Monday, May 28, 2007


It’s been a week since I, Maria, have left Flatland and have accomplished my mission. The days since then have been overwhelmed with emotions as well as filled with fond memories of the prior intense weeks. I have been craving for being outside again of course, experiencing nature, the weather. It seems so green everywhere! That’s because it was still cold when we moved into Flatland. I have been walking/biking a lot in New York since, meeting up with my friends and even banal things like the wind blowing through my hair and over my skin proofs the sensation of being new born, or the Yoga class I took today.
On the other hand immediately after Flatland I was finding myself on my own again and I noticed feeling weird about it. I like having people around and it creates a good energy for me. I also found out that I thought I was relaxed by the time of Exit day but in fact I found myself exhausted. It might have given the impression to the audience that the Flatlanders had a great, relaxing time inside – no busy New York life like everybody else – no, it was a 24/7 performance.
All six of us experienced the group dynamic in their own way. There were the Free Spirits and the Control Freaks, that was evident from the start and that might have been one reason that divided us in groups. The sculpture became more luxurious and easier to live in each time somebody left, but also more boring. With Ward and me being inside until the end we talked a lot about how the project evolved, making it clearer for me to grasp what all happened in a short intense time.

When I stopped by at the Sculpture Center two days ago and went inside Flatland for one more time to have a look my perception was very different. I could not imagine anymore staying in there for even a day! My state of mind had completely changed.

To finish my last Blog entry I want to say Thank You to Ward, Doug, Eva, Pelle and Alex for an unforgettable time and for being amazing Flatlanders!

Sunday, May 20, 2007


">Comming out of Flatland was being in a sensitive boble. Doug and i took a long slowely walk through queens - tired in our legs after a short time. Jumped on a bus in the afternoon and hitted the Stone Harbor a rainy night in the dark. We were finding our way through the sound of heavy raindrops, strong smells and wet wind - so nice to get aware of ones body and senses in that way, after two weeks in "dissyness". So nice to meet with the world and its small daily details that we get use to and take for granted. The diversity of unknown faces and the comfortability of sleeping in a normal bed..ect. And it reminded me of the feeling of a run in the forrest that i had exactely one year ago, after being in prison for 2 weeks...

- Here are some thought about flatland after flatland:

The night before leaving:
Alone all together, or together all alone – non of it fits flatland. Doug and I are sitting at the third floor, the spotlights are turned off and it is time to be on discothek and not in a gallery space..but we are still here, and everything is quiet, quiet. Well, loud music is playing in my headphones, but the silence has entered my body with the awareness of that the rest of the ”boat” has went to bed or at least to there spots, by themselfs. The night have becomed my wulftime. Tonight, though, I feel not just like staying awake, but also like drinking a lot of alcohol and loose control. But i need my control, to be able to be here, otherwise it would not work. Then it is better with Yoga.
I think Maria is right, that it is these small rutines or decided rules for one self, that are needed if the you want to make it possible to coop with being confined. Needed when the rules of time and the limits of ones space are so absolutely defined, as flatland is it. But for me Flatland has become more passivating than constructive. After a few days the relaxation disappeared and i havn´t fund the routine to be able to go in deep in here. I gues i havn´t been capabel of sustaining my own dicipline, hurted by the lack of movements. Not only fysical but also mentaly, between diffenrent spaces...
Doug and I will leave tomorrow morning...

Though rules of space are everywhere. The way we move through space, or from one place to another are, especially in the city, is useualy/always designed and determined by certain rules of use and movement. Jet, not only do we adopt rules for moving and using a space, we do also move more and more, and faster and faster. It is normal to live one city and work in one the move. Time and space has becomed encrisingly strong and powerful factores. Alex already did similar thoughts and raised on our blog very interesting questions. But even more did an unknown commenter who questioned: ”So do the experiences from flatland learn us that, the space can change if we change the rules of it?”
Well, Doug purposed that we during summer could rent out Flatland, partely as an eksperiment of how people would sustain a normal life, living in a space like Flatland.
I actually think that it would be no problem. That if people were alowed to sustain the habits and structure of their daily life, being able to move and leave flatland everyday, it would be completely different – because of a change in concept, the rules. Different people have been noticing, that it is what many people are already doing, how they are living. As an another commenter on the Flatlandproject-blog noticed

