution. It's not a solution we take him out in middle of night, taking him to some sober airfield & you steal him away, wherever, to sunny California or wherever, uh uh, we not doing that" so the Hoenikers couldn't even say yes or no. They couldn't even tell to this idea which was, which was masterminded by me, my neoist friends, & the daughter in Chile. I couldn't even see him even if I was asking: "Yeah, could I, at least, talk to him?" The ambassador said: "No, I don't think so it would help." So, so I just had to tur-, to leave, to leave Moscow - & when, before I took off, one or 2 days before I took off from Neukovo, Moscow, Neukovo airport, I met some nice Russian CNN guys, they've been flying down to Rostof on the dawn because this court case of this, uh, Russian monster Chikatliov who was eating 20 or 30 teenagers alive - it's a very American story, raping them
t,ac: How do you spell his name?
GL: Chikatliov, I give you later all this. [According to my friend Kali Pierce, the name is: ANDREI CHICKATILO] Anyways, already written in America & sold & one million, so - just to tell about my bullshitness, they told me: "Yeah, this court just, just sitting there, starting the day after tomorrow" & instead of taking this plane, flying down to Rostof & going there as a fake newsperson & writer to switch from Hoeniker story to Chikatliov story, the Russian monster & cannibal, eating breasts & vags &, uh, barbecueing it &, you know, very weird person. Instead of, I thought to myself as like a business person, George, you spent already 4,000 pounds on this Russian project - should you push it up to 6 or 7? So, I made stop-loss & I returned back instead of carrying on having a coverage. Wha' happens? Some American Jewish guy, just picking the papers a year later & telling: "This is great for our market", yeah? - making a for-tune, yeah? & I had everything there, I had my camera, I had my cameraman, I had my soundperson, so I had my equipment, & instead of being able, smart enough, to cwitch from one neoist project to the other one, I waved the CNN guys goodbye, telling, uh: "It's too risk." Could you follow?
GL: my mischief? Well..
t,ac: So what did you do then? You went back to London?
GL: Yeah. I went, I went back to my beloved wife to London & carrying on with tiny little stupid neoist performances & making films &, uh, giving dinners to Stewart Home like to you yesterday, listening to his, um, to his, um.. When somebody feel so.. getting offended, you know? when I find really the right words to target you on heart, yeah?, just finding those words which are hurting you very much. Not when you: "You're a fucking bastard thief" but like this, but you, uh, I do find your weak points & meeting & targetting exactly those, those darts, throwing, aiming & targetting
t,ac: Stewart was doing that to you or you were doing that to Stewart? Or neither? Stewart was doing that to someone else?
GL: No, Stewart was telling about, about such, what he received, what he had to receive, & somebody in the neoist scene was writing something unhonorable on him & which was really hard when a lady just addressed him & named him as "a little fart" [makes farting sound] - nothing but a very little fart. Somebody who had a great time with some, with some friends in Paris, & Stewart wanted really badly to be in their company - & they've been telling Stewart: "You'd better stay home."
t,ac: This is what? 1989? Or 1990?
GL: No, it's 1987, '86ish, '87, '89ish.
t,ac: Ok, because I thought you were saying that this was after the Berlin Wall came down, which was in 1989, when you went back to London. So it would've had to've been no earlier than 1989 that you're talking about.
GL: You're right. Earlier, earlier.
GL: So, after that, I went back to London when the Berlin Wall came down &, uh, &, uh, I invested about 5,000 pound in a neoist performance which never paid itself back.
t,ac: You're talking about the trip to Moscow as the..
GL: Yeah.. As like very, very few neoist performances are profitable, bring profit.
t,ac: So, but what did you do after that when you were in London?
GL: So, I move between Berlin & London & between having an apartment here, same sort of apartment like here, having my super-8 equipment, having my editing table, having my, my, uh, typewriter, & moving between London & Bagdad & London, &, &, Angola.
t,ac: What were you doing in Angola?
GL: Uh, being more & more intrigued by the idea of the culture of war, the culture of hostilities.
t,ac: Same thing in Bagdad?
