Into the Absence of Light

IMG_5122

I’m standing in the doorway of a room I’ve never seen. I have no idea how big it is, what shape it has or what can be found inside. A compact darkness fills the room, as if it was matter. It is as solid as a block of stone, until I take a step into it and it doesn’t hold me back. My feet feel the floor, my skin feels the temperature and dryness of the air, my nose picks up smells and I can hear the faint echoes of my movements bouncing of the invisible walls somewhere in the farther in. I raise my hand and move forward until it hits something. Until this moment, the object I’m now touching has not been part of my perception of the room. It grows and takes shape, as my hands move across its surface. I get to discover it slowly, almost like if I was removing the block of stone piece by piece until I sculpted the room from inside, without having light filling my head with preconceptions. 

How will my thinking and writing be effected by the absence of light? Who am I without everything my eyes let into my brain and the safety of being able to judge my surroundings with sight? What will want to be written? What will come after the boredom, that I’m sure comes first, as a result of the absence of distractions: no computer, no phone, no book, no knitting, nothing to see? Who am I in that situation? With only a pen and a paper in the dark.

Tomorrow I will step into this room to start to find the answers to these questions. I will spend ten days in the absence of light, assisted (with food and other things) by artist Meri Linna who, as a part of her own practice, has created the space I will inhabit in the kind of darkness that your eyes can’t get used to.

Meri Linnas page about the project: http://re-treat.info/home.html

Advertisements

Stuck outside the border

Outside Border, part 2: the objects.

1. All that lost potential

Even without violence, time slowly shuts you down. It deposits layers of leftovers from the borders you couldn’t cross. Rust spreads, corrodes and buries you, makes you useless. Not crossing means you are stuck, closed out and closed in at the same time.

IMG_8183

IMG_8282

2. All those dreams

In the game of acting yourself every day, where do we keep the things we save for later? The ageing dreams and the abandoned plans. Where do the unused end up when we forget about it? When we give it up.

IMG_8176

IMG_8157

3. All the perspectives

The cost of sorting is paid by the sorted – placed in a category that shapes who they can be. But also by everyone else, when all the problems they could have solved go unsolved.

IMG_8190

IMG_8275

SparaSparaSparaSparaSparaSpara

The cost of drawing a line

New project, made in response to an exhibition invitation from curator Winnie Pelz. Part 1: the process.

Starting point

“The European colonists created an egg without a chicken, a logical absurdity repeated across the continent and one that continues to haunt it.” Tim Marshall, Prisoners of Geography

What is this island I stand on? And what is the rescue I’m hoping for? I’m waiting. To be useful. To cross the border. To be whatever “me” is.

What is the cost of drawing a line?

IMG_7810

Without the right key

IMG_7967

you’re stuck between doors

rusting while waiting.

IMG_8004

Forgetting how

IMG_8030

all the doors we could have opened

IMG_8045

no longer apply.

After a summer outside

In early October it was time to take down the “In the periphery” exhibition. The weather had changed and aged the pieces in interesting ways. The wax had gotten sunburnt, some of the jars was filled with water, little algae and rust was climbing up my grandmother’s mazarines, only her hat acted as if nothing had happened while the moss grew around it.

IMG_7871

IMG_7870

IMG_7869

They live in the window of my studio for now.

IMG_7923

IMG_7899

IMG_7922

In the Periphery

As mentioned in the previous post, I used some of my grandmother’s everyday objects as starting points for my contribution to artist-group FIUYMI’s exhibition “In the Periphery” this summer (up until 29th of September) in Koster’s sculpture park in the (kind of) south of Sweden (but very close to Norway).

I did this to talk about the kind of periphery dementia is.

When my grandmother started to disappear into a state of ambiguity and mixed reality it was very painful to watch this highly capable and strong person starting to forget how to take care of herself. I lost the possibility of having long, meaningful conversations with her, since the timeline was constantly reset and cut off, and started to become a stranger to one of the most important people in my life. But even then, mixed in with the sadness, was amazement. At how strange our brains are and how creative they are, constantly. She had entered a world of dream logic. To her all the people she had ever met and all the places she had ever been were in reach all the time. Her mother, dead since at least 20 years, could come visit, and Spain, her favourite country, was sometimes on the second floor of her house. I especially remember a conversation I had with her the last Christmas we celebrated together. She both knew and didn’t know who I was. In her mind she was there to interview us about what we thought about the big news that we, as a family restaurant (something we are very much not), had gotten the job to make the Nobel-prize ceremony dinner. She asked many questions about this, but was at the same time a bit confused every time she remembered that she was part of the family. She also kept coming back to the question of when someone would come pick her up. At first I corrected her every time, explaining that she was going to stay with us and celebrate Christmas, but it felt so sad to have to tell her she was wrong all the time (that can’t be fun to hear over and over even if you forget it two minutes later) so I stopped, and followed her lead instead, to see where we would end up. We ended up in quite a few places actually: The North Pole, Spain (always on her mind), together with her dancing uncles many years ago, and back again at the family restaurant, to mention a few. It was not the kind of conversation we used to have when I was younger, and that I still miss, but we kind of had an adventure and travelled in time while the Nobel-prize dinner was being made in the kitchen, and I think we where both happy for a while.

Off course this is not “the solution to dementia” and off course it doesn’t always work to just go on an adventure instead of handling the problems in front of you. But I am really glad I have memories like this together with her.

Back to the exhibition. Here are the finished pieces, placed in the sculpture park.

Tilda1“Grandmother bakes (and forgets to stop)” 104 concrete mazarins (her speciality)In the background the other two pieces.

tilda3“Grandmother sorts in strange ways”  18 jars of wax keys that no longer open anything.

tilda2“This hat was given to me by my daughter’s mom” Silicone cast of one of her hats, and direct quote.

Thank you everyone who came to the opening and told me about your own experiences of dementia! A hug for each of you.

Memories of my grandmother, part 2

When we emptied grandmother’s house 3 years ago, I saved some of her everyday-things. Keys, shoes, her cane, the hat that was hanging by the door. This summer I’ve made casts of some of them for the exhibition “In the periphery”, in Koster’s Sculpture Park at Sydkoster, an island on the west coast of Sweden.

Here is part of the process of the keys.

IMG_6285Some of her keys, nobody knows what they once opened.

Dementia can be like opening doors with the wrong keys. Everything gets mixed up, all the places you’ve been and all the people you’ve met behind every door, or behind no door anymore.

IMG_6292First test: concrete.

IMG_6299Result: a fossilised feeling, time has stopped.

IMG_6320Second test: molds for wax casting.

IMG_6335Result: ghost key, fragile and blank like her fading memories.

IMG_6344Ghost keys stuck in concrete.

IMG_6384Saved in jars the keys loose their function even more.