Før, før, etter, etter

1. Ur # I
2. Ur # II
3. Ur # III
4-5. Bogar i spenn (raud) 
6-8. Bogar i spenn (brun) 
9-12. Bogar i spenn (rosa)
13. Bogar i spenn (grøn)
14. Mjuke frontar I
15. Mjuke frontar II
16. Mjule frontar II
17. Bogar i spenn 

Tag Team Studio
21.5— 4.7. 2021

In 1982 a collector wandered about in the Messel mine near Darmstadt in west Germany. It’s perhaps a collector’s fortune to have eyes fixed persistently to the ground, with the gaze roaming the surface. Ready to witness all the world's potential in what one collects. Whether or not the collector on this day searched for rocks, twigs, or something altogether different, is unknown. In written sources this particular collector is simply stated as «independent». Perhaps it was a coincidence, a random chance taking place. A lucky kick to the right stone. Regardless, the wandering collector found her. Little Ida, with baby teeth still intact. Right there in the mining landscape, where they boiled oil out of slates, twisted liquids out of stones for more than a hundred years. How long had she been laying there? The last time those baby teeth hungrily gnawed leaves and grass was 47 million years ago.

In 1982 another collector was born, growing up in a small town along the Western coast of Norway. The collector bites his baby teeth, dreams himself off to another place while kicking rocks and seeing all the world's potential. In a tiny thread, a random rock, in a pipeline bleached from the sun. To some, romance lies within the reassuring certainty of knowing that what has once risen from the soil, shall return. Leaving no traces, as if life’s purpose is to go through it as silently as one entered into it. Degradable, ecological, natural colour. The collector shakes his head, kicks the right twig, and gnaws his teeth, rounding them like the ocean grinds rocks. He knows what everyone from small places knows, that romance and nearness to the soil doesn’t stem from this, this compulsion to leave life without leaving traces in it.

47 million years later a future collector arrives, with eyes fixed to the ground. Another twig is stepped on, a different leaf is turned, a random stone gets kicked. Maybe it is coincidental. A rare occasion where luck meets potential. There he is. Cato. Speculations running high. Cato is not alone down there, in the dark soil. Not biodegradable, not ecological. He lies swaddled in neon coloured polyester, something by his side stretching out of itself and beyond the human body. A tool? A utensil? An elongation of all the world's potential? Scientific societies are scratching their heads, trying to grasp the intangible. What do they all mean, these constructions buried in the soil?

Cato Catcher of Butterflies, Cato Warrior, Cato Runner of Long Distances and Leaper of Great Heights? Cato Conundrum. And these objects by his side. Are they traces of old hunting methods? Do they speak of the need for shelter, safety, and protection? Are they tributes to beings from ancient time, a prayer of rain, remains from a great party? On Saturdays, columns of food swaddled in thin layers of metal are devoured to celebrate. Flakes of aluminium fall to the ground. Meanwhile Cato keeps his peace, no word to get from him. What made him laugh? What did he believe in? What happened?

All the world's potential: a cocoon of satin, viscose, and shoulder pads. Is it possible to collect functions? To collect is to think about the future, to have a sense of what might happen when luck meets potential. Pluck the right fibre, save corners of cloth, intertwine old sheets. What one collects, one ultimately also needs to provide a space for. Tie together, enter into a larger whole. With strips, with tape and with knots. Close encounters. Sharp sticks, tight laces. Is it easier to stand pressure when the rope that tightens is tied with a bow? Is that what happened to Ida, veins of blood circling around, tightening in? Ida is so close to completion. Only one leg is missing. An incomplete collection; the missing leg. So how about you, Cato? 47 million years is a long time. Even for rocks. Sticks of steel forcing itself out, pushing itself up and forward as the foreign object of the world. A missing leg, a dawning exoskeleton? Much in the world is incidental.

This thought of soil from the Earth as something pure and innocent, that what comes from her is real and true, is constructed, like all the world's houses and buildings are constructed. All the world's romance isn’t trapped in the compost.

What would have happened if Ida had swum? Clapped her small jaws with baby teeth in wiggling fish, not dead leaves. Maybe she would have sunk to the bottom, barricaded herself in a porous grotto, slowly turning into hydrocarbon before later becoming oil, vinyl or perhaps shoulder pads of polyester. Collected by one who treads on twigs, turns over leaves, and pulls the right strings. Luck meets potential.

Textile twinned around its own axis. Threads of metal twined around sticks of steel. 47 million years means nothing to butterflies. Domestic, silk, moth. Thin, strong, shiny. Synthetic and regenerated fibres which soften under heat, melts together and fixates into form when cooled down. Like the spring in a clothing pin, holding onto textiles fluttering like flags in the wind. Cato forced cold sticks of steel through smooth silk, throwing spears in crisp tulle. Cato carefully caressed all the world's potential, melting it into shapes. Water abandoning iron, liquid flowing from stones. Tributes to ancient times, a prayer for rain. Torn pieces of garments made for parties layered on top of one another, seeking each other out and turning into concave and convex shapes. A semicircle closed and open. A shield against the world, a net to catch her. This as well comes from the pure, innocent soil. Polyester sweeping like skin over leaves and stems of plants. Cuticle, a membrane protecting the plant against its own water leaving. Cuticle, one of the most resistant parts of the plant, preserved within fossils. Like little Ida, with baby teeth intact. As fossils slowly become hydrocarbon, in 47 million years being converted into oil, vinyl or perhaps shoulder pads of polyester. Synthetic and regenerated fibres soften when heated, melts together and stiffens when cooled. Everything made in this world is made by what is in her. Degradable, ecologic, natural colour.

By Sara Kollstrøm Heilevang

Tuesday Oct 5 2021

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