Texts by:

Emma Cocker

Andrea Coyotzi Borja

Alexander Damianisch

Cordula Daus

Sepideh Karami

Vidha Saumya

Lena Séraphin



Twos and ones. No groups. Couples touch or are close. Friends meet to talk keeping some distance apart.

 

Pigeons are oblivious to the rules.

 

I am not settled, not relaxed. My attention feels hyper-vigilant. I am grasping at things that are most visible or obvious. My attention keeps getting stuck at “me”.

 

Can I drop into a sense of inhabitation? How is the non-inhabitation of a space?

 

Posters ripped along the walls. No new fly posters, nothing to advertise. Noticing notices. A closing down sale. We’ll get there together. To let. Stay safe. Play your part.

 

Two women sit on a bench talking. One scratches her chin and gestures with her left hand. Now the right hand is gesturing – with palm facing upwards, her fingers opening out and closing, over and over. I copy her gestures to find a way of helping me to bring them into words. Her two fingers now pointing, as if demonstrating towards something in the future. Her right hand now has palm facing the floor, fingers grasping like a cage, or like a spider. Grabbing towards something. Gestures accompanying conversations. Gestures of people speaking on their phones. A finger and thumb stroking. A hand clenching in a glove. The woman holds up her left hand now, the index and middle fingers pointing, rotating her wrist the two fingers move from side to side as if she indicating a choice between two options. This or that.

 

A bell chimes.

 

The shadow of a man, a diagonal copy, elongated.

Shadows of many bodies moving across the pavement.

Low winter light, stretching and extending the shadows of bodies.

The shadows of bodies touch and connect, though physical bodies remain apart.

 

A pigeon catches a draft of air and glides across the square.

 

Clouds drift slowly.

 

Two browning leaves tussle and roll along the floor in a moment of breeze.

 

The rumbling of voices in conversation, content indiscernible.

Every so often a voice comes into focus and then drops back into the background noise once more.

 

I close my eyes and feel the sun on my face. Listening.

 

The crinkling rustle of a plastic bag swung at the side of a walking body.

The coo of pigeons courting.

A child cries.

 

Probably – a single word comes into clarity.

 

Don’t worry.

 

A woman sits close to my left. She is on her phone.

 

I want to move, her conversation occupies my attention, I cannot help be drawn.

 

A dog barks

 

The shadows of a father and a child.

 

A pigeon lands close by.

 

A child cries.

 

A police car patrols the edges of the square.

 

A couple stroll, their masks worn low.

 

I am grasping again.

 

The woman’s conversation has pulled me into a certain mode of attention. Should I move? She is complaining to someone and then says that she realizes that she is complaining. She then asks the invisible other how their day has been.

 

The sound of a skateboard, its wheels clatter on the pavement.

 

A bell chimes, irregular.

 

The top of a church spire peeking above the empty shops and closed bars. The bell chimes insistently now.

 

A man asks for change.

 

Shadows of bodies and pigeons. A leaf rolls along the floor in the breeze.

 

Heals beat out a rhythm.

 

The woman talking on the phone pulls my attention.

It’s exactly the same as a year ago.

 

I move higher up the steps of the city hall. My back now rests on the side of the building. A busker’s refrain begins.

 

I am now elevated above the square. From here, other buildings appear from behind other buildings. The busker is playing Strawberry Fields Forever.

The sound of his saxophone has a strong pull in the space, drawing all other activity into its frame and rhythm.

 

Laughter. The laughter is coming closer. Intense. Ca ca ca ca ca. I am not so sure it is laughter. The man seems to be imitating the sound of crows. He is crumpled over by the weight of a large bag. A man with a red trolley waves to him and he waves back. His wave is surprisingly delicate – each finger twinkling a response. His name is Albert.

 

The saxophonist stops abruptly. Then begins again. Flashing lights on the top of a truck beat out of sync with the saxophonist’s rhythm. Lights left on in empty shops. A child dances to the music. Uninhibited jumps and skips. A man lifts the child high in the air above his head and swings her from side to side to the music. A pigeon coos, fluffs up its feathers as a gesture of courtship.

 

The music turns the space into a film set. Everything feels inescapably animated by the soundtrack of the saxophonist. Individuals inadvertently fall into its rhythm. Even pigeons seem to nod their heads in time. A skateboarder circles.

