Halfway the road, where our roads were crossed
An early project that the situationists engaged in was called “dérive”, which can be translated by power. This means walking around the cityscape to see how the different urban environments affect the senses and emotional life. Dérive means turning off the will-driven processes and releasing a playful and constructive behavior. During the talks, each other talked about how to experience different things and thus became an instrument for analyzing themselves. From this, a theory of psychogeography developed, that is, how physical environments affect us emotionally. Situationists said that modernist urban planning and architecture only contribute to a society where people are becoming increasingly isolated. The modern city is reduced to becoming a scene for consumption
I walk my path in Stockholm in Hallen. I walk my path in Stockholm in Paris. I walk my way in Paris in London. I walk in London as in Oviksfjällen. I walk my paths in Oviksfjällen in Trollhättan. I walk my path in Trollhättan in Stockholm. I walk my path in Bertheleville in Buenos Aires. I walk in Gröndal as in San Francisco. I walk my path in Trondheim in Rome. I walk in Rome as in New York. I walk my path in Vänersborg in Beijing. I walk in Vaplan in Tokyo. I walk in Tokyo as in Dals Långed.
On my walks in Oviksfjällen, I follow the paths of the route of the species kartlav. Kartlav (Rhizocarpon geographicum) is a species among lichens growing on rocks and rocks in mountainous areas with low levels of air pollution. Each layer consists of a flat spot in yellow to olive green with black outer edge of apothecier (fruit bodies) and / or spores. The apothecaries are black and angular and are recessed between the panes of the bonnet, which gives “stains” that can grow adjacent to each other. This gives a map-like look where the black edges look like borders.
Like many other lichens, the maze has extremely slow growth. Depending on the plant site, it grows 0.25-0.6 mm per year radially outwards. A cartel may have an age of 1000 years or more.
In an experiment, cartels were placed in a capsule and sent to space with a Russian Soyuzraket on May 31, 2005. The capsule was opened and exposed to space for almost 15 days before returning to the ground. The lava showed minimal changes or damage.
Colors can be made from lichens and mosses.
group walk at Slussen in Stockholm Jan 20, 2012.
We meet outside Blå Bodarna Slussen just before midnight in the afternoon of Friday afternoon. We are all warmly dressed people with rough walkingshoes and hats over ears, volontaring in joining the artist Hamish Fulton’s group walk. It’s minus three degrees.
Hamish demands us to divide us into two groups lined up opposite each other, on opposite sides of the site and we will make our walk n each other concrete-plate. Targeting the center of the site, we stand on a horizontal line opposite each other, 20 people on each side of the open space. We may not speak, nor use our mobile phones. We are instructed to go back and forth along our own concrete line at our own pace for one hour. Everyone starts on a whistle’s signal, at 15.15. Everyone walks at their own pace along their own line back and forth and ends on another whistle signal 60 minutes later at 16.15.
I walk opposite AnnSofi Sidén, next to Dan Wolgers, opposite Ingegerd Råman, next to a man I don’t recognize. Opposed, next to, before, depending on how the speed is coordinated between us. Almost all participants I know or recognize: most artists. We are all part of a choreography. After about ten minutes I start counting my steps. It happens when I find my speed.
Dan Wolgers and I walk in the same speed the first few minutes, then he slacks down. AnnSofi Sidén moves at a lower speed and weaves strongly with her arms. Dan Wolgers clicks up the jacket and takes off his hat after a while. He increases speed and passes me. I keep pace with even heat. My speed is restful, my walking is driven without effort. I see the clock above the elevator at Slussen in one direction and every crossing over the place demands 39 steps. I make three crosses in a minute. 3x60x39 steps. Mental arithmetic. This means that during one hour I will make 7020 steps. Many thoughts begin, grow and sweep away. I count. When passing, people cross the place where the groupwalk takes place, we weigh and drop off but we do not respond to questions or comments. According to the instructions.
Hamish blows after an hour the second time in the whistle and everyone stay in the place where they are at that moment. Everything is a frozen movement for about a minute, after which everyone seems to start moving and talking to each other at the same time. AnnSofi says to me: You went fast, I checked my speed by yours. I ask her how many steps she took to cross the site but she does not know. She had devoted herself to counting rails, posts and passing cars around the place.
