Thoughts & Insights

There Are More Worlds than This One

On June 1st Professor Peter Kruse died, a man well known in Germany for his research into the workings of complex dynamic systems. Intelligence, collective intelligence and the dynamics of social systems, in particular those of the internet , were the main themes of several decades of intensive research which are now more acutely topical than ever.

He was also a friend of OUBEY, as he himself often used to say, even though he never had the chance to meet OUBEY personally. My first meeting with Peter Kruse was sometime after OUBEYs death. What fascinated him about OUBEY first of all was his story – that an artist with a body of work of such extraordinary quality should resolutely turn his back on the art market and shun its blandishments after his first highly successful exhibition instead of doing the very opposite he saw as something wholly admirable and deeply impressive. Yet for him it was an act devoid of any kind of heroics or sailing against all odds. Peter Kruse instinctively knew that “OUBEY just had to do it”. I think this was the decisive connectedness, a “brotherhood in mind”, that led to this close posthumous friendship.

And now this very good friend of OUBEYs has died and this is a very new experience for the OUBEY MINDKISS Project and for me. A friend of OUBEYs is naturally a friend of mine and this is why I spontaneously said yes when I was asked on 2nd June whether I would write an obituary for Peter Kruse. “I’ll do it with a heavy heart but I’ll do it gladly,“ was what I said. It was a matter of honor for me.

What came out when I sat down to write is not the usual kind of obituary but a letter to my friend Peter. A letter in which the intellectual and spiritual affinity which Peter Kruse found with OUBEY plays an important part. But it’s also a letter to my friend who so often and in so many ways was a source of inspiration for my own work and whom I knew I could count on whenever I had something to ask him.

Like only recently in March this year when he told me that he’d try his best to come to the ZKM (Center for Art and Media) in Karlsruhe to be at the 5thAnniversary Happening of OUBEY MINDKISS but if he couldn’t make it he’d be sure to send a video statement about the current state of development of the OUBEY MINDKISS Project. It was my heartfelt wish to have Ulrike Reinhard make this interview and despite her busy schedule she flew out especially from India to make it with him. And now suddenly this is his last recorded statement on video for all time. The conversation finally turned to many questions of absolute concern for how we live life on this planet and what kind of society we wish to live in. But its main focus from the beginning was on OUBEY, on Peter’s relationship with OUBEY and his art and how Peter saw the important role now being played by the OUBEY MINDKISS Project in a context completely dominated by commercial considerations and market forces.

Here is my letter to Peter Kruse, posthumously:

Dear Peter,

Taking leave of you is very difficult. Writing to you perhaps will make it a bit easier.

What for others was the limit was the launch pad for you. Lightening quick yet profound and well grounded, electrifying. “The child-like joy in the creation of boundless form. Not accepting any frames or frontiers”, that’s how you described what you saw in that painting of OUBEYs which I brought you to see in an encounter in January 2010. You were also describing yourself. A free-ranging mind.

An extraordinary blend of incorruptible intellect and explosive passion with a love for constructive dispute. Tough-going and unsettling for some, gripping and charismatic for others, and sometimes perhaps simply overwhelming. Tireless and persevering, steadfast and unshakeable, inexhaustible. Patient and impatient at one and the same time. And always in top gear. Never in neutral.

Your brilliant lectures where the audience was picked up and carried along by your infectious enthusiasm, lectures full of the most surprising connections and illuminated by flashes of your wry erudite wit. Pyrotechnic displays, fine entertainment of the highest order – of the sort that is rarely found in Germany. Yet without a trace of personal vanity. Driven only by your pleasure and your sense of obligation to share your thoughts and precious insights. Seriously committed. Expectant. Demanding.

Or the outstanding quality of a totally new range of self-developed methods and instruments . And the razor-sharp precision of the analyses and forecasts they delivered – now points of departure for all those who seek change for the better through action well grounded in reason. Never self-serving. Motivated by the desire to see smart action. An incentive for what you called “the collective quest for fitting solutions and good leadership.”Networking as an existential condition. The quest as a challenge and a mission. So urgently needed.

Your partner, your colleagues and your comrades in arms will go on. Without you and yet with you too. It won’t be the same. But it will go on. Because what you’ve achieved and what you’ve left behind will make it go on. And that’s something good. At least we can be thankful for that.

I too will go on. The statement you made on the 5th anniversary of the MINDKISS Project, just five weeks ago, has turned overnight into your farewell gift. It will accompany OUBEY and me. It will inspire us and hopefully others as well. We’re so fortunate to have it.

What happens when the spirit leaves the body can only be known by those who have experienced it. This experience has now come to you. Too early in my view. But at least Erwin Schrödinger has taught us – the living – one thing for certain – that “Spirit Cannot Be Destroyed By Time“. Which means that the free-ranging spirit that lived in you is still there. That’s a beautiful though I find. It’s comforting and consoling but it still doesn’t alter anything about the fact that you’ll be most sorely missed.


Click here to see Peter Kruse´s Encounter with one of OUBEYs paintings. Here you may find the three-minutes trailer “OUBEY Complexity”.

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It´s text is exclusively based on quotes by OUBEY himself and Peter Kruse, from the Encounter with OUBEYs painting. And here finally see Kruse´s statement on the meaning of OUBEY, his artwork and the approach of the MINDKISS Project on occasion of our 5thAnniversary.