 

I am the king of the castle, you are the dirty rascals. A child in a green coat climbs to the top of the city hall steps and sings. I am the king of the castle, you are the dirty rascals.

 

A girl puts on headphones as she enters the square. The heard sound of the saxophonist meets imagined sound, the private music of another. Looking now for other people wearing headphones, interested by the unexpected collision of public and private soundings.

 

An alarm sounds in the distance, shrill.

 

The notes left on the memorial flap in the wind.

 

A crane protrudes above the roof of the department store.

 

A flag waves, again as if in time to the music.

 

The saxophonist’s music dominates my senses.

 

I take my attention to the shadows. There is somehow equivalence in the shadows – the buildings, the trees, the people, the leaves, the pigeons, a pulled trolley. All shadows. All moving in the play of light, as it comes and goes. Everything alive in the shadows animated by light.

 

Buildings reflected in other buildings. Truncated. Fragmented. Cut up. Distorted. Fragments of sky in glassy windows and mirrored facades.


Lichen on the stone of the city hall. Mossy green lines edging along the strips of cement.

 

I close my eyes and feel the sun on my eyelids. When I open them again the sunlight seems brighter.

 

The shadows seem more pronounced. They seem to walk faster than their physical counterparts. There is another life in the shadows. Immaterial touches.

 

When the music stops, the space settles and a new arrangement emerges. There is a moment before the sound of the music resumes, where the space remains open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I’m about to head out to write, and the snow, falling diagonally, keeps talking to me while I look out from the window “Morning… so, you’ll be out soon then?”  “Yes” I reply “I’m coming, will you be gentle?”)

 

 

________________________________________

 

3min

 

I’m nowhere still, walking forwards, on a road, with the snow cracking under my foot while I lay my steps on top of it.

Spotting . the act of choosing a spot. Bodily or visually.

I guess this is a good spot like any other.

 

 

________________________________________

 

3 min

 

I’m still in the same spot. It’s not cold but it’s snowing and the paper I’m writing on top of is getting wet. It’s starting to smudge some of the letters I have already written.

I’m on a walking path. I’m on the crossroads of two walking paths. There are some trees around, not many. I think I want to keep walking and writing. Pick another spot. So, here I go, walking again, with the sound of the cracking snow beneath my feet again. Spotting.

 

 

________________________________________

 

3 min

 

There it is, the train passing by… no! The metro, it must be the metro, the train doesn’t pass near here.

While the snow continues to crack below my feet, the birds continue to chirp and to sing. Spring. The highway is nearby, I can hear the roaring of the cars, a static sound, a white noise of progress. Ha! Progress. Once upon a time we called that sound and idea progress. Now what is it? Is there progress anymore? Is that still in the vocabulary?

I have spotted.

 

 

________________________________________

 

 

45 min

 

I’m wearing gloves now. Writing is different, but not so challenging. Reading my writing will be challenging I guess. I’m on a bridge. The stream moves beneath, the cars keep roaring; I’m spotted now, I have settled on top of the bridge. Again in another crossroad for walkers, runners and skiers.

The stream looks frozen, but it doesn’t sound frozen. I wish there was a bench here. There is a trash can, maybe I can dump my butt on top of it? The trashcan is a bit high though, and I’m not sure it can hold my weight.

I have the most considerate and kind scale at home. I woke up weighing 90 kilograms but after the scale saw my face it went down to 88, and after me sighing we settled on 87.2kg

It’s not broken, it just has a mind of its own, it knows I just had a night of insomnia and couldn’t go to sleep until 9am… I’m not sure the scale was measuring my body weight.

Before starting writing I wondered if I should be on the text. And now I am. It wouldn’t be impossible to remove the awareness of myself on these words but I’m not thinking much beforehand when I’m writing this. I am while writing. My thoughts are moving, coming and going while writing.

I think I should have worn my rain coat instead of the winter woolen coat today.

I just looked at the time and began wondering about the other people writing. There they are, somewhere, outside, writing.

Are they sitting? Standing? Wet? Cold? How did they sleep yesterday? What are they hearing? Seeing?

There are two people approaching with some walking sticks.

