KRISTIAN SKYLSTAD

AFTER DARKNESS LIGHT

Enter. Space.

«I don’t understand any of this shit. Now, Steven Spielberg that’s a real artist.» The South African guy says this with pure conviction, and the tension that has been piercing my fragile shoulders like claws all night finally finds release. Is it within me or is it a reaction to the situation, or to the work? Do I even care where the notion stems from? Rewind. I lie in bed after a very short flight, but the fatigue I feel is reminiscent to a trip to Indonesia or Peru. I could have been asked to write about the statues on Easter Island. It would have felt more familiar. I step inside, it’s packed, my heart break, race and paces like the heart of a lab rat. I’m not even here. I look at a painting. Then the lights go off. I can’t look at it anymore, though I continue to. The canvas in shadow gives me rest. It’s like a palm tree on the beach on a humid, helpless day. It’s fucking hot in here. Jesus. Familiar face. Hi! No. Didn’t recognize me, or ignored me, or both. What am I talking about? I didn’t even try. I shy away. I ignored, in panic. Panic attack ignorance. OK. My problem isn’t that I don’t understand. The problem is I understand too well, how it feels, the buzz, the feeling of being invincible, winning over the world by producing an object that perfectly describes more than one thousand eight hundred days of, struggle, or maybe stagnation, maybe grandstanding current of total and constant inspiration for some. There is a lot of confidence in this room. It’s easy to spot when you’re overwhelmed by an inferiority. Maybe this is normality? What’s growing inside of me. The lights go on. Weird paintings on the other side of the room. I escape the light. Normality must be insane if this is that. WHEN NOBODY CAME. Sad faces. The only sad faces in the room. On another canvas. Dark again. Am I standing inside a time warp? Is this assemblage, this collective effort, this summary, is it a whirlpool? It’s a moving box inside a whirlpool. It’s day and night. Constant day and night. I suffer from a severe form of insomnia. For the last seventeen years I’ve not known once how much sleep I’ll get in a single night. If I’ll even manage to drift off at all. I always wake up from nightmares, or even more uncanny dreams that are so eerie or grotesque that they can’t even be defined as a phantasm. Waking up every day with the words; “what the fuck?” This is a great venue for one of those visions. A daymare. I drift into the other room. A three channel video. Jungle. Man collapsing. Time described as it is; slow. Matter revealed. Light as matter. Love it. Give that man a cinema. A silent room would do. I need to sit down. Nowhere to sit. I almost sit down on a sculpture which is also a painting, gazing and pondering on a sculpture which is also a video. In life just like dreams things are seldom what they seem. “The people” are in the way. I’m in the way. Voices all over the place. Cacophony. Openings should be banned. They destroy the experience. Out for a cigarette. I stride back and forth, pacing, pretending to be calm. I am calm. Can I find calm in there? Something hidden? A little secret would be nice. Someone hiding. Someone not impressing, not wanting to be exposed, not wanting recognition. Ending up inside for the seventh time, swimming in human beings, waves and waves of happy and proud faces. There is a heavy, leaden feeling in my chest, rather as when someone I love dearly has died; but no one has except, perhaps, me. I wonder if it’s possible to become allergic to the world itself. 

They used to chase faggots when they got their license, in the district my family moved to in my adolescence. They called it; The Homo Hunt. Once they used me as a bait. I would stand there in the cold for a long time waiting for a car to approach me. They chased the poor fag from the woods until the city center. In cars. The faggot just wanted a blow job by a youngster with a fresh mustache. Probably a family man he was. They left me there. I stopped picking up the phone after that. I found new friends and never got my drivers license.

Red car. Extremely red car. So red indeed. And old. With a thing on the roof. Square thing. Thing has a history. Can’t remember history. Mafia related? Japanese fetishism? Special interests for sure. Art is supposed to be special. I don’t know if that’s true. At least it’s a method. If not valid at least an attempt. A gusto. Dependent on context. Not deep. Not vain. Art car. Car as art. Readymade. Daydream. Drama eyed. The story behind the story behind the object. Red.

We had a duo show. Me in the front room and him in the back. He got nervous because everyone was responding so well to my piece but unable to respond to his. Mine was immediate while his was profound and deep. He covered his work in brown foam that day, the day before the opening. He covered shit with shit he said.

