After 10 days in the dark

The following is some of what I wrote while, and directly after, spending 10 days in total darkness. The pictures was taken the last day, when seeing the walls for the first time and slowly getting my eyes used to light again.

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I know when I wake up the first time in the room that it’s still night. And then, when I wake up the second time that it’s morning. The darkness is the same around me, but my thoughts have a lighter contour, almost like a cloud that the sun is hiding behind. I lay under the duvet and look around me. For a second it surprises me that I can’t see anything, despite still remembering where I am. It’s like I was expecting dawn to come with light, even though I’ve made certain it can’t.

I move in three dimensions. What the movements look like is not important, only how they feel. They expand the room, that could continue forever. They expand my body out into the emptiness. Gravity is apparent here. But the part of my body that is not in connection with the floor sometimes seem to hover. I’m flying, and I’m anchored at the same time. The ground lets me know I exist. It keeps me with it. No matter how I stretch out or land, it is always on the ground. It lets me know that I belong with this specific matter, this collection of atoms that’s lumped together to form a planet. I am part of a living system, and here in the dark, the ground defines the meeting point with that system.

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Sometimes the darkness is like the ocean, when I’m sitting on the bottom without my mask. It wants to push inside me, flow in and dissolve the matter I call me. The pressure of all the water in the Atlantic against a tiny bubble of air inside my nose. I have to force myself to breath slowly and calmly through my mouth where the regulator is feeding me oxygen from the cylinder on my back. Such a small action: accidentally breathing through my nose, or just not resisting anymore, and the living cells that make up my body will be turned into dead matter.

The darkness is a foreign element, but it is not threatening like the ocean. It can’t suffocate me, it is outside of me. I can breathe calmly. My cells are not filled with darkness. But they must be, because they are not glowing with light. Underneath my semitransparent skin there must be relative darkness, even when my body finds itself in the light. And it has to become progressively darker the farther in you go. The inner-most core of me should have never seen the light. Except for that time when a surgeon cut some holes to peek in, and some light fell through as well. And then she cut off, and took out, some of my living material. Living material that was killing me. Now that material is dead instead. And it’s no longer part of me, or my darkness. It’s out in the light. It has become visible and harmless. The nurses leaned over me, like knights in blue and silver radiation safe armour. A strong light behind them. The same light that fell through the holes in my body. I was on the table. The centre of everyones attention. A piece of living meat in their hands.

And then darkness.

And it was over. And I was alive, even though every part of my living body was still made of dead atoms.

If I had not survived, I could not ask you: If we don’t radiate light, does that mean we radiate darkness? It is so very quiet, because your can’t answer me. The silence presses against my eardrums and keep them still. Keep them stuck. The darkness is deeper when I open my eyes. It reaches far outside of me and my eyelids. It’s mind-boggling and terrifying to be erased and return to matter.

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Sometimes I see myself in the dark with a tiger suit. My striped arms move across the floor or sneak along the walls. I can see my tiger ears listening and my tail unroll. Like an interactive, striped pyjama.

I lean against the radiator and pretend that it is the last rhino in the world that lets me come close. With my ear pressed against its side I can hear a choir of monks sing, in the wheezing and fizzle of the pipes. I have promised to never tell anyone about the rhino. No one will believe me anyway, the last one died too long ago. I remember that I read “The one who sees everything as material will never be free” and I thought “I don’t want that kind of freedom. I don’t need more freedom than I already have.” And I’m so wrong. For later on, when I’m not at all afraid and the floor is the floor of a forest of frog-trees where I’m lying on my back, in my striped tiger pyjamas and look at the stars, I’m all of a sudden much more free. And that is better. That is more. And the black panther-fox leans down over me and picks me up and together we run across the starry sky with our eight legs.

Sometimes the room is dark. Sometimes there is Nothing there. I’m looking at Nothing until my eyes become nothing. The last night in the room I dream that I see myself. My skin is pale and colourless, my hair is dirty and lank and my eyes are black, bottomless glass spheres.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Without the right key

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you’re stuck between doors

rusting while waiting.

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Forgetting how

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all the doors we could have opened

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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.

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They live in the window of my studio for now.

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The wonder and crime of curiosity

I have been four people in this project. The explorer, the introvert, the organizer and the corpus maker.

