About the interconnectivity of Kinbaku

A few years ago, I participated in a music video for a contemporary com-poser of classical music, Hèctor Parra, and the Berlin based Zafraan en-semble. The piece is called “Palimpsesto”.
A few weeks ago, when I tied with my wonderful partner Addie, I untied some parts and retied and when I put ropes on already existing rope marks, the idea of a palimpsest stroke my mind. Here are some elaborations of this idea.

So far, my thoughts around tying, expressed in the interview metaphor and more recently in the poetics and reciprocity of Kinbaku, were circling around a single scene. We went deep into possible meanings of what happens throughout that one scene, but the more I practice rope bondage the more it comes to light for me that there is a gap in these thoughts. Nothing (yet) to overthrow them, nothing to worry about but rather an extension, or a connection to the established, so to say, that is needed to further deepen the understanding.

I want to understand the historiality of rope scenes and with it that of the persons involved in a rope scene not only, as I stated in ‘archaeology of personalities’, by means of their past in general, but rather how one rope scene influences another rope scene. This question has more than just a purely academic motivation, it is also rooted in two actual topics.
First, a regular question I get asked is regarding the advantages/disadvantages of tying with someone unknown and with someone very familiar. Often it is stated (not very tactful) by just asking what is ‘better’, as if this was a polar question in terms of better and worse. There is a difference but surely not a judgement.
Second, I think this question can add positive inputs to the discourse about the fluidity of the perception of rope scenes, i.e. what happens, if a scene had been perceived in a certain way but this view changed by adding information or the; a development that is reported in large numbers.

As always, I need to state at this point that I only speak from my frame of experiences and I am not able to make a claim of truth here. Also, I learned from previous publications, that it seems unclear for some that I am originating my thoughts in an utopian world, where technical problems don’t occur.
In ‘archaeology of personalities’, I was asking when a scene ends and the only answer I was and still am able to give is that a scene doesn’t end but transforms and (possibly) fades. Some scenes fade quicker than others and some don’t fade at all.
Let us restate the question from above: How do rope scenes interact with each other? Suffice to say that they do. It is as if they had their own agency and want to be remembered, forgotten, repeated, emended, … . (For a deeper elaboration of this thought, I refer the reader to Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory and the possibility therein for non-human entities to have their own agency.) What the rope scene seems to want is to provide something memorable for all participants, and therefore inscribes itself into both, the tying person(s) as well as the tied person(s). Furthermore, this yet to be determined interaction of two rope scenes, which are distinct in time, goes in both directions regarding the chronicity of events, as it is clear that with every experience one makes, the look on previous experiences becomes somewhat fragile and subject to possible changes. In other words, not only do the rope scenes from the past influence those to come, but also those happening in the presence and even those to come, are influencing the ones which happened in the past. The idea that the past is also a function of the present time is known as the historiality of events.*
Consider a scene happens; it takes place. This scene is an experience in the very meaning of the word and it leaves its marks in the persons’ (all of the involved!) minds. As such it inscribes a representation of its events into the memories. But this memory is by no means a tabula rasa, a clean slate; no, many other scenes from before have managed to inscribe pictures of their events into the minds. Even the scenes to come have, vaguely, also inscribed themselves through the pen of expectations. But right now, the only one inscribing, is the scene that happens at the moment and as such it is doing something with the inscriptions that are already there. It overwrites them without deleting them. It can’t erase what has been written before. It rather writes between the lines, between the letters, within the letters, until only those inscriptions are still readable that have been carved into the memory deeper and larger than others. Some inscriptions get scraped to use that specific space again or more likely to never read that inscription again (“Verdrängung”/suppression). Not only bad memories get scraped – also those who just refer to bad ones and sometimes also good ones. But just like the inscriptions on a palimpsest, those inscriptions are not gone and can come to the surface again. They keep being influential. They keep being visible through various methods. There is a palimpsest known in archaeology – what a beautiful parallel this is? – that is called a cumulative palimpsest.
“A cumulative palimpsest is one in which the successive episodes of deposi-tion, or layers of activity, remain superimposed one upon the other without loss of evidence, but are so re-worked and mixed together that it is difficult or impossible to separate them out into their original constitu-ents.”**

