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.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

sleepless night

This picture - of Alex and Ward in our happy kitchen - is actually from the very first morning waking up in Flatland. Ward was the first to wake up, and so he crawled down the ladders al the way from the fourth floor to find the coffemachine in the basement......almost three weeks (efa)

It’s Wednesday night, 3 am and I have difficulties sleeping. There has been thunder and heavy rain outside, I can feel that slowly the warm stuffy air in the Sculpture Center is being exchanged by cooler and fresher oxygen. Thank God. When me moved in Flatland more than 2 weeks ago we experienced some very cold nights also, with not only me catching a cold. But one is able to tell that by now it must be summer in NY. I’m glad that it turned out to be the month of May for this project and not earlier and not later.

Alex, Ward and me agreed at dinner that the day shifted 180 degrees regarding our mood - from a boring start in the morning (again no internet and that for 2 days!) to the exciting news in the afternoon to being able to go online again. Then having a friend visit who brought us pizza(!). How comforting was that! We have been running slow on food recently because on the one hand we have been trying to eat up what’s still left in the kitchen and on the other hand we haven’t been able to order Fresh Direct on time because of no internet. When I checked my emails again after the absence I heard that they wrote an article in the Austrian Newspaper DerStandard which cheered us up, also a journalist from the Guardian was on its way to meet us. Hopefully they will mention Flatland and the show “The Happiness of Objects” in the next Friday Times.

So Alex is leaving tomorrow afternoon with Ward and myself remaining as the last two flatlanders. Each time somebody has left, the structure appears to become more like a regular apartment, more and more luxurious, more quiet. Hey, I don’t have to wait anymore before taking a shower or just the fact that all of a sudden you have a whole floor to yourself. We turned Doug & Eva’s space next to the kitchen into a dining area where for the first time we can sit down on a table to eat! These are the things that you start to appreciate. I wouldn’t have imagined that flatland could become such a normal environment to live in. It is easily possible to only live like this, no problem, but of course having the possibility to come and go as you like. I guess lots of people don’t have more private space anyway, in Tokyo for example.

Now I am slowly starting to think about my old life and what I will do after Sunday when we finally move out. I know everything will make me feel reborn again! Smelling the air, the sun, riding the bike, being in my apartment, meeting up with friends, even sleeping in a normal size bed – what a wonderful thought, …That all will be very exciting again. Doug has called Ward the other day and mentioned that he and Eva felt worse than having jetlag after they left. Everything was exhausting and they had cramps in their feet just from walking!
I will try and go back to sleep now.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I never got to write to Elsebeth, my counceler. Another day disappeared with a beer, a nap, bad conscience and intense talks and thoughts. And once in a while, I tried to sit down to get something written, for myself, for someone or for something else. But it’s weird, as it’s so hard.
Two of Doug’s friends were here, and I felt like I should talk to them, and wanted to, but still I couldn’t really cope with it. And for sure, I was keeping to myself. Then one of them asked me on her way out how it was to be in here, suddenly, the answer was really clear. I do think it’s hard for two weeks to be neither social, nor alone. Neither to be in a social environment, with a feeling of warmth, and the chance to see more than one individual in the eyes at a time. Or to be able to be all alone, deep in thought, hear loud music and act spontanousely
Doug’s friend nodded and understood the words that came out of my mouth, but also I understood my answer in a new way.

Evening came quickly. Doug, Ward, and I ate together. I made some fun with some cucumber pieces..well, ten at a time in my mouth while I was smiling at these two thoughtful faces beside me. It took a while before they noticed me, that’s how it is in Flatland, you often have to wait 90 degrees of a smile. But it was a smile that made me all emotional..because we were sitting there eating, and we were all alone together, by ourselves, together, in a suddenly very nice way, at least in my head. Actually, Doug and Ward maybe mostly were listening to the radio… but I was looking at the wrinkles in Ward’s face, and at the way he was holding his palm to his head, to support his thoughts. A lonely rider with a lot of faith to invent something worth fighting for. Berkley in the 60s is on the list of films that Doug and I have to consume before we leave Flatland, because Ward (with a glint in his eye) recommended it. He must have been young at that time… but right now, it is Flatland he is fighting for, and that includes.
And then, the tears started to run down my cheeks, sitting next to two guys in orange and red suits eight meters above the ground, confined in a weird crazy construction, inside a gallery that closed three hours ago. Entangled: ages, relationships, each other, the work, memories of old work, ----

