I am sitting in a dance studio writing my first letter to you. I hope that you are doing well and that you are ready for this journey. I will devote time to you and our friendship and will do my best to be open and friendly to both of us. I am ready to hear your story.
It's strange to think how little I know you now and how well I will hopefully know you at the premiere. Are you nervous about that day?
At first I wanted to rush things to finish everything but now I realise that you can't rush a relationship. We will be in a place when that day comes and that's what the show will be.
I don't know what you smell, feel or look like yet. I think I'm already harbouring some expectations and preconceived notions, but I'll try to empty myself of them.
I hope that what I think and feel will reach you. I had a Swedish teacher who once said she could hear me speak through my texts. I didn't get top marks for that and I don't know if I even recognise my own voice. Fortunately, we will not only get to know each other through texts and letters, but also through dancing and spending time together. On a weekly basis. Months. We carry each other even when we do other things.
At some point a seed was planted and soon we will see what it grows into. Maybe the whole purpose of this is to get to know myself through you, to get close to myself while getting away from myself for a while. To stay in a place that is between the two of us.
I blow out the candles, it's Selma's birthday and yet she was here before me, before everything else, before I thought of her. She transcends time, Selma is timeless. I only gave her a name.
We look at each other, there is a desert between us and we are going to occupy it. We are going on a journey through time, space and emotions. We know each other and yet we don't. What happens when something is filled with a narrative that is never spoken?
(Selma is everything. Is she me?)
I want to be rocked by her. I think I want to be like her. It is the only desire to be someone else that is pure, that is not rooted in self-hatred and inadequacy but only expands one's being and enriches. Because Selma is like a child, like an animal or a tree, she possesses that basic wisdom that has not yet become cloudy. She sees me without acknowledging me and she knows that she is affected by me too. We mirror and make each other, me and Selma. It is a game and it is bright if we take care of it.
It is not entirely clear where she begins and ends and where I begin.
I have the feeling that all descriptions, all words and definitions fail her. Simplify and limit; because Selma exists outside of language and I cannot fully understand if I try to understand her through language. I have to experience. It is an intelligence that goes beyond anything we know.
Maybe it's about cultivating a relationship. To be close, to live in the same world and understand that it does something to us. That everything is passed on like ripples on water and with each ripple the effect also grows. Perhaps it is about taking care of each other, nurturing, giving freedom, understanding our limitations; knowing that we know nothing and yet know everything.
Stockholm MDT June
Selma, are you a wild horse or a desert?
How does your mind behave?
Let me tell you something
I am not like others
If you are with me, you will feel life a little extra
Are you ready for it?
Selma, you know... it's ugly to have feelings. My heart feels heavy and wet from all this mess.
You should not be able to physically feel your internal organs. Then something is not right. I want to squeeze this self-regulating muscle on everything, like squeezing a wet towel to the last drop.
I don't really understand the chronology of life. How things settle in and on the body like mould. It's like walking around with double sided tape. It just adds, it never peels off. How heavy and full should it really be?
If you can't find a place to live in your own country, you can get an artist's residence on Capri with an outrageously beautiful view and still feel sorry for yourself. It is both a paradox and a symbol of privilege.
But it's all relative as they say... everyone has the right to their story and their feelings but don't forget to be grateful.
How many perspectives can I really show? One
Can I try to ingest more. Perhaps, through you...
Selma, what would you do and how can you hold all this space for me?
Are you the womb itself?
You will see my unclean self, and they will see it through you.
This is the process, not the product, and there are times when I think that I am a fraud and that I will be caught. I can't take responsibility and I have absolutely no confidence that what I have to say is important in any way to anyone other than myself.
But when it comes to the artistic experience, I am still confident and believe that it can feel and mean something to more people than myself. There is no truth presented through it and I am just like you in a search and exploration.
Each time, something new can arise and be experienced. Shared or individual but always together.
Alone is not strong.
Selma Selma Selma
It is so nice to dance and sing for you. To get close to you and become your friend.
Today you are green and swirling unpredictable but always open.
You take your time like a sloth with the same generous demeanour. That mysterious natural smile. A disposition towards life that you have in common. A slow defence, a stubbornness that makes a weapon. A kindness beyond morals, human values and measurements.
I don't think I can control, I just have to follow.
There are geckos running on the walls here. They are my mates. Animals have always been close to me.
I feel at home in the wordless.
Getting to grips with their thoughts can be difficult. They are agile and slippery like cats and snails. Always manage to get away. Almost always... The trick is to catch the tail because then you swing over to the next thought and have thus got hold of the essence and what more is needed than that?
I will mix a potion from all these essences and give them to you. I know, nobody asked for it and yet I just have to.