GL: Yeah. More or less the same thing everywhere, where, where I was since
t,ac: & you were shooting film the whole time? Or?
t,ac: Uh-huh. Did you do it as an investigative journalist type of thing or was it more experimental
GL: What I sold to different channels, which I'm very much ashamed of now, yeah, just, um, you know, when you do a career, you do a career as a prostitute - to tell my stories after that - like I did it just because of, of, I, I, because I didn't like this hunger or I didn't like this condition or I had to collect money for an operation on the eyesight of my aunt, yeah, it's very, very dodgy after you, you, you've been sinning already.
t,ac: So you were basically just shooting footage for some network like the BBC or..
GL: No, no, no. I was shooting my footage, for myself, & then, because it's tremendous footage, it could be edited out parts, uh, sharing the interest of a very broad public.
t,ac: Super-8 though? Or 16mm?
GL: No, different videos - as like S-Video, as like digital video & I was working for a very good portion with Hi-8, so.. So in Africa & Angola I visited the Savimbi Camp, the CIA & China backed Savimbi Party. You're not very familiar with African politics?
t,ac: Not with Angola. A little bit with Uganda.
GL: Yeah. So I visited that part, just crossing the fronts, seeing the different camps, seeing the frontline, seeing these guys sleeping with guns, with machine guns at harsh daytime in the sunshine, in the shades, in ruins, just because they had to
t,ac: Yeah. Who was fighting who at that time?
GL: Um, the Marxist MPLA been, being
t,ac: M, P, L, A?
GL: MPLA was resisting against the attacks of the Unita which is liberation front fighting for the total liberation of Angola.
t,ac: So the Marxists were in power in Angola.
GL: Yeah. They were in power.
t,ac: & this Savimbi Group, or whatever the name of it was, they were a CIA-backed group that was fighting against Marxism.
t,ac: But they were also Chinese-backed.
t,ac: Yeah. What was the Chinese interest in overthrowing the Marxist government?
GL: Yeah, because this was backed by the Russians.
t,ac: So, they were doing it mainly just to get at the Russians.
GL: Yeah. Just to get the Russians out or just doing something that the Russians don't like. Yeah-ah. Which, um, which, um, which means I was shooting my film
[the phone rings]
& I could sell bits
t,ac: I'll shut this off for a while.
April 15 - 23:58 + 20:09 = 44:07 long interview
t,ac: Today is..
GL: the 15th
t,ac: the 15th of April, 2004, Era Vulgari, & this is the 4th part, perhaps, of the interview with Gyoergy Ladanyi.
GL: I guess the 3rd part. We started..
t,ac: 3rd or 4th part, whatever, I'll figure that out.
t,ac: Soooo.. the last we left off at was around 1990 - I think when you were shooting footage in Iran, Iraq, & Angola, correct? So, let's go through the next 14 years.
t,ac: Uhhh.. What did you, did you eventually get tired of going to the war-torn countries & want to do something different?
GL: Uh, no. This, uh.. You could, you could be tired of, uh, of, uh, war-torn-ness but you get very much into, uh, into this drug of war at the same time as well, you know, when you, uh, have a nice sleep & in the background this is the nice of, uh, of rounds of, uh
GL: gunfire, MP, like Machine Pistol, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh, so which is so unique & which I've done. I think in Sarajevo 1st. & when you hear the muzzein at the same time..
t,ac: The what?
GL: You hear the singing of the muzzein
t,ac: What's "moo-ertz-scene"?
GL: Muzzein is this profession of, this guy having this beautiful Islamic sound calling you to
t,ac: Oh! Ok, yes, yes.
t,ac: Muzzein, yes.
t,ac: I understand.
GL: &, at the same time, they both, overlapping. You just get fixed, you just, uh, it's, uh, you get addict to it. Which I'm still, which I'm very much, yeah, missing what I heard in Kossovo &, uh, when the, uh, Uchecka was, uh, having revenge at all of the traitors, they took them out the hills, executing them at night.
t,ac: Traitors to what, though?
GL: Traitors to their movement, to, to, uh, take totally free, freeing of Kossovo. So those they've been..
t,ac: Freeing from who?