The explorer is the one traveling the ocean, looking at the world with curiosity and deciding to own it. Ruthless science and colonialism: to do because we can, or to do to find out if it can be done.

hälsa evolutionen liten“Tell Evolution”

One of the most common questions I got during the exam exhibition was what material the branch is made of. When I answered “raw hide… skin”, the asker’s look changed and they just had to ask “human skin?”. I wonder how we can be explorers without being colonizers.

det överblickbaraliten“The travelable distance”

The introvert is the one remembering that we might sleep half a meter away from another person, but a wall of concrete make us exist in different worlds. We are only aware of the neighbours upstairs when they are disturbing us, we co-exist at a distance and agree to pretend that someone else will save the world.

lägenheten bredvid och om de inte liten“The apartment next to theirs” (left) and “If they weren’t made to be empty” (right)

The organiser is the one documenting and collecting. Sorting the world and combining the fragments into our preferred version of reality. Ideally I would like my work to meet an audience slowly and quietly, like the way you find lost things in the attic and you wonder who they used to belong to.

vår föredragna version 4“Our preferred version of reality”

The corpus maker is the one placing the borders around pieces of emptiness, the definer of inside and outside. Possibly even the creator of inside and outside, since neither of them can exist without the meeting place that is the border.

den enda andra 1liten“The only other piece of land”

examenlitenExam presentation set up.

vårutställningen 1litenExam exhibition with cast concrete floor and 4 of 7 pieces.

Done. Next project.

 

 

Back to the Island

In theory the island has a clearly defined border. But where is it? The shoreline? In that case: low or high tide? Stormy weather or calm waves? Do the rivers belong to the island or to the ocean? And what about islands that are connected during low tide but separated during high tide?

IMG_2607Line: shellac and steel

IMG_5056Tunnel: shellac and fabric

IMG_3139Ocean: shellac and concrete

IMG_3060Tunnel with hand: shellac, fabric and hand

IMG_5178Melting: shellac and fabric

IMG_5016The amazing beauty of shellac in sunlight

Memories of my grandmother: day 12 (last day)

Dear grandmother,

Do you remember that time when I helped you to move? I was so efficiant in packing away your kitchen things that you had to call me for months afterwards to ask where things where hidden. We are right by that house now. Your last house, with the amazing view. We reached the sea finally, crossing half this country on foot to get here. I remember you walking slowly in this place, your hip hurting more and more. But you never stopped picking away the weed that wanted to live in your driveway. You brought a foldable chair with you, sat down and picked away, then moved the chair one step foreward, sat down again and continued. You had plans when you moved here, even though you somehow knew you where moving back north to die. Someone else live in your house now. They are not as good at picking away the weeds, but I’m sure they love the view. We slept the last night at that museum you liked so much, they have cottages for hire now in the middle of all the historical buildings. We had dinner at the same table where you and I ate. We talked about you. We will continue to talk about you.

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Fragment 13: a piece of weed from her driveway, since she is no longer there.

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The sea at last.

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The cliffs fall apart like cubes here.

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Detail from one of the sets at the museum Mannaminne.

Memories of my grandmother: day 11

Dear Grandmother,

I doubt that you remember the last christmas we spent together. It was the last time you went south, but for you geography was just a matter of convinience. By then Spain was on the second floor of the house and the kitchen was preparing the Nobel-price dinner. You where apparently there to interview us about our family restaurant, not at all to celebrate christmas, even though you got confused every time you remembered that you where also part of the family. I tried to correct your thoughts and bring you back to reality, until I realized that being corrected constantly is no fun and what is reality anyway? So we embarked on a journey through your mind insted. Every time you asked the same question I gave you a different answer, to see which one you liked the best. We ended up with plans to go to the north pole by hot air ballon. All those plans gone, offcourse, five minutes later but you liked them while they lasted. The next five minutes was a different adventure.

I wanted to tell you that it was one of my best christmases and I will never stop being amazed of how the mind creates reality, even though I will never stop missing having a long and continious conversation with you.

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Fragment 12: a piece of fir / a bit of christmas tree

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In this house the christmas candles where still in the window.

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A farm with a view.

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A wonderful but closed down roadside restaurant called “the Swan”.

Memories of my grandmother: day 10

Dear grandmother,

I think I found your glasses by the road today. Or at least parts of them. It could easily be them, you had so many. Your glasses where always a bit bent and crooked, from being sat on or for fallen asleep with in front of the television or somehow getting under lots of bags in the car.

We walked the road of the famous 1931 strike protest today, the one that ended with the military opening fire against it’s own population and killing five people. A dark day in swedish history, but as some dark days do, it changed this country for the better since (almost) everyone realized the brutality was way over the top and that the military should have nothing to do with civilian matters anymore.

You where six years old when this happened. You didn’t need glasses yet. You had long before you would fall asleep in front of a television. You had not even sat in a car. You had all these years left.

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Fragment 11: a lens from a pair of broken glasses.

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Detail from the memorial of “the shots in Ådalen”, front page from the local newspaper the day before the protests with the news that led to the protests (“Strike breakers invades Ådalen”).

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