The Universe in the Bedroom
Text: Andreas Gefeller
He was lying on his back, relaxed, with his eyes closed. His left arm on the pillow above his head, his right arm on his upper body, his head tilted slightly and nestled in the crook of one arm. From the outside soft sounds of the city at night.
What does outside mean, he wondered. Outside his head, his body, the bed, the room, the apartment? There are so many outer sides; the world seems to consist of a succession of casings. The city, the land, the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way.
Starting from his shoulder, the left upper arm pointed upward, the forearm bent ninety degrees to the left, the inward-sloping back of the hand a smooth continuation of the curve; his fingers with their phalanx—decreasing in length—extended the narrowing arch, which became narrower toward the end, meeting the other shoulder and continuing along the right upper arm, which was directed downwards, then along the forearm, resting on his upper body at a right angle, his hand—the back of his hand and fingers being also slightly curved, not with the rigidity of a dead person, but the relaxation of someone sleeping—on his heart. A circle or rather a spiral with his head in the center, the upper limbs with their smaller subdivisions arranged around him, everything connected with everything.
When he felt his fingers, he had to think of the tentacles of sea anemones, which drift in the water currents and filter out food. Or was it the other way around? Not a flow from outside to inside, but from inside to outside? The fingers in anticipation of commands that the brain sends out and transmits to them through neural networks? The fingers are both, he thought, they receive and send, they feel and move.
His arms formed two semicircles, and as he laid there, he had to think of a galaxy, a SBa beam spiral, his upper arms the bars of the star system pointing both outwards, to where the stars spanned a wide arc, becoming less in numbers and appearing frayed, as well as inwards towards the center, where the masses concentrated giving off the brightest light.
His head as the center of a galaxy, possibly with a Black Hole. Neither meant as a metaphor nor ominous foreboding of a tumor that spread in his brain, not even as a pun on his lack of intellect—he did not think himself particularly clever, nor particularly stupid—but rather as a neutral thought and a starting point for other associations. If a hole—in a wall, in a sweater, in a picture—is something to look through, the complete absence of surrounding matter, then a black hole is the opposite: here the atoms concentrate on an extremely small space, the gravitational attraction rising to such a level that not even light escapes to the outside.
If the loose accumulations of stars in the peripheral zones of a galaxy are the first hint of a thought, which takes shape in the further course of the solidifying star arc and becomes more and more concrete, connecting with other thoughts and intensifying until larger causal relationships are recorded, described, processed, evaluated to become the seed of new thoughts, then the Black Hole in the center constitutes total recognition; everything comes together here, everything here is connected with everything, this is the central control station, absolute knowledge. Yet, nothing is released to the outside.
He thought of a series of photographs he had made: overexposed scenes as an analogy to the flood of information that modern man is confronted with. Light is an information carrier, the more information it bears, the brighter it becomes, too much information resulting in total glare, illegible news, disinformation. A Black Hole is the counterpart of an overexposure.
If a picture of him were taken now and held next to the photograph he had recently taken of a water surface one night, capturing dancing reflections of a street light that gave way to intersecting and circling lines—rhythmically pulsating, faint yet tangible forms embedded in a soft matrix—an ignorant observer would not be able to recognize any relationship between both images, yet he felt the great overall context: the blood flowing through his veins, the impulses that were sent through his nerve tracts, his thoughts being formed through neuronal connections in his brain: all this was revealed to him in the reflection of a LED light source in the water of a harbor basin.
He had not moved, and yet everything was different. His arms, his fingers, his torso had just been soft, a mellow mass as though poured, but now everything was frozen stiff, as if contained in a glass block, and he spontaneously thought of a dried seahorse he had possessed as a child, confined and encased in a cube of transparent acrylic, life-like, but lifeless, the spiral tail solidified in motion.
He, however, was not dead, on the contrary. His veins throbbed and he felt warm. When he fell asleep, his body temperature was normal and he covered himself carefully. As long as only shallow thoughts rippled through his dreams, his temperature remained constant; however, when dense chunks of thought crossed his mind, not unlike a menacing, massive interstellar rock that traverses our solar system and approaches the Earth, he woke up and did not know if the disturbance in the flow of thought or his increased body temperature had caused him to throw back the blanket. As if a stovetop had been turned on: electricity turns into a flow of thought that generates heat.
His posture was the same as before, but he felt the tension and he knew there was no turning back. If he opened his eyes now, he would get up and write down his thoughts … take a text photo of his thoughts, he also thought, then opened his eyes, stood up and began to write.