If every rope scene, or parts of it, leaves its marks in the minds of all the participants, and I believe they do, all these marks are not just separate, distinct layers. Every new mark is placed within the artwork that is one’s personality. It adds to it not only by itself but by the new light it sheds on the marks that are already there and by the marks it replaces or those it is made of. I would like to bring an example but I feel that every example I could bring is insufficient for the reader because everything I can think of is embedded into my own personality and doesn’t mean anything without pre-senting all context. Try to find yours. What rope scene, or part of it, interact-ed with another one you have experienced or dreamed of and how did they influence each other?

I want to add a little postscriptum: This writing, as well as the others I pub-lished recently, is a work in progress. It is my inner urge to throw them out into the world once I have the idea and that this enables me to think about them in a more connected way. So, please take my apologies if they seem somewhat unfished or filled with gaps. Those gaps are also interesting for me.
*Rheinberger. Towards a history of epistemic things. 1997. 197ff (based on Derrida. Grammatology)
** Bailey, Geoff. “Time Perspectives, Palimpsests and the Archaeology of Time.”

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From Paris with Love

Illustration by WASP
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Fairy tales

… are the myths of the every day life in the past. educational and magic

8
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When I tie with my partner

So, I told you a lot about my theoretical views on Japanese rope art and how one perceives all the stuff that happens from several perspectives. That doesn’t mean at all that when I tie with my partner, I sit there and think about the etymology of a certain word that probably occur to me, when I pull a rope a bit tighter. This kind of reflection takes place before and after a scene.

When I tie with a person, I am interested in this person. I’m not necessarily interested in a relationship beyond the scene, but something should be there, that makes me feel like “yes, there is something in this person, I want to explore” and sometimes I just appreciate the time together with ropes and sometimes, well so far only one time, I get engaged with this person only ten months after the first scene. (@Addie <3)

And then we tie. The scene starts earlier than the first wrap around a wrist is applied. It starts, when it became clear that we will tie with each other. I look at the person. How he or she looks, how the head is held, the tension in the shoulders, the position of the legs and then I guess. I can never know and actually I am also insecure about if I will be able to read my partner properly or if everything will lead to a misunderstanding. So I put my hands on my partner. I want to feel, if my visual sense is right, if the tensions, I see, are actually there. But I also want to let my partner know about my tensions. And then, after a few moments, I start to use the ropes. Not long ago, pictures of how I would like to see my partner, or what kind of pattern it should be, occurred to my inner eye and I followed this picture. But this feeling vanished. I don’t know and I really don’t want to know, how it will look like. So, this teleology stopped. I don’t tie a chair, which shall look pretty.

When I tie, I see my partner and except from a few moments where I look at the suspension ring or the ropes, I try to always have my partner in view. Technicalities such as where the suspension point is, became somehow like sneezing while driving a car. Sometimes, I wake up within a scene and ask myself, what I intend to see, when I stare at my partner. And then, I see it. It is one of the toes curling or the hands that try to hide the thumb or it is my partner trying to seek eye contact. It is the increasing frequency of the breath or it is an expression of suffering when I squeeze the toes. It is the subtleties, that reply to what I do with my ropes. And immediately after I’ve seen, what I intend to see, my thoughts become blurry and hide behind a fog again and it feels good.

It is somehow like one meets somebody and one talks and all of a sudden it is 4am. I don’t rehearse such a conversation.