Blue painting. Or sculpture? Wall sculpture. Or 3D painting. Three dimensional wall painting sculpture. Unavoidable. Abstract. Made of foam. Annoying. Induces ideas of violence. Rip off. Real rip off. Honest. But then again.. Dominant. Masculine. Determined. An idea. Another artist idea. Not stolen. Borrowed. Identity at play. Blue and red. Easy piecy. Purely pathetic. An attempt. The egg and the hen. Blue indeed. Blue egg.

«Life is very long.» (The wise man said.)

I could wake up from weeks in his studio. Not transcended, not new at all, but I tried again and again to learn the secret; that painting was the only way to enter the abyss with a hopeless smile in on your face in this brave new world. I never accepted it. But I stayed until I left.

180 degree shift. Modernist abstraction. Painting as sculpture. Sculpture as painting. Cool to be a nerd these days. Obvious compositions. Complexity bites itself in the tail. The need to be heeded. We know why. Easy. Easy to deal with. Art as art. Impossible to ridicule. Easy to defend. Rock solid and fragile as hell. All components neatly organized. Professional art. Oblivious to the situation. The real space. Outside the cube. Safe colors. Pastel. Everything safe. Compositions, clichés, feng shui. The whole caboodle and yet again nothing. Good boy. Good luck. Yawn. Executed with gusto. Never ever scream: «Pick me! Pick me!»

Next room. To the left we turn.

Sudden darkness. Sound shift.

We used to hang out on IRC when we weren’t hanging out outside 7-11. It’s a portal to the dark web, where you find guns, child pornography and such. But it used to be “Internet relay chat”. This guy started a channel called #Garden. The only rule in the channel was; stay silent. No one told you so, but you’d realize it soon. The history log of channel would reveal; no speakers were still present with avatars. I guess the gardener had the Pol Pot complex.  I wonder if my avatar is still there. Silent. Forever resting in virtual letter reality, mending the garden in solitude. Maybe my avatar is an admin now. Maybe it’s alone in the garden. Silent. I never deactivated it.

Cimmerian cube. Perpetual darkness. Enormous crops from application. Crop once then crop again. Crop carnival. Pixel picnic. Fascination fiesta. The phone as a study. The phone as a studio. Phony world. Post production in post world. Post problems. Problems past. Size matters? Here we play. Anything goes. Wall paper. Anything truly goes. You’ll get away with it. But you won’t. Not everything goes and you should know. What doesn’t go? You’re not fucked up enough to know. You don’t wanna know. Sexual undertones? Not really, but OK.. Sound and fury from another world/room disturbs simplicity. Simplicity lost. Wiped out by base and bangs and booms. Boom feast. Echo. Forget the Internet. The spiderweb. Victim machine. Signifying nothing.

Certain voices makes my heart blush. It’s like they’re piercing into me. It happens and I want it to keep on going forever, though it kind of hurts in a numb way. I’ll shy away from these voices. I stuck with one voice though. It lasted many years. The voice made me addicted. Her voice. Yes, a voice can be a like a needle filled with the most glorious death. The voice can be liquid.

Two chairs. Sit down you may. Sonic sensory sensual. Soothing the spine, the imagination. Sound as image. Images inside. Three billion mega pixels. Inside mind. Close your eyes. Breath. Sound as meditation. Inland empire eyes wide shut. The presidium of nightmare. This resonates. Deep. Skin deep. Deep as a well. Someones hell. Ops! A rhyme. Piece made me rhyme. Gave me peace too. Says a lot. Anxiety is my middle name. Eight minutes of love. Genuine love. True time. Thrilling. Middle aged man. Sits down. His eyes meets mine. We share. We stare. We wait. We care. We dwell. I become we. He becomes I. Awkward. This succeeded. This piece. This peace. Peace piece. Leaning forward. Something changes. I escaped. I transcended five percent. Grabs my core. Fills me up. Fuels me. Mind blank. Meditative. Narrative. Essential. Physical. Almost sexual. Builds up, then leaves you. Dripping sound. It stimulates. Tingles. It tingles. Goose bumps. Resonance remedy. Encounter. Genie in a chair.

