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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About the reciprocity of Kinbaku

In ‘Archaeology of personalities’* we established a theory of how the communication between the tying and the tied person can be described. The person tying is interviewing the person tied and the reactions of the latter are constituting a picture of who they are. That picture, i.e. the personality of one’s vis-á-vis is in my worldview the main interest in interacting with people in general and tying in particular.

The problem of the interview 1.0, if one wants to call it, lays in its formulation which seems to favor a certain directionality from the tied to the tying person. It can be read classically in terms of physics, i.e. the outcome of an experiment is independent of how the observer looks at it.
It was absolutely justified to build up the theory of the interview based on this directivity but now it has found some rest to sit, I must break up this directionality of the interview and give one main agency back to the tied person.

Taking a closer look of any interview it becomes immediately clear that the questions are subjective and are born in the context of some ideology. In historical sciences, this circumstance is well known and it became “good scientific practice” to reflect one’s own background and under no circumstances neglect this. Since it has been shown beautifully that objectivity itself has its own historicity**, a great many of researchers deviated from the desire to be objective and instead reflect what to do with their ideological. I am well aware that in common language the term ideology has its negative connotations. I use it here as a substitute for one’s normative worldview – an association which has no judgmental value on that level whatsoever.
The same is true in the interview metaphor when we see the tying person as an archaeologist. The questions asked by the tying person are not objective. They are not coming from nowhere and, this is crucial, they are answers themselves. What does that mean? It simply means that the interviewer creates not only an interview of the tied person but in the same way also an interview of the tying person. The questions they give uncover answers coming directly from the ideology of the interviewer.

I want to call this bi-directivity the “reciprocity” of the interview metaphor. Not only the tied person reveals something of their cultural storage or archive. Of course not. The interviewer themselves, by asking the questions shows a great deal of their archive as well and makes it open and accessible for the tied person.

In that sense, it became interesting in recent tying as well as teaching situations to make myself or students aware of possible interpretations of answers given by stating this or that question.

I want to bring an example:
The distance between the tying people. In the interview 1.0 the choice of a closer distance provokes an answer that either shows there is a desire of more closeness or the other way around, it shows that a larger distance is what the tied person wants. But what does it mean to ask the question of the distance? Do I as a tying person have the desire to de- or increase the distance? How do I react to the answer (whatever that answer might be)?

A reflection of this reciprocity and of the why of any question not only consciously invites the tied person into the archive and hence excavates the personality of the tying person, it gives the tying person the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the function of ropes as a medium of communication.
This is in other words the modern, or quantum mechanical formulation*** of the interview metaphor. The reciprocity of the interview explains that it is not only a process of taking from the tied person. In my interpretation, Kinbaku from the perspective of the tying person is giving everything in order to get to know the tied person. If one is not willing to answer everything about oneself there is not only no right to dig in the archive of another person’s personality, it will also never go as deep.

*’Archaeology of personalities’. G. Barkas.
**e.g. ‘Objectivity’. L Daston & P. Galison.
***See quantum mechanical measurement problem and the role of the observer in the Copenhagen interpretation.

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An attempt to develop a poetics of Kinbaku – and I am still not Aristotelian…

 

In recent months, I saw myself confronted with two interesting problems, or rather gaps in my approach and I believe I can fill them and by doing that not only shed (more) light on a deeper understanding of what we are doing when we tie with each other but also answer an unsolved question.  Here is one of those problems*.

Considering every human being a cultural product unintelligible anywhere outside the space of language, we are led to the assumption that any interaction with each other is also always and foremost an archaeology of the individual’s personality**. Instead of imagining an archaeological site with all its shovels and the mud, I want to point at another place that is the working station of an archaeologist – the archive. The most interesting hints and artefacts can be found there, forgotten of their existence and lost in the processes of change, development, and renewal of the archive. The work to be done by the archaeologist nevertheless remains the same – Digging, acknowledging, interpreting, and then digging again. Nothing changes except, maybe, the weather conditions.

When we were speaking of tying with someone can be seen as an archaeology of their personality, it does not matter, if we locate the archaeologist in some ruins on Crete or the basement of Austrian National library. But switching over to the latter one, it allows us to develop our metaphor even further and, by doing that, getting answers we might not even have thought about and this awareness shall be nothing but beneficial for an even deeper rope scene.

One could say the human being is an archive themselves filled with all the notes, the artefacts, the evidences and stories of their past. Of course, all those things are nonetheless constitutional for the personality and it is interesting to go through them, read and watch them piece by piece, sometimes in order but mostly not. This is, if we want, the interview metaphor 1.0 but is that it?

