Uncovering old projects: ÜMWELT

Back in 2005 (?!) I was a 30-something, passionate-struggling-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).

Around that time, 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. The name given in the stories, Baron von Exuül, elicited an interesting find online, as he was a founder of a theory in a “newer” discipline of science: biosemiotics, which, translated from the Greek means: “observant of signs”.

As a writer, this resonated deeply: 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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