November Chronicle by Lukas Malte Hoffmann (bits and pieces and cups by Duruo Wang, Francisco Mojica, Giorgos Gripeos, Irati Irulegi, Lea Rüegg, Matthew Wang, Matthieu Blond, Yen Noh, and Zoe Scoglio).

| tag: Arnhem



On funnels and bags; the problem of the ‘fi’ – a ligature

Let me quickly clear the air: the funnel and the bag, and this includes most of the funnels and bags which I will leave untouched, don’t have a causal connection. No funnelling into the bag, no bagging the funnel respectively. I don’t have a sequential order in mind when I think about these two tools. This I think you should know. For now both are just there, interdependent and contradictory.

We haven’t read Ursula Le Guin’s text together yet, but I said I had to think about her ‘Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’ when sitting together with you in class. ‘What made you think about bags?’ you asked me. I didn’t mention any bag back then, but I did push the funnel as a metaphor (I literally drew it into the middle of our collective drawing). The bag, the sack, the bundle might be the perfect tool for us to use. The bag as ‘a whole which itself cannot be characterised either as conflict or as harmony, since its purpose is neither resolution nor stasis but continuing process.”[1] You invited and brought and introduced Nikolay Smirnov, what a treat! He brought himself and ‘metageography' with its focus on the process of the creation and functioning of multiple geographical forms. The day after, the concept of a ‘symphonic personality’ arrived, which can be achieved only when the personality is opened to the whole. It does not oppose the whole, rather it is enriched by it. A common social identity. In-between Nikolay and the symphonic personality I told you in a fever rush, ‘I feel pretty much at peace in this course with dipping in and out of understanding’. I have these moments when I can’t put any information anywhere anymore. Usually this bottleneck causes me anxiety. Well, here it doesn’t; I don’t feel limited. That night after I slept pretty bad though; it must have been the fever. Now, after I woke I mark this section in which you say it is the bag that is ‘holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us’.[2] 

‘In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis …’ [3]

Why the funnel then? What is a funnel? What I can say is that generally a funnel ‘is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom’.[4] However, I would do wrong to the funnel to put it into the same corner as other triangle forms which illustrate difference among human groups.[5] I pictured a funnel several times during class. In particular, I was picturing a funnel in my mind when we grabbed pen and paper collectively. I pictured how a funnel squeezes the imagination into the grips of the object and its forms. That terror left me after we continued drawing and talking. Now there’s more of a warm fuzzy glow around the funnel when I imagine it. First and foremost I feel that way because I can see the potential of aesthetic practice as one activity of approaching how ‘to be Other whilst remaining oneself.’[6]  Inside of the funnel we meet and squeeze before we pour out.

Have you noticed that when you copy paste from scanned pdfs you might be losing some ‘fi’s? There is an explanation for this! When writing, the author of the PDF uses plain text as opposed to the formatted text found in word processors like Microsoft Word. The writer uses a system for annotating a document in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from the text to define the general structure of the document, to stylise text throughout a document (such as bold and italics), and to add citations and cross-references. A TeX distribution is used to produce an output file such as PDF suitable for digital distribution. In a scanned PDF, TeX recognises certain combinations as ligatures. The PDF I have been copying from is probably using the OpenType ‘fi’ ligature (e.g. in the word ‘significative’) and the current font of the destination application is missing that glyph. It happens all the time, and now I know.

[1] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, [Online] accessed November 28th, 2018. Available from:

[2] Ibid.

[3] Mao Zedong, On Contradiction, [Online] accessed November 13th, 2018, Available from:

[4] Wikipedia - Funnel, 2018, Funnel [Online] accessed November 17th, 2018. Available from:

[5] The funnel being wide at the top and narrow at the bottom does ring bells right away. The ‘wealth pyramid’, ‘triangle inequality’, Melanie Klein and triangularity pop into my mind. Despite the fact that the funnel would have to rest on its head to match the visual comparison, for me it does not symbolise any of that. I don’t ‘own’ the funnel; I don’t even have one. I won’t let you use it as a symbol for any evil you desire, but I won’t go any further with that.

[6] I think this I got this from a slide of Nikolay Smirnov’ slide presentation at DAI Week 2, COOP study group Unmapping Eurasia.



 Unmapping Eurasia