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....

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