Other two on the other road… I wonder if they will collide in slow motion.

No… they didn’t.

I want to go spotting again. I’ll walk.

 

Graffitied trash can

Snow … ice snow

Houses

Signs

Mail boxes

Emptiness

Pages moving, me holding them

Birds singing

Rocks

Rocks covered with snow

Ladder

Post

L---

Water on paper

Hand hurts

Stopping

Walking

Yellow house

Road

Wood

Snow cracking

Dragging feet

Parking place

(stillness)

The roaring of cars is louder than I realized

Birds birds birds!

Sign, no cars no motorcycles

Empty road

Steps on the snow

Big trash cans

Hill

Plants or roots on the wall and roof

Wet paper

Wet coat

Home

 

________________________________________

 

 

 

 

steht eine amsel

steif und schwarz

mit orangenem schnabel still

 

 

 

ich beginne

mit der umgebung

in der ich bin

 

 

das leben

begibt sich

in mich

 

bin nicht mehr

nur allein

dann ich

 

lasse ich das

nicht zu

bleibe ich draußen

 

 

weder frau noch junge

noch himmel noch wolke noch blau

nur ich noch

 

allein nur mein geklingel

dose voller kiesel

aneinander reibend

 

verstaubend

vor den anderen

nicht mehr

 

verstimmtes ich

ohne klang

und spiel

 

aufmerksamkeit

ohne umgebung

nirgends dasein

 

 

andere

bleiben draußen

ohne anzufangen

 

an der grenze

dort nur

warten

 

nur auf

umwegen

mitmensch

 

lösen sich

ohne einander

auf

 

 

sein unterbrochen

von phasen

widerstand

 

besitzen

nicht glauben

am sinnrand abgleitend

 

durch die ebenen

blattwerk

das sinnlich bricht

 

lage um lage

fallen

aber landen

 

miteinander

versprochen gehalten

sein

 

 

 

 

 

zwischen mir und der umgebung

ist kein strichbreit abstand

alles einander

 

alles geht auf

und über

zustände

 

nicht worte nicht sinn

nur verhalten

sein

 

gesten

zerlegen

nicht fügen

 

immer spiel

immer gleiten

scheinen ohne gewicht

 

das um und im gefäß

im spiel zugleich

ist es

 

 

kraft ohne widerstand

bleiben

nicht schwinden

 

umbilden

nichts erreichen

werden

 

begeben

gefühl und ahnung

bleiben ist überall

 

 

 

 

 

 

mitten unter den enten steht eine amsel

steif und schwarz

mit orangenem schnabel still

 

nicht alles ist

von bedeutung

wenn es nicht will

 

aus der zeit fallend

sind beisammen die tiere

gegenüber dennoch

 

wie auch jäger und jagdgut

einander berührende

eindrücke sind

 

aber nichts steht fest

nicht in der freude

und nicht im streit

 

denn wenn die wenigen regeln nicht wären

wäre schweben

und aufgeben möglich

 

sowohl als auch

immer die verwandlung

immer die möglichkeit zum gesang

 

Stadtpark, Wien, 6.3.2021

 

 

Eins. Ohne Adjektive.

 

„Dem Zustand der Welt_____ sollten hier_____  Aufrufe stehen.“

 

Hier ist: Weigand Ufer/Ecke Wildenbruchstr. auf einer Brücke.

           

Pausen anstelle von Adjektiven.

 

Im Augenwinkel_____ Seite, das_____ Wasser, fließt in _____  Wellen. Im Augenwinkel _____ Seite, Geräuschquelle, _____  Schatten, die sich bewegen.

 

Two. Things in motion.

 

Blattreste wehen über das Kopfsteinpflaster. Die Brise kommt aus der Atmosphäre oder von vorbeifahrenden Bussen. Ein Blatt kreiselt, kommt auf dem Kopfsteinpflaster zum liegen. Jetzt ein Ringelreihen mit BVG-Fahrschein. Die Kippenreste wirken umso träger, Filter in Gelb.

 

Three. Writing with ears.