I always tried to be proper, with sharp elbows, dancing in the rain of my own piss. Warm rain. Then one day I realized that I’m not the center. My story or whatever story I found was just a part of it, and the sensation was profound when I understood that never again would I allow myself to ever compete, but always contribute, and never complain.

Now.. The self proclaimed detective.. Lights, faded paintings in neat frames. Definitely contemporary. No accidents here. In tune with concept. The whole caboodle considered, though strictly its own. As though a moon circling the show. They explained it to me, many times, and I believe I saw it, what they mentioned and explained. When penumbra became phosphorescent..  Or was it the other way around? I asked her many times. She ignored me. So surface it is. The revenge of the Sith.. And surface it was. Orderly. Teasingly. Lightsabers. Heeding for acceptance on the dark side of the orbit. The exception the rule. The artist its own victim. The moon never orbits. Not really. You can always see its face.

When I was four years old I saw a black man being hit in the back of his head by an Italian grandma simply because he picked up a rock from the beach. I asked my mom why. She said; “never mind.” He ran off with a white cotton bag. When I came back to the Riviera last summer there were thousands of him. All with white bags. The grandma must be dead by now.

Holy Selassie! There we are! Finally a fingerprint of bitter sweet reality. Make America Great Again? Leave those kids alone? The goat. The devil? Really? Devil as a goat. Sure, why not. Too many elements. Bottles. Of water. Wind coming through the cracks. This is the cold world. The ladder won’t help you. You’re gonna die thirsty. Welcome to the land of the hollow hen. I admire you. I would give you space. Borderless. Infinite. Fucking. Space. There’s only one way out. Swallow the blue pill. Foam flowing out of our mouths. Welcome to foam world. The secret of NIMH. I would never reject you. Always admire weakness. Mi dispiace. You can go anywhere. There are a million ways out. You’re chosen. Certain things reminds you how shallow you’ve become. Coverless book. Impossible to judge. No need to. Just witness. Complex. I’m shallow. It’s my shield. Neutralized by a corner.

He came into the studio beside mine in the first day of art academy, sat down on his chair. He lit his pipe and opened up a briefcase with loads of cassettes in it. Hockey hair and goatee. I pretended to listen to the music for half an hour. Then I couldn’t anymore. I sympathized, but I  was never able to synchronize with him. I remember his sad eyes, like mine, but more tired. More kind. More searching. Less blind. He spent his days painting He-man heroes and villains.

You’re my savior. At least at this time of day. Google Oscar Askelien. Your kin. And your name. We envy you guys. We do. We don’t know why. We just do. Naiveté. No cartoons here. No caricature. Not even paintings. Jerry Springer on steroids. You’re like a vacation. Oh! Bright again. Now I see you. I had two fathers. My mother was my father. She forgot to mother me. Scandinavian. Did your parents love you? Mine sometimes forget. I. Even. Exist. Continue. Same style. Same content. Stay away from good advice. Someone said genius is the recovery of childhood at will. Naivety ain’t stupidity. Often it’s the best armor, the most effective guard, the sweetest shelter.

To the left. To the left.

Endpoint.

I got a visa to China six years ago. I was going to make the last chapter of my film Violence of Silence in Tibet. But the night before I went I discovered my traveling mate was a pedophile. While he was sleeping in a Bangkok hotel I escaped to Cambodia instead.

Now! Crowded room. What is this? This belongs to everyone. Smog. Family. Disconnected. Discontent. Certain things belongs in heaven. Twenty four minutes of genius. Awestruck. Awesome, fascinating, incredible, marvelous, prodigious, shocking, stunning, surprising, unbelievable and more than anything; wonderful. I smell the fog. Escape the place. Bring your world to me. I feel it. I’ve never been there, but you brought me there. Certain things.. You never forget. I never knew I was a Chinaman. I take your side. I feel you. The dictionary is very old. Truth is here. Twenty four minutes twenty five frames. A second. You got my stamp, my green light, my nod, my dissent. I don’t matter. Alienation. Certain things has power. Certain things makes you powerless. There are no pearled gates here. This is the dead land. The land of the cactus air. We live in boxes. Moving boxes. There’s a gap between us. The time gap. We’ll all have to wear oxygen masks one day, every day, like we’re constantly on the peak of Chomolungma. Everywhere. Devilopment. My next hoodie will be made out of fog.