GL: From the Serbs.
GL: Freeing from this idea of having Kossovo, keeping Kossovo to one unity to, uh, Yugoslavia, yeah. So, this idea of having a nice tea or chai & listening out to the night & you see this round of bullets fired & you know well it's not a game of children & you see the muzzein at the same time it's something , something it's really hard to say goodbye even if you, if you could get tired or older or you, uh, have such a longing to have a family again & some family life again like growing children & discussing with them on neo. Yeah, this is very, very, very difficult to miss - as like sex life to my father I think. Same way, who is 74 now, this guy, this guy is 74 now but still writing some erotic diaries on happenings with nurses & so on - &, you know, just moving around. I think it's very.. very, very simple to, uh, to explain it to American - especially for a correspondent or maybe - maybe it's easier to explain it to a person working for a government not so like tENTATIVELY [laughs], uh, they love their job, very much, to go to Zimbabwee or to go, wherever, to Pakistan. Fantastic. Having service like making a report on drugs or trafficking of hashish, heroin, & staying in the hotels listening to the shots & the muzzein. They would, they would understand what I'm speaking about.
t,ac: So, though, between 1990 & 1997 were you mainly travelling around & doing this sort of thing? Or were you doing other things?
GL: Doing only this, this sort of things, yeah. Travelling, shooting films. Which is the same idea in American English, as like, uh, firing bullets, you know - & in, in, un, in, uh, in German it's, uh, it's I think something else, it's recording, yeah, film auflamme, film aufnamme is recording &, uh, film fellfatal which is the mirror translation from German into Hungarian. So in those languages they are very, very on the surface, yeah, yeah, it's, but in English this is shooting. I was doing that
t,ac: Did you show these films very much?
GL: Very much.
GL: Wherever I was. Even with my bad English, arriving somewhere, explaining you see, I teach you English, which is very, very important for you, for the future world communication, you should, & this is a huge advantage for you. I'm not a born Englishman or American I understand it as a foreign language so I do have quite a sophisticated relationship to it as a foreign language. So, so I offered it to schools or to private schoolkeepers everywhere because I was better than their teachers. I tried to be very, very kind to their teachers so I built up classes &, uh, & I just forced them to communicate in English with my neoist abilities which means communicating, drawing, making drawings, drawing things on a blackboard or on paper, mostly blackboard with a piece of chalk & then explaining things & then I, I, I tell, I told it them in English, what does it mean, the different ideas for these verbs & nouns & they discovered their equivalent, their [?], their own language & this, this was a great discovery in opposition to their teachers. They just have been forced of speaking in Albanian or Russian or Usbek or whatever language where I moved. So, & I was quite frank to them: "Look, uh.. I, uh" yeah sometime even exaggerating it or bullshitting it telling them: "Look, I can't Russian because I, I, uh, survived Russian." So moving & making this way my money, I could make, even being a Hungarian, I could make money with teaching English &, but not so much to, uh, to, uh, projecting neoist artwork. Which I will do in future. I think it will, I will do it in future. As you like, so I have, um, a mobile unit of shooting & editing & even, uh, burning DVDs, writing. How you say it in American? Writing or burning DVDs?
t,ac: Burning, yeah.
GL: Burning, well, yeah.
t,ac: Also CDs, burning CDs.
GL: Yeah, burning CDs. This is the same as like in Hungarian but in German they write CDs, they write..
[talks briefly to friend in German who's leaving]
Good. So, I did it for a good decade, teaching English & making a money wherever I was which was fine to feed myself & water myself & what the German social security paid for me, uh, it was some reserve, I seldom really used, maybe I, uh, used for some investments as like what you see a camera or a new computer, which is very, very, very important to be in one unit working in one unit &, of course, what means of course, having exactly the same
t,ac: Mini-disc recorder, very useful.
GL: Mini-disc recorder, what my brother is having which is very small using nearly a non-amount of electricity & having excellent quality so I was working with the same & you could make gorgeous archives with, with all the singing, & all this telling of, uh, natives as like myself, yeah.
t,ac: So, let's, uh, let's focus on a specific story then.
t,ac: I really like your story about being hired by the U.S. Army in
t,ac: I thought it was Kossovo, in 1997.
t,ac: Wasn't that Yugoslavia that you were hired in?
t,ac: To teach them how to have the proper manners for the local people?