We had both thought of prison camps. I have also compared to the recurring routines of life and how we occasionally follow someone, how we relate our movements to the closest ones, but at the same time keep the mind on future and the rhythm further away. Symbolically. I realise that Hamish gives us our own thoughts, that this is inevitable. AnnSofi and I also talk about how the people who did not participate but crossed our way seemed to move with the same speed and repetition, that the difference between us and the others did not seem to exist. The difference between everyday repetitions and the repetition of the constructed situation disappeared or the constructed situation might make us see everyday with symbolic distance …
The participants stand for a while in small groups until people leave Slussen in different directions. I tell Hamish Thank you and he answers smiling Thank you for your participation. It is dark over Slussen when I walk to Medborgarplatsen.
stands for sorrow, melancholy, hardmoded propagation among the diversity of people like a breeze over the ocean. I am walking in Istanbul, the city where Europe and Asia meet and I think of my walks in Jämtland and wonder if the heavy mood of the nothern countries exist in the form of patch disease like a wind over the most densely populated mountain nature.
is a Turkish word meaning multicolored. Abrash turns out to be a kind of color change or nuance in the color of one or more areas in the hair of hand-knotted oriental nomad rugs. When coloring new yarn into a rug, the color will not match perfectly with the original shade of the yarn.
Notes drifting in San Francisco 2009
The tram ride goes up the slopes, upwards overlooking the bay and the water, through the city office center and fancy hotels through sluggish blocks, further to the university area and lush idyllic areas. I go with the tram, it turns around at a slow pace and passes restaurants and cafés and small shops. I go off, enter a record store that seems to be left in the 70’s and ask for good restaurants, nice places and get many tips that I follow. Without a map just by open mind I follow my intuition as a clue, I continue. I move on through the city, eat some food, talk to people I meet, look at an exhibition, go into book stores.
To get lost: outside the fifth ring in Beijing
Beijing has a circular cityplan where the boundaries consist of the leader in traffic. The Tiananmen Square is at the center of the inner circle.
Within the spheres of the two inner circles it is forbidden to heat the houses with coal. Outside of Ring No. 2, the coal mist is dense and gray. I live in an artist’s city outside Ring No. 5, outside the outer ring. The winter is cold as most winters are in this climate. The artist area is made up of simple two-storey houses with a studio and a small kitchen and one or a pair of bedrooms, similar to a very simple, semi-detached townhouse. A stoker patrolls during the nights and puts coal on the boilers. Between the patroles, the coal burns out and immediately it becomes cool and shortly even cooler, after the next visit by the stoker, it flashes quickly, making the small rooms almost unbearable to be in. The coals mist sip in between slots in the floors and walls. My asthma is getting more difficult, after a few days I get fever and soon the circumstances have caused me to develop a severe pneumonia. A homeopathic doctor is summoned and I get strange treatments, among other things, I have to stay in an hourly range of hot cups stuck on my back. After the treatments, I’m dizzy and sore, but the lungs are as bad as before treatment. I stumble slowly in the big city during the day, attending a large art biennial housing an art university, hence the stay in Beijing. Two carpets are my contribution to the internationl exhibition: a camouflage patterned handmade rug with a robot ball attached to as a fetal or bomb and a printed circuit board rug, both in conformance with prayer rugs or yoga rugs. I’m trying to make my work, visit the various parts of the city and sights, take a trip to the Chinese wall and finally breathe a bit of fresh air, sit at the wall and look over a beautiful landscape and get in as much air as my lungs are able to host, but I’m so tired that I can not take part in the walk on the chinese wall that I longed for. I sit and look after my colleagues walking away and I’m kidding for the breath. In the same evening, in the dark after the excursion, I will take a taxi to my residence outside the fifth ring. On a map, I point to the taxi driver where I want to go, but we can not understand each other. He drives and he drives. He drives the taxi out of the city’s light into the darkness into the night-dark darkness. He turns around after a long time and asks me a question in Chinese. I understand he is wondering where to drive, how to drive. I’ll pick up the map again, but he’s waving it off. He does not know how to find his way, he does not know where to go. I repeat the name of the art area but he does not understand and does not seem to want to understand.
I am out of nowhere in strange surrounded by 20-degree minus cold, I have pneumonia and can breathe only with distress and I can not make myself understood.
I call on my cellphone and after many unsuccessful attempts I get in touch by my mobile phone with the man who rented the accommodation to me and eventually I reach him. He speaks English and Chinese. I hand over the phone to the angry taxi driver and my landlord pilot the driver on the right track. The journey takes more than two hours and during this time I thought that this could be my last moment on earth in my life. No fear is there, just fatigue and a slight impotence.
Jämtland: Preference of Interpretation
I return to Hallen in Åre Municipality in Jämtland, a place that is part of my father’s history, invited to participate in an art project on local anchoring, origin and art.
