Jan Svenungsson


December 11, 2021 – "New York"

Thanks to an exhibition in Moscow (see below) my work has now appeared in the New York Times for the first time (as far as I know). That's pretty cool. The article is interesting as well. As I prepared the image, I noted that my two maps appear under the heading "Best of 2021", which doesn't lessen the impact.

To me it is especially moving to be mentioned together with Christian Boltanski, who has been in my thoughts many times this year. He died a short time after Diversity United had opened in Berlin, which brought back a memory of visiting him in his Paris studio in 1988. I was a big fan and at IHEAP I had become friends with Absalon, who made the introduction after he had discovered my interest. I took the metro to Malakoff with my heart pounding. But Boltanski couldn't have been friendlier and he gave me his full attention. Yet, after precisely one hour he made it clear he now had to continue with his work. I left, deeply impressed in more than one way.

I also thought about Boltanski in September this year, when Katrin and I visited Musee Reattu in Arles. I had a show there once, it was part of the photo festival in 1989. The same night as my opening, Boltanski had an opening in another space. I can't remember how it happened, but he invited me and my friend Paulina (who I said was my "assistant" during that trip) to his dinner at a restaurant. During that evening again he gave us his full attention and told many stories. If they were all true I don't know. They were compelling and moving and I still have a vivid memory of one.

The last time I met him was at Brasserie Lipp on 28.3.2014. Cahiers d'Art had been published with my photos and text on Absalon, and there was a small party. Both Christian and Annette Messager came, and I spoke to them briefly. At least I remember I spoke to Annette. Memory flickers.

November 25, 2021 – "Mockba"

Four days ago, Monday, November 22, the exhibition Diversity United did indeed open in Moscow, at the New Tretyakov Gallery. I had been invited to go there, but decided one month ago that I would not, due to the present situation and the risk of getting stuck. Today I received a picture and lots of Russian press and I am pretty impressed by the organizers tenacity. Let's say it was not completely obvious that you would be able to put on a huge – and diverse – exhibition with many political works, in Moscow at this moment, during a raging pandemic. Kudos!

November 16, 2021 – "Large Edition"

My (Swedish) passport was going to run out in a few months, so I went to the embassy in Berlin and ordered a new. That was on a Monday, two weeks ago. On the Thursday – the same week! – I had an email from the Swedish Police (who handles passports) informing me that my new passport was ready to be picked up at the embassy. I couldn't believe it. In Germany you get used to this kind of thing being a long hassle. In this case the Swedish secret is total digitalisation: at the embassy's consulate, there is a special electronic booth which takes the photo, collects your signature and stores your fingerprints. Apparently this information is then sent to another robot in Sweden which produces the paper document, which is then sent with the Embassy courier(?) to Berlin. When I picked up my document the first thing I did was looking up page 19 (dedicated to stamps) to see if they had changed the design. They had not! For another five years I will be carrying in my pocket the official Swedish image of my sculpture The Fifth Chimney, located in Motala Ström, the river which runs through Norrköping.

October 24, 2021 – "Treasure"
Niels Borch Jensen
A book arrived yesterday and I have already read it. It's called "No Plan At All" and is written by Niels Borch Jensen and Susan Tallman. It's the story about Niels' adventures as a printmaker since the early 70s until today. It's about the development of his workshop in Copenhagen and about his wonderful colleagues there (especially Mette and Julie) and about many of the artists who have come there to work. I am very proud to be mentioned and to have two works illustrated – because this is the best book about printmaking I have ever seen. When I wrote my own book (published 2019), my ambition was to find out and argue why it makes sense to continue making prints, in the present situation, so heavily dominated by digital means. This book does the job superbly, and at the same time –for those who like me don't need convincing – it is a treasure trove of information and knowledge. Plus: it's very funny. Niels was always an amazing storyteller, but until I picked up his book I was convinced he hates writing (based on the minimalism of his very sparse emails). I was wrong: he has been able to be just as sharp and witty on the page, as he is in real life. In Susan Tallman he has found the best co-writer possible. He tells his story chronologically, which she intersperses with informative asides from other perspectives. She also portrays a number of the artists in more depth, based on recent interviews. It's a perfect mix. I can't recommend it enough.

