The Loose Knowledge Movement, Royal University College of Fine Arts, 29 - 15 June
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Withdrawn covers embedded in a draft
ink/watercolour objects, 117 x 250 cm

a conversation between
Fredrik Ehlin and Kristina Bength
published in the catalogue
The Loose Knowledge Movement

translation by Kalle Mellberg

– There was once a time when the attention turned towards another then, tried to pull it into a future and make memories of it. It could have been thus. Or thus. The frame was there and the body tried leaning against it, but the touch stopped at the images blocking the way. A shut door to an inaccessible room. A covered window, wallpaper and the wallpaper’s patterns, all merged in an experience of perishing. Events that had passed when the attention gracefully and carefully tried to conquer them never returned. The same for all events, then as now. And it was easy to regard the impermanent as the border to an unconquerable emptiness or nothingness. The distance between the passed events and the images of them does not decrease. You feel your way and the patterns change.

– For me, it could be wallowing in sorrow. Banalizing the experience of the perishable by dressing it in sorrow, lie down under the covers and staying in what you got, absorbing the warmth of the duvet or of another body, lying still with mourning dreams. As long as very little changes, the home is safe and secure and passed. It rests in memories of habits, you know what you are doing and what you will do. You trust the working chimeras of habit. Passivity can also be a way to change the state of things. I stopped watering the flowers and let them wither. The irregularly oval petals of the Saintpaulia shriveled. The colours thickened into little balls that left the sepals and fell. But you weren’t primarily talking about sorrow or lacking care, you were saying something else, about changing patterns, the unrest that drapes the frame and the walls. How perishing rather than sorrow inspires a yearning to change and modify.

– A locked door or a covered window shutting the past is already a great many images. They are transformed when one image lays next to, forces out, sinks into, or satiates another. The wallpaper is is pulled from the walls. A wind sweeps through the abode. Things are embedded. We are in the archives, the wallpaper is ripped from within here. Panorama outpowers overview. It is disjointed in the archive processes and jointed after the form of the archives. This makes possible searches and overview in sequences. The overview is about sequence, the joints have widened, now you put your hand and gaze inside them. When the center of the images have been displaced or lost, gaze and body drift toward the images’ edges. Now the centers are the joints between the water colour objects that conquers one room as another room. A spliced-together monument you can walk around but not enter and cross. A room that offers an overview relying on the illusions of perspective.

– The question of accessibility and inaccessibility is paraphrased with the half-open,
half-closed storage-like arrangement. Not unfolding the panorama indicates the impossibility of constructing a complete overview. It gives one hope of a continuation. I think about when I was little and followed my mother to the carpet store. The carpets hung from racks and between them you could disappear just enough. If I stood in the middle, I was still visible and knew that she would find me. Still there was a tingle because I didn’t know if she was looking for me.

– A window was open. Yet the air was thick. I opened another one and a smell of flowers was set in motion. The pressure changed and the door, the images’ set-piece, slammed shut.

– A draft.

– A draft playing with the cozy staleness of the air and the static placement of things. With the wind an opening window meets a window that was opened. When I tried to lean against the frame of the walls, the air pressure pattered over me, and instead of mourning what no longer exists the longing came to be part of the closing of the door that had just slammed shut. The thought of perishableness turned into thoughts of the memory that turned into thoughts of setting up and rummaging about in archives, shaping and ordering through transformation. But still I thought of it as though remembrances were stopping the hand from pushing down the door handle.

– Within the door, images are opened and closed. But the door doesn’t open.

– Time opens it, the draft shuts it. Sometimes I’m a draft shutting the door where the images emerge, searching through a system for images and change of air. But sometimes I’m just a body leaning against the wind. Sometimes it is stronger than I and lets me rest in it. Sometimes it is snatched away, and I fall. Now and again I lean for a while, turn around and notice that it has already stopped moving the tree-line behind me. The memory is a memory that forgets when you move on. I walk around in an old house, and there is a tie that binds and I don’t have to articulate what it is. I was taking photos. 

– Carefully telling a story can be to give it a content that says little more than how stories become possible, that they are and that they act. An image manages the possibility of writings of history and gives possible stories, but it doesn’t have to tell a particular story. The wind may just move a ball of dust.

– The invented link between then and now, I don’t expose it fully. The fantasies become images. I enter the room and it is set in motion by the body, and the room at the same time sets the body in motion. It is always so and that alone is a longing. The door to the world that escapes with time is put ajar when images are recycled in a new way, but they drape it and places the past in the future, in another room. Now you see the spliced-together monument, the joints are unsealed, the wind runs through it and the longing is spread. Or back then: The wind rustled among the furniture, a vase was rocked, tipped and was crushed. That’s the most that can happen. Doors are shut, an open window bangs, marking a strange time against the window frame. Flowers and shards float in the spilled water, but when you notice that the wind has already passed toward the outside and the change of air has already come to pass. The smell of flowers doesn’t die away, it shifts, getting stronger or thins out. You said something about unrest and unrest dwells in longing, not in sorrow. With such a longing I wanted to return and reanimate the room. The frame was there, carrying the dwelling of history writing. Drywall, insulation, plumbing, construction. Layer on layer. So it could begin and go on. So it does begin and goes on.
I set up a digital image archive and in Photoshop I forced the layers to merge into one. The interiors entered the wallpaper that have now been pulled off and are in my hand. They are now water colour objects that I lift and carry, tread on and wear down. Now I embed them in the spliced-together monument of the object archives, seeking new safety for the unrest of longing.

– When images leave the carrying architecture, it appears as a construction. You discover different ways to find your way back. More than anything, you discover the most common ones. Once I removed the dust covers of all the books in my parents’ bookshelf, and they were devastated. A home really is a thing of habit. It displays its constituting parts and shows impossibility of being “the home”, in definite form. The home is a place for staging an actual as well as imagined feeling of safety. A staging of the home uncovers it and the archives becomes the place where this transpires.


– How do you see your images?

– Withdrawn covers embedded in draft.


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