Ich kann auf Englisch schlecht mit den Ohren schreiben, weil alle Ohrenworte, Gehörtes, wenn überhaupt, auf Deutsch sich fassen lassen. Der Kaffeebecher/Handwärmer kippt im Wind, weil fast leer und macht ein Pappe-auf-Stein-Geräusch. Schritte, Kinderwagenrollen auf losem Schotter, dahinter die Autobrandung.

 

Four. Writing based on bodily perception.

 

Es ist eine Frage der Zeit, wie lange diese Finger schreiben können, bei gefühlten 2 Grad ohne Handschuhe. I can’t write with handshoes, gloves, so it will be a matter of time how long those fingers can move. Leichter Nieselregen, der die Tinte verwischt, ein 'e' ist verlustig gegangen. Die Brücke ist mäßig befahren. Definiere mässig: jeweils ein Auto, ein Auto löst das andere fließend ab.

 

Bin ich den Ereignissen verpflichtet, den Geräuschen, dem Bumpern  eines Anhängers, eben, oder wer fokussiert was? Die Kälte vom Brückengeländer zieht langsam gesäßaufwärts. Sie ist noch ignorierbar, der Kopf meldet Blasenentzündungsgefahr. Cystitis only belongs to one possible future. I shall focus on the here and now and change position trying to forget the sensation of cold from the stone below.

 

I shall invent a structure like in the first three warm up exercises that helps me to stay focused/in/on the bodily perception but not necessarily on myself. I’m not alone here. I think of the buddhist slogan: There is suffering.

 

Allgemeine Fühlkunde. Ich kann nicht leugnen, dass ich schreibe, aber ich versuche das ich so neutral wie möglich zu halten. Phänomenal.

 

Keiner der vorbeilaufenden Menschen trägt Handschuhe. Ein Frau mit lassyartigem Hund und gelbem Schal. Der Hund springt an ihr hoch. Bereits das zweite Mädchen mit einem Skateboard auf dem Rücken.

 

Warum schreibe ich nicht mit dem Gesicht zum Kanal? Ist es erlaubt in die Vergangenheit abzudriften? Vor zwei Wochen war der Kanal gefroren. Wäre der Kanal noch gefroren, könnte ich auf dem Wasser stehen.

 

Kalte Hände sind störrisch, die Schreibschrift wird eckiger, weniger großzügig. Auch die Beobachterin scheint weniger großzügig, versucht schneller auf den Punkt zu kommen. Sie schaut zum ersten Mal auf die Uhr. The reporter of a general study of feelings checks the time for the first time. She starts a chart and writes "temperature, bodily felt, seen, heard. Proof of concept.“

 

A very skinny dog passes by with its owner. The dog wears a lined grey jacket and still shivers. A shiver spreads through his body. The observer tends to think of all dogs as male. Why? She must correct myself: There are passers-by with gloves!

 

„Dem Zustand der Welt angemessen/according to the state of the world, or: Adequate to the state of the world“, says a sign, at my left, „sollten hier radikalere Aufrufe stehen/more radical calls should be placed here.“ The sentence is followed by a hash tag: „Deutsche Wohnen enteignen/ Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen.“

 

It has almost become impossible to continue to write. Meine Hand ist fast taub.

 

 

6/3/2021 at 13:00

Teollisuuskatu 16, 00510 Helsinki

 

I wish it was possible to do this exercise with my eyes closed.

 

I would not need to look at the book or try to shake my pain. My pen is running out of ink. Why didn’t I remember to get a new pen, when I had known that I will be moving outside to do this exercise? Did I leave home with the excitement of finding a place where I could sit without raising my finger?

Snow under my boots sends a trigger.

 

Standing in a slowly moving queue

 

Yesterday was my birthday, that day has moved on. “Why am I here?” is not a new question. The to-do list is a reminder of what I must do to know why I am here. Sometimes I want to be validated by a residence permit, sometimes by being able to write. It is annoying to wait to be validated by bureaucracy - these papers move slowly - birth certificate - school certificates - marriage certificate - passport - proof of residence - tax card - salary slip.

 

In the wet sand, the sand particles adhere to each other and jointly resist our weight, making our legs not sink. Can my brain cells also adhere to each other and make me not sink into this headache? It is growing into an enveloping mass.

 

The sound from the rain on the rooftop behind me.

 

Half an hour ago this sound was muffled. The rain was mixed with snow.