October 20, 2021 – "Towers Torn"
I' have added photos of eighth "photo-objects" made in 1990-91: Torn 1, Torn 2, Torn 3, Torn 4, Torn 5, Torn 6, Torn 7 and Torn 8. Each one is a b/w photo of "the" chimney (the one I always photographed), in my handmade frame which follows the contour of the construction, as it appears in the photo. I did a lot of these works between 1988 and 1992, but these eighth pieces are special, because they are very large. Taller than I am, taller than any one person who is likely to ever stand before them (between 240,5 cm and 266 cm tall). I remember how physical it was to handle them, and now, when I prepared the pages for them, I looked up how many times they had been exhibited. It was more than I remember. All eighth were shown both in Helsinki and Reykjavik. Some of them in New York... and in Vienna, Gothenburg, Umeå, Malmö as well as in Stockholm, of course.

I'm happy I found the echtachromes the other day. I thought they had been lost. They were made with the 4x5" Linhof Technika Kardan camera I bought in New York in 1992 (the dollar was very low, and I financed it by making another tall chimney piece for a friendly collector. I first got the money, bought the camera, then made the piece). Soon after buying the Linhof, I lost interest in making more photo-objects... i.e. b/w photos with special frames. I started building chimneys in real life, and used my new camera for sharp and precise documentation in color. It was another love affair starting. Which went on until some day in the early 2000s... when the digital revolution finally overpowered me. Today I use a high-end Nikon DSLR, but it's completely different. And another story.

About the title: usually I would use the word "chimney" in different combinations, for works which were based on photos of that one chimney in Stockholm. Here I made a little variation: "Torn" is Swedish for "Tower". It's a bonus that it has a completely different meaning in English.

October 3, 2021 – "Music writings"
I'm in the middle of two Vienna weeks. I went here the morning after the Marathon. Rather stiff, as can be imagined. For this reason only, I flew. Otherwise I go by train now, which takes about 8 hours. The comparison was instructive: I felt it (the flying and airport experience) was so annoying and such a waste of time. I will not fly again, if it can be avoided.

The new semester didn't begin until Friday. I had already met some students, and many colleagues, some of whom I had not seen "live" since the beginning of the pandemic. Now we are all vaccinated and a very high percentage of the students are vaccinated as well, I learned (well over 80 %, I don't remember exactly). Only the Medical University has a higher rate than we have. I think this is very heartening: it means we all want to get on with our work, instead of promoting nonsense and evading responsibility.

Having said that, what I actually wanted to promote... is that I have posted English translations of my two texts on Japanese music, which were published in Swedish at the beginning of August. The translations are only published here (sofar): Shonen Knife – Spider... and BABYMETAL – Ijime, Dame, Zettai.

September 26, 2021 – "3:57:25"
Today some 25.000 people were able to run the Berlin Marathon again, and I was one of them. I finished in three hours, fifty-seven minutes and twenty-five seconds. I'm very happy that I managed to go below four hours. This is no longer a given. Still, my time was two minutes and forty-four seconds slower than my very first Berlin Marathon. But that was in 2001. Twenty years ago.

September 20, 2021 – "Moscow"
News arrive that Vladimir Putin's party "United Russia" to absolutely nobody's surprise... has won yesterday's elections in Russia. Funny name. Recently, I received the information that the exhibition I have mentioned here before, which also has "United" in its name, not only has an extended run in Berlin (until 10.10, due to popular demand), but will now actually travel to Moscow after that, as originally planned. Opening at the Tretyakov Gallery Museum on November 22. Last year Covid-19 blocked the Russian stop. This year we thought politics would do it. Apparently not. I am curious.