Is the rigger just there to read the archive of the person in ropes? Is the tying person condemned to be a Laplacian demon***? The French art historian and philosopher George Didi-Huberman writes about the archive:

The essence of any archive is its gaps, its perforated being. […] The archaeological undertaking must inevitably risk to juxtaposition shreds of faded objects which always remain heterogeneous and anachronistic because they come from different times and spaces and those are separated by gaps. This risk carries the name montage or faculty of imagination.  

(G. Didi-Huberman. The archive burns)

 What is in my eyes so interesting about this approach is that for Huberman it is not the content of any archive what makes it worth studying, but rather what is not in that archive, what made it vanish from the archive and how are those gaps constituted, i.e. how to read what is not there. These questions become, in the context of rope bondage, even more interesting by projecting them onto a human being.

Any person is an archive; the archaeological work is needed to get to know them, that is one of the major points in developing the interview metaphor. Many more experiences with ropes and reflections about the archaeology of personalities as well as about the nature of the archive led me to the interview metaphor 2.0, if you like. I rather like to call it a literary criticism of the personal narrative for the moment. At this point, there must be a disclaimer that can’t be overrated. Criticism in this case means interpretation. It does not mean criticizing! This must be clear.

If we try to project Didi-Huberman’s claim onto a person, the following can be said:

Any person is and archive and because of that there are, consciously or not, gaps in them. Those gaps are the ones of their personal history, of who they are****. Following Didi-Huberman, those gaps are the essence of the person and as such they are the most interesting entities of a person. That is why I am so interested in those gaps these days when I tie with someone. My desire, from which I draw my pleasure as well, is to get to know a person and to find out what moves them, what touches them. Whether I find that by the simplest rope technique or the most elaborate, it doesn’t matter. Who are you?

And here lies the difficulty that I believe to be able to overcome with the idea of a literary criticism. Who someone is, is not just the sum of their reactions to a set of questions. The who is in my experience with ropes rather hidden in between those reactions. What is it that the person does not answer to several questions. What has been thrown out of the archive of a personal (hi-)story, actively or passively? Since it is not present (in the double meaning of the word, which I understand to be a present as for now and a present as for here) one cannot just look closer and closer or even force something. But what one can do is undergo the risk which name is imagination.

As someone tying with the aim of getting to know someone and seeing the scene as an interview, one has to fill those gaps with their imagination – a beautiful parallel again to Kintsugi, isn’t it? – in other words, to interpret the story that is told by the tied person. This story is filled with gaps, a cultural construction of the self. Everyone does that and I claim this to be constitutional for every being within the realm of language. The interpretation of this story, the dialogue with the book written by the person in ropes, cannot be random or it risks breaking the connection between the people tying with each other. The fillings must make sense to both, they must be consistent in order to work. It is, and that is the reason why I called it a literary criticism, like interpreting a work of literary, a work of art, or, as we said the story of an archive when you ask yourself why certain things are not there and what is its meaning – “who are you?”. Why? Because, and I believe that to be true for everyone, every individual wants to be listened to by its environment. By being listened to, I mean a profound and deep engagement with that individuals personality and not a meaningless “how are you – fine”.

Taking a closer look at the rope scene itself, the above means that there is more, much more than just the reactions one sees but rather what are the reactions that don’t occur? What is the meaning for this or that reaction of the tied person and how does it fit into the greater picture? “The archaeological undertaking must risk of juxtaposition faded objects…” and this risk is called “imagination”.

The interpretation comes from nothing but the imagination and here lies the source of a poetics of the artful language that is called Kinbaku. A language that is to tell the story of the person in ropes and read by the person tying*****.

 

 

*Problem as understood more in the mathematical sense. A challenge, an interesting, somewhat mystical situation: an epistemic thing.

**Archaeology of personalities – A linguistic approach to erotic rope bondage. 2017.

***What is a Laplacian demon? It is the originally the intellectual creation, the Gedankenexperiment of P.S. Laplace and this creature is gifted or condemned to know the position and momentum of each and every single particle in the universe at a given time. Equipped with that knowledge, it can according to classical mechanics calculate a “complete” history of the universe.

**** Before this idea gets opposed, I can calm the critics by comparing those gaps with the Japanese concept of Kintsugi where cracks in pottery are considered beautiful and are “repaired” with noble materials, so not to hide them.