It is just beautiful. But sometimes, in the middle of that conversation, I say something and my partner interprets this in a way which hurts, or vice versa. So we stop the conversation and talk about why this could happen and it can also be beautiful, because we both have learned something. And next time, I tie and I come to a situation where I normally would have done something, I remember the last time and say to myself “Hah, I do something else or I’ll hurt my partner.”. But everything I do, while I tie is basically to get to know my partner and let him or her knowing who I am. So I listen to my partner. I watch my partner’s reactions and I try to get a feeling for his or her needs. And every time, my partner stays calm, I do something. I start talking and say who I am and what I feel. Sometimes, I tell my partner my love of very complicated patterns and sometimes I talk about the simple things that are very important for me. Sometimes I like to dance and sometimes I just want to sit and listen to music; metaphorically. And I ask my partner, if he or she likes similar things. Because I am interested in the person I tie with and I cannot imagine, that someone wants to tie with me, who isn’t interested in my personality. Because tying is such a big part of my personality. And although I said in the beginning that the reflections on a deeper meaning of my tying start after the scene, Addie told me at one point that my way of asking with the help of ropes feels somehow scientific but not in an objectifying way. She said, and that was one of the greatest compliments I ever got for my tying, that it feels like if someone is more interested in her as a person than anybody else.

When I studied mathematical physics, I never thought that I will ever be interested in people. I have to admit that there are people out there who are far more interesting and whose personality is much more beautiful then the Onsager solution of the 2-dimensional Ising model.

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About the direction of time in Kinbaku

A short note about my perception of a Kinbaku scene

Recently, I was confronted with the question of how to explain the experience of tying. Whilst I tend to intellectualize every detail in my “free time”, I try to shut down my conscious thinking during a bondage scene. Hence, it is not trivial to explain somebody how I experience a scene.

In order to explain anything, I should be once more open about my background in thinking to make the argumentation consistent. I see the world basically from two perspectives. The first perspective is a linguistic perspective, which is very much influenced by the historical works of French structuralism and post structuralism. Roughly spoken, the importance of language cannot be overestimated and everything is language. The second perspective is the one of a mathematical physicist, who tries to find the analytical structure of a more or less complex system. After a few glasses of gin and tonic, in a funny, a little bit nerdy mood, one could ask, where is the difference? Well, without anticipating the point of my thoughts, I would say, exactly in this difference lies the explanation of how I experience a Kinbaku scene.

Of course, a Kinbaku scene is highly sexualized and it means a lot for me, when I’m able to create a situation within which my partner and I have a great time. Of course, I like the power relationship, that is created and, when I tie, directed by me. But these feelings, and many others, expressed by terms like enjoy, turn on, like, energy etc. are obvious. Therefore the “of course”. These are not what I am looking for, when I ask myself, how the experience of tying can be expressed. The difference of the thing and its expression from a pervert’s perspective turns out to be a topic for my next writing. Here I want to focus on my perception of a Kinbaku scene.

As I pointed out earlier, I see a scene as an interview that ideally combines the discourses of communication and power. When we ask ourselves, what each and every interview consists of, we will be led to the answer, that all interviews requires some, not necessarily specified kind of language in order to have an interaction between the people involved. It requires some set of symbols which are exchanged and those symbols are learned. In my worldview (I wouldn’t dare to try any kind factual description) nobody enters the world of living creatures and is already equipped with a consistent set of symbols. You have to learn language and you learn it in your social and cultural environment.
With a huge set and an immense variety of known symbols one enters the age at which sexual interaction is legally practiced. Hence, when I interact with someone, not only but of course also through ropes, I communicate with this person by using several sets of symbols which have been acquired in the past of this person as well as in the past of myself. We are both not able to use anything that lies in the future or in other words, the future doesn’t exist. It cannot exist. What we are doing, lies in the past at any moment and not only this:

When I tie, it’s past directed. It has nothing to do with the future and it has nothing to do with the presence. It is something, that shows me the past – of me as well as of my partner’s past. Tying is an interview for me. I ask questions. The questions I ask, with my rope, with different tensions, different distances, different exposures and so on and so forth, aim for answers in the past. The physicist in you (and in me, too!) now yells at me and says “No way! Even if the answers are built with symbols that have been learned, you get the answers now, ie in the presence!” Well, from the perspective of time as a coordinate, you are right. But I don’t experience a Kinbaku scene as a mathematical physicist. I rather see it as a pervert linguist and historian – one could say as an archeologist of personalities. And as such, I am not only interested in the past, I see life as an ongoing chain of past directed loops.

