28.8.14

Glitter

Saw a show about stammers on Channel 4. For a man to not be able to speak when he wants to, would that be akin to being an architect without hands? One has to do what one can with the means that one has been given, and be happy with that, but one should also remember that one is in the power of becoming something else than what one is today. I had a moment this morning when I was thinking: "how stupid am I not for sacrificing all this money on an education?", but then I was reassured by those close to me. I'm not a man of much money, I'm only happy I could take this loan and do my best with it, to be in London, a big city, even though I hardly leave my room - and to be happy with that. I suppose happiness is a thing one can wish for, and search for, but one that comes to you when you don't expect it.

Saw one of Diploma 6's students on dezeen earlier today. I didn't know he had made a film, and although some things were a bit quirky, I liked the colours. The project itself is a bit ... I don't know, experimental just for the sake of being experimental, but I'm not a philistine, it is better than what I did last year. Had another of those moments of sudden realisation earlier this afternoon, when I was supposed to go to the RIBA party but instead stayed home to write and read, and it was the realisation that we don't apply architecture to the facets of life which don't have anything to do with architecture in order to become architects, but it is rather the opposite. When we bring into architectural design what has nothing to do with architecture as it is, we become architects. Perhaps, to be an architect is the ultimate end of a journey which we have to hitchhike with all kinds non-architectural along the way.

I'm not an architect yet.
I wonder if I'll ever be.

Pic: Smoker in Fitzrovia.

26.8.14

The meaningful wins over the meaningless

In London again, with polite showers decorating the sky in mid-grey, so that we are reminded of which city we spend our days in. Cooking chicken with wholegrain pasta and a big dose of vegetables, while we contemplate the Notting Hill carnival from afar. A cheerful email from the AArchitecture editors made the morning a bit brighter, although I still grasp for reasons to rise from the bed. It will be better when the library opens, I think, so I have somewhere to go during the day. Now, I'm making the days go by with the latest AA Files, and some evening lectures streamed from the school website.

How was your summer? Mine was good. Hot at times, slightly more chilly at others, but good, it was good. Strange to think that I've got less than a year now left before I graduate. It will be ten years since I first did the test that earned me a place in school, although I chose to postpone my first year to 2006. I learned a lot during 2005. I learned to program. I learned to hex edit data files. I learned to Photoshop. I learned English. That was enough. I've been lucky. Throughout most of my life I feel that way: I've been lucky.

Will my luck hold on for one more year? I can only hope. I don't have time for pride. I must move on, always move on, always something new to write, always another mantra to test. Do I enjoy it? I do, but I believe there is something deeper to it, something that keeps you going when the times get rough. I'm still slightly surprised I ended up at the AA. I thought for sure that I would go to the Bartlett. Same city, I suppose. Now, the question is where I will end up in the future. I think I live far too much in the future, but on the other hand, that's what it means to be young.

Pic: Thames River redevelopment.

23.8.14

Factory Floor

Drawing: Done!

It's not what you don't have
it's what you do with what you have.

Before I began working on my latest drawing, I asked myself: what do I want to get better at? I know, for a fact, that I can draw lifelike portraits and landscapes to an almost professional degree as long as I have photographic evidence to work from. What's new? you might ask. Everyone draws better when they know what they draw. With this in mind, I decided to dedicate my drawing-quality-time to rendering things I don't know of, to invent, to draw from one's mind, to imagine. It's harder, because you cannot rely on a precedent, you have to think of shadows, of light direction, of composition, of angles and places to leave only vaguely sketched. I cannot say that I always enjoy drawing. It's hard, and, in the end, perhaps not as rewarding as I wish. But these are the skills I have, and I have to polish them as much as I can.

A break from the predictable pattern of waking-eating-drawing-writing-sleeping in the form of, as always, fika. More Japanese lessons in the headphones on our way there, and far too much chocolate for me to leave with my conscience intact. After all, if you're offered cream, why not indulge in it as much as possible? I don't have good self-control. Porter Robinson's first album and Joe Hisaishi for the drawing moment, and sadly, a day without poems. Tomorrow I will submit my entry to AArchitecture, which will hopefully be good enough to print.

Pic: Hens outside Andrarum coffee cottage.

19.8.14

Collecting Collections

Since I don't understand the world intuitively
I have to understand it by reading, by thinking.

