February 21, 2011
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I’m sitting in the dark of a movie theatre, immersed in images, a depiction of a life lived in the century before this. Paintings, the talk of art and of life. Faded photographs mixed with images of paintings radiating with color. It’s a movie about Otto Modersohn, a German painter, made by his great-grandson*. A movie about his art, but just as much about his wives and their art. These women, their stories, they resound in me, touch me to the core of my being. Their desire, their longing, I can feel it. Their journal entries reach out from across the oceans of time and grab me. I am mesmerized. The past becomes alive. These women become alive.
His second wife, Paula Modersohn-Becker, a brilliant artist, more significant than her husband as the judgement of posterity would show. She wants to be free, she wants to live without the ties of a marriage, and he tries to meet her half-way. He let’s her go to Paris, let’s her leave their life behind. In 1906 that decision must have been more than radical, for both of them. But then he goes after her. Maybe it was a mutual agreement as stated in the movie, but when I hear the lines from her diary about her burning desire to be free and then the later realization that “she wasn’t made to stand alone” I can’t help but wonder. Was it resignation or maybe pity, or a combination of both, that made her ask him to come and join her? She gets pregnant and they leave Paris to go back home. She gives birth to a daughter and then passes away. What does that mean? I don’t know. But I know what it’s like to want to be free, to want to get rid of the emotional ties, the shackles of love that hold you prisoner in a life you don’t want to live. It hurts so bad. And sitting there in the movie theatre I can really feel her pain. The movie has me in a firm grip. I’m enchanted by all these stories, these women and their struggle to maintain the balance between society’s expectations and their own dreams. Read more of this post
January 6, 2011
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I have spent the past 5 hours reading. Not leisurely browsing various online articles or skimming through a magazine but reading. Passionately. The kind of reading where you all of a sudden realize that the room is completely dark apart from your reading lamp and that you desperately need to go to the bathroom and haven’t had a cigarette for hours. That kind of reading. As a child I used to do this all the time, but the older I get the less I do it. Time issues I suppose. When you are a kid you have more time to get devoured by books. Or if it’s the other way around, I am not sure. Probably both. I also think there’s an element of sin to it as you get older. Like it would somehow be a waste of time. You are neglecting not only your bodily functions, but also your other tasks and duties when you dive into a book for hours on end. But seriously, so what? Considering all the time that’s wasted on watching TV in this world it seems strange that getting sucked in by a book for a couple of hours should be a bad thing. Reading is almost never a waste of time. I say almost, because I have wasted a number of hours on books in my days. Not many, but there have been times when I have felt like writing to the publisher to demand a warning text on the cover of the book. But mostly it’s not a waste of time.
I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but in my world there is nothing that can capture me as a book can. Nothing. When I watch movies either my thoughts will start to wander or I will start improving the plot in my mind. I will do this either by just thinking about how the story could get better, or I will really think that the story is better than it actually is and get all excited. That’s when my best friend will usually shake his head and tell me that “no you’re just making the story better again. It’s not that complex”. And he’s always right. It never is that complex. But the reason I’m doing this is because I am bored. Read more of this post
October 20, 2010
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I am greedy when it comes to art. Very greedy and very curious. If I like something I always want more. This presents itself in what can only be described as gluttony. I will devour everything the artist has done. Be it paintings, books or songs. I want to take it all in. I am not a collector in the sense that I need to own it all, for me it’s all about the experience. I don’t mind if I only have the music as mp3 or if I borrow the book from a friend or see a painting at a gallery. The important thing is that I do get to experience it somehow. All of it. Particularly when it comes to music and literature, my two biggest passions. There I will get completely obsessive. I will read all the books and listen to all the recordings that exist. I will dig my way through the entire body of work. Passionately. But not blindly. When it comes to art I don’t believe in unconditional love. Even the most talented people will do things that aren’t brilliant. And people develop. Sometimes in a good way, other times in a not so good way. Very few people manage to present a body of work that’s amazing all the way through. There are some, but they are not many. And of those, most are dead. Read more of this post
October 18, 2010
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Some moments in life are weirder than others. Moments that just seem overloaded with symbolism and meaning, stand out like technicolor in a black and white movie. Scenes that just get etched into your retina. Like little clips you can play in your head again and again until you’re almost not sure if they are true, if it really happened like that, because it all just seems so surreal. Almost. Because reality is always stranger than fiction. And a lot more cliché.
I had a moment like that. Years ago. And that moment has been haunting me from time to time ever since. A moment so surreal that it really felt like being in a movie. A moment that had me looking for hidden cameras. At the time I was having a ridiculously complicated affair with this guy, a musician. And we’re sitting on a bench, in Paris of all places, talking about what to do with the mess that is our affair. Read more of this post
January 13, 2010
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Being a writer words and language and books and the act of writing itself are of course a few of the things closes to my heart in this world. They are my weapons of choice so to speak. How I make sense of everything. But music is equally important. And in a way it fills a similar function. Music helps me get grounded. And by that I don’t mean that music keeps my mind settled in any way, it doesn’t tie me down, quite the opposite. Music liberates my thoughts and my emotions. It helps me through life. And as dramatic as that may sound, it’s actually true. I can give a list of albums that has been the soundtrack of my life for certain periods. Albums that I honestly think were instrumental in keeping what can arguably be referred to as my sanity. Without these records I really don’t know how I could have pulled through. And in some cases it took me years before I could listen to them again. I talked about this with a friend of mine, about how music can get so intimately connected and intertwined with your memories that you just can’t listen to certain records anymore. They are somehow tainted with the past. A past you don’t want to relive. He threw all those records away. He went into the woods and screaming at the top of his lungs he hurled them into the dark of the forest. I can fully understand this act. I can understand the cathartic effect of doing something like that. But I could never do it. Never. I need to keep all these tainted records. I need to have them with me. And it’s not because I want to dwell in the misery that they recreate, it’s because I am so immensely grateful to the people who made them. Their art guided me through a certain time in my life, helped me pull through to the other side, back to firm ground, so how could I ever throw that art away? I am not a religious person, but for me that would be blasphemy. And I also know that there will come a day when I can listen to that record without the pain. When I can once again really listen to the music and appreciate all those qualities that drew me to it in the first place. Because I still love these records. I just can’t listen to them. Read more of this post
November 9, 2008
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i have a thing for voices. i have had it as long as i can remember. i remember how i used to love to my grandmother when she was telling us stories. sure, it was about the stories, but it was just as much about her voice. the way the sound of her voice could just send me off into another world. i just loved to listen to her voice. loved they way that voice made me feel, the places it took me to.
and as i grew older i found more voices like that. many of them in music. like blixa bargeld, pj harvey, david bowie, björk. or jeff buckley. one of the absolute giants. all the nuances, the desperation, the passion. the amount of expression. all the emotion conveyed. it blows me away. the places he must have gone to to get that sound, find that flow. the waves he must have ridden. what he did was simply magical. what he still does. i just wish i could have experienced it once face to face. to actually have been in the same room when he was riding those waves. but when he died i didn’t even know he existed. Read more of this post