September 13, 2021 – "Cheval"
Facteur Cheval
Sometimes things just fall into place by themselves. On the autoroute between Saint-Péray and Ampuis there were some large signs on the roadside, promoting castles and sights and Facteur Cheval's Palais Ideal. I had no idea his Palace was located in this part of France, the Drôme. But now I was excited. After Ampuis we ventured south-east through undulating country roads until we reached Hauterives in the middle of a beautiful nowhere. First I thought we were the only visitors. This turned out to be very wrong when we reached the Palace parking place. Yet, somehow, the Postman Cheval's unbelievable creation, now a French Cultural Monument, was able to accomodate the crowds without being reduced to an oddity. It is too strange for that. The photo above – and all the photos I had seen before – does not do it justice. If you can: go there once. And read Ferdinand Cheval's story, for example here. It is unique. One can quote the following inscription (here in translation) on a Palace wall:

1879-1912 10000 days, 93000 hours, 33 years of struggle. Let those who think they can do better try.

September 11, 2021 – "Chauvet"
Grotte Chauvet 2
Nine eleven today, but Katrin and I had another perspective. On the road in the wild Ardeche region of France we stared at the opening of the Chauvet cave, without seeing it. Hidden behind the trees and plants, and protected. As it should be. Half an hour later we entered the vast Chauvet 2 site, opened in 2015, which contains a 1:1 replica of a large part of the cave. Tickets ordered in advance, with time slots, preparation exhibitions, cafeterias and giftshops seen. You have mixed feelings and expectations. Yet this works. It really works. Everyone with an interest in art should go here once, and give it time, read a couple of books and reflect on what it is you see. And what it means. I am deeply moved.

September 03, 2021 – "Strum"
There is this tension between being inside of yourself looking out, or being outside and taking care of the way you look. I simply can't understand people who spend their days posting stuff; pictures, statements, answers; with hardly any time to reflect on what this activity actually means... and what it does to their lives. To everybody's lives, sadly.

When I woke up this morning I had the impulse I could post something myself. Here, for the first time in a month. I was thinking I could write about ABBA, and the news that they not only have an album with new music coming, but will make avatar live shows in London in spring. It is a peculiar idea. I then heard the two songs which debuted yesterday, and I realized they might actually get away with it. It's forty years since their last album. It's a long time and a short time, depending on your perspective.

I then continued the thread and realized it is also forty years since my band "Svart" released its album "Gryning" (Dawn). We will surely not return as avatars, and there will be no new music. I actually did spend a lot of time in the 00s reconstructing and re-recording 11 of our songs (mainly by computer). It was great fun and I learnt a lot. But the project just ate all my time, it was endless. It had to be stopped. Four songs were completely finished and mixed by a professional, but they have not been released, although the 1981 album is available on Spotify. Which is a strange feeling.

Sometime later during the day, I realized that this evening there would be a live stream with Say Sue Me playing live at a club in Busan. I just saw it. I don't know any other band who are able to be as shy and yet produce such luminous music. I so much wish to see them live again, and I wish for them, that they will break-through to much larger audiences. The last 18 months have been hell for musicians.
Say Sue Me

August 07, 2021 – "Ijime, Dame, Zettai"
One and a half year after I first wrote them (they were amended at the beginning of this year), my two texts on Japanese music were finally been published yesterday (in Swedish, sorry). Go here for "Ijime, Dame, Zettai" – and here for "Spider". Each text is about the performance of one particular song. First by BABYMETAL in 2014, second by Shonen Knife in 1982. I have a history with Shonen Knife which goes back 28 years and the first time I wrote something on them was in 1995. I discovered BABYMETAL three years ago.

Originally, there was going to be a book on Japanese culture from the last 30-40 years, published by BCNVT in time for the 2020 Olympic Games. When these were postponed, the book was moved to the web, where it has now been unfolding over the Olympic weeks. To finally see my own texts I had to wait very long. Unashamed, I would like to state that I think these two texts have been worth the wait.

August 06, 2021 – "Stream Link"
There's been a summer break here. The actual address for the stream, mentioned below, is here. Sorry it took so long. I'm no master of social media.