Every moment we live, the way we see the past changes, or, the past is a function of the presence – historialité, as Derrida has called it. When I tie with somebody, when I ask this person certain questions, I experience it as a time machine, that shows me this person’s past. The answers I get, change the way my partner sees his/her own past and it changes the way I see my past.

Ropes offer a possibility for me to interact, to communicate with people in a way that leads deeper into anybody’s, also into my own, history, than anything else. As such a past directed medium, it often creates more curiosity and interest in me, than spoken language. That’s how I experience a rope scene. As the most intense conversation about who my partner is and who I am. And we both are not in the future. We are our history, like everybody is his/her history, every individual consists of his/her past.*

Barkas
I can imagine Paolo Coelho et al in rage now, if he would read this. What about the dreams of a future? Isn’t it that what constitutes a human? Well, where are the dreams built? What a human is dreaming of, is learned. When? In the past.

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Impossible

that’s the name of the company which produces films for Polaroid Cameras. Impossible is nothing when it comes to different perspectives of my interpretation of Kinbaku – the Japanese rope art.

GeorgAddie_Cyan_06
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Farewell Vienna

Before I left Europe, I was wondering what to do with the big amount of ropes that are in my bags. Ropes, which are not good for tying anymore. I didn’t want to throw them away and so I came to the idea of creating a farewell present to Vienna. A sculpture with ropes that was used to transport very personal feelings to very special people. A few days before I moved to Vancouver, my friend Tom Hofmann and my partner Addie went to the “Wiener Wald”, a huge forrest in the west of Vienna. After a little walk I found a very special place for my sculpture. The picture is one of a series that shows the process of the creation.
In that sense: Goodbye Vienna! Es war mir eine Freude.

Farewell 1
Pic by HoT Photography
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Ranboo in Bellingham

The BSPC along with Barkas and Addie present a Kinnbaku workshop: Ranboo


The Bellingham Sex Positive Center is proud to announce our first Kinbaku/Rope workshop of 2016.

On Saturday January 2nd we will be hosting Barkas and Addie for a 4 hour workshop that you do not want to miss. Then, after dinner break join us back at the center for an after party including a feature performance by Barkas and Addie. There are a very limited number of spots available so don’t wait! Tickets are on sale now!

Pricing (Includes after party and eventbrite fees)

  • Early bird: November 15th – November 22nd – ***ALL GONE***
  • General Presale: November 23rd – January 1st – $120
  • At the door: January 2nd – $200

Eventbrite tickets

RSVP to the event here

The Workshop: Ranboo

In 1932, the well-known artist Itoh Seyu, who is one of the key persons of modern kinbaku, published a book with the title: “BiJin Ranbu”. This means “wild dance of a beautiful woman”. In 2011, Barkas started to develop his personal way of doing ropes, which was very stormy and overwhelming. His Sensei Osada Steve called it ranboo and since then, this way of doing ropes became one of the well-known styles in the world of kinbaku. Within this class, the participants get a first insight into ranboo. Some key terms of ranboo, such as proper distance and proper intensity at the proper moment are the framework to tie in this way. Content •Key terms of Ranboo •How to start a scene •Madame Butterfly •Hojo Jutsu (some techniques to catch your partner) •Application of the principles of Ranboo Prerequisites: Osada Ryu Advanced or a good knowledge of Rope Bondage

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Kinbaku Intensive in Vancouver. Dec, 20th

SOLD OUT!Flyer with text

(waiting list)

By Barkas & Addie

Dec 20th. 1030am-7pm

We would like to welcome you to our Kinbaku one day intensive at on Dec, 20th.

Within 7h we will cover some of the principles of how we see Kinbaku and of what is going to be taught at the future Shibari Dojo Vancouver. In this class, we want to focus on three different topics and their application.

The “interview metaphor”, “Hojo Hishi nawa” and “Yukimura style newaza” cover a wide spectrum of the art of Kinbaku. All three topics focus on communication through ropes, each of them in a very specific way. We  will start with a breakfast discussion of the philosophies and backgrounds of the  exercises. Breakfast is included in the workshop price.