Enough about Ward and Doug. It just left me with a very profound impression suddenly, but because of the circumstances. I think I needed to find some meaning in this Flatland project, which could reach all the way to Nørrebro in Kobenhavn (and it's strugles,..which is the article i whrote while being in flatland was concened). And suddenly, there was this little, modest, hopeless feeling that, if not anything else, it is very very important that somebody dare invent something that they dare to think is important… dare fight for something, whether if it is manifested as a temporary art project or as a permanent fight for social change.

That evening we, Doug and I, told the others that we were leaving…today...
More words soon. Love, Eva

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Some Maria thoughts

Ward pointed out once that in Flatland doing some duty for the others sometime, washing up the dishes or cooking dinner or cleaning the floors makes you actually feel good and I found that an important point. With such a community service (they also call it Karma Yoga) you feed the consciousness that we are a group, that we are in this together and that is necessary for you to be there.
Every Flatlander has taken advantage of my Yoga or Pilates teaching and I have been enjoying it.
For me I know it’s been the dailyYoga&Pilates training that has prevented me from going crazy in here. I still hold on to my optimism and it’s still feels like my body that I’m in. Even though I also have developed little aches and an all over discomfort I can’t wait to shake off again soon.

My Video project I have been working on isn’t finished yet, I probably need one more week so that still gives me enough to do. I'm glad. Still have enough books to read in the next couple of days too.

By the looks of it I will be the last person to leave Flatland. Maybe it was of help when I joined the group in february that I didn’t really know anyone beforehand. Besides that I am the only Single in Flatland, could that have been to my advantage also? Pelle’s main reason to leave us was his family in Denmark, Eva and Doug as a couple will leave together tomorrow. Alex’s girlfriend is arriving soon to NY so he will say Goodbye to Ward and me on Thursday to reunite with her.

In an hour we will enter week 3 in Flatland…

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Having fun

Talking with a client


In a deep conversation

Waiting for my friend Rasmus from Copenhagen to come by......

03.00 AM, friday night.
SculptureCenter LIC.
Uploading blog.

The nights has turned out to be my "wulftime", the others are sleeping, im taking a picture of Doug at the Computer.

No offcepeople, No visitors, No noise,

In a no-space at a no-time

This from Alex too

This space is tight, it is a restraint of one direction. Limits also exist in the amount of space I have, 16 square feet. If I were to take off my skin and stretch it over my floor, I would have some skin left over.

There are other limits that inform how we relate to space based on our instructions for occupation: ?For twenty days, you can leave anytime you want, but cannot re-enter if you do.? This points to another facet of occupation, duration.

So often buildings are understood in terms of objects (space) and not in terms of actions (time). So much of our experience of place, though has to do with the way we codify space. Architects call this programming a building, assigning actions to locations. Sleep here. Cook there. Shit yonder. Eat hither.

If I were to write a simple instruction for Flatland it would be: stay in a tight space that is divided into smaller individual quarters with four other people for three weeks. The most difficult thing about this proposition is not the tight space, but the duration that you need to stay in it. I could ask someone to get me a scarf at the back of the closet and it would not be a problem. If I asked you to stay in that closet for a week it would likely be met with hesitation.

What I have learned in Flatland is that we adapt to out environment. Adaptation is the process of a subject learning to merge their desires with what the environment can provide them. We behave differently depending on the location. That our subjectivity is fluid is clearest when we change contexts. As for myself, I notice bodily things like aches that I have not felt in a while, my energy level is low (it seems arduous to do simple things like find a piece of paper.) Intellectually I am finding myself more introspective. I am able to focus on plans and thoughts because I am not able to move. I am not able to move not only because of the small quarters, but because of the rule I have elected to follow in connection with this space.

By changing the rules of a space, you can change its reception. This project is a three week house. To follow Wurm?s example, what would a one minute house look like? What would a five year house look like?