June 11, 2021 – "Stream"
Diversity United
The big exhibition did indeed open. There was even a dinner, outside. Like in the good old days, before Covid. It is the first time I share a floor with some very big establishment names (Richter, Baselitz, Kiefer, Hatoum, Gormley... all within 20 meters), which is a funny feeling. As a matter of fact, the very first space you enter is shared between my Psycho-Mappings and Lucy + Jorge Orta's Antarctica installation. I photographed it today, but do not have the time to finish the documentation now. On Sunday June 13, at 2 pm, there will be an artist's talk in the exhibition, between myself and Kay Heymer, in front of the maps. It will be streamed on instagram as well, I think here: #DiversityUnitedArt

June 2, 2021 – "United"
Diversity United
We are counting the days... on Tuesday next week, June 8, should finally open in the halls of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, the big exhibition which I have already mentioned a number of times. I still haven't been there and seen the installation (which was finalized at the end of April), but in this Youtube trailer I got a glimpse of my 20 m wall with all three Psycho-Mapping Europe installed one above the other. The tents in front belong to another artist.

So many cultural events during these last 15 months have become free floating, unreal, unmoored – while at the same time the physical reality of pain and disease has crept up on people in a way we in the West are not used to. Now summer is at the door and maybe things are looking better and hopefully this long postponed project is finally going to become visibly real. I am looking forward of entering that space, and then to iterations in Moscow and Paris as well. May reality be with us.

May 8, 2021 – "Fever"
Yesterday, at 4:40 pm, I had my first shot of Covid vaccin. At a doctor's office in Berlin. When it was my turn, I just felt so excited. Now... finally! Katrin had her shot a couple of weeks ago, and many of my colleagues in Vienna already in March. But I had managed to miss out on these offers, for various reasons. Until now. The doctor was very friendly and we had a short chat. The vaccin offered was AstraZeneca and I declared what I think of people who are offered the same, and refuse it. Idiots! He seemed pleased. The actual moment the syringe pierced my skin I didn't even notice. Was this all? Yes, for now. I will be back in July.

I went home and waited for some reaction in my body. Nothing in the evening. Next morning also nothing. Strange, I never wanted to have a fever or something before. Yet this time, it would be a confirmation that... it works. I tried to make myself feel sick. Then in mid-afternoon I felt a little bit of pain when I touched the band-aid, and the familiar vague stickiness of mild fever around my back and stomach. Yes! It wasn't water. I'm OK because not OK, right now.

May 3, 2021 – "Velvet"
As soon as I had finished Hamann's monumental work I continued with a slim volume which was published in Swedish this year by journalist Anna-Lena Laurén, who lives in St Petersburg and covers Russia for the daily Dagens Nyheter. I always read her reporting but this was the first time I read one of her books. "Sammetsdiktaturen" (The Velvet Dictatorship). It's about daily life in Russia and how people cope and adapt to an authoritarian system which aims to systematically eradicate any independent distinction between "true" and "false". The two works compliment each other perfectly. I'm sad to say.

May 2, 2021 – "About now"
Upon finishing the final volume of Knausgård's "My Struggle" I ordered Brigitte Hamann's book "Hitlers Wien – Lehrjahre eines Diktators". During his captivating and very long essay (a major part of the 1100 page volume) which begins with analysing language used in poetry and continues into a study of Hitler's humanity, Knausgård repeteadly refers to Hamann's 1996 book on the future dictator's first 24 years. Now I finished reading it as well, and I am amazed. The young Hitler is the central figure of this work, but the real interest lies in how Hamann presents the context of his early life. She has spared absolutely no effort in researching all the political figures, cranks and demagogues who were active at the time and whose various programs were appropriated and turned into an efficient system for Machtübernahme (takeover of power) by a person who had no qualms about making himself into a monster, but who may not have been born that way. All his awful ideas were already promoted by figures in turn of the century Vienna. I had had no idea , just how deeply antisemitism was established and how openly it was promoted. It's just one example. Hitler's future program was going to be original in its instrumental efficiency, but it was all based on existing thought. Understanding this and thinking about the rise of instrumental populism that what we see today: in Europe, in America, in Russia... I feel more worried than before. Instrumental cynicism competently applied can destroy worlds.