***** This implicit direction will be subject of my next partial study. Stay tuned.

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From Paris with Love

Illustration by WASP
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About the proper moments in Kinbaku

Within the Osada Ryu, there are some key terms that are of highest importance for a deeper understanding of Kinbaku. Two of them are Ma-ai and Kankyuu. Ma-ai is understood as the proper distance at the proper moment, and Kankyuu as the proper pace and the proper intensity at the proper moment. Thinking about those two terms shall help to understand that tying with somebody always at the same distance and at the same intensity and speed can (in many cases) lead to predictability and hence to boredom. (There are situations where methodical, paced movements are very effective – for example a tie that tightens slowly as it is applied.) Conversely, a constant variation of distance or a variation of the intensity can add an immense scope for people who are engaged in rope bondage – the surprise factor keeps the mind from wandering. These are dependent, though, on the term ‘proper’ – proper distance, intensity, and pace, at the proper moment. While the proper intensity is a little easier to unpack, the proper moment is more elusive, and is the focus of this writing.

What is the proper moment? When are the best situations to do something within a Kinbaku scene?

It turns out that the answer to this questions was already basically uncovered in the interview metaphor. A brief and overly simplified review of the interview metaphor (The original idea is published at https://fetlife.com/users/1762060/posts/2762869):

When people tie with each other, the combination of the power relationship and the communication can be seen as an interview within which the tying person is the interviewer and the tied person is the interviewee. The power is on the side of the interviewer, and the information comes from the interviewee. An interview is failed if the interviewer talks all the time, and an interview is also failed as soon as the interviewee takes over and decides the path. Kinbaku scenes are unforeseeable as they are shaped by the moods and questions/answers of the participants.

I see tying as a conversation where I ask questions and, depending on the answers that come, choose the following questions. So how does the concept of ‘proper moments’ fit into this way of understanding rope bondage? Well, the same way as it plays a role in a verbal conversation – people take turns speaking, and giving each other space to speak. It is a game of the right moment to ask personal or distanced questions and answers. It is also a game of short and pointed or of extended questions and answers. (This “game” is subject to another writing that is currently in preparation). But again, what are the proper moments, for example, to end a sentence or to start a question?

One important tool we can borrow from linguistics is the concept of “transition relevance places – points where a sequence is grammatically complete, and at which it might be reasonable for a turn to end.” (Swann & Graddol, Gender Voices, 1989)

The translation of this concept to rope bondage is kind of straightforward and it contains an interesting second layer. A transition relevance place, from the perspective of the tying person, is when the tied person is finished with their reactions. (And, according to my personal experience, this is way longer than one might think.) Now there are two possible ways how to deal with that. I would call it the caring way on the one, and the overwhelming way on the other side. Both have merits. Let’s have first a look at the caring way of leading the rope interview.

The person in ropes in most cases has an immediate reaction to an action of the tying person. After that, the one in ropes usually settles in and adapts to the new situation, or, in other words, finds their place within the new situation. They may tense or inhale slightly, then exhale, relax, shift, relax into or pull against the rope, and eventually they calm into a state/position and stay there pending new input. In the caring way of tying, this process needs to fade out before a new action can be done without interrupting the tied person’s answer/reaction. It is a question of respect to let the tied person finish their answer completely. It is a way of getting to know the tied person by letting them express themself in the ropes that are provided by the tying person. One thing that needs to be mentioned here, which can destroy the flow of a rope interview, is when the people involved miss the transition relevance place. What happens then is a rather awkward pause where nobody knows exactly whose turn it is and what to say next. This leads to a power void and it can upset the scene. I want to quote again the authors from above:

“An important feature of conversation is that speakers coordinate their talk so that (normally) one person is speaking at a time and speaking turns succeed one another relatively smoothly. […] The gap between two speaking turns is often as little as the fraction of a second and to achieve such rapid transitions listeners need to predict when the current speaker is likely to finish speaking and a new turn can legitimately begin.”   (Swann & Graddol, Gender voices. 1989)

The other way is overwhelming and disrespectful, but not necessarily in a bad way. In this way of leading the rope interview, the tying person doesn’t wait for the person in ropes to complete their answer. They use interruption as a tool to increase the power relationship between the two.

But one has to be careful with both tools. If the tying person only listens to the tied person, the power relationship can (!) be somewhat damaged as this leads to a power void. If the tying person constantly interrupts the tied person, it can (!) be hostile, can (!) appear that they are not interested in the reactions of the tied person and can lead to resentment. Hence, in both cases, overuse can damage the power relationship.

Coming back to the initial question of what are the proper moments for a proper distance or a proper intensity, we are now able to answer it. It is a conscious decision whether one lets the tied person complete their answer or not. When is an answer complete? When the body language, i.e. the reactions to a certain action are fading out, and the person is on the verge of settling.

It is indeed a skill to organize a conversation and it is even more tricky to organize a Kinbaku scene, where there is no explicit content of any speech, except obvious ones (for example, overt pain). This skill can be learned and needs to be practiced consciously.

