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SchrödingER’s Cat

Milena Nikolova (2016)

A Real-time Subatomic Love Story


Reflections of a Simple-Minded Cat

Here I am, in the midst of digital images.

Fuck, am I obliquely quoting someone?


Probably one of the professors

on whose lap I curled

(or whose paws I licked, practically,


before I resided in my current position.

This theoretical one –

a sealed box in a thought experiment!

Waiting for reality to collapse, facing undecidability.

Singing the song about the counterclockwise spin:


I was/am a curious cat,

Not skinny or fat.

Though I was neither female nor male,

I was put up for sale.

And SchrödingER[1] was first to pick me up

To play the role of his audience in a pub.

Now I was/am alive,

Lacking classical description.

Freed of consistency ties,

A genuine science fiction! Causing friction,

And sentenced to death/life.

Not by my own famous scientific curiosity,

But by the scientists’ poisonous monstrosity!


Singing here, in the realm of subatomic particles.

Facing my fate, the undecidability of the in-between.

Continents, states, countries, places, names, articles.



(Actually, that’s a good title –

too smart for a fictitious cat?)

An experimental cat, dreaming of professors

who question the English translation of:

Me voici donc en présence d’images…[2]



Cat’s Language

‘Everything you utter is so beautiful!’

he said to me, distortedly,

before he left for the park.

The place where the sun never sets.

Adorable guy! It must be his scientific genius,

seeking meaning in the unGRASpable.

(Mmmmn, GRASS, in the sun-drenched park!)

For we both are dead and we both live

in the untranslatability of our languages.



His language?

Physics and microscopic scales.

My language?

An accumulation of PURRS, HISSES and MEOWS.

Two exact parlances that avoid interpretation.


we’re both obviously lost

in imagined translation.


Poor SchrödingER!

Poor me!

Doomed to die/live in mutual linguistic obscurity.

A genius and his thought experiment!

Or, should I say, and his abjected supplement?

No, I should stick to my cat sounds.


Scientific language is animalistically overrated.



The Silence of the Cat(s)


I heard a strange noise.

It was not the Geiger counter. It was…screaming.

Cats. The cats were screaming.

Distinctive new distorted sounds.


I figure SchrödingER is trying to pick up

a new cat in the park.


The schema of replacement.[4]

The image of any cat is also a cat.

Replaceable, according to the axioms.

And I was/am an image in the midst of images.

A cat in the midst of cats, without knowing it.

Cogito, ergo sum…yet I am not.[5]

I am a cat with and out of consciousness – a yes/no cat.

Permanent/transient existence and non-existence.

While suffering from undecidable subjectivity,

I submit to my schizophrenic technoself:

wandering in the net, sealed in a box.

In other words:

don’t trust me, I was/am a jealous, unreliable narrator!

I’ve never experienced otherness

in relation to other cats. Never saw one.

It all remains within the crisis-prone and hectic

master-slave dialectic[6]

between SchrödingER and ME.


So…I don’t know who I was/am,

And still,

I was/am a unique thought experiment.

Was/am I?

Hmm, they say Hamlet asked a similar question.


What became of your cat, Hamlet?

He killed it – in his thoughts.

Well Hamlet, have the cats stopped screaming?



When the awful screaming stops,

I’ll be singing along with Hamlet.

Accompanying my master’s triumphal hip-hops,

back into my subatomic pamphlet.


Kit-cat hip-hop


I say a kit cat, the kitty, the kitty.

To the kit-kit cat, don’t let the kitty

out of your bag…[7]



Ad nauseam[8]



Me voici donc en présence d’un atome catastrophique![9]

Marvelling at the sanity of an enlightened spirit –

an Über-CAT,familiar with les discours académiques.


My fate depending on a mechanism that houses

a single ominously undecidable atom!

An early emblematic draft

of a self-destructive cat-machine-system.

A Dada cyborg cat,

awaiting graceful degradation.

Singing the final verse of

the song about the counterclockwise spin:

I was/am a middlesex cat,

Middleskinny and middlefat.

My fate is considered by scientists as

Notoriously nonselective.

Whereas my brain emits messages

That are regarded as highly defective.

They’re blurred with emotions, they say –


Thus, I’m going to finally get rid of that,

In order to become a sophisticated cat.

One who is obnoxiously trashed with poison

While crystal sober.

Waiting for a mechanism to decide

When this scientific GAME is OVER.


Well, ultimately, I resign.

Or, even better – I agree

to all sorts of strangest theory, by

remaining a cat defined only in terms of my function:

Cat in a Black Box

Input -> Black Box -> Output

Cat AS a Black Box

Followed by the age-old question mark

(as is usually all that remains

after a reading of Hamlet):

To faint, resign, remain encaged and dissolve?

Or to get stronger, revolt, embrace freedom and escape?

But enough is enough!

Inseparable from the ticking mechanism

I now transform into

a clockwork cat.

A thought of a thought of a thought of a thought,

measuring thoughts in tick-tocks:



[1] From German, er. He, third person, singular.

[2] “Me voici donc en présence d’images, au sens le plus vague où l’on puisse prendre ce mot, images perçues quand j’ouvre mes sens, inaperçues quand je les ferme.”

“Here I am, in the presence of images, in the vaguest sense of the word, images perceived when my senses are opened to them, unperceived when they are closed.” Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory.

[3] A reference to Julia Kristeva’s book, Étrangers à nous-mêmes.

[4] In classical propositional logic, replacement is a syntactic operation that is performed on formal expressions. The substitution of the variables in an axiom scheme with formulas is permissible, provided that the symbolic line of substitution is kept.

[5] A Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes, usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am,” from Principles of Philosophy.

[6] Georg W.F. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit.

[7] A reference to Sugarhill Gang’s song, “Rapper’s Delight”.

[8] A Latin term used in connection with the feeling of “being fed up”. Literally, to the point you feel sick.

[9] Here I am, in the presence of a catastrophic atom. (French).


Aus dem Bulgarischen von Milena Nikolova

Editiert von Jane Flett


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