 

Cold fingers.

Losing grip

Illegible writing

I don’t want to look at the paper when I’m writing.

My shoulder’s feel the head’s weight. The head feels its lead like body.

 

We did a similar exercise in school. To improve the brain-eye-hand coordination, we were asked to draw the sitter without looking at the paper. It gave us giggles and loss of control. To look, to pay attention helped me imagine, who are they? Why are they here?

 

My eyes are closing from the heaviness of the headache.

 

My fingers are cold. I think I have to cheat.

 

Reading cheating.

 

I tell myself I’ll wake up at seven. Then I wake up at six.

 

When somebody asks me what time do you usually wake up, I say eight.

I can’t tell anyone that I wake up at four. Then I sit in my bed and think. My mind feels like a paper shredder. I go back to sleep after an hour of shredding. When I wake up at six, I make a to-do list and practice Finnish on Duolingo. How is it then that I am late for everything?

 

Filing taxes - paying the rent - bills - assignments - meetings - late.

No matter how well prepared and rested I am, when it is time - I’m behind.

 

In Finland, there is a growing trend to scream F A I L U R E as ecstatically as EUREKA. To succeed is to fail to achieve failure. Like a regret, like a short too white, or denim too blue. Imagine if all this freedom to fail in Art had a tangible theory that was applied to system infrastructures, buildings, bridges, how would we feel about the state then - like the Grenfell Tower fire?

 

A fridge-freezer malfunctioning that spread rapidly up the building’s exterior due to the building’s cladding which was done to make it more sightly. Great Britain specialises in the cladding - plundering - colonising more than half the world and cladding it with “reforming”.

 

I like the “how-to” question.

 

If somebody sees my Google history, they will know how much I look for help. “How to write a polite rejection email?” “How to find the contact list on Gmail?” “How to write about the delay in payment?” “How to use cucumber peels?” “How to get rid of a headache in five minutes?”

 

My head hurts, I’m feeling cold. There are popping sounds in my joints.

 

Yesterday I watched a video about signs of high cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes headaches, lack of libido, high blood pressure, a swollen face, lack of energy, constant fatigue and sugar craving. I am positive on all the signs.

 

When my face puffs, my eyes look smaller.

 

Right now my head hurts. There’s an exercise I learn on Youtube “How to get rid of a headache in less than 5 minutes”. Name the colour of the headache, find its location, rank it out of 10.

 

Deep Brown

It’s in front of me

11 out of 10

 

Brown

Forehead

11

 

Brown

Behind the ears

10

 

Brown

Between the brows

9

 

Red

Between the brows

9

 

Pink

Eyes

8

 

I’m tired. The headache is not leaving. The feet are cold. I should do spot jogging.

You can’t build your immunity when you are ill.

 

Should already start exercising every day.

 

Headache. Cold feet. Cold fingers.

 

These kinds of headaches leave only by evening, leaving me exhausted.

When it leaves there is no recollection of its memory. Toes hurt.

 

I should try writing with my left hand while I keep my right hand in my pocket to warm. I should have worn mittens. The sun is deceptive. The pen has already slipped twice. The ink is at its last 4 millimetres. If I stop it stops flowing too.

 

I need a yoga friend

 

Somebody else should take responsibility for my fitness and ensure that I get fit in a year. By 2022 I should be able to fall asleep every day, naturally and I should be able to sleep for 7 hours straight. I should wake up refreshed. I should feel hungry and I should feel not too hungry. I should drink water. I should be able to swiftly get up and walk around.

 

How to get a strong core?

 

 

Lördag den 6 mars 2021

Uppe i andra våningen på en hamburgerrestaurang vid Vasa torg

Klockan är 13:15

 

Jag är i en glaskub. Sitter vänd mot Salutorget på andra våningen.

 

Jag ser långt ut, mot och över torget och bortåt mot Handelsesplanaden

 

Kan inte höra nåra ljud utifrån. Det känns som att vara i ett vakuum.

 

Saknar jag ljuden där ute? Mmh.

 

Saknar jag kylan och vinden? Ja, nästan.

 

En bit bort, bakom mig, uppe till höger sitter en högtalare, och en strid ström låtar eller covers av covers spelas utan avbrott.