How can you renovate an existing space simply by changing the rules? Is it possible to change my living room into something strange just by grafting onto it new rules for occupation?

Four people in a row..gathered all in one studio space, setled to watch a cartoon on the computer.
Four people in a row..trying to have a social common experience, at the same time at the same space, together..hehe..

Friday, May 11, 2007

Re: flatland

hello gideon!

thanks for writing! it's interesting to hear that you've been 'measuring' your life on the outside against what you imagine our lives to be like on the inside ..... it's nice to know there's someone out there......

well, i'll try to answer your questions directly:

- At this point do you have fairly synchronous schedules?

less and less. we certainly began that way, all waking up and going to bed within a few hours of each other, and - i think - enjoying a similar pace during the day. we effortlessly came together to eat, to talk, and to check in on each other, sharing our experiences.

i think these last few days, we have all become withdrawn to one degree or another. we've been sharing less meals, and i think we are all experiencing "differently" - in terms of type and pace of activity we do: reading, drawing, nothing, working quickly, working slowly....

somehow, the social dynamic here has always been very defining, perhaps too defining - certainly unsustainably defining. so perhaps this 'withdrawn'-ness allows us to achieve some autonomy. perhaps it also flat-fatigue.

- Do you find yourself counting down to the end of the performance,
or growing more comfortable?

i'm definitely counting down. when i got here, i was amazed at how comfortable i was - everything i needed, it seemed, was right here. but now, as the end nears, and i start to make plans for my days Outside, i'm getting really antsy. also, the guy who i've rented my apartment to brought over a few weeks worth of New Yorkers that i've missed, another reminder of life continuing outside the sculpture center. and the radio, too, makes me antsy - the weather reports, and two days ago NPR did a short story focusing on the prostitutes near my home, at queensboro plaza, and it made me feel weirdly nostalgic.

- Do you crave privacy?

i suppose. but it's not the type of privacy that you might think i'd crave, because i really like being around people, what i really crave is quiet. and crave being loud too. i want to sit and work silently, and the turn on, loud music - and listen to an entire album, without being interupted.

that goes for the flatland crowd. as far as the people outside flatland, i completely forget anyone is on the other side of the vinyl. i forget they're there until i've already taken my clothes off, and then when i remember there are people and office-people down there, i still don't care. of course, i live on the 4th floor, and i'd probably feel differently if i lived on the 1st.

- What have been your most interesting moments of social performance
(either to gallery visitors or your cohabitants)? Do you have the
sense that you are performing... or just living?

just living. other flatlanders enjoy the performative stuff more than me, at least right now. i think i've become a little surly these last few days, and am focused on trying to meet my other responsibilities outside of flatland, and am disinteresting in performing (this time!).

though, maria was giving me a yoga lesson yesterday, and the gallery was extra full, and the yoga lesson became extra picturesque, which was extra fun.

well, thanks again for writing, gideon, it has been great to answer these questions - a nice excuse to take time to think and reflect.

i hope to hear from you soon, doug

thanks for the cookies mom!

everyone's loving them!
not so good for our teeth though....

LOVE doug

Thursday, May 10, 2007


hello mr brian!

nice to hear from you -- sorry i never wrote back before - building flatland was a major (too major!) effort....

and now that i'm in, time move REALLY fast - and it's really hard in here to find the space [physical and psychological] to do much of anything ..... though just now i'm getting my old rhythm back....

but that has been the most suprising part about it, really, and it's been the same for all of us.

but the other thing i know is that i won't truely understand this experience until i'm outside it. it's too overwhelming inside, both physically and socially, to really have a chance to reflect.

one thing i realized, is that i think best when i'm walking, and i flatland, there's no walking..... so.....

where are you these days? still in pittsburgh? what are you working on?

talk/see(?) you soon! said doug

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

annie list #2

Re: flatland 2



to add to the list of 'food' things ... we've been getting our food from fresh direct, which i'm feeling a growing sense growing disgust about ... i'm sure on some deep-psychologocal level, i'm resisting Dependancy, but also, the nuts and bolts of fresh direct are appauling.

we get these huge boxes of food, filled with anonymous basketball-sized plastic-and-foam-wrapped packages.... you get your food-ball, and begin unwrapping. you peel off layers of plastics, foams, and finally, after the the food-ball is half the size, you realize it's two bananas in there. then you keep unwrapping, and realize that the bananas don't look that good anyway.....