Sometimes I stand in the middle of the city, devoid of feelings for it, walking around in my own mind, trying my best to extract from the world what the world cannot signal to me by means of direct instructions. I write because it is the only way for me to understand, or rather, when I've understood something in a text (or think I've understood it), I need to write it down, to preserve it for the future, because a mind forgets easily, but the text remains. Now to elaborate on what this means for drawing, probably I need to make my drawings collections not of items as they are, but of items I want to keep, buildings I prefer, architecture which I've collected. I hope I will get somewhere with all my thoughts, and my autistic tendencies might very well be my greatest strengths.

Pic: Schindler House, Los Angeles.

18.8.14

Rain + Cloud + Sun

Had a meeting with my doctor again, who sat down with me for one hour to talk of what had happened since last time we saw each other (in April). I told her of my sudden decision to stop taking one of the medicines (and how I was forced to begin taking them again), and we agreed that the best solution is to keep the dose as it is, and wait for a more stable situation before we consider lowering it. I'm not complaining. I'm happy with my life as it is now, although things could be better, of course. But we cannot always be elated and ecstatic, we need our moments of contemplation and gathering of strength as well. Therefore, I try to do something good of the rain outside, and proceed with my books (there's always a new book).

Now it's only six days left before I return to London. I will start looking for a place to live as soon as I've unpacked, and hopefully I can find some place both cozy, commuter-friendly, and cheap. But I don't count on it. We'll see. At least I know what to do now, I proceed a little bit at a time, today by installing all the Adobe programs on my new laptop, which I'm slowly getting used to. A transfer here, an update there ... things fall into place, one bit after the other.

I also applied, hopefully for the last time, for student loans. I plan on paying my term fee this week as well, to provide all the things I need to do when I can do them, with appropriate attention. Letters are sent, the future is awaiting. It will be good no matter what will happen.

Pic: Outside our house in Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne.

15.8.14

There is always a solution

The sky is getting darker every evening, as we've turned our heads from high summer's short nights, and begin to face the end of the strawberry season. A short break from drawing at the local café, where a move to seize an apple pie with vanilla custard turned out to gild the afternoon - with rain hanging in the air - in a tint of unspoilt enjoyment. Then, it is back to drawing little telephone kiosks from London, to populate my world. Later, I put on the Turrican 2 soundtrack and disappear into a world of precise lines, some eraser action and discussions over anime metaphysics.

Yes, summer's slipping away. I'm not really preparing, except for the purchase of a new computer, a shiny ASUS with the dreaded Windows 8 which I'm just getting used to (by means of disabling everything that is supposed to assist me). Time runs away, so the only choice we have is to run with it. I'm trying to write a bit every day when I'm done with drawing, for there is nothing that can bring you to sleep as instantly as a good thought, or at least once you've written it down. Still having trouble with anxiety, not in the morning anymore, but in the evening. As soon as I lie down, that awful stomach feeling creeps upon me. However, I cannot blame it for my unwillingness to get out of bed in the morning - I sleep enough anyway.

If there is always a solution
and there is always another solution
to the same problem, is perhaps the surplus
of greater danger than the deficiency.

Pic: Åhus beach, right outside our cottage.

14.8.14

Sartre: Done!

Something very refreshing arrives when you finish a project, because you can then move on to the next. With "Being and Nothingness" now behind me, I can wait a bit longer until I decide to tackle a book of this magnitude again. But hey, I read one-third of "Being and Time" on the flight to L.A. (and the subsequent two-thirds in two months), so there's always possibility for those who are stubborn and eager. Tomorrow, it's back to other projects, most notably my latest drawing, which I need to finish. After that, there's the project of London. So many projects! I think this is what architecture is, what sets it apart from the judgement of the final piece in art (which we can only imitate). The only thing that changes when we graduate is that the projects demand real clients, real money, real drawings. I'm looking forward to it.

12.8.14

ONE STEP

Allowing myself a moment to go back in time to my very beginnings as an architecture student, I find that one should perhaps be content in seeing that things do change, and do change a lot. One believes oneself to sit on so many truths when one is young, about good city life, about programs for buildings, about submerged structures, muqarnas and night club analyses. These days, I know more, and therefore, I practice humility and diligence. I do draw better now than before, but I shouldn't blame myself for not being able to draw certain motives, at least not until I try them. Therefore, I should not cease to develop. To grow and to learn is much more fun than to impose onto the world your finished beliefs and your convictions. Such things come anyway, sooner or later.