April 24, 2021 – "Postponed"
First I thought I'd call this post "Diversity postponed", but that seems to have more meaning than intended. I'd call "Postponed" a candidate for Word of the Year. What I want to mention is that the exhibition I spoke of in the post before this one, has now seen it's opening delayed until June, because of... guess what! I can live with this, but I feel so sad for all the people who work so incredibly hard to make things happen as intended, only to constantly be thwarted by the unpredictability of the changing health regulations – which I do accept. Not to mention the hospitality sector. A few days before the first lockdown in Berlin, March 13 one year ago, Katrin and I had a fantastic meal at one of Berlin's finest, and smallest, and probably most expensive restaurants: "Ernst". My birthday present to her, reserved months in advance. Ernst's capacity is – was – 12 guests, and there where perhaps 6-7 staff. It was a wonderful experience. I often wondered, in the days that followed, what happened to the superbly professional young people working there. Two were Japanese, one of them gave Katrin tips for her upcoming trip (which was soon canceled). Since then I have had a sit-down meal in a restaurant exactly once, in June 2020.

April 18, 2021 – "Diversity"
Diversity United
In the gigantic Tempelhof former airport building in Berlin, my three Psycho-Mapping Europe (print) series, from 1998, 2010 and 2020 – which I have uploaded today! – have now been installed for the exhibtion "Diversity United", one above the other, on a 25 m wall. I have seen a small photo on my phone. I'm in Vienna right now, but I will be back in Berlin in time for my quarantine so that I can attend what I... hope... will be the opening on May 3.

We all hope. The exhibition is an enormous undertaking and it has already been postponed once. It should have begun its three city tour in Moscow, at the Tretyakov Gallery Museum in November. The postponement was announced only one month before. Now it should open in Berlin (the German president is supposed to speak) ... and then continue to Moscow and finally land in Paris. I don't know in what space, but earlier I heard that the organizers were interested in Grand Palais.

If you look at the list of artists you can probably understand that there is more than one reason why my participation in this project has a mirage-like quality. But then, I HAVE seen the photo of the finished installation of sixty framed works of mine next to a project I believe is by Lucy and Jorge Orta.

April 16, 2021 – "People"
One reason why I am writing less here than I did before, is that on October 24 last year I started writing a diary, having decided I would have to write a post for each day – for one year exactly. It's the second time I start a diary, the first I began at the end of the seventies and the writing continued until sometime in 1987 (I think it was). I then decided to stop – and felt so delivered, so free. My impulse to break with this freedom now, came from reading an interview with Martin Hägglund (of "This Life" fame) , where he mentioned his diary writing and how important it was for him. As a tool. And I thought I want to try it too.

At first it was rather stiff, but lately I have felt more easygoing. The big question with all diary writing (as a contrast to writing on the internet) is, of course, whether you imagine another reader than yourself. Who are you writing for? An older you? Or somebody coming after your passing: family or... (imagined) researchers. I think I am beginning to loose up now, thinking less about those people.

March 27, 2021 – "60"
When this year began I decided that now I would have to get through the sixth and final volume of Karl- Ove Knausgård's "My Struggle". I received all six volumes (in Swedish) as a gift from Katrin at Christmas 2014 (I believe it was). I had become interested in Knausgård some time before and wrote about him here (while in Bergen to give a lecture on writing, very fitting). I read the first one soon after, and then with irregular intervals I continued. But got stuck somewhere in the first two or three hundred pages of the final one – which has 1100 pages. This was some years ago. Now I started from the beginning again, and yes, it has sometimes felt like my struggle to get through this sea of pages, but now I'm very close to port. Only sixty pages left – now I feel sorry that it will soon be over.