The interview metaphor will be used to elaborate an understanding of how to interpret and intend each and every movement with and around ropes. After some exercises about the interview we change the focus a little bit and become more technical with Hojo Hishi nawa. Hojo Hishi nawa refers to a very aesthetical and technical way of tying that uses certain patterns from the ancient Hojo Jutsu. Although it looks very complicated, it follows very simple techniques and can be used to transport a completely different kind of emotion. After that, we switch back to a less technical topic which deals with the Yukimura style Kinbaku. It’s a style that works a lot through the position of the tied person as well as through with the shame of the person in ropes.

Although we will follow the outline in principle, we will not only set up the switch between the topics fluidly, but also have space for some deviations and personal interests of the participants, if requested.

DETAILS

  • Location: Main & 1st, exact address will be given to registered attendees
  • Costs: Per couple, $160CAD per class (includes breakfast)
  • Registration: Contact Addie on Fetlife for details
  • Terms of participation: see below.
  • Content of the class:

The rope interview

The interview as a metaphor of tying. The interview combines the communication discourse with the one of power relationships. To tie with a person is always an involvement with a certain power relationship, simply and at least because of one person is tying and one person gets tied. But this scene also means a nonverbal conversation between the two people tying with each other. In this mind set we can think of an interview to describe the dynamics. With the help of some ipponnawa techniques we will explore some of the more obvious and some of the more subtle references to the interview metaphor.

Content

  • Theoretical background of the approach
  • Different questions (that can be asked with ropes)
  • Different answers (that can be told to the questions)
  • Interpretations of answers

Hojo Hishi Nawa

Often referred to as techniques that have been used at Japanese courts to prepare criminals and suspicious people for any kind of treatment, Hojo Hishi patterns require a certain set of techniques. The patterns, that usually consist of a various number of diamond forms, can be used with two different aims. One is the aesthetical goal and one is the emotional input. In this class, we elaborate the combination of both with the help of a few of those patterns.

Content

  • Discussion of the approach
  • Hojo Cuffs
  • How to create diamonds asymmetrically
  • Various Hojo Hishi patterns

Yukimura Style and Newaza

Newaza, literally translated means “non-standing techniques”. Rope Bondage restricted to the floor, i.e. on a mattress or else, can be a very special way of experiencing ropes. Various techniques and a special handling of the human body are needed to increase the pleasure of tying on the floor. In this class, the participants learn how to use leverages and how to position their partner in certain ways with the use of ropes. Yukimura Sensei, who, according to Osada Steve Sensei, is the last remaining grandmaster of Kinbaku, developed this style over the last 4 decades and longer. He is the undisputed master of handling the human body and mind with the help of simple rope techniques. This autumn, Yukimura Sensei bestowed Barkas a Japanese name. This honour includes the permit for Barkas to teach his style.

Content

  • Positions on the floor and their stability/instability
  • Gote Shibari (a type of body harnesses)
  • Presentation of the partner and shame
  • Leverages

Terms of participation.

  • The workshop fee is 160CAD per couple and workshop. It is explicitly allowed to switch during the classes.
  • To Register contact Addie on Fetlife. Registration will be considered complete only after payment has been received in full.
  • The responsibility for any kind of injury, damage, harm or else, physically or psychologically cannot be taken by the dojo or the teacher. Every tying person is at every time responsible for the person, tied by him/her/them.
  • Participants are allowed to take visual recordings of their own bondage as long as it can be assured that no other participant is on the picture. Pictures or other visual recordings are for private purposes only. Any kind of misuse leads to immediate legal consequences. The permit of taking pictures can be cancelled at any time during a class, if any of the participant isn’t comfortable with a camera.

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Translational processes

Textversuch1web“The symbolic nature and the point where the image fails.”

A picture becomes a text and this text becomes a picture. One could say, the text stays a picture but the language has changed. What does change mean in this context? Is it just a change of symbols? What happens during the change of symbols? The symbols are read in each stage of the translation. How? That’s a question of perception, of the context of perception. How is language perceived in its various appearances?

The translation from textual to pictural language is not discontinuous!

Ongoing project…