Movie ends. Again! Again! I scream inside my mind. Marlon Brando lifts me down from the bathtub, sticks his fingers into butter and forces them up my anus.

I used to be a fashion photographer. Well, I never was, but I vainly tried to become one. Anyway.. When we did these pictures, planned for months, eight by ten on Polaroid, lightning hit the studio and destroyed the enormous developing machine and all our flashes. KABOOM! I believe that’s the moment when I stopped trying to be a fashion photographer and started trying becoming an artists. I still try. I never succeed. Guess I never will.

Light so strong suddenly.. The scheme messing with my iris. Gelatin on glass? Silver. Huh? Eight by ten? Eh? Portraits. Portraits really? Mhm! OK. My second mind illuminates. No one places classic photo in cube no more. No elevated cubes for sure. Gorgoroth. He once hung my friend Mr. Vildensky. On a cross. Naked. At a concert. Atramentous alloy, charcoal casting, dingy deposit, ebony foil, inklike hardware, jet ingot, livid leaf, melanoid mail, murky mineral, obsidian ore, pitch plate, shadowy solder. I never grasped this fascination. Please embrace. Local heroes. Fascination. Fascism. Cut it to the core. To not fit in. And nothing else matters? Technical. Technicolor. Everything looks better in black and white. Respect. You came here for a reason you. Please.. Icons? Not really. Art? Not really? My favorite song is eight hundred and fifty five seconds long. Emptiness is grainy and gritty. Out of focus. It has aberrations. This makes no sense. Though I’m stuck. A confrontation. Of what I hate. What you came for. And why I leave. Why I come back again. Hex tenebras lux. Give it a rest. Technique matters. Though only with content. No critique. Slightly impressed. But think again. Do it better. Give it less. Gelatin, silver, glass. Hard work. I can’t connect. I try in vain.

Pace out.

Time to turn right.

Through evaluated pieces. More peaceful now.

Not really.

Grand room

Wow! Platform. Tatara!

I always tried to avoid walking on lines when I was a kid, which I believe is natural for any healthy kid, attempting to practice avoiding cracks.. There used to be a shitload of earthquakes back in the days. Or is it an instinct based on small paths? To avoid snakes? Primal instinct. Seems natural I guess.

Divided square on the floor (later I meditate on the immediate. Asian girl interrupts. What a beautiful pace. I needed this. Tonights nightmare too hard to comprehend. Melatonin. Vivid dreams. This blends into them. Profound experience. Subtle and illusive. Back and forth. Meet and turn. Gaze fixed. Pace fixed with the sound. So hypnotic. I’m stuck in it. Wow. That’s immense. I mean it. Certain things you never forget. Geometry is essence. This is language as pace. Sound as fury… How lost can you get? Fixed gaze I embrace. Steady, walk steady, autism, control. Apple computers fashion parade. A parody of urban dwelling.)

I awoke that night from a dream so horrible that the hissing sound of the jungle was my only escape, the sky my only saviour. Have you ever heard the sound of the jungle? It’s not what you imagine. It’s always talking. I remember looking at the screen on my camera and noticing that the clouds had surrounded two small stars and created a perfect silhouette around them. Inside the silhouette, which in my mind became a mouth, the moon was resting. I called it ‘Father Face’

Three projections. Man collapsing. With jungle hat. Round. Same man. Different angles. In jungle. The guardian. Heroes comes to mind. Purity too. Beyond purity.. I can taste this film, this tripticon. Tripped icon. Can you taste video? Sure. I taste video. This video tastes mezcal. I fucking adore this film. I would tattoo it on my back if I could. If there was still space. If there was a way to tattoo moving images. Enough said. Sometimes words don’t matter. Certain cinema leaves you in the dust. Masterpiece. I don’t need to do (arte) anymore. Place my face into the mud. Profound. Astonishing. Green is the warmest color. I glorify the Latin kinesthesia. To collapse. Witnessed by life with no viewpoint? Isn’t that the dream? It must be. It is. What is this. Video as a wonder tool. The third place. Ever been to eden? Get out of here. Choose the darkest frame. The fall is solitary. Certain hoi polloi grab you by the balls. They don’t agree until you deal with their shit. Their premise. Their evidence. I’ve never seen such an overwhelming physical manifestation of depression.