Re: flatland

hello dad!

yes ... i knew pelle would leave - he has a family, and we have this big project in DK that he's got to work on.

him leaving does not affect our relationship --- maybe me staying does (we really have a lot of work to do in DK! he wanted me to go with him). but that's minor - actually, me being here is good - i'll be able to be here focusing on 'content' while pelle is in copenhagen fighting with the logistics.... and as soon as i get there (may 29th!) we'll both be consumed by organizing .... so the 'content' stuff has to happen here/now!

but building flatland, and doing the other show in BK while getting ready for the Queens september show was really hard for Parfyme Deluxe, so in the end, having some intense relaxing time here in flatland was great for us ......

sharing space with eva has it's benefits and drawbacks, of course - we're very close, which is nice to have here in flatland (which feels like less like 'an exploration in two dimensions' than an psychological-lense+uber-magnifier in ten dimensions).

yes ---- the physical-deterioration is getting to me! and the food thing too ... somehow, the social focus on food, and dealing with the logisics of food ordering and cooking - i find somewhat oppressive.

actually, i have new insights into my own eating-ideosyncrasies - i tend to eat the same thing everyday, and always buy the same things (and two of everything). two habits designed to find a healthy balance, and not have to think about it again. it also makes going to a bar/restaurant to meet friends more fun.... - but the constant evaluation of food i find weirdly oppressive.

also, i like to be focused and work for long stretches (which is already hard in flatland), and everytime i get going, it's time to eat. and i also tend to eat later than others here, so food is always ready before i am.

the irony! it's funny to be claiming that the food situation is 'oppressive' - because, in many ways, it's perfect! the meals i eat here are better than anything i would cook, and when buying food, money is not an issue (at least, relative to my life on the 'outside')

eva and i are thinking of a long bike trip in europe this summer - maybe from copenhagen to berlin, maybe a three-country-tour. fetishizing sun, air, & exersise!

how's election season going?

it's funny - i'd call, and think about calling a lot, but it's genuinely hard here - either there's never a private-enough moment, or it's suddenly almost midnight, too late to call!

talk/write soon, LOVE doug

The Will-Miss & The Will-Not-Miss List

I know it seems weird to already start thinking about the things about Flatland that I will miss or will not miss afterwards. But I might as well write it down while it’s on my mind.

Something I’ve been noticing about myself that has been arising within the Flatland group dynamic is my heightened sense of responsibility. Like a mother caring for his child and his/her friends, or like the teacher with his students on a classtrip I very much enjoy cooking for everybody or preparing snacks or making sure the kitchen is properly stocked. I have developed this community feeling since day one here. I find myself taking over this role (my mother used to be like this). Though I don’t like the idea of ever having children but this is what it might feel like, a little bit at least.
Anyway, I will miss having this non-stop company after my time in Flatland. Most artist I know (myself included) usually work by themselves, it can be a very lonely activity. Here my personal space is on the same floor as the bathroom so I get interrupted in my work by other flatlanders regularly during the day, but I like these interruptions. An exchange of a few words is taking place and then you go back to whatever you were doing. I always used to wonder how it would be like to work in an office, in one of these cubicles. Maybe like this.
But Flatland things I will not miss:
-- Only being able to communicate with the outside world through Email, phone calls or the vinyl.
-- After having taken a shower to sweep off the excess water into the drain which usually takes me an average of 4 minutes. By doing this the person after you doesn’t get wet feet when using the toilet.
-- Also the fact that items or dirt tends to fall down from above every now and then into your space is something I will not miss.
-- Neither will I miss the current condition of my body. The soft muscles in my legs from not walking enough, no regular bike riding, etc. feels very strange all of a sudden.
And, last but not least, about us wearing the orange or red overalls constantly: I start to look forward to having my full wardrobe to choose my clothes from. And I can wait to wear some high heels again soon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

on pelle's departure:

(from Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn)


"Yes," I says.