March 6, 2021 – "Four"
Shonen Knife
I'm in Vienna over the weekend. Quick travel between neighbouring countries is no longer smooth, becaue of you-know-what, so when I'm here I stay longer. This Saturday morning I attended a concert, at 8:30. Shonen Knife live streaming from Osaka, in a club, in front of a small audience. I hope the world wide online audience was much bigger. They so deserve it and the event had been well promoted. It's the first time I paid to watch a streamed concert. It somehow worked. I felt happy to "be there", but not as happy as I would have been if I had been there. They played as a four piece, with former bassist Ritsuko returning on guitar, she had left some years ago to have a baby. I wish she would stay now. After 40 years (at the end of this year) as a three piece I think this expanded format worked brilliantly. Ritsuko is such a rocker.

I am waiting for the publication of two ambitious texts I have written, each about a song by a Japanese artist from the last 40 years. I wrote them over a year ago for an anthology (in Sweden) which was going to be published to the opening of the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. When that was postponed the book was as well, and now it is being planned as a web project instead, which will begin to roll out at bcnvt.se sometime in late spring. The delay has given me the opportunity to continue working on the texts. They are very dear to me now and I am impatient to see them go live. The songs I have chosen to write about are "Spider" as performed live by Shonen Knife in Osaka on April 17, 1982 – and "Ijime, Dame, Zettai" performed by BABYMETAL at Sonisphere, Knebworth Park in the UK, on July 5, 2014.

February 28, 2021 – "Goose"
Yesterday, I saw the new documentary about Billie Eilish: "The World's a Little Blurry". It's great to watch, and free from hysteric over-editing. What is truly astounding is the access the filmmakers had to be fly-on-the wall in the home of a real family (of still modest means), not an interior designer's coulisse – from before the total circus has begun. The camera seems to be there at all times, not hidden, but also not a bother. You see the two siblings working on songs which would be at the top all over the world a few months later – in a cramped bedroom. It's very special. Then at the end of the long film, over two hours, the end credits take 3 minutes and 10 seconds to unfurl. Why? How?

In my sleep afterwards, I dreamt I was hanging out with Billie in some uncomplicated way. Only, I was very keen to show her a particular music video which I thought she would like – and it refused to open. It was very annoying. I had my chance – and I blew it.

When finally I woke, there was no problem to open it. The title is "The Goose And The Common" and it was made by the young artist Shadeb Shayegan for her diploma project las summer in Vienna. Shadeb had become interested in a 300 year old English protest song, then came across a local band (Heaven Sent Cat) who had made an indie version of this song. She asked them if they'd mind if she'd make a video for their song. They did not – and now it is an "official video". No wonder: everything is perfect here. The song – the story – the video. I know Billie would understand. Such a disappointment I couldn't get it across.

February 3, 2021 – "Kyoto"
Teruo Ishihara Teruo Ishihara
I have a dear friend in Kyoto. His name is Teruo Ishihara and we met by chance in Paris on June 12, 1982, while Teruo and his wife Junko (it was their honeymoon) came to see Juliet Man Ray in the studio at Rue Ferou. I was there. I had already known Juliet for four years by then, and would visit her in Paris regularly. That this came to be is a story I have told many times, including in the texts which Teruo has now translated to Japanese, and which appear in these two books, the first of which he published in November last year and the second two weeks ago.

I have long been aware that reading Man Ray's autobiography at a young age, then becoming friends with Juliet (and with Roland Penrose, who introduced me to her) were absolutely decisive factors in making me become who I am. For Teruo (who is nine years older than I am) it was both similar and different. He too became transfixed by Man Ray, already in 1970, and has since come to dedicate his life to this passion, primarily as a collector and as a creator of the most utterly beautiful books. There are more than twenty now, all made in small editions and sold and distributed to a circle of bibliophiles and Manrayophiles who know their worth.