I turn my head away from horrid bliss.

This guy seriously tried to travel around the world capturing everything he ever saw on DV tapes. And then I mean EVERYTHING.. He had to wake up in the middle of the night every second hour to change the tapes. He even filmed total darkness. He did thousands of them tapes. When I asked him how he would ever present them he just shrugged and said; “as a sculpture I guess. Stacked. Numbered.”

I almost stumble into a sculpture that is a film. Stumble film. Moving wooden sculpture. Frames.. What can I say? Nice. It’s nice. Well done. Fine. Cool. Obviously art. What else? Then I see, I see again, once again, it’s like a train. And I feel time. I want to be hypnotized, but I won’t let myself. Because I’m tired. Tired of cleverness. Tired of. Tired at the age when Christ died. Of what makes sense. Tired of the linear. Tired of myself seeing through what? The goggles of experience. The google of trying to make sense. You tried. To be able to do. Try again. Fail. Fail worse. Which is better. I despise public spaces. Integrated. The whole.

Eyes barely turns.

Once I made these runes with acrylic paint on the oil paintings of a friend while he was out buying cigarettes. I was in a blackout. When he came back he said it was like throwing acid in his face. Once removed their traces created interesting wounds. The whole room smelled of turpentine.

Acrylic paint? Seriously? Plastic as liquid? What are you? Empathy towards the most disgusting? Formalism. Form a lizard. Form a zZZzzzzZZzzzinedinezzzZidane (antidisestablishmentarianism.) But this is as far away from Point Omega you’ll ever get. OK. The lump is.. well.. It’s funny. Are you able? Are you really able? Able to stand. To stand. On your own two feet? So many attempts. But the cancer. The lump. The gnome on the floor. The splashed plastic. The chairs. Flash that shit and you got the present as it is. No tool. The tweaker. The constant matter mania. Idle inanity.

If I would ever be able to truly listen I would understand that all the sorrow which has burdened me for so long was the lack of discipline and sustaining boredom. Then again I couldn’t be without the consequences of my restlessness. Determination is the weakest part of the heart.

One hour. By twenty one. One day. One night. Perfect. Silence is. Your only true friend. No Judas silence. Visit Tibet before it’s too late. Work is work. Not vvork.com. Life is life. Not LIFE magazine. The past is the past. Whatever happened happened. Lines. A circle is a curved line. We live linear. Simplicity is felicity. Patience. Routine.

They kind of forced this kid down on his knees and gathered around him and forced him to masturbate with a limp penis, filming this with an Hi8 camera the main alfa male borrowed from his father. None of the grown ups could see it. The crowd was too dense. He never recovered from this experience. I never saw it. I was on the outside of the circle trying to get a view. But I was a part of it. A witness is an executioner.

Circle. Circle of people. Stumbling. Blindly. Truth. Yeah, it’s true. We all know. Though we never do. Continue. Continue stumbling. Pushing. Slowly. Forcing. Matter. Men as matter. Individuals so vividly vainglorious when bouncing like balls against each other. Trapped in a circle forever in this state of commune.

Down the stairs.

My younger brother used to gather everything. He had this small plastic case, with pockets, where he put all these everythings. Whatever he found. These readymades. He didn’t know why. It was an instinct. I envied him. I hope he still does it. I never asked him.

Two flanks. Small and neat. Sweet. And good. Whatever that means; “Hello, I love your work, it’s really… good.” (Brideshead Revisited.) My only word: Good. Not attention seeking. Autonomous. For the curious. Bad placed. Placement problematic. Intimate work demands intimate spaces and solitude. OK. Small landscapes. I believe these strokes. I believe. In these colors. These shoddy hues. In these items I trust. They derive from real experience. Serious consideration. Not whispering. Nor screaming. Simply being. Easily overlooked. Makes me feel ashamed. Hollow. Not all elements survives the noise. Stupid. Keep moving. Slowly. Everything is loaded. In the shade of the platform. The elephant in the room. Elevated.

I fantasized about bringing all the plaster angels my mother has mounted all over the house and bring it to the corner of a gallery an crush them and call it “Family portrait group hug.” In Silesia all the porcelain factories are closed down now. The industry moved to Asia. One day these factories will be used as culture venues, or maybe just eaten up by the weather, the wildwood and floods gradually.

