The guy who’s “out there” – Benjamin Riise

4 things: cake, coffee, wine and palindromes

I have only met Benjamin in real life once.

It was a chilly February night in Denmark. As you can imagine, winter in Northern Europe tends to make you freeze all over, so people had to wear lots of layers in order to prevent turning into large, stationary icicles. Brrrrr.

When I was still living in the student accommodations back then, an unknown guy came into our common room dressed in an attention-grabbing blue, thick jumpsuit. As he fashionably entered in such grace and style, a broad smile slowly spread across his face with each corner of his mouth surrounded by the tiny hairs of his stylish moustache-goatee. He held a kendama in his hand.

“This is Benjamin.” He was so introduced.

Even though I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting him once, he was not a complete stranger to me. I kind of knew who this was without the formal introduction, for he is always present in the common room floor in the form of a little printout. This intriguing printout consists of the back of a fully naked man, climbing onto a kitchen shelf (where he was placed to look like he was hiking up).

When I looked at the printout for the first time, with great curiosity, I was told, “Oh that’s Benjamin! He is a cool and funny guy!”

Think about it. Would you ask people to take a photo of you posing as you are climbing naked and print it out in black-and-white, cut it out and stick it in the common room where everyone can see your bare bottom?

Clearly, he’s got some guts.

And more clearly, he is quite the interesting character.

4 things: cake, coffee, wine and palindromes

4 things: cake, coffee, wine and palindromes

 

I am fond of cool and funny people because they usually think differently. During his first real-life appearance, I definitely thought he was more than just “cool” and “funny.”

I have been told that Benjamin studies linguistics and has a lot of interesting thoughts. Although I didn’t get a chance to have an in-depth conversation with him face-to-face to discuss these marvellous thoughts, I still got a chance to talk to him.

If you are looking for something that he has concretely created, please kindly move to another article, because what Benjamin has created is not something concrete, but a style and an attitude.

Benjamin does create, but they’re not those very ‘sophisticated’ creations. It’s more about the feeling he gets from the creations. For instance, recently he has been into whiteboard doodling. He said the strong contrast of colours on the board and the power to destroy (erase in one wipe) satisfied him a lot.

Another activity Benjamin has been doing is a bit more old-fashioned and could be dated back to the year of 1984. This is the art of Poetry Slamming! He writes poems about high-flying and abstract notions. Later on, he puts his writing in a much more practical context: about his daily life issues such as work, hosting ‘couchsurfers’ and hitchhiking.

From Benjamin, I can understand that everything is about the feeling you get from something. The practicalities don’t seem very important to him because he focuses on how his creations can be conveyed and how people perceive it. It is not about how he is going to interpret others’ works but also how others interpret his work.

How an unhappy Linguistics department mobilizes all its initiatives and animals to preserve a great study environment

How an unhappy Linguistics department mobilizes all its initiatives and animals to preserve a great study environment

Having stayed in Valencia for half a year, Benjamin learned a golden rule from fellow artists: dedication to creations is the inevitable part of an artist’s life – he quoted an example from his friend, Alejandra, whom he met there.

Benjamin has given us some of his creations to showcase. Although they are not all of them, I am sure that he is a very hardworking creator, at least for his own sake.

And why shouldn’t he be? He is the guy with his own lifestyle and he lives out there. Or if he lived a few decades ago, he could be really famous by now…

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