GL: Yeah. That was at Tazar base in Hungary.
t,ac: Oh, ok.
GL: I was travelling in their uniform as well to Bosnia &, I, um, so I gave companys to convoys, I, uh
t,ac: Acting as both a translator but also as a person to teach them to, how to behave.
GL: Yeah. That was the main idea, to teach how to behave.
t,ac: I really like that idea because you're obviously an eccentric person by most people's standards but I think that your eccentricity is actually perfect for helping people to interface with each other because, as you say, you're a communicator. So I think that, maybe without the army understanding it, they really picked the perfect person for the job, but they may not've know how perfect you were for the job. In other words, they might've just hired you because you were a local who had some understanding of languages without understanding that you're experienced in interacting with a lot of different types of people &, therefore, good at it.
GL: MmMm, yeah.
t,ac: So, did you have any unusual experiences when you were doing this?
GL: Very much so. Very much so. I'd like to, to, um, to mention 1st one of the black spots, one of the worst experiences, or the worst experience during this period of my work. When we came to Germany to have a maneuver, yeah? A war plane maneuver when U.S.Army was prepare - or even this very, uh, I'm not a miliatry person. Those guys who just have a one big "1" at their arms which means some infantry..
t,ac: So, whatever rank.
GL: It's not a rank, it's a unit, ok. It's a very important U.S.Army unit which is now in Iraq, now in Bagdad, & we had a maneuver somewhere in Bavaria, South Germany, & we came from the Balkans, we came that time from Hungary as well, so we, those guys, those reserve units they had to move into Kossovo, they had to move later on to Iraq. So we had a maneuver where I used as a fake insurgent & a fake translator which is working together with the army. It means we have been one tank unit moving around at an area of a few square miles, I don't know, maybe, you know, when you imagine a tiny piece of [?] with villages, & forests, & fields of corn. So, we moved around with tanks, producing dust &, & having evenings barbecue fire & the high brass, the high brass, I mean the officers, they just had a really good time as like in this mentality of, of Boy Scouts, free time, spare time, on the weekend. So my job was, along with the 2 other Hungarian guys, to act as like, uh, some-, somebody very local, local guy, working with them together, moving with them togather, telling them some bullshit identity. & their idea was, so these security guys, they came everyday to have interviews with them.
t,ac: With who? With the..
GL: With these 3 helpers.
t,ac: Oh. So the security people would come to interview you.
GL: Yes, yes.
t,ac: To just ask you questions? Or to?
GL: To ask the same kind of questions as like you do now but, uh, we have been setting to, uh, into fake identity which they told - not, not exactly the same, the same guys they've been interrogating us before but.. Could you imagine when, this is like a theater & an officer is coming to you & telling: "Your name is John & you from Bagdad & you" - I just bullshit now. But it was exactly the same way: "Your name John. You are living in Bagdad, having 8 children & you're a beer brower.
[I preserved his pronunciation of "brewer" here]
This is your profession. You, you, uh, make beer & you bottle it & you sell it" yeah? So, imagine all the rest of details & when you get asked, from wherever,
t,ac: Then you have to make up your story.
GL: then you make up your story: "You John, you a beer brower, you're 40 years old, & you're from Bagdad, & you beer brower." This is brewery, yeah? This is the idea.
t,ac: Yeah, yeah. Beer brewery.
GL: Beer brewery. So, we all got this story & this, this, this guys they, they used to act later in Bagdad & in Kossovo & wherever. This security, the idea of the safe America &, &, &, raising a dam of
t,ac: But why did they want you to have these fake identity? To make it easier for you to relate to the locals? Is that why? I'm not clear about this.
