The Border/The Container

When you make a container you place borders around pieces of emptiness. The emptiness is given shape and becomes a space inside the border.

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This space is often used to protect or separate matter of different value from each other or to sort the world to make it easier for us to use. For instance keeping the sugar from being mixed with all the other things on the table until we decide the time has come to mix them, or separating the bones of a saint from all mundane materials inside a reliquary, or building walls to make sure people stay in there assigned places.

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In short: to protect what is contained against unwanted influences or to contain and isolate what is unwanted.

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The border (the material divider) can itself be used to tell you something of what it encloses and how important it is, and also if it is closing something in or closing something out. But can it also contain the movement between the inside and the outside?

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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

Control system

Everything changed a little bit to the left.

I wake up at the subway with no idea of where I’m going. Who was I when getting on this train? I look out the window. We create this hard world. Then we create shoes to walk on it without damaging out feet. Lights passing outside in the dark while I’m trying my shoes against the floor.

Everything will move back again to the way it was and they will tell me what station to get off at.

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Silicone cubes

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Shellac and fabric box

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Collapsing cube of bandage and shellac

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Bloated cube of raw hide and concrete

 

Reading and wrapping

“The stories don’t fit back together, and it’s the end of stories, those devices we carry like shells and shields and blinkers and occasionally maps and compasses.”

From “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit

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There used to something living

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And the preservation of it keeps it dead forever.

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No one is an island.

If I discard the inside but keep the surface, is the object still there?

While removing the dried skin tubes from the branch I’m hoping they will hold together on their own.

IMG_7759(Day 10: The empty pieces seems to hold their connections.)

What is the difference between the inside and the outside?

Stitch by stitch I’m enclosing a positive impression of a branch made of air, keeping it separated from the surrounding air which ends up having a negative branch shaped hole in it.

IMG_7771(Day 10: About a third done)

Is the function of the boundary to uphold the division between inside and outside? What if the boundary lets the inside out or the outside in?

Is that too simple?

In the book “A field guide to getting lost” I found the concept of “shul”. This word usually means a jewish place or context of worship, but it can also mean a mark left in the world. The author Rebecca Solnit describes it like this: “…shul is used to describe the scarred hollow in the ground where a house once stood, the channel worn through rock where a river runs in flood, the indentation in the grass where an animal slept last night. All of these are shul: the impression of something that was once there.”

IMG_7789(Day 11: The tips are the hardest to get off without breaking the branch.)

I’ve made a container that remembers its content but the content is gone. You could say that this container knows the shape of a branch because it was constructed around one, in the same way that new knowledge is built like bricks on top of the bricks of old knowledge.

IMG_7787(Day 13: Almost all the pieces done now!)

By making a hollow shell I start to understand that the border could be the only place where the inside and the outside can meet.

Is that too obvious?

Well, new knowledge to me: I draw unnecessary lines. I get stuck inside a defined tradition. Like I’m missing a membership card to the outside. Or maybe a get-out-of-jail-free-card. These boundaries are still too easy to see for me. I need to learn about doors. Or permeable materials.

I do understand the point of knowing your history though. Again: all new knowledge needs a foundation of old knowledge to build on. We continue on someone else’s conversations and add our own parts without them knowing. Maybe my conversation will be someone else’s starting point another time.

Is that too pretentious?

The artist Theaster Gates talks about how a “nothing-material” like clay or an abandoned building can be turned into a something, like a pot a or meeting place for art and people, but also how the materials carry memories and tell a story if you let them.

IMG_8144(Day15: Done and installed at Åsbacken, Västerljung for the Open Art days.)

In the search for clues of where my process could be leading me, I need to remember to take a step back and see what I’ve actually done. What is there in front of me. What the materials have turned into and what story they tell me.

I’m confused, possibly in a good way. Possibly I’m asking too many questions. Possibly I’m wrongly trying to figure out the “right way” of doing things.

Is that too critical?

Thank you to everyone who came and had interesting conversations with me during the exhibition days! To see someone tear up over something I created makes all the work worth it! 🙂