Lately I have been feeling a kind of discomfort. Let's call it an ethical tension, a feeling that everything is flowing. That I know things that I do not really want to admit. At all that is 'solid is melting into air'. Those who have a lot get more. The differences are increasing. The trading market is governed by bilateral agreements. The world economy has become global. Democracy is another place.
It's a dizzy feeling.
It's not something I think about; it's a physical thing. I have it on my body. It is in the clothes I wear, in the coffee I drink. I have it in my mouth. The tongue grows, the words stick out.
I stand in the shower, lie in bed and think that Norway, the state, we, the people – once there were sizes I thought could change something. That we could say here, but no longer. But capital flows wherever it wants. I can call for regulations and a new economic world order, but capital will continue to bind us and propel us apart. I am a tiny particle thrown around a sea of global corporations with subsidiaries, radiation companies, lobbyists, business lawyers.
I get up.
I'm standing in the shower.
I soap myself with soap from a hotel in Hemsedal. Wipes me with a cotton towel from Ikea.
I am made in Norway. Caught in a random hotel room in Lofoten in 1968.
I'm lying on my back, completely naked. Don't be ashamed.
I put my hand against the pubic bone.
I think of the 18 singles I have in the closet.
I'm thinking of freshly sewn cotton.
I think of cotton plants – row after row, ground after ground, a peripheral place in Aurungabad province. I think of the cotton where it grows and stretches. How it is watered, hatched, picked. On those who pick it. People in colorful saris against mountains of white. The harvest and packing. The people packing the pallets, the pallets out. Transport to the place where the cotton is washed and bleached. Then it is re-wrapped before being transported to a new warehouse or factory where it is distributed, fed into the spinning mills, reeled on huge coils which are transported to weavers where it is woven, turned into textiles, denim, knitwear, before it is rolled up on rollers and transported to a new place where the rolls are rolled out, stretched on huge frames, stretched and dipped into tubs of blue, yellow, orange. Lifted up again. Wiped, washed, re-stretched – and I can hardly think of it anymore, because it has no end, this chain of events, of places, of processes, of hands and of people – but I force myself to continue, to Think of pallets of colorful cotton in a trailer in some way in some province of Inland Asia. The time from the seed is sown until the soft cotton is ready to be harvested. The thread is spun somewhere, woven another, dyed a third, and the fabric rolls now reside in the trailer approaching an industrial area on the outskirts of a metropolis, where they are unloaded and the material is fed into the machines, before being spewed out again. , full of pattern this time: flowers, birds, skulls, logos, squares and dots – and then hung to dry in a huge courtyard surrounded by electric fences.
I think of cotton plants – row after row, ground after ground, a peripheral place in Aurungabad province.
Sun. I'm thinking of the sun. On cotton clothes on a clothesline somewhere in childhood. But soon I'm back in the darkness of the factory, in a huge and endless alarm where the finished fabric is now retrieved, rolled up on rolls, stacked in stacks, deep inside dusty hangars where it is once again packed and driven out, along village roads and highways and further down the rivers, where it is lifted onto barges and picked up in trailers that take it to a huge railway station where yellow and gray trucks dump it into containers drawn along railroad tracks, on board railway wagons on a train as in low speed is tough through a vast plain and outwards towards the coast to the sea and the ports, I think. Huge tankers, haze and skyscrapers in the distance. Shantytowns, the workers moving down from them, down to the docks at dawn. By bicycle, on foot, in rattled buses, with lunch boxes and drinking bottles, and at the container port, they open the containers and begin to load the rolls of cloth on board a roroship with flags of one or other trade clearance. I think of him driving the pallets down into the cargo compartment – up and down, up and down – and in the dark, the rolls with blue cloth, the rolls with white cloth, with yellow cloth strewn with small birds, with pink cloth strewn with flowers in the smell of diesel. They are on their way to southern China or Thailand, where they are transported to new factories. Here, the substances must be unpacked, labeled, priced, sold in huge quantities, then in smaller quantities and then sent to dealers who get them transported to new factories, where the substance is fed into new machines, handled by new hands. Hands that cut and sew for patterns designed for the European market by a designer with steel glasses and green eyes at a loft studio in Stockholm or New York, Rome or Shanghai. And the cotton fields are chest high, green, white where backs are bent. Bags are filled, hangars are emptied. Courtyards are covered by a white, chalky layer. I think of small rooms full of dust. I'm thinking of fields that are clay-rich in cotton dust. On coughs, mouthwashes, children with chest sinusosis, the cotton plague – the one that affects hundreds of thousands of cotton workers every year.
It's almost evening – and I'm thinking about the little safety needle on the cotton blouse I bought on sale last Tuesday, the price that was fixed in. On she or he who has to attach it to the garment. On how many such safety pins they must have attached – and on that blouse cost me as much as a cup of coffee and less than a beer.
Then comes the insomnia. The discomfort. And I avoid body contact. Avoid being in the same room as others. Suddenly stands in the middle of the rise and shouts, in the middle of a supermarket and shouts. I got up during the couples dinner, at the stag team, at the coffee shop. I scream into their happy, well-adjusted faces:
- No! I don't feel free!
- No! You don't listen! That was not what I meant! I'm not drunk! I'm not feeling bad! I don't want to go home!
It's as if I've got something in my throat, and now it wants up.
It's as if I've got something in my throat, and now it wants up. It's a kind of swelling. That's the mouth. I wake up with a taste in my mouth. Tunga. It doesn't fit -
When I meet acquaintances, I no longer know what to say.
I stand on the bus and wish I was somewhere else.
The room is too cramped, too big, too familiar, too strange.
And I'm leaving.
Standing in a hotel room in a strange city, in a room with large, dark carpets. Standing there looking out over the city: the traffic machines. Bank buildings. Illuminated advertising. Have a coffee in the lobby. Drink, set it from me. Takes another sip and it grows.
I walk up to the room.
Fetches a water bottle in the fridge. I sit on the sheets, on the tight, tight cotton, and the city is a big, living, breathing animal beneath me. The taste of coffee, water bottle in hand -
And when I come home again, I can no longer stop it. Vertinna pours more wine, and she, who will soon be getting married, stands and spews on the bench, in the shelter of a huge billboard, and everyone has gone home, and the cafes and bars and newsstands have closed a long time ago, and I am at home with me even now. Lying in bed and watching it for me. How everything just grows and grows. Everything just grows and grows -
And when all this is over? I think.
When all this is over – what then?
Just rock. Just wind. Sun. Only waterways, revehi, deer trout -
The Northern Norwegian Action Room – an academic conclave opened for conversation and reflection between academics from various disciplines during the Festival Games in Northern Norway, Friday 29 June at. 13.30 (Bertheustorget in Harstad). The five stage artists Lawence Malstaf, Amund Sjølie Sveen, Tale Ness, Liv Hanne Haugen and Jon Tombre participated. Saturday, June 30, 20 p.m. XNUMX was also the premiere of their performance DIY – Manual for a possible future (Hveding quarter in Harstad).