I approach the task by walking and inviting to a group walk, from Hallen to Gärdsta along the beach of Storsjöns. The distance is about 13 km. The walk has a goal. Everyone who participates can go at his own pace, in company or alone. We all go the same way, and we have the same goal: Gärdsta and Marby Church and the former Mission House, now called Vision House. In Gärdsta we will be served soup and sandwich. The Home Society prepares food for the walkers.
With the walk as a method, I want to weave together my own experiences from time to time, because lived time and experience is always important in my way of working. My experiences in meeting with others’ experiences of living here now. Others stories and others now, here in Hallen. Practically and concretely, a collectively made rug, a ryamatta as a map carpet, is also connected. The knotting that emerges has links to “Marby carpet” history. The Marby carpet in Hallen-Gärdsta has for centuries now gained a very special place in my work through the connection to Istanbul and Turkey, the copy of the Marby carpet that I borrowed and presented in Gärdsta during the summer. According to research, the Marby carpet is from 14th century Anatolia and is the best-preserved carpet of its kind in the world. A theory about how the Marby carpet came to Jämtland is that it came with a pilgrimage hiker on the way from the Middle East to Trondheim and Nidarosdomen.
The pilgrimage road passes Marby and Hallen. The hiker got a living room in Marby and donated the carpet to the church. The wellknown historian Hazelius made an inventory of art treasures in Sweden in the 19th century. He found the Marbycarpet in the church of Hallen, where it lay as an altar cloth in the church choir. After negotiations, Hazelius bought the carpet on behalf of the state and contributed to the collection of art in Stockholm. From this inventory and collection, Skansen was built. The findings of the investigation showed the unique and cultural value of the carpet, and it has since this been part of the coööection of Museum of History in Stockholm. As one of the museum’s important objects, it is placed in a specially built glass mount with adapted humidity, light and alarm.
The walk is planned, timed and coincides with bad weather. The group gathered to participate in the walk is neither big nor small. The rain is profound and does not show signs of diminishing. The group walk is decimated to two hikers, me and my sister. The walk becomes a long wet conversation about two sisters diverging memories from the same time and the same family and the same places.
After the walk, around the fireplace we eat soup and the discussions circle around the Marbycarpet and about how to write history, the discussion becomes animated. About origination and preference of interpretation. Rural area is set against the big city. Strong voices claim that the Marbycarpet is owned by a family in Hallen since centuries and that it is not anatolic at all, but origines from the samipeople. The family claiming the ownnerhip has produced twenty copies in the same colors and the same pattern, but these rugs are roughly handknotted in a woven ground according to the Scandinavian tradition of homemade carpets called ryacarpets.
Walking is moving from one point to another. The roads change, the purpose varies. Walking is for me to walk and think, walk and seek, walk and talk, walk and get insight, walk and gather thoughts, walk and understand, walk and listen – experience the surroundings. Walk and let me be led by the walk. Every walk is unique, every situation is unique. Some hikes have resulted in personal maps and mappings, in patterns, in linguistic rhythms, in haiku poems, in texts
To read Thomas Bernhard demands an active reader – you need to read as if it was your text and furthermore, you need to use your own voice, even if silent. The experience is rather one of talking then of reading, it´s a physical experience. It reminds of walking – the energetic and coordinated movements and the pure joy of it. These aspects of reading Bernhard are at the core of the project Library of the Evil Spirit.
The process of translation of texts is used as a form of close reading and appropriation. Fragments of texts, letters and words, extracts from Bernhard´s Walking (1971) form new texts – the way of reading is closely linked to writing, to the voice and the physicality of the body. Walking in Rome, following Bernhard´s tracks, and in Trondheim, form patterns and new tracks, which result in maps that become the backdrop for the artist´s on going conversation with Thomas Bernhard. The physical aspect of the process includes the room where the writing and reading takes place – in a black and white analogue photograph (another physicality) a selfportrit (not to be confused with ”selfie”) in my room during a workingperiod, on the hillside in Trondheim, overlooking the city and the bay.
My days in Trondheim are structured and presented following the concept of Frost (1963), Bernhard´s first novel, in twenty seven diary notes, a new title in the library.
I walk into and out from the short story/novel Walking (Gehen, 1975 Suhrkamp) (Gå publicerad i svensk översättning av Anders Olsson och Daniel Birnbaum i utgåvan Helt Enkelt Komplicerat, 1989) and I make this into an artist book published by OEI Editör 2014.
To walk in the opposite direction.
To think in the opposite direction.