 

Framför mig en blåbär-banan smoothie.

 

Jag sitter på en pall. Den är mjuk och sätet snurrar runt men bordet framför mig är fastskruvat.

 

Om jag vänder på knäna åt höger ser jag en fasad med mörka blyinfattade fönster, om jag vänder mig mot vänster sitter jag och ser på en mörkgrå stum fasad.

 

Musiken tystnar. Musiken låter igen.

 

Jag hör barn som springer uppför trappan bakom mig, vänder mig om och ser dem. Nu sitter de på barstolar vid ett högt bord.

 

”Tää on paras, eks niin?”

 

De tystnar och äter.

 

Bordet framför mig är runt, och ytan känns blank och hal.

 

Jag sticker ned ett sugrör i paff i muggen.

 

Suger.

 

Sugröret blir lila på insidan.

 

Smoothien i muggen formar en oval yta från min synvinkel.

 

Jag suger igen.

 

Smaken av kalla blåbär och en känsla av strävhet som bananen gör.

 

Gott med kallt. Jag är för varmt klädd för att sitta inomhus.

 

Den kalla drycken gör att jag hostar. Vänder på huvudet till vänster mot hörnet där ingen sitter.

 

Oro, virus.

 

Svalget känns kallt.

 

Munskyddet täcker min näsa och mun.

 

Harklar mig.

 

Pianomusik. Ackord. Paus. Melodi.

 

Uppifrån andra våningen ser jag längre än om jag stod på marken.

 

Jag sitter med ryggen mot en vägg eller egentligen ett räcke mot trappan och har tre väggar av glas runt omkring mig. En veritabel utsiktspost.

 

Stryker munskyddets nedre kant med tummen och då kommer jag ihåg att en int’ ska röra det mer än det behövs.

 

Jag rapar med munnen stängd.

 

Vänster hand håller i häftet.

 

Sidorna har inga linjer. De är ljusa med en yta som är behaglig att stryka.

 

Skriver med en reklampenna. Den…

 

en rytm som jag gillar

 

… har inte bra glid utan jag behöver trycka medan jag skriver.

 

Pekfingret blir ansträngt. Böjt som i en båge.

 

Bytte ställning. Lutar bakåt mot väggen och har mer avstånd till häftet och texten.

 

Jag skriver utan glasögon. Ser ändå det jag skriver, nu är jag längst uppe till höger på ett nytt uppslag. Det känns fint – nästan lite högtidligt. Jag vänder på sidan. Fortsätter högst upp på nästa uppslag och skriver långa ryggar till p-bokstäverna. U p p slag.

 

Jag trycker tungan mot sugröret och känner hur det är runt.

 

Suckar.

 

Fötterna svettas i vinterskorna.

 

Jag rätar på ryggen och böjer mig sedan framåt. Lägger vänster arm på häftet.

 

Sugröret har blivit mjukt nu. Smoothien tar slut och jag sörplar upp det sista.

 

Munskyddet känns för stort. Kanske jag kunde göra ett veck med en bit tejp längst ner på det.

 

Rösten i högtalaren påminner om munskydd på tre olika språk.

 

Någon annan har slut på drycken och suger upp det sista.

 

Jag ser ut mot staden. Flera stora snöhögar på torget. De ser hårda ut.

 

Jag har int’ varit här förr. Det finns en balkong som vetter mot torget men ingen sitter där. En avlång reklambanderoll är fastknuten i räcket. Vinden tar tag i den och lyfter den uppåt. Jag ser banderollen bakifrån och bokstäverna är spegelvända.

 

Håller pennan på ett annat sätt för att minska trycket på pekfingret.

 

Ute. Rök. En annan hamburgerrestaurang finns alldeles intill.

 

Längst upp på byggnaden i hörnet av Vasaesplanaden och Handelsesplanaden sitter en stor digitalklocka med röda siffror.

 

Flaggstänger utan flaggor svajar. Tomma flaggstänger.

 

Om fem minuter stiger jag upp och går ut. Slipper stekoset. Men kommer inte att se lika långt som jag gör nu.

 

En person drar på en caddie, en annan stannar upp med sin rollator och fortsätter sedan ut ur mitt synfält.

 

Mänskor går i olika takt.