To be Here Now

Dear Emke,

The weather gods are with you today and although cloudy, rain doesn’t fall from the sky. You start the day hanging out at the 1000 steps museum. Due to the weekend day and the clouds you have the museum to yourself and enjoy wandering around looking at the past 5 days.

At 14 o’clock a small group of people gathers in front of the car shop – the starting point of the 1000 steps museum. James makes an introduction. Afterwards you take over. During the introduction the number of cars passing by is intense and the noise pollution measures up to big city scale. You cannot help but think of the ears of the people who might live here in the future. Is this actually the tenderloin of Fredrikstad?

You share with the small group of people that we are going to experience the 1000 steps museum and name the 12 objects that right now are a part of the museums’ collection. Before you start walking, you give some background information on the future transformation of Trosvikstranda and you tell people that what they are going to experience is a tryout. 

In retrospect you regret that you didn’t specify a try-out within the specific working method developed for ‘Being Here for You‘. Furthermore, you wish that you had handed out the written exchange between Naja and you since it has been (a big part of) the process.

You feel a bit uncomfortable – it seems too early to open the doors to the museum since it was just created yesterday at noon. Luckily a child is a part of the small group of people which adds a much needed informal atmosphere to the moment. During the 1000 steps you take impulses from the child to put some physicality into the museum. In the end it becomes an inconsistent attempt, maybe something to do with the physicality and the naming, since you end up missing rituals and signs stating the names of the twelve objects. Next time, you think to yourself. This is a tryout.

You begin at object number one: A building that will disappear. To name it, you ask the people to put their palms on the wall of the car shop and lean in. The object is named and this somehow feels good.

Object two is the longest object in the museum. It is One of the first official street names. Here you stand in the middle of the street and kneel down, touching the asphalt with your feet as if they were your hands. The object is named.

Object three is the most sculptural in the museum. It is Software Company elected company of the year 1994. Inspired by the child who is climbing through the holes in the sculpture, you ask the grown-ups to use the negative space to touch the sculpture and thereby the object gets its name.

Object four is the tallest object in the museum. It is the empty white building which is Home of mould. You ask people to use their noses to smell if the mould is to be detected from the outside. Where you stand, you don’t smell anything – not anything noticeable anyway – but the object is named.

Object five is One of 295 parking spaces. You ask people to gather in the rectangular marking. The physical gesture you have planned for naming the object, you for some reason have forgotten. Afterwards you decide, if you are doing something like this again, you want people to walk in a row along the sides of the square. To mark the space. Despite your forgetfulness the object is named.

Object six is the most organic of the objects. It is Shortcut for someone to go somewhere. The child intuitively takes the shortcut between the low bushes and you ask the grown-ups to follow him. The object is named.

Object seven is Dinner table for doves (possibility to dance with birds). Luckily two doves and one gray collar are using the dinner table as you and the group arrive. You invite the people to dance with the birds and not surprisingly the dance ends with the birds taking off. Ethically you feel a bit bad. This dance felt more like an assault than a choreography, but the object is named.

Object eight is invisible. It is The river Evja (running under your feet). You ask people to feel the water running under their feet. The object is named.

Object nine is the most trashy object in the museum. A broken terrace and garbage from yesterdays’ party. At this object you feel grateful for the gray weather since the sun loving crowd is absent today at Hang out for people who like sun with others (occasionally a place to meet the police). The child studies the old bottles lying around, which makes you and the rest of the group eager to move on. Maybe the contrast is enough to give the object its name.

Object ten is the most turquoise object Somewhere to write your inner hopes and fears in invisible ink. It is the wall with the visible tag fear and the invisible word not written on its surface. The father takes the initiative and asks his son if he wants to draw something in invisible ink and suddenly the group goes to the wall and starts to write with invisible ink. The object is named.

Object eleven is Remnants of the past. To get there, you and the group have to walk around (human?) poop but somehow this feels in sync with this object. The “stones” at the river side are lying as if nothing has happened since your last visit (which probably is true) and while the past peeks out of the brown matter, we touch the “seaweed” and the object is named.

Object twelve is the most liquid The movement and passing of Glomma and time. Sitting at the quay with our feet at the blue and green colored raft, we feel the water beneath the soles of our feet. We are almost at the end of the 1000 steps and the object is named.

Before the circle is closed, you play sounds from the future demolishing of buildings. The volume of the speaker is quite loud and you somehow feel the presence of the (maybe not so) imaginary future. 

In silence you and the group leave the gravel site and walk back to where you started at the car shop. The try-out of the 1000 steps museum is over. People hang out a bit before leaving and you return to your atelier with a lot of thoughts, which you take as a good sign. You are happy with the 1000 steps museum-test.

What the future will bring to Trosvikstranda – of museum guests and change – nobody knows.

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