"All right -- bring it out."

"My plan is this," I says. "We can easy find out
if it's Jim in there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow
night, and fetch my raft over from the island. Then
the first dark night that comes steal the key out of the
old man's britches after he goes to bed, and shove off
down the river on the raft with Jim, hiding daytimes
and running nights, the way me and Jim used to do be-
fore. Wouldn't that plan work?"

"WORK? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats
a-fighting. But it's too blame' simple; there ain't
nothing TO it. What's the good of a plan that ain't no
more trouble than that? It's as mild as goose-milk.
Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk than break-
ing into a soap factory."

I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting noth-
ing different; but I knowed mighty well that whenever
he got HIS plan ready it wouldn't have none of them
objections to it.

And it didn't. He told me what it was, and I see in
a minute it was worth fifteen of mine for style, and
would make Jim just as free a man as mine would, and
maybe get us all killed besides. So I was satisfied, and
said we would waltz in on it. I needn't tell what it
was here, because I knowed it wouldn't stay the way, it
was. I knowed he would be changing it around every
which way as we went along, and heaving in new bull-
inesses wherever he got a chance. And that is what
he done.


AS soon as we reckoned everybody was asleep that
night we went down the lightning-rod, and shut
ourselves up in the lean-to, and got out our pile of
fox-fire, and went to work. We cleared everything
out of the way, about four or five foot along the mid-
dle of the bottom log. Tom said we was right behind
Jim's bed now, and we'd dig in under it, and when we
got through there couldn't nobody in the cabin ever
know there was any hole there, because Jim's counter-
pin hung down most to the ground, and you'd have to
raise it up and look under to see the hole. So we dug
and dug with the case-knives till most midnight; and
then we was dog-tired, and our hands was blistered,
and yet you couldn't see we'd done anything hardly.
At last I says:

"This ain't no thirty-seven year job; this is a
thirty-eight year job, Tom Sawyer."

He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty
soon he stopped digging, and then for a good little
while I knowed that he was thinking. Then he says:

"It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't a-going to work. If
we was prisoners it would, because then we'd have as
many years as we wanted, and no hurry; and we
wouldn't get but a few minutes to dig, every day,
while they was changing watches, and so our hands
wouldn't get blistered, and we could keep it up right
along, year in and year out, and do it right, and the
way it ought to be done. But WE can't fool along;
we got to rush; we ain't got no time to spare. If we
was to put in another night this way we'd have to
knock off for a week to let our hands get well --
couldn't touch a case-knife with them sooner."

"Well, then, what we going to do, Tom?"

"I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral,  .
and I wouldn't like it to get out; but there ain't only
just the one way: we got to dig him out with the
picks, and LET ON it's case-knives."


You can judge a society, by how it trieds its prisonners

I have by now realized that i am here, inside Flatland. I think i have been waiting somehow "to get started". I had imagined that i would produce something while i was here. Something i could point at and define. But today i have realized that i might be too much "in it" right now to produce anything – instead i can imagine that it is when i leave Flatland, that would have to set time off to analyze and channel thoughts/writtings/output.

The restlessness has hit me. It is tickling my muscles, even though i’m lying silently on my back; with the feeling of that i can’t do much else than lie here.
I’m used to moving around a lot. Not really training or physical work, but i’m used to moving around a lot between different place and different spaces.

Now i’ve been here for eight days, and suddenly i feel my mind is slowly falling apart. I think of an interview i did with Kate, a girl who was sitting in prison for seven years. Her cell looked a little bit like a library. She used to escape in those books. Now and then she closed her door to lock out the prison, and all it’s crap. But it demands a certain level of energy or strength, she said – to take yourself seriously, to take care of yourself, to be able to feel how you are doing.

Here it is absolutely different. I’m not surrounded with fucked up prisoners, whose freedom has been forcibly taken, and confined to a cell. I have chosen this myself, and i have chosen it with five others, who have also chosen this themselves. But maybe it makes it even more difficult to isolate ones-self. A kind of social space has taken up a lot of space, though it has definitely changed over the days. In the beginning, it was exciting to get to know each other, where now it seems like we have less and less to talk about - or are less able to talk!