We take our spacious living environments and privacy totally for granted (even tiny NYC/KBH apts are roomy compared to places in Tokyo), and as the world becomes more and more overpopulated, our realities will become more cramped. Sure, you can look at this as a dumb hipster experiment, but with a little perspective it's also possible to see this as an interesting step towards studying the effects of extreme living environments”.
I think he/she is right. The play with actual two dimensional space is not the central element in flatland. As a construction Flatland is rather a play on extreme living, a slice of an appartment building in New York/Queens future, and a visualisation of what an extreme space does to its inhabitants. A livestyle/web mapping-performance of movements, the organizing of space and our invented routines over time.
But the Flatland sites are without doubt also the frames of a social and phsykological eksperiment. And maybe one could suggest that the two-dimentionality could to be understood as two-dimensional in terms of mind. Confined to a space without the ability to leave it, you loose an important dimension of the world, for measuring, comparing and to keep perspectives - everything outside the space becomes difficult to coop with and more and more unimportant. And then the space become even more narrow. We know it from being at hospital, ekperiments and realityshows or imprisonment..
When is the last time that you havn’t left your appartment for three weeks?, Alex asked one day. – jet an appartment at the size of your body size.

Alone all together, or together all alone – non of it fits my experience of being in prison. Exactely one year ago i was in prison for 2 weeks in the Stateprison of Horserød in Denmark* I was living together with another woman in a 6 km2 celle – not two feet narrow, but with less than two feet between our beds. And for two weeks the temporary bed was the only place to be in charge yourself, and the only place to be all alone was under the cover/blanket. In that way circumstances for prvacy were likely the privacy in Flatland. Though it was an ”open prison” which means that you are not stuck in a celle 24 hours a day. I had the ability of being in the common kitchen-space or even have a walk outside on the field during the daytim. But ofcause you were only allowed to walk in "certain ways", prison is based and builded opon a huge pile of rules.

Being in Flatland reminded me about my experiences in prison in different ways. The notion of the importance of ones own rutines or rules of mind as a resistance to the rules ("concept") of space, were similar. Now Flatland was experienced differently among us, from being a trap to being liberating, and differently from time to time – as so I recognised and posted a doublequestion on the blog one of the first days: "what am i unable to do" or "what am i free not to do"... But imprisonment understood as a fysical limitation of ones posisbility or lack of right to move outside a deffined area, could never be a punishment if it didn’t influenced us mentaly and changed our way of thinking, acting and moving.
In Flatland we principly had all we needed; food, sleep, water, computergames, reading and drawing books and ect, which we allowed take up alot of our time. We didn’t have to worry too much about the surrounding world, because we anyway was detached from all it’s ekpectations, problems and complexities, which became liberating – as we were on a schoolfieldtrip. On the other hand all those tings and equipments were tools that we used to sustain our capasety to deal with the fact that we were not ”free” to leave the fysical space. The fact that we were in a trap. Tools for forgetting, kill time and go in deep with ones own world. (– it is no secret that many prisoners get so used to be in prison, their habits and life inside the ”trap”, that they have troubles leaving after a long time and live a life outside the limiting - but safe? - walls.)

Now, the day Doug and I left Flatland the Internet was down in all the SculptureCenter, and on our way from the gallery we discussed what a petty it was for the others left back there. The internet was without doubt a great mind-escaper and surrounding attacher, which we were very dependent on while we were inside. But the fact that we had computers, skypeconnection and mobilphones made us also even more concius about the fact that we didn’t get anything done, as it was our inside reminder and motivation to try to sustain the normal life outside. Maybe this connection to the outside world, was not only incredebly dominating, but i fact a luxurious burden. It does not mean that i would have prefered Flatland without, not at all, it is rather a notion, which made me reflect on my experriences of how to overcome the weeks in prisons - where there were no connection. And i might now argue that because i knew that it was only for two weeks, the simpelisity and "relative isolation" was a positive thing...?. (Ofcause for longtime prisonners it is exactely this lack of connetion with the world, that makes them not only fysical imprisonned but also imprisonned from there social life and orientation of the world. This simplicity which it takes a lot of eford to fight againt, if it doesn't only turn into passivity.)

I think Maria is right. That it is important not to be anywhere else in ones mind than in Flatland, if you want to be in Flatland. And as soon as you start fighting it, without results, you're trapped....