GL: You're not very clear, yeah, I make it to you, though, clearer, though. We've been rehearsing, we have been exercising for such war-like situations like Kossovo & now the occupation of Iraq, so, & those guys, so the U.S.Army guys, they had to get related to the idea, what does it mean to work together with a nice person who could be very hostile to them, who could be not only hostile but could, could be, uh, could be an enemy who is stabbing them to death or who could wear a bomb or some explosive or who could night-time sneak to their back & then set their ammunition on fire - &, uh, so we have been playing, we have been playing war - & there was a Hungarian group of boys & girls working before for U.S.Army or not working before to U.S.Army but, uh, just a great fun for very good money, to come with them, to travel with these U.S. units - no, not travel with them, but meeting all these U.S. units, they, they've been running up the area with their tanks & their lorries & vehicles &, um, doing this rehearsal for, uh, for the worst-case scenario such as like Bagdad now, such as like Kossovo now. So we had a village, we had a fake village, with church & with mayor & all this different guys & school & we've been living together with, um, with those people & then at the very, one of the very 1st, uh, days, the 3rd or 4 day, I was attached to such a tank unit as a brewer from Bagdad. So when we moved on & our job was to help them when we meet some locals, local Arabs or some local Kossovars, to speak with them, but, you know, it was a sealed area - so, no
t,ac: Sealed off by the U.S.Army.
GL: Sealed off, yeah, sealed-off area. Sealed off by the U.S. & the German Army for the last 50 years.
t,ac: 50 years?!
GL: 50 years they started or even before. It used to be, uh, a classical area for, uh, for, uh, war games.
t,ac: In Hungary are you talking about now? Or are you talking about somewhere else?
GL: I'm talking about, about Bavaria, Germany, Barvaria, Germany.
t,ac: Oh, ok.
GL: So we came to this war game, yeah, where they exercised, where they rehearsed, where they prepared for
t,ac: Ok, so your role was part of the war game.
GL: Yeah, my role was part of the war game so when,
t,ac: Ok, I understand now.
GL: when some security guys they've been told what does it mean security & investigation & what does it mean to be a nice investigator & to come into business, to understand the idea, to speak nicely to a person who could be friend, who could be foe, he doesn't know. So, they, very, very nice, very simple black guys, they been learning what does it mean to investigate a person because that was their task, yeah, to be a security officer, to be a sargeant so-&-so.
t,ac: I just remembered you have coffee on the fire.
GL: Oh, I see, & you smell it?
t,ac: No, but I just.. It's been in there for a while so I'm wondering whether maybe it's, it's, uh, ready.
GL: Yes, thank you.
[Georgy leaves room to check on coffee, tENTATIVELY whistles "Round Midnight"]
[pause in recording]
GL: [says something about the coffee] Unfortunately, so to make the story very short, we stayed together with this tank unit in the framework of a game, yeah, in oppostion to my other, my, my-uh, my other tasks & so we lived together & just a few days before the maneuver there was, there was a really hard rain, yeah. There was raining & there was.. whatever happened, &, uh, &, unfortunately, I fall in love to one of the girls
t,ac: [laughs] One of the local girls?
GL: of this fake village.
t,ac: Oh, ok.
GL: Which we have travelled together. There was not such a thing as like local - just imagine a theater
t,ac: Ok, now I understand, right, right.
GL: just imagine a theater with the villages
t,ac: Right, I understand more clearly now.
GL: & with rubbish made of.. like, for all these actors as like soldiers, real soldiers, or fake locals, fake
t,ac: Ok, so you fell in love with one of the other players in the war game.
GL: Of the other players in the war game & I just fed up, yeah, completely anti-disciplinarily, I just, uh, I just got fed up & bored. So, there was night-time & a heavy rain & the Americans they had this very, very sophisticated technique - so when you moved away, which was not exactly under control, it's really fantastic to believe, but, an alram system started - as like a, as like a private garage is monitored by a..
t,ac: Oh you mean if you tried to leave the area this alarm would go off?
GL: Or if you, you tried to approach one special area, of, of, of the general's tent or his car so particu- different, different kind of alarm was released, yeah. & there were lots of alarms going on that night so I just walked off & I thought: "Look, when there is a war, there is.." - so, I am walking off because they didn't particularly tell me: "Your job is doing this brewery man & being attached to this very particular tank unit." So I went off & I been walking all night, just this night, through this very fake landscape, meeting a white boar, & meeting a family of.. What is this wiltschwein? White boar. But a female is what? But is not a boar but?
t,ac: A pig?