I realize that our freedom is limited (that we are stuck here), but what is just as challenging is the amount of the space we are stuck in, and which we have to share. There are no places to go to be alone... at least, for me and doug, because we are living together, in the same spaces – i think that maybe Alex, Maria, and Pelle are feeling differently, because their spaces are placed lower in the construction, less central. Anyway the amount of space, makes the presence of the others, their sound, their smells and even their moods inevitable.

Somehow Flatland is a mini parallel society, with its own systems, structures and logic. Literally you can register everything that comes in and goes out – we have three contacts with the outside world/spaceland, one is called NetFlix, the second is called FreshDirect and the third is called Anni (she is the nicest). Our trash-bags, which count around 2 a day, are dropped on the gallery floor and they disappear.
As Maria describes in her blog, also the rhythm of the day slowly have made a pattern, for when it is work/focused time (though it is tuff), when it is off-time, time to be social, eat, and so on. Also a structure of communication and responsibility develops extremely fast.

The more abstract input and output, as lived experiences and transformations, are harder to define, and which might might remain unclear until we all are out of here.
But in its most concrete terms (for me), this project has become playing with and visualizing time and space as limiting factors - 20 days, 24 inches wide - and of how we are victims of these. In Flatland it is in a different way than in spaceland, maybe even opposite, because we are victims of the fact that time doesn't matter, it is floating together, it doesn't principally change anything. And victims of a physical space which doesn't leave many possibilities for different uses and movements within it. The combination of both circumstances fucks my mind up. But I don’t think that either a freaky control or free spirit approach is an answer to successful living in Flatland – it is literally about inventing new mechanisms of interacting and surviving in one's mind.

How much are we willing and able to deal with and support each other, for the sake of an art project?

Time flies in here. Morning and evening are similar, and merge with yesterday and tomorrow. But my thoughts have a hard time being anywhere else than present in time and related to Flatland. Suddenly, and with a complex twist, it makes me feel stuck, looking for escape. It is difficult to relate to e-mails and news from outside, or to future plans and so on. It reminds you about the world outside, makes you miss it, but even more it reminds you of yourself being inside – and of your limited space.
That is why it is so extremely difficult to concentrate about anything ambitious in here, whether it is related to the outside or inside world of Flatland.

But we are artists, not prisoners - at least we can leave Flatland when we want.

Pelle is Gone

This morning we awoke to find we, who once were six, are now five. Pelle left quietly without a word, but there were rumors already that he needed to return to his family.

I wish him the best. He was the most naturally pleasant personality one could find one's self in a flatland with, and he added a special flavor to everything. I will miss him.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's it Like being in Flatland?

Everything takes longer, but time goes by more quickly. Everyone agrees the day just flies by.

All movement is very deliberate, there is no casual ambling about. Things squeeze in around you and care must be taken not to bump into them, knock them over. Verticality is our primary dimension, so we have to climb ladders to go anywhere, which gets to be an effort and makes you think twice about going. Carrying things is also more difficult up and down ladders, so movements just become more planned out. Dropping things is the most common hazard because they can fall 3 stories INSIDE Flatland. Living at the bottom floor was initially seen as the safer location (for those apprehensive about heights) but turns out to be gravity's ground zero, where all projectiles go, also spilled liquids, dirt, and crumbs.

It takes a while to find the best way to do things, then lobby for everyone adopting that procedure because variations create confusion and misplaced items. Misplaced items are real frustrating time wasters. Things left in unexpected places get nudged into the gravity well and head south.

Another word for these learned behaviors is organization, and that comes naturally to some and only with great effort to others. And much of this great effort is on the part of the organized people "encouraging" the others. And to be fair, the others are often addressing different concerns that are also vital to Flatland.