Porcelain. Table. Impressive. Neat. Cool. Attractive. White cloth. On the floor. These pieces should be on the floor. The risk. The potential of violence. And there I see it; a scar. The broken one the perfect one. Images on the surface gives me the sensation of sea breeze, of rhum, of a growing beard itching, of tanned shoulders…  I can continue like this, but I won’t. Risk destruction. Or fail. I like. I don’t like to like. Everything has a story. Commodity or not. Porcelain is cheap. Porcelain is dear.

This guy was hanging out in my sphere for a while, a bit older than me. I ended up as a character in one of his novels. That made me stop writing fiction before I even started.

End piece. The blind spots. Gauguin. Déjà vu. Figurative? No. Abstract? No. Something in between. Painters logic. Exposing after the highlights.. Forcing us to fill in the gaps with our own imagination. Engaged. I oíche nó in aghaidh an lae. I fís, nó costas ar bith. An bhfuil sé mar sin an níos lú imithe? Gach go fheicimid nó más dealraitheach go bhfuil ach aisling laistigh de aisling. Seasaim i measc an roar de chladach tormented. Agus a shealbhú mé i mo grán lámh an gaineamh órga. Don’t spend too much time around  writers. They might not take you seriously. The myth. The myth(!) young gentlemen. We’re like snakes. We bite or strangle. Why did I come here? What did you want? Through his visions I reinvent visions of those few seconds after the sun has set, when chroma melts, silhouettes of life, soon only the sound of crickets and a gecko or two. My heart’s content. To stare into gaps of darkness blinded by the colors of the sky and its reflection on the rooftops, until the fluorescent is lit, or even better in a part of the planet where they never are. Juárez maybe. Perhaps Ulaanbaatar? Or Kinshasa. Or even Mogadishu.

Phew! Overload. Walk back. Get out.

«Sorry, you missed a room.»

«No! Seriously?»

«Truly sorry. You did.»

«But I need sleep.»

«We all need sleep. To the left after the entrance. After the bookshop. Upstairs too. Performance at 3.»

I’m a slave with a keyboard.

Up the stairs! Performance starts in three minutes!

Wait a minute..

I brought Illuminations and A Season In Hell to Bali ten years ago. I read at night. And drank. On the veranda of my bungalow. The perfect silence. Me and the Gecko and Arthur. I started writing myself one of those dull nights. Everything I ever wrote since then has been lies. To cover up whatever horrible thing I figured out by crying myself out through words those evenings, those nights. The smell of the tropics… Letters are not tears. Sometimes I wish they were. It would have been easier in some way.

And there it is. The little thing hiding. On the side of the staircase. A small book. I almost missed you. Only a fool.. Only a fool would criticize poetry. It’s like condemning the weather. Poetry doesn’t belong in labyrinths. I’ve written five books. I only dared to publicize two. Art school. Where losers become cool. Poetry is empathy. Poetry is to run a risk. Poetry is eureka and stagnation (at the same time.) Poetry is to give. Poetry is a fingerprint. Poetry is neutral and personal (at the same time.) Poetry is to take part in (and step out of) life. Poetry can not judge. Poetry can’t be judged. Poetry is vulnerable and violent (at the same time.) Poetry is soothing. Poetry is scary. Poetry never talks of death. Poetry never dies. Poetry is taken care of. Poetry transcends time. Is this good? Is it not? Who knows? Ask the critics. Everyone lifting the dream. A poor dream.

My brothers forced me to hold this speech at my oldest brothers wedding, and I did, and I was drunk and I said these.. things.. to hundreds of people. And everyone avoided me, except the groom, the rest of the night. His words of pride became words of pity which transformed into words of comfort. It was a fuckup, a cupful, an upchuck. Standing up is. Stand up and fuck up. Sit still and forget. I stopped going to weddings.