In some respects, I suppose what I feel when I look through my old sketchbooks is shame and pride in equal measures. Shame because I believed myself to hold truths that were undeniable in the light of my upbringing as a son of architects. It was arrogance, I know it. But there's also pride, in knowing that I am the same person who began my studies back then, and this is where I am now. Who knows where I will be in the future?

When we go back, we find nuances that are only revealed to us in time. In the present, we are much too blind to see how our beliefs are nothing but retreats into ourselves, when we don't want to hear anything beyond what we listen to, and thus our worlds become so much our own that they only live until we, ourselves, abandoned them. And abandon them we will, because how else could we remain the same?

Pic: Cliffs in Antibes.

11.8.14

Today's Lesson: Rebellion!

If something is not right, you have to protest.
Stir up a mess. Call forward chaos. Overthrow the powers that be.

I'm back to eating citalopram again, because the withdrawal effects have taken their toll on me the last week. I couldn't go to bed without feeling variably as if an elephant was sitting on my chest, or as if rats were gnawing away at my intestines. It shouldn't surprise anyone that I was tired as a wreck when I finally got out of bed in the morning, but I managed to challenge myself by executing a planned rebellion against my own body, against my depression. Life is a strange balancing act between what we must accept, and what we must resist.

Pic: Orangerie in my garden, Kristianstad.

10.8.14

Flying to a land far away ...

I realize I'm becoming a bit of a lifestyle blogger here. I haven't been drawing much lately, probably because I've lost interest in doing the things I'm good at, rather than doing the things I enjoy, which mostly is setting unrealistic goals of my life which I will somehow achieve by pure luck and the fortunate help of others. As I read in one of my architecture books many, many years ago: "one man can do little, a thousand hands move mountains."

Back to London in two weeks, and after that, drawing, preparing, making excuses to do the right thing when the wrong thing is all the more alluring. I still don't know what kind of unit I want to apply for in my final year. Perhaps, I should wait until the presentations on the first day in school. The brief might be more interesting than the teachers, although, much the same as teachers pick personalities from the interviews as much as they pick those with a solid portfolio, one needs to essentially surround oneself with people who you can think together with, not for, nor against.

One year left, one time to bust all the moves at the same time!

Pic: Sundae in Antibes.

9.8.14

A momentary loss of confidence

Every good thought takes a lifetime to think
and every bad one grows into a monster in seconds.

The swallows crawl across the sky in clouds that never end. The rain hits the windshield when it ought to be us who are stuck in it. And then, there's a blue sky, and a salmon dish we eat while hoping that this particular salmon died in a happy manner. We need to think less of ourselves, and more about the world. So, I see the sunset, it's not particularly dramatic, and I don't need it to be that way. Only a regular sunset on a regular day. Not every day has to be special, perhaps it is sometimes enough just with having precisely what the day offers and nothing else. My grandfather had his apple orchard and his fishing boat, and that was enough for him. Me? I'm just a thinker, caught in a body which is not interested in doing, despite me flooding the table with output, as if sheer mass was enough to make a good project ...

Why is it that people find such a pastime in talking, in arguing? Wouldn't it be all easier if we spoke more rarely and thought a bit more? But perhaps, I cannot, will not and do not desire to change the world into a world of myselves. The problem is ... those who are most fit for power are those who least of all desire it. I don't know who made that quote. I'm quite certain it wasn't me. So I'm going to say, that I absorbed it. All reflection is good reflection, because it changes the way we perceive, or rather, it deepens it, to levels we didn't know we had. We become less sure, and more allowing, and we acknowledge that simple answers do more harm than good. (Do they?)

Pic: Buoys in Kivik, outside Buhre's Fish Restaurant.

7.8.14

Metal Techno

Awoke fairly early today, but felt as confused as always. I began to write and read around 11 AM, as usual, but quickly erased what I had written. What is the point of writing if you don't write for a cause? Writing for writing's sake is not a movement we want. Writing, in fact, like all art, has to follow a certain mode of thinking and feeling. I mention these two together because they are not separable. Passion and logic are one.

I couldn't write, so what did I do? Thinking, thinking hard.
Sometimes, the unique hurts to think. Sometimes, you have to go
far beyond yourself into yourself to find what you truly are.