So, I've come to see that there are (in the way we so often like to do these things) two kinds of Flatlanders: the FreeSpirits and the ControlFreaks. Or maybe its the ants and the grasshoppers.


in flatland for 1 week (+22hours)

it's taken this long to figure out how to be productive here. -and i think that's a result of both individual strategies, and a group dynamic; each depends on the other..... we are living so closely here, everything is the product of this group dynamic.

this might be exaggerated for me and eva, because our spaces are the most shared - with each other, and our studio-space, situated next to the kitchen, is the most social of the non-kitchen spaces.

but together, we all seem to have achieved some degree of productivity (pelle and i are already late for some deadlines). by some strange twist, this productivity has given me my first feelings of flatland-restlessness. somehow, being focused on work has made me antsy. maybe it's wanting quiet space, interuption-free, or maybe it's wanting to get away from the work environment - a small break outside!

today i put on socks for the first time since i got here, i can't seem to warm up. i had to take them off though - the shower is above the toilet, so the bathroom is always wet. everytime i go pee, i leave with wet feet.

i think i'm starting to feel the physical effects of being here. i hurt myself in my sleep, the tightness in my legs muscles is gone, and i'm starting to feel low energy. i'm used to lots of exercise, biking around nyc, being a carpenter, and eating at regular times, and with a pretty consistant menu (yogurt, beans, oats, cheese, lots of lentils, spinich). this week, we've been eating all the time. good food mixed with bad, and lots of beer and coffee.

i'm starting to feel unhealthy .....

(in the kitchen behind me, pelle says to maria: "it's the cheese table! -with sausage!" she says: "yeah."

pelle returns to his spot behind me. i'm putting up a photo, and you can see him, and maria behind us in the kitchen, and the cheese table. i'm still cold, and am using a piece of cleaning-cloth eva bought in mexico for a scarf. below us, there's a man in a green sweater, with a white collar poking out of it. he's got a burl ives beard and haircut, and he's looking up, like most viewers, unfocused on anything in particular, just looking up. it's easy to forget outside of flatland are people: viewers, office workers. i think they don't see us, and we don't see them.
By WEEK 2 it seems that everyday life has caught each flatlander. For me that means doing my Yoga/Pilates exercises after I wake up, making myself tea & breakfest, maybe a shower, doing emails. By then it's usually in the afternoon! Mein Lieber Gott! So who's going to do our lunch/dinner today? What else, placing an order on Fresh Direct every 3 days is not so easy if you have a group of 6, but fun if you like to treat everybody! Pistachios for Doug, something for Alex's sweet tooth, Ward wants his Waffles, for Eva soymilk & seeds, ...I wouldn't have thought that making time for editing my new video project and reading the books I brought along is actually difficult! The evenings are nice and quiet and productive when the Sculpture Center staff has left and switched out the videos and lights of the artwork around us. I start to miss the sun and the warmth. My friends tell me about the hot temperatures outside, we can only tell the weather by the audience's outfts. I'm glad I brought enough warm underwear. We all need our socks to not catch colds! Will have gained weight after Flatland! Whatever, It's been such an unique experience!
Ok. back to work!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Build-up Week

This is a pretty long entry and maybe it should be part of its own blog, but I'll paste it in here and see what you think.

I woke up the first morning with a sense of dread, my mind racing with misgivings and concern. I was carrying loads of guilt about the last few days and apprehension for the future. We had a very stressful 10 days putting Flatland together out of sticks and screws; how were we going to all get along now?

The last week of the build-up had been very, very stressful for everyone, but particularly Doug, Pelle, and me. I felt like I was carrying the ultimate responsibility for the piece, and that others understood this to mean that they could relax a bit because I would carry everything on. I had been working fifteen hour days for more than a week, almost never alone, because everyone else was working very hard too, but feeling isolated and overwhelmed.

We had bitten off more than we could maybe chew. Doug and Pelle would come in as almost like a factory team and take on a large chunk of work and just grind it out. But sometimes they would leave early or have a "day off". At these times they were actually working on a couple of other projects with other people that were tightly scheduled, so they were not getting any rest, just working very hard but others of us felt like they were too often off somewhere else. I had trouble not resenting their absence, and their other partners may have felt the same way, but this is a symptom of the desperation of that build-up week: you look for someone to blame, even your best friends. Doug and Pelle were really in the middle. Its safe to say they had over-committed themselves for this time, but they were toughing it out and trying to accommodate everyone, it was no-win situation. They just had to get through it.

