/ Prehistory / Jr.no. xx Claus Nielsen
JOURNAL NO. XX - CLAUS NIELSEN
- a life -
the streets of Copenhagen, 12. December 2000 - 26. January 2001
- a myth -
Ekstra Bladet, Politiken, Information, magazines, photos, rumours, biographies, websites, university papers etc., 5. February 2001 - the End of History.
"One day in December 2000, author Claus Beck-Nielsen took the distinctive "Beck-" out of his name; he left his apartment, wife and child and went out onto the street as Claus Nielsen, a man without a registration number. It became the beginning of a personal and familial tragedy."
In the biography about Claus Beck-Nielsen, (Gyldendal 2003), the story about Claus Nielsen is linked to the tragedy about Claus Beck-Nielsen. But the book is - like all other biographies ever written - off course just one out of an infinite number of possible "true" stories about this particular life. By writing a biography you turn a life into a myth.
Maybe it is possible to tell not the story, but just the facts that leads to the production or appearance of this life of a man called Claus Nielsen:
In 2000 Claus Beck-Nielsen decides to make an experiment:
He wants to create a space in which a new personal life can appear.
He wants this new life to be real,
no fiction, just reduction:
And so he cuts out the most particular or significant part of his name: Beck-, leaving the almost Everyman: Claus Nielsen
- He cuts out the last five years of his biography including wife, child, his apartment on Østerbro in Copenhagen, and all the social relations that he has built up throughout the last years.
- He cuts out his memory of names (of persons he has known in his life) and names of some of the places (schools etc) he has been at.
- He cuts out his memory of the 10 figures that make out his Danish registration number, which links him to all the things he wants to leave out.
- He leaves out all his personal belongings (things, money, IDs, clothes etc.), except for the clothes that he chooses to wear: a pair of jogging-shoes, a thin jogging suit, gloves, a cap and a scarf.
He boards the train Bertel Thorvaldsen that arrives from Germany to Copenhagen Central Station 12. December 2000 at 9:59 a:m.
And from then on: Lets see what happens.
He has a set of rules for this new life, rules that Claus Nielsen will have to follow through the day, the days:
Every day he has to:
- find something to eat and drink.
- find shelter for the cold during the day
- find a place to sleep at the end of the day
- in general he has to follow the advice that he might get from other people he encounters
- and in the long run: he has to get himself a future, a life
Thats it. No myth, just a plain life.
What happens is that a human life is being produced or: just happening
It is a happening without an audience.
Or: the audience, the legal citizens that casually see and encounter Claus Nielsen throughout his life dont know that he is something happening.
And so, in some sense, the life of Claus Nielsen remains
a life unseen
until it finally becomes represented or told:
then it is visible
and then it is already a lie
but only one out of millions of possible true stories or pictures about
one single life
THE STORIES / REPRESENTATIONS of CLAUS NIELSEN:
Following 2 months of unseen life in the streets of Copenhagen Claus Nielsens picture one gray day (5. February 2001) appears in the tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet.
And then in other newspapers: Politiken, Information
and yet other newspapers, magazines, anthologies, books, university papers etc. etc.
And finally his story is included in the biography of Claus Beck-Nielsen.