This approach may sound very academic, and yet thinking along these lines has great practical application within Kinbaku – it encourages the tying person to pay attention to the person in ropes, to seek their individuality, and to adapt to the situation. This helps create deeper and more fulfilling scenes.

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Fairy tales

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

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About the direction of touches

A Japanese Rope Bondage Scene doesn’t consist only of ropes and patterns. It mainly consists of people. Especially in recent years, the focus of many enthusiasts seems to have shifted from a pattern centered approach to one where the tied person stays in the center of attention. A direct consequence of this shift, in my understanding, is an increase of direct touches. More and more people try to build up and stay in a certain connection which is often accomplished by touching the tied person in one or another way during the scene.

But what is the meaning of a touch in Japanese Rope Bondage? Clearly, there are thousands of different answers to that question and once, this question is asked in a more or less knowledgeable public, spontaneous reactions will appear. Those reactions will most probably consist of various cues such as connection, communication, energy etc.. So far so good, but those terms require a deeper explanation, simply because they describe everything and hence nothing specifically.

I already described in previous writings how I imagine the term communication in Japanese rope bondage (and my understanding also implicitly the term energy. The term connection is subject of further studies). Roughly spoken, communication is a conversation within a certain nonverbal (or in rare cases verbal) language in the context of fluctuating power relationships. I also tried to establish an idea of a vocabulary, which consists of the easiest yes/no-questions and their answers as part of an interview.

In none of those previous attempts I was able to specify and give a better idea about the medium of that communication. Clearly, as Yukimura Sensei would say, to transport love and emotion through the medium of rope. To use the ropes is obvious (although not strictly adhered by everyone and every time) but he himself uses also the medium of his fingers, his hands, and other parts of his body to transport what he tries to say.

When I tie with my partner, I do not only use the medium of ropes.* I touch her or him* with my fingertip in the region of the lower back, when I want them to straighten up in a sitting position. I touch their inner knee when I want them to spread the legs, I touch their neck, when I want them to show their face etc.

I consciously say touch and not pull or push. I just “tell” my partner to do and insist of them doing so – not by using my physical force to make them move in a certain way but by hinting at movements and supporting its performance. This is the crucial point. Namely to communicate in a directed way. And that’s only possible if the touch has a certain direction. The touch’s direction needs to be towards the tied person and must not be reflected at the border between me and my partner. I have to touch her or him* for her or his* understanding of my language and not (only!) for my pleasure. And this has to be done consciously.  Within a sexual context, the borders of humans are semi-permeable. A part is reflexive, a part is permeable.

I give an example: A shoulder. I touch it. I want to feel it – its surface, its tension etc. That might lead to reactions of the touched person but at first, I want to touch it. The touch is reflected at the surface of the touched person and let me feel what I touch. I want to call this category a retro-reflexive touch.

Or I could touch it, because I want to see a reaction in a face, an answer with eyes or I want the shape of the body to be changed, i.e. I want a certain movement of the body of the tied person. For this purpose, I have to touch the shoulder in such a way, that the touch isn’t reflected on the surface but – one could say – goes through that surface; it is directed towards the person I touch. I want to call this a directed touch.

The latter case is the one, according to my experience, which creates a completely new state of mind in the tied person. It gives her or him* the feeling of being in focus, of being important. It is also the latter one, that makes it possible to move a whole body with a fingertip, simply because the touched person “understands” much easier what I want from that her or him*, whereas the retro-reflexive touch remains selfish.

One might object that many people want to be touched retro-reflexively exactly because of its selfish character. The objectifying character is demanded in some cases. Of course, I agree with that and I personally like to touch and to be touched in that way as well. The distinction, I made between a directed and a retro-reflexive touch is not a grading.

Rather than valuing, I want to express the possibility of the directed touch and what advantages it can contain. When I tie, I focus mostly on the directed touch for mainly three simple reasons.

First, it requires much less effort to move a body in that way. (Selfish reason!)

Second, it helps stabilizing the power relationship in a subtle way. People tend to be more impressed by other people who can move them without any effort. As someone told me a couple weeks ago, it appeared to be magical, when she was touched and hence moved just with a fingertip and she felt utterly at my mercy.

Third, as mentioned above, the directed touch lacks of selfishness. Hence, it is able to increase the tied person’s feeling of being the center of attention and not just an object for macramé.

*Although it seems, that I distinct between a skin-skin touch and a rope-skin touch, I strongly want to emphasise at this point that the touch with a rope is 100% included in this article. One must include the ropes as a medium of touch in the distinction between retro-reflexive and directed touch.

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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.

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