Locked in my old mobile phone are texts that I cannot access. Locked inside me are additional texts that I will never share. You Selma have access to everything. But you do not judge. You don't confirm either. You just are.
In the summer of 1980, Marguerite Duras wrote a collection of columns. One column a week, all that summer.
Three months. Twelve columns.
Marguerite was a film maker who wrote. I am a choreographer and dancer who writes.
I write and read Marguerite's words in turn.
Sometimes we are asked, sometimes we do it ourselves without being asked. But one thing is certain: we all think we have something to say.
We want to make a mark, to leave something behind.
The artist is immortal because the work lives on. Or does it?
My works that I have created with others have become my family.
Being with them is like coming home. It's familiar, I know them so well.
We are old friends. I don't think I'm immortal, but maybe my work is.
You and I Selma, we don't know each other yet, it takes a while to figure each other out. You have to invest time, patience and love. Lots of love but above all trust. Especially when you are completely lost and just want to cry. Then you have to be ok with being in the dark.
That's where it happens.
Something always happens. Only time will tell, but it will always be something other than what you could have imagined. It will probably be better. Different, but better; because it is bigger than the subject.
A network of a collective creation of mass forces and knowledge that goes beyond time and perspective. I cannot control all the layers and factors of the process, I just have to go along and dare to follow what comes out.
When I go to Capri, I read Aaase Berg quoting Marguerite Duras - she says "you have to love men a lot. Very, very much. Love them a lot, to love them. If you don't do that, it doesn't work. You can't stand them"
Those words stuck with me and the next day I found Marguerite's book Summer 80. In it she writes: "It's true, children are a nuisance, you can't sleep, read or talk when there are children, children are as terrible as life.
The book is on the table in the library, ready for me. It is waiting for me to pick it up.
Marguerite writes as practice and I write as practice.
She writes for Libération magazine and I write for you Selma.
I have a number that keeps recurring.
I see it everywhere.
On my way to the lighthouse today, I found a lone card from a deck of cards. It was lying by the side of the road. Guess which number?
9, red of course.
How can people claim that magic does not exist when there are unexplained coincidences. You just have to see them. Therefore you have to be attentive, you have to look and listen carefully.
I never thought this could be possible. That the key was to just start and never stop and trust that the dance can teach the song and the song can teach the lyrics. I have nothing to answer for. Nothing to lose. This is the process and that's why I just have to. I have to offer failure if that's what it is.
That's just the way it is.
It is a craft that never stops growing. It doesn't have to be so remarkable. Most things in life are not very remarkable, but if you can see the details, you can experience magic. It's all those little things and moments that make up life that stand out and make it all worthwhile.
What you just have to realise is that the text itself, the dance itself, the song itself is enough. We are almost not needed. Yet somehow it is usually beautiful. Because communication is beautiful, even the wordless. But try to forget yourself as much as possible. Bring your story and give it to the dance, to the text, to the song. Share your knowledge and experience. That is your gift to give. Then you just wait for something to happen in between. Like I am waiting for Selma.
The work and the author are in symbiosis. The text becomes a body and a driving agent. Who is it, what does it want, how does it feel? It's like you Selma. This is what I'm talking about. Does it sound esoteric? I don't know how to describe it better.
I can because others could before me. I am certainly not special. I'm not saying I can do it well. I'm just saying I can because I do. You get to make the links yourself. You get to create meaning.
I walk on the same beach, with the sea as a soundtrack, I look at nature. The one that is supposed to be so healing; but nothing happens in me. I feel nothing. There is the sun just like any other dusk and dawn. I've seen it too... It's so damn flattering here; big and pompous, orange turning to pink like a big overripe peach.
Nothing happens in me. Something is different. I am kind of numb. Thinking that rest and nature will help but I'm not affected by anything, trying to think but can't stay in a single thought. Can't do anything sensible. Nothing that makes me feel better. I just want to be in the feeling, be in the shit.
I'm past the stage where everything in life is amplified and exalted like in my teenage years, past romanticising pain and grief, most of all tired of it constantly haunting me and my lack of skills to deal with it. Past the fear of not feeling as strongly.
I don't really have any major problems, I'm actually quite privileged and have it pretty good. I am awesome and at the same time mediocre. Aging, and growing; a little bit anyway... Making mistake after mistake, repeating patterns, getting a little better. Feel lots of guilt.
I quickly look over my left shoulder and see the moon. Can they really be up at the same time? But then I see that the sun has already set. But I still think they can, because I remember seeing it before...
When I get to the boulders and fish where the sea gets a little wilder, nature still comes close. It affects me. It makes an impression. How can it never feel old even though I just said it, but I don't know anything so don't listen to me. Maybe you are my best friend after all.