Uncovering old projects: ÜMWELT

Back in 2005 (?!) I was a 30-something, passionate-struggling-agency copywriter-poet who began a diary-of-sorts on MySpace about my pending divorce. It was extremely painful, but also liberating and necessary in a very Buddhist-groundless-way (in hindsight) as we reunited after 2-3 years.

In tandem, I was researching family stories passed down through old documents and interviews with my grandmother, and I uncovered a recurring story about a Balt scientist (Estonian, German) in our lineage (purportedly). The name given in the stories elicited an interesting find online, as he was a founder of a theory in a “newer” discipline of science: biosemiotics, translated from the Greek: “observant of signs”. As a writer this resonated deeply, as it is very much in my nature to be observant of signs and patterns—many of them—in daily life. In poetry, this is especially pertinent (me, the existential detective / evaporating language photographer).

Research yielded more results about his contributory theory, ümwelt, which paralleled the medium/platform through which I was communicating/signing to other organisms: “self-centered world”: MySpace. MySpace was essentially biosemiotic in its very nature—creating a space for an organism to communicate (biosemiotics is based on prelinguistic meaning-making via biological signs). I learned a lot about myself while writing the “poems” (“prosetry”) / collection of thoughts / memoir and though it seems unfinished (much like everything in the cycle of life…not even death is final) it is a cross-section/scientific pseudo-study of human pain/adaptation through separation and ancestral discovery in a confined, self-created technological “space”.

Ümwelt is about how living beings perceive their environments, something I vaguely shifted through in this piece: the outside, governmentally ruled “world”; the world of employment/self-sustainability as a newly single woman in advertising; my vulnerability/intimate world: both with my partner and myself (the internal world of pain—relatable through art).

I plan to continue building on this living document soon.

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