Did I find anything? Yes, yes I did. Did I write it? Of course I did! It only took me 8 hours to figure out. But all the more important, I have a direction, I know what kind of agenda I want to push for fifth year, I am reconciled (for now) with my beliefs and ambitions. For it is true, a man cannot do everything and be everyone, for he will only end up as a faint imitation of the perfection of the imperfect. The problem I had, was that I wasn't asking the right question. Instead of: what kind of problems do I want to address? I asked: what is the most urgent issue that these days of ours are compelling us to address? It is a shift, from personal indulgence to the benefit of the many. I am not isolated. I am a part of a community, and in that community lies my most enigmatic motivation.

Pic: Araslöv Golf Club Restaurant.

6.8.14

A strange day

Woke up at nine as usual (after having gone to bed around ... when was it, one?) and didn't feel particularly strange, only that the big Question from the night before still loomed over my head: what should I do? Which soon turned into more questions: when? how? why? and what for dinner? At least it is more productive than me thinking about my own conduct.

At present, I'm returning to the theme of the architect, which to me is interesting when we speak not of the architect as a psychic entity, but as an attitude. To elaborate, the attitude of the architect makes him an independent creature vis-a-vis the client, the dweller, the politician and the man on the street who mostly don't give a shit. It is also what separates the architects from each other. We are not creating new styles, but rather, we are creating new thought-patterns, new decisions to be made, in short: new positions.

But it would be a lie to say that I'm interesting in "hearing" the opinion and the stance of a fellow architect. I don't want to know his motives. I want to read them through his buildings. It is not through description that we learn of the other's outlook on us, it is by assuming our selves to be sufficient readers of built statements that to us, may have an unique relation to this self. It is Derrida's victory: the building outdoes the architect, and the critic (the I-architect) is in full capacity to read the work for what it is to him.

Of course, I'm aware that such an attitude runs contrary to the pursuit of objectivity that I have assigned to myself for the coming years. But perhaps, it is just a transfer of one subjectivity to another. They are both opinions, and just because he is the "creator" does not make his opinion more true than mine - as long as I'm not lying, that is.

Enough of writing.
I know I just bore you all.

Pic: Green Park, London.

5.8.14

Happiness and World Peace

One reason my project from last year was not as successful as I hoped, is its lack of direction, a goal. I wrote some time ago on the necessity of goals in order to organise one's life, and it still remains true. I don't believe setting such a lofty goal as I did back then is particularly successful, though, but I equally don't believe in small goals such as "cook a good meal" will provide you with any form of lasting meaning, since you will be stuck carrying out small goals while losing track of the larger, which is what brought my project down. If I am to make a project that is successful by means of the small story-format which I selected for my final presentations, they still need some sort of meta-story, a story about the story.

So, basically, all I'm thinking of these days is: what kind of goal do I want to set for myself? Who will benefit from it if I succeed, beyond myself? Away with the American Dream, what I need is results. Proof. A mission.

Pic: St. James's Park in London.

4.8.14

BEcoming a MOnster

What is it that keeps a man moving despite the loneliness, despite meeting fewer and fewer friends on the journey forward? Soon I'm going back to London, the place where they for some reason don't sell any 0.3 mm mechanical pencil refill leads on the high street - they haven't even got 0.3 mm pencils! Small towns only have one store to go to, and that store is forced to stock up on everything. The hunt for more money creates an arid landscape for artists.

I might be a bit boring. I don't do much. I just read books. And draw. And I don't really draw very special things, just variants of houses I have seen and want to remember. I draw to relax. I read to learn. Swap the two, and you have another day. I'm not sure if I like London, but I like my school. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision. Even though I've now been relieved of nearly 13,000 pounds in term fees, I still wonder ... and soon, summer's over. Just another autumn ahead of us, the last one in school, and then ... work? Work. Work Work. Some of us were made to wonder, others just move along. Who wins? Time.

I make a bit of music on the piano, and I ask myself: for whom? Who is going to benefit from my struggles? Who can see all the blood poured into the composition, who can tell that here lived a man who did nothing but to doubt, and in between, poured out his doubt onto the keyboard in search of a voice which could only speak through instrumentals ...

It's not that I don't like loneliness.
But loneliness as absence of madness
is different from that lacking love.

3.8.14

Motivation

One reason why I prefer writing to drawing is that writing allows me to ask the fundamental question of "why?", while drawing requires me to ask "what?" instead. A pretty drawing without content is a folly, to be stocked in a pinterest board rather than carried with one in one's future career. How can drawing become a "why?", without retreating to mere representation of reality? When does drawing investigate rather than portray? Like I said, I'm not interested in expressing myself (for that I have this blog) in my art or my architecture, but I've positioned myself at the point of the battle: buildings without knowledge is not architecture, in fact, the very emblem of architecture is that it contains knowledge. Architecture is not a metaphysical profession - it is an epistemological ditto.