After our first meeting in 1982 it took until 1998 until we had contact again. That year I made a small exhibition called My Man Rays, in an art centre outside Stockholm. The exhibition was announced on the internet, and at home in Kyoto Teruo found the announcement and immediately contacted the art centre in order to get the catalogue for his collection. It felt like magic. Since then we have been in contact again and we have met once, one evening in Kyoto in September 2014 (I was there for only two days, with students. I so much want to return). Now Teruo has created these two books on which we collaborated. I am proud and profoundly touched. Teruo is not an artist himself. Nevertheless, he has let his life be guided by his dedication to what one artist did with his life.

In Japanese, you can read Teruos's own story about the books here.

February 2, 2021 – "Survival"
Putin's Palace, Alexei Navalny
Two days ago I watched the youtube film about a ridiculous palace allegedly built for the pleasure of the Russian president. It's called "Putin's Palace" and everyone reading this will already have heard about it, and about the incredible bravery of it's (main) creator Alexei Navalny, his team – and the tens of thousands of followers who have been protesting in the streets all over Russia, just like they continue to do in Belarus. For anyone who, like me – at this moment, is living in a safe (we hope) democracy: imagine the courage to brave security forces bent on using as much violence as they like, just to express your peaceful view and protesting an extraordinarily brave man's unjust incarceration.

You should watch the film as well, all two hours of it. Youtube provides subtitles to this masterful exposure of Vladimir Putin's corruption and ridiculousness. It's utterly dense with documents and information, but is made with a very up-to-date sense of dynamics and using marginal humor at the same time. Yesterday, I continued by watching Navalny's equally crushing exposure of the cleptocracy of the former president Dmitry Medvedev. The same person who told the news agency Interfax, also yesterday, that Russia is "legally and technologically" ready to disconnect from the global internet if needed.

Let's see.

January 20, 2021 – "Hours"
Wednesday morning and I'm counting the hours until the new president of the USA will be sworn in. It's not that I'm overly optmistic about his chances to do all the things he wants to do and should be doing. But still, it could have been worse. I looked at what I wrote here on January 19, 2017, and found this sentence: "I just dearly hope that I am wrong in being nervous about what's going on, and that things will turn out more or less normal, after all." I wasn't and they didn't.

January 10, 2021 – "Nuclear"
It's quite an escalation, in the current US situation of rampant post-modernism, to read about Nancy Pelosi contacting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking him to "keep an unstable President from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike." To which General Milley had to answer that if the president's order is legal (such as asking for a strike on Iran), it would have to be carried out. Not doing it, would constitute a military coup.

In a column in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet writer Lena Andersson has this to say (in my translation):

Different issues have different character and should be analyzed accordingly. In some matters, emotions are crucial. If it feels like you have won a presidential election, it says nothing about the outcome. But if a president felt it was breaking his soul to lose and sought therapeutic help for it, then emotions would be central.

The collapse of sensible society with solid institutions and peaceful transfer of power, that we witnessed during the week in Washington DC can be seen as the culmination of a long ideological battle in order to give primacy to feeling.

The view of knowledge that four years ago allowed the Trump camp to claim that his installation had the most participants in history - because it felt that way and anyway, everything is just stories from different perspectives - was the one that also guided his followers when on Wednesday, rightfully as they saw it, they stormed in over the beautiful old floors of the Capitol, occupied by themselves and their cellphone cameras.

The last half century's ideas of subjective truths have led to a large-scale intellectual regression; a kind of humanity's return to the stage of development where the child does not fully understand what it means that others exist and think; the stage where the child does not yet know how pronouns work; that they are a link between the person and his placement in the general, in the structure.


January 1, 2021 – "One"
It's the first day of the new year. For a while now, I have been saying to everybody that it will surely be better than 2020. I guess we all do.

At umpteen tables yesterday, the question will have been raised what was good about 2020? Many will have answered "that Trump lost". I did. When I think about it, I realize that without the pandemic – he would have won.

An art-related answer I gave refered to my part of the Stoa project. My column is a dancing, drunk, loose, sloppy... form. Together with Pascal Marturella I was able to build a 3D translation in brick of what these words express. Thinking about it makes me happy. To me, this was a pure art making experience. And it will last!

I am curious what 2021 will bring.