I walk up the stairs. Wig? Curly. Woman with weird expression and neat cut standing. Shivering a millimeter. Performance. Act. THE moment. Expectations. Dread. I freeze. «There is too much of this, and we cannot stand it.» A protest. Trembling voice. Unsure or more searching? «I rode in the dark with night-eyes, laughing to myself. But when I found the tree, it was just rubbish like every shitty thing found in ditches. I felt like going home to sleep.» She says this with the utmost calm, precise, with a natural and shameless accent. Confident. She has nothing to offer but herself, her words, our chairs and a panorama view of the tiny mountains with mansions resting on the hill. It reminds me of listening to a priest, which makes this, the museum, a post-modern church. This private narrative doesn’t connect with me, but with language. Language as form. Language as a container. A vessel for content so vague only a voice can give it justice. The unique experience. «Good luck.»

She says. It drained me. Anemic now I stumble through the the last room barely able too reach and feel what’s in front of me. Fuck! Where’s my notes? I lost them. «Excuse me.. Have you seen my notes?» I had them here. Under my armpit.. I better try to remember. The last room. Damn fog. Shameful senseless sensations. Fucking light and fucking darkness. And the shift. Bloody bedlam. Neurology is a hazard.

I used to dance Michael Jackson every Xmas in front of the whole school at the Lucia gathering. Me, my friend Jack and three girls in the back doing boy band moves. I guess it’s the bravest thing I ever did in my life. Some Christian parents stopped the event because we grabbed our crotch too much.

We watch. Or. They do. I pretend to watch. Not your fault. I’m to blame. I came here limp and now I’m on crutches. Dance, dance, dance. Continue dancing. Dancing is life. Three screens. Three screens. But the fatigue.. The fatigue. It seems like this is working out, but somehow this whole room is a satellite, like someone put you here as leftovers and I don’t like it at all. It’s not you I don’t like. It’s the way the space forces you to contend. The whole space is squeezed! Are those walls really moving? So you dance. You like to dance. Certain individuals do. Obsession is a startling starting point.

Every time I walk into a tram or subway in my home city I know that this day too, like all other days, I will make no new friends. Even though I’m surrounded by flesh. We’re not raised to connect here. We’re raised to create space around ourselves. Lebensraum. I’d go anywhere else in the world if I could. Somewhere better than this place. Nowhere better than this place.

We don’t talk to each other because we’re scared. And the funny thing is we’re scared of being scared. Certain actions heeds no white cube. Consider yourself blessed. Calma Maria Magdalena. Carma. Your thing is empathy. Art is not empathy. Empathy is an art. But art never had the crucial sense of empathy. Where were the artists when the world needed their fresh arguments the most? At a vernissage? So was Eva Braun days before she killed herself, while the bombs were burning the population. Fragile items gathered. Details. Whole. I place no judgment.

Everyone knows quality when they see it. And the more people who make items that stinks quality the more quality will turn itself into garbage. So you better make quality out of garbage or turn quality into garbage, because if you don’t, why the hell are you wasting your time?

This is neat.. Pieces of things gathered like notes on a line. Works out fine. Own, private logic. Good on you. Enough said. It’s neat.  You. Found it. Combined it. Neat. Knitted.

….

I leave like this. Torn and knitted again. Affected. Rejecting. Not willing. Immense the feeling. Not confused. Just.. affected. Not hexed. More… twixed. An experience, An oasis of abracadabra in a jungle of mumbo jumbo. I’m glad you forced me into being more than a ghost. I wonder how random people feel. What they guess.

The viewer always had more responsibility than the executioner. All diamonds are covered in mud until someone finds them.

The future belongs to more than one sense.

No more words. Dance, dance, dance…

I carry the dead in my belly

*

Kristian Skylstad (Born 1982 in Oslo) is a Norwegian artist who works mainly with photography, poetry, collage, video and sculpture.

Skylstad’s work often revolves around the behavior and emotions of the individual. He explores human interrelations and the feelings of the individual through staging various forms of boredom, apathy, cynicism and powerlessness. Skylstad’s work is associated with a generation of young Norwegian artists who in the 2000’s emphasized the conceptual and post-media. The recent years, his work has primarily been concerned with the aftermaths of genocide, which has led to extensive studies and photographic projects in Silesia (Poland) and Cambodia.

Skylstad has taken part in the establishment and management of several artist run gallery spaces in Oslo (NoPlace, Dollhouse, TAFKAG and Galuzin Gallery). He has also taught photography and film at Prosjektskolen in Oslo and Oslo Fotokunstskole. He has also at intervals been active as a journalist and critic for kunstkritikk.no and Objektiv.




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