GL: A pig, a white pig.
t,ac: Yeah - or a sow would be the female, a sow.
GL: Yeah, a sow. Walking up & seeing other units moving around & so.. went to hiding when at the main road there was some traffic. So I came early morning to this fake village, this girl had to live & had to act as like a villager when the Americans moved in or the Red Army & there was a black army which was, which to act as like the opposing army. Ah, so, very nice, very lovely theater. Anyway, I left my, I left my position & I walked back to the, to the village, & in this very moment I entered the village main square so, the, uh, stage hand, the main hand of our actors, boss, arrived on his car & picked me up immediately, picked me up because he heard immediate-, quite recently, a few hours before, we are missing a guy, we are missing our brewer who just got missed mid of, mid of night in a huge tempest & lightning & so on - & so he took me, & he took me to, um, to this administrative office where they investigated me like, like: "What, what happened? Why did you want to go back to the village?" & I just told them, I just told them, uh: "I went back to set up.. uh.. a real insurgency unit so the game could be more interesting." You understand the idea?
t,ac: [laughs] Yeah, yeah.
GL: To set up a real insurgency unit so they don't have to make up their mind if, uh, of such a gamey enemy - to set up a real insurgency unit. &, at that moment, they really got afraid of they've been hiring a madman - sending me back into Hungary immediately. So they let this entrepreneur, this contracting entrepreneur coming from Hungary, who wasn't on the side with his girlfriend, with his car, to pick me up & taking me back to, uh..
t,ac: So that was the end of your employment for them?
GL: Yeah. That was the end of my career that way.
t,ac: What happened to your love affair with the fake villager?
t,ac: Was that the end of that too then? The girl that you fell in love with.
GL: Yeah, more or love, more or, more or less the end of this. I was trying to contact her on the telephone when this whole group was back to Hungary a few days after that & I had her daddy on the telephone who was a bank director & I knew her dad because I haven't got her recent telephone number & I contacted this daddy who made it clear, yeah: "Let us alone, please. So we don't wish a further contact. Let us alone." Yeah. So then I didn't push as hard to see this lady again - which I found very sexy on the spot, I have to admit. So I found this story, when, when, when I ended my career as an army teacher & I started to really bullshit this way of setting up an insurgency unit & then
t,ac: But that wasn't true, you weren't even doing that? Or you were doing that?
GL: Setting up an insurgency unit?
t,ac: You were just bullshitting them.
GL: Yeah. I was just walking back & in that minute when I arrived back to my village I was caught, I was just found.
t,ac: Yeah. So, ok, that was when? 1997? 1998?
GL: Yeah. '97, '98.
t,ac: Yeah. So what did you do next after that? Did you live in Hungary for awhile? Or?
GL: Then I came back to Berlin & I started a, a, another pilot course to become a professional pilot - flying big boxes, flying as big boxes - as like the, uh, famous neoists of the 9/11 - like jumbos.
t,ac: Yeah. Have you actually flown one of those?
GL: [laughs] Ah, not even on a simulator, not even a simulator. I was learning alot about cargo, how to fix cargo &, &, how to, how to estimate the amount of cargo you have to fix at the rear & you have to fix at the front & what is the maximum load & the payload & about, of course, the technique & the practical which we just, um, the same tiny airplanes - in the air, so, yeah, not very far from Berlin, Schoenfeld, &, so I was going in this idea of, with the idea of, of, uh, making such a CPL license, like CPL-2 - which means Commercial Pilot License because this pilot license you've been talking this is just a normal pilot's license a huge percentage of countryside Americans own & use it as like, as like a very, very normal transport.
t,ac: Yeah, I have another participant in a Neoist Apartment Festival in Baltimore who's a collaborator/friend of mine who's also a pilot.
GL: Yes, so it's..
t,ac: So there's at least 2 neoist pilots.
GL: it's not very special to have such a license.
t,ac: Oh, it's special.