THE FINAL DAY in Flatland

It’s Sunday, May 20th, the day of the Exit.
Ward and I are planning to leave at around 4 pm, this is kind of an important day because there will be a Finissage at the Sculpture Center and we get a chance to celebrate officially. When the show “The Happiness of Objects” opened, we were already inside and only watching the others drinking, chatting away and watching us.

Comparing the beginning of Flatland with the end is very interesting. Each time somebody left the piece the energy changed and it suddenly felt different. There was only one week of us six occupying the structure fully, then Pelle exit. After the second week Eva and Doug decided to leave, and a few days after that it was also Alex. I was glad that I could see and experience the difference each time.
With just Ward and me having lived in here in until the end Flatland turned almost in an apartment where as before it seemed more a camp or spaceship or boat situation. It was louder, more chaotic, livelier and tighter. During the last days it was easier to be focused and to get more work done. You didn’t have to socialize, you could avoid each other if you wanted. Ward and I agreed the other day that somehow you don’t anticipate the exit so much anymore, you are used to the environment and don’t feel the need to break out.

Something I already learned from Flatland is that in order to be able to go through it you need to commit 100% to the project, not only before when planning but also during the time. When you are living inside the piece it is essential to engage, or NOT to already think about the next project or to put it like this to live in the moment. Otherwise you automatically feel trapped. That’s the key.

I’m thankful to have joined the Flatland crew and that I have come this far. And now I’m curious how the experience AFTERWARDS will be like for me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Alex saying Goodbye

This is Alex LEAVING Flatland.
In which picture does he look happier...?

Alex said Goodbye

This is Alex still IN Flatland


View down from 3rd floor

1 day notes after leaving flatland.

i'm posting below raw notes i've made for myself 1 day after leaving flatland, partically because the it's suprisingly hard to write about life in flatland, but also because it think the fragmented writing reveales something about my fragmented thoughts in flatland. i might add that it's been really hard to summarize my thoughts about flatland - it's now four whole days being on the outside, and i still feel like i'm recooperating. flatlag is worse than jetlag. i'm tired all the time, partially because i'm not used to simple things like sun + walking.

so i've tried to sit down and write something cohesive, but it's just been impossible.

it's also really easy to forget about flatland. of course, i remember postcardish memories, but i forget lots of the little things already - maybe because they are details containted entirely within flatland, unique to flatland. life on the outside doesn't evoke memories of the things that made life in flatland unique....


1 day after leaving flatland:

my legs have stopped cramping while walking (even just ten minutes), but i'm suffering from sever flat-lag.

it's similar to jet-lag, but worse (at least, at the 1 day mark)

feeling the cramps in my legs, feeling my body remembering how to move, i realize now that i have left flatland:

in flatland, i unconsciously learned to limit my movements.

i learned to go to the bathroom twice a day, not seven. i learned to not cook. i learned to not move my computer. i learned to not reach for clean clothes (stored in a basket, amongst the i-beams of the ceiling). i learned to wait ..... the second week of flatland, i fell into an irreversible depression (which disappeared as quickly and uneventfully as leaving flatland)

i wonder: when i'm inside a [very rare and mild] depression, i lose interest and motivation for even the simplest things.
in flatland, which came first? did i naturally adapt to my environment by moving less, and that [helped] to bring on feelings of depression? or did i become depressed first, and learn to move less second?

food control:
by the time i left flatland, was really annoyed with all-things-food. somehow, especially when maria would ask what i wanted to eat, or what kind of beer she should order for me. this was about control (or lack -), of course: if she ever called me, at home in queens, and asked me what she should make me for dinner, and asked what kind of beer she should bring over for me, i'd be elated!

"wow, eva..... i'm having trouble writing, i can make notes, but i'm having trouble writing." eva shakes her head yes "exactly! exactly the same!"

fellow flatlanders:

i would really recommend exercising your leg muscles - both eva and i (though more me) have experienced leg cramps the day we left flatland - even after walking just ten minutes. i also feel extra sensitive to the sun, and like i can't drink enough water. but the leg-muscle cramps are something you can prepare for!

both eva and i have major flat-lag - it's like jet-lag, but worse! (maybe just psychologically worse....)

what is flatland about?

now, after it is over, the idea of 'trying to live 2 dimensionally' seems preposterous. to me, flatland is a psycho/social experiment.

i always knew it would be a social experiment, but i also thought we could try to live as 2D as possible, trying to achieve this unachievable ideal. as soon as we were inside, this illusion disappeared, and flatland became a psycho/social experiment.