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I owe the term spatialist to composer Gísli Jóhann Grétarsson. When we started working together on the choir performance Voiceland in Iceland in 2016, he introduced me as a “spatialist - a specialist in space”.



To be called something, makes you something. At that point, I was already deeply inside the transformative process of becoming a lover of and carer for spaces. Space had become my passion, my way of thinking, my way of learning, and my path towards understanding. Through spaces, spaces in-between become more evident. In these spaces in-between I find what I care about. Gisli calling me a spatialist made me realize the importance that this particular focus has for me, and it encouraged me to follow this specialisation.

In the past two years, I have been 25 metres underground at Reaktorhallen (R1) in Stockholm several times. Once, I was asked if I do not “feel alone down there”. My response to this was and is: No, I do not feel alone when I am in a space. I am not alone. To me the presence of the space interacts with my presence. We communicate - quietly and loudly. When the space is shaken (At R1, by the underground trains passing nearby) it resonates in my body. I am shaken too. We are corresponding


In the creation of site-sensitive live performances, my curiosity for the space expands into the search for (and creation of) an experience of further spaces that emerge when spaces communicate with living entities through sound and presence. In my work with spaces, I am concerned with authenticity. My work is always site-sensitive (dictionary). By this I imply that the creative process employs the senses when engaging with and learning from the site. Sometimes it is even possible to let the site determine the process and the result. Robert Irwin calls this site-conditioned art, as the artistic response “draws all its cues (reasons for being) from its surroundings” (Stiles & Selz, 2012, p.572). My process on site is a ‘listening into’ all the ways a human can listen. (Refer also to the Listening Into book and the dictionary)




Our surroundings affect us. The interpretation of these effects is, for me, related to sensing. As Susan Sontag writes in Against Interpretation, our senses must be reclaimed, “we must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more” (Sontag, 2001, p.10). In the reading of a space, I engage in a great deal of dialogue with the space, its surroundings, its present history, its written history, and the stories of locals. My interpretation of this information is not intended to explain anything, however. Rather, I strive to reveal these elements through an artistic transformation that can be felt, sensed, and experienced by an audience-community. (see the text ephemeral communities and in the dictionary)



There is an ethical border that I am determined not to cross: I do not want to conquer a space. The space has a character that I am interested in and that I work with. The difficulties that spaces can bring to performances are my inspiration. I have no interest in rendering the space invisible, to conquer it sonically or to overpower it. To overcome the challenges of a space would be a loss.



Virtual spaces, sonic and/or visual, do not fascinate me. I can appreciate them, but they do not stimulate my analogue mind and body. Real spaces seduce me. They engage me on many levels. They excite me and trigger my imagination. To interact acoustically with spaces is a sensual and physical learning about the space. Even though the potential for manipulating sound electronically is endless, and can expand beyond the possibilities for sonic transformation that I can elicit from an analogue collaboration with real spaces, there is no ‘erotic’ in them for me. The erotic is here related to joy, to sensual experience and the sensing of potential. As Juhani Pallasmaa describes it in his article ‘Eroticism of space’, “Space re-enchants, re-mythologises and re-eroticises the world” (Pallasmaa, 2008, p.7). He describes the way that artists create with the whole body as they “merge with their work”. My interest in how sound and space interact is therefore only generative in real space. The physical interaction between all agencies in a performance is first and foremost provided by the sharing of the real space. This is related to the fact that spaces can give processual experiences, and that sounds reveal their lives in interaction with spaces over time. Spaces are even transformed by sound, but in my work this change is supported by the real space. It tinges the sounds with its material and through structural encounters. The changes in sound are a confirmation of the complexity of the space.


Sometimes, I like to think of spaces alone - by themselves. I imagine their existence without living things that create sound. In my imagination the spaces are full of presence in this situation. If someone was there to hear them, one could hear them breathing and communicating in the way that only spaces breath and communicate.



When I enter a space, I become instantly alert. There is a concentration, a focus inside the limits of a space that I do not experience outside. This confined focus allows me to go deeply into learning about the interaction between sound and space. To get involved with a space encourages an attention to the presence, a listening into the past and an aural imagination that projects forward into the future.


The more time I spend with spaces, the more convinced I am that they request our attention. Our listening into spaces is crucial. They have something to say.


I want to cultivate something that we all can do more of, which I call space-care. It is an active attention to space that acknowledges our responsibility for spaces. The relationship is reciprocal. One can rely on the response of a space. Not necessarily on how it responds but that there will be a reaction to one’s presence. One’s existence is acknowledged by the space one is in. This is a precious comfort that is not obvious.




Pallasmaa, J., 2008. 'Eroticism of Space.' Oz 30.


Sontag, S. (2001). Against interpretation, and other essays. Picador U.S.A.


Stiles, K., & Selz, P. (Eds.). (2012). Theories and documents of contemporary art: A sourcebook of artists’ writings (2nd ed., revised and expanded). University of California Press.



I – am – here


Three words. Identity - existence - place. All made appreciable with the entrance into a space.



Confessions of a Spatialist


Confessions of a spatialist






Always connected


through sound


Bodies interact


with spaces in-between






the visible


presents spaces


to be entered


reached for


dreamed of




Beyond this


the invisible


actively constructs


partly recognisable




to a bigger degree


as abstract phenomena


multiple spaces




For all the senses


and those we don’t have


spaces emerge


They call, they touch, they protect


They are indifferent


but exist only in relation




To converse with


the spatial


To sense


an in-between


to enter it


it enters me