GL: It's not such a big deal. So, um, but, um, but the real thing I finish, maybe I wanted to finish &, the, then, uh, I brought this, uh, army collaborator & army teacher & good behavior & culture teacher's job it finished with this idea when we made this, this maneuver & when I introduced myself as like this I returned back to the village to set up a real insurgency unit. They got really, really.. afraid & I just realized how much, especially, Americans are afraid of madman, you know?
t,ac: [laughs] Probably anywhere but, um, before it gets too late, I think there may only be 7 minutes or so left on this disc so if you have anything that you really want to say as your final thing you might want to go into that now.
GL: Mmhm, well..
t,ac: Either an update about what you're most interested in these days or some general philosophical statement or anything.
GL: You mean as a, a, in my office as a neoist?
t,ac: Or, no, just any conclusion to this interview because I've recorded about 4 or 5 hours now & this is probably the last of what I'll record.
GL: Yeah. MmMmm.. Generally, I, I, I wouldn't put any emphasis on, uh, on any philosophy or, or any point because a neoist is just, uh, an acting, an acting function. It's an acting office - which means, um, which means, uh, there is, um, no such particular like definitions or not such particular as like, like, let's say a bible kind, codex, you have to keep & you have to hold up.
t,ac: Yeah, of course.
GL: Even in, um, even though, in spite of the fact, I am writing on a work which, um, which I gonna publish on neoism - but it's supposed to be more something very funny & more literature - as like many, many, many people has done before. Literature & this is, uh, yeah, yeah probably my pal tENTATIVELY has done before - something for people to read, they like to read funny things. But not a bible-like idea of, uh, not a manual.
t,ac: Have you already started writing this book or?
GL: Yeah, yes, I have.
t,ac: Is it like a novel? Like something.. Can you give me an idea of what the things are that're in the book so far? The plot, if there is a plot? Or the type of jokes? Are the characters in it neoists interacting with non-neoists or what?
GL: This is, uh, uh, a series of short stories, a series with, um, with link stories to each other, a series of situations, a series of dialogs, & a series of monologs - of, of existing persons, & non-existing persons, fantasy persons. They could be real as well or just out of fantasy of those existing persons they are in the story & they go & act & irrationally or rationally & the idea is, uh: "Why are they rational when they are rational? Why they have to be so irrational most of the time?" Um, as, as I said, it's not so much science, it's not history, it's not art history but um.. I think it's literature just using the, um, this parafrack, using this paravon, using this billboard neoism, yeah, which, uh, which titillates, which [laughs] I don't know really why, but, if an old neoist they meet me & they tell me: "Tell me what is this, tell me about this" &, so, & they.. so, um, it's coming from this idea is very likely which is, which used to be something very heavy in culture of mankinds & most ideologies, isms, but is something so, since the Greeks, since they introduced this idea of "neo" it's something so, so easy, so free, I really wonder how most people get very serious & they, they just afraid because they think: "Ah.." as like when, when I get serious, when I meet, I meet the summer camp of some very strange sect as like the Moonies, or, you know, I just met hundreds of such corporate identity, identity-spirit organization-like something they like the idea of camps &, & I don't really understand, I don't really know, why, why to harvest such a reaction, when, when you just go ahead & you speak about neoism even to old neoists - they participated in, at, at neoist festivals, like this Imbra - anyway, I had a phone call yesterday with, uh, with this Imra Kovaks from London & he, he told me it must've been an apartment festival in London, he can't remember of any tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE but Gordon & this & this, '94? London?
t,ac: '94 would've been when Klauhütte Bangzeit 2000 performed in Brighton. That's the only thing I can think of. Because I, because Gordon was a part of that & I was a part of that & Gordon Monahan
GL: You've been there
t,ac: Right. At Brighton, though, not in London - & he might've been there but I don't remember him. I certainly don't remember anyone trying to destroy any equipment though because we were in a club, the Zap Club, that Roger Ely was connected with. He was the one who made the connection for us there. &, uh, it was just, uh.. Do you know about this Klauhütte Bangzeit 2000 project?
t,ac: Do you know about Klauhütte Bangzeit 2000 that was the group that played only 3 classics of exotica?
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