For me, it was hard not to feel a little like a martyr, and then to recognize and check that feeling, and then to try to express my dilemma (at various times to Alex, Doug, and Maria), and realize that others couldn't hear much about it because they had their own self-centered point of view that they were trying to not let overwhelm them. I think my close friendship with Doug and our experience with other (but less overwhelming) projects is what got us through, and our friendship was trusted by the others too. Doug and I were in the middle: 2 of the others knew only me and 2 really only him and had to take it on faith that we could all trust each other, that we were good people, that we could live in this thing together.

Doug had brought in 2 close friends from Denmark, Pelle and Eva. I began to feel as if that might be a mistake because they seemed to be becoming a group-within-the group, and all my communications to and from them came through Doug. I remembered the story from Biosphere 2 about how groups tended to split into opposing factions, and cause big problems. And Doug and company didn't know the other two, Alex and Maria, who I brought in. So all the ingredients for disaster were already present, particularly because there were elements of personal style that seemed to define and separate the "groups".

Alex joined us physically late, only a week before Flat-day, and for me he was like medicine. He stayed with me at my place and we were nearly always together. I could tell him my complaints and use him as a sounding board. He was upbeat and positive and that helped me keep an even-keel. That was more important than he will ever realize. He also shared the construction supervision with me, which is generally invisible and thankless work but goes on forever. And then he re-designed and built the bathroom. Have to talk more about that later. Like a well stocked food pantry, a bathroom has a lot of symbolic security value, It needs to be private and adequate and "friendly"; else people's "personal plumbing" can freeze up.

Maria had been very devoted to the project for weeks. She has a very organized life and used organization to keep conflicts from creeping in. She worked long hours but had reasonable limits and so she never seemed stressed out, and that continues even now. She is our imperturbable bright face and her presence sets standards of neatness and civility for Flatland.

Eva eventually asserted herself by showing that she could take on her own projects, particularly building out the kitchen, which she did with a clever and personal flair. Both she and Pelle add a warmth and humor to Flatland. They seem more naturally social and relaxed in a communal situation, very patient and kind.

Once we all got inside Flatland and there were, seemingly, no obvious resentments. That indicates to me that Doug was a great diplomat and managed to explain away the hardships as being of the moment, not a product of an evil art-dictator (that would be me).

So the opening went off well and everyone seemed okay. No one seemed to hate me, and I realized, I must have a pretty good group here, if they don't hate me after all this....

Re: Flatland Follies

hello bobbie!

things here are great -- the days go by really really fast -- too fast. it's actually really hard to get anything done. i sat down to write you 2 hours ago, and have been distracted by falling coffee, photographs, toaster waffles, austrian people, and playing...... it's kind of like being at stone harbor while it's raining outside sometimes.......

yes, we have radio, netflix, music and computers. pelle, eva, and i have been procrastinating work by playing nazi-shooting video games like we're 13....

so it's hard to say what we do ..... i'm not even sure myself. right now, however, i'm SUPPOSED to be updating the website, and working on a poster for me+pelle's copenhagen project....

we also eat A LOT.

here's our new blog:

there are a few photos there, i'll put some new ones up soon.

it's oddly busy 'round here!

ok! back to "work",,, i'm attaching a photo of me + eva in our studio space

xoxxo! doug
Today i woke up at 06.30, there was a light on my arm and on the floor that was really bright and strong, and i wondered where it came from. I realized the it was the sun looking in through a window in the seeling of the hall...I got sunlight in my head today..

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Flatland is experienced differently among us, from being a trap to being liberating..from time to time - a question: "what am i unable to do" or "what am i free not to do"....
Even though you have to compromise in Flatland all the time, in this space and within the group there is a lot you get in return: a smile in the morning, a delicious meal cooked by someone, a new costumized shelve for you personal space built by another Flatlander. That's what makes the 4 days (so far) very liveable. These are things the outside people don't think of when they look at us wondering how we are able to manage.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

time here moves suprisingly fast. somehow there's still not enough time in the day.....

Between Spaces...............................