EXPLORATION OF AN ISLAND
THE SUBJECTIVISATION OF MATERIAL TOPOGRAPHY, MAY 1999
Take a number of observant individuals. Furnish them with note taking devices as a minimum, but hardy clothing, packed lunch, a watch and a camera are also recommended. Go to an island, not known for the participants, not big enough to get entirely lost on, but not small enough to easily get an overview of. Disperse already on the bridge at your arrival, after having decided on regathering a few hours later, perhaps four or five. Spread out in all directions, observe and interpret. Draw a map. Rewrite the notes afterwards.
To initiate the interpretative iagination you might very well take a point of departure in a beforehand prepared list of aspects or interpretative methods.
The experience and the results will be able to surprise and interest you.
The 23/5 1999 the surrealist group in Stockholm thus went to Mörtö (“roach island“) in the archipelago of Stockholm, (59°10N, 18°35V), next to Nämdö in the southern part of Värmdö district.
The list of aspects to choose from was long.
The POETIC was to be superordinated. Then we should also take a few of the following: AMOROUS (how does the island impersonate love); UTOPIAN (how does the island impersonate utopia), MUSICAL (how does the island speak musically, or what music does the island correspond to); SIDERAL (what constellation of stars, or astronomical entity, does the island correspond to); COSMOLOGICAL (how does the island impersonate the world order); COSMOGONICAL (what does the island reveal about the origin of the world); PATHOLOGICAL (what disease is represented, or reigns); ANATOMICAL (how does the island correspond to the body, what body parts, what kind of body); GEOMORPHOLOGICAL (how do we believe the islands landforms – mountains,valleys, coastlines, soil cover etc – have originated); EXPRESSIONIST (how does the island reflect our emotions and state of mind); SADIST (how does the island work as a torture device); PARANOIC-CRITICAL (what messages, patterns and images can be literally read from the island); PSYCHOANALYTICAL (what conflicts or complexes or mechanisms does the island correspond to); SUICIDAL (how does the island encourage to suicide, and by what mode of procedure); ANIMIST (how does the island live a life of its own); DECONSTRUCTIVIST (how does the island undermine its ownstatement); REGARDING HUNGER (how does the island corrrespond to ones own hunger, or for what does the island itself hunger); THE UNKNOWN (how does the island mpersonate the unknown, or what remains unknown).
If we had wanted more comparable results we might have had a much shorter list of aspects, perhaps only one at a time.
Some participants chose to stick to a few of these aspects, others used them in a more free way and took them in when needed.
One of the participants (JE) hasn´t been able to account for his observations.
(Sketchy summary of individual observations, for this translation:)
Riyota Kasamatsu found several signs of inflicted wounds or even operation, as well as several references to sex; he interpreted the central content of the island as a sex change. He also dwelled upon ponds with reddish water, a wood clearing that he interpreted as the place of homosocial friendship and castration anxiety, and a central walk that he called the walk of the unconscious.
Bruno Jacobs interpreted the island, through some images carved into beach rocks (partly souvenirs of love meetings), as the meeting place of high heaven and low heaven, love as principle and love in the concrete.
Johannes Bergmark noticed many sounds, animals and stumps of trees, and interpreted the island as the unity and struggle between life and death.
Mattias Forshage recorded too many species of dung beetles, molluscs, birds and limestone loving plants to produce a coherent interpretation other than through a verbal delirium with the species names.
Maja Lundgren witnessed how the people of the island behaved, and interpreted a few scenes especially musically, politically and psychoanalytically, but did not try to put these aspects together.
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