As for drawing, I'm considering the opportunity of it to fill the opposite function: perhaps drawing can be a way of asking questions, rather than providing answers. That could be a good summary of my working technique: writing towards knowledge, drawing towards speculation.

Pic: Schindler House in Los Angeles.

2.8.14

Taking up the load where I left it

You do not know what you are, even in the presence of others.
But what these others believe you are, is what you will remain
well beyond death.

It's easy to get lost in the many. If you don't want to make only for your own pleasure, and not in order to give expression to a suffocating self, but in order to, in Marx's words, to change the world we're trying so hard to explain - where do you start? What can I do in architecture school that has an impact, beyond just me? I might be selfish in many ways, but it has its root in my wish to bring to this world the ability to see trough my eyes, to perhaps understand the world better, from someone who has seen not much, but a lot of the same.

I'm not sure if I want to change the world. Perhaps I just want to grasp it. I don't have many wishes apart from a table to sit by, a few books to read, and a heap of 200 g paper with a sharpened pencil next to them. It's not that I don't care about people, it's just that, I'm having a hard time understanding them. So many are driven by their own readings of the world, they are guided by their beliefs, before these are shattered, before they meet the wall upon which nothing else can be said.

I don't know why I'm drawing. I don't know why I'm listening to Japanese lessons from my smartphone on my way between excuses for fika places and more fika places. I don't know why I'm writing, but I know that I can change very little, that it is a privilege for the privileged which they don't seem to recognize. Good words are few these days.

Pic: Boat House in Fredensborg.

1.8.14

A tour to Helsingør

What I like about drawing is that if you don't know what you're drawing, there's no way you can make a mistake. And should you even make a mistake (which is not a mistake), there's always the eraser. All tools of the profession are allowed, as much as any material you can have liberates the collage-artist, the dadaist and the merz-builder. (Also spotted a bit of Jørn Utzon on the way to Fredensborg.)

One thing I've been thinking of is to what degree a project can be entirely process-driven, so that we don't know *what* is released through the creative process, only that we know that all methods are fair game, which define what we make more than the idea we have of what we want to make in advance. How does one avoid the indulgently self-referential in such a project? Can such a theme be pursued altogether lacking the something we usually call "the project"? Can I stand there honestly and say to the jury, when faced with the dreaded question "but what *is* your project?" and answer: "the process is the project!"

I wouldn't be the first student to claim such a thing, so the question is, how can I bring something new to the idea of process-driven architecture? By adopting processes that have been discarded, or to subvert existing practices that no-one questions? I remember my final table of fourth year, in which the discussion veered towards my means of working, rather than the themes I offered (which were, I think, too complex to be successfully communicated in twelve minutes). It seems like my project was already a question of process (not format, I hate "format"), but the themes were too under-cooked to be digested. So, in the end, I haplessly reverted to talking about when I took a decision to draw a line, when a box, when a tower, and so on. I want to do the same, but in a much more informed and critical manner.

Pic: Pond in Fredensborg's garden, and the masts of a ship in Helsingør harbour.

31.7.14

If I don't make it as an architect



I'm going to produce music like this.

What we don't have in age or knowledge
we make up in attitude.

30.7.14

The impossibility of deciding when "too much" is really too much

But I think I've reached it. I can't write this much. Maybe if I was an author, it'd all be good, but I am not. I'm a student of architecture, and I've chosen to become an architect. I can't write my way through fifth year, and I don't want to, either. And like my teacher wrote in my end of year report, the MACHINE needs to move forward - at all times - over all obstacles. I wonder if this is what Dickens felt when he wrote his famous feuilletons some 150 years ago ...

It's time for closure. I've written more than a thousand pages in a little more than a year. There are other things I need to master, and the field of architecture, while far from being depleted, needs to be attacked by other means, to reach other ends. Today, I self-published three volumes of my writings to Google Books - they're not online yet, but I will alert you as soon as this is the case. Not that I expect fame, accolades and endless invites to poetry evenings; I do it mostly for my own sake, to sort things into their appropriate places.

Whenever I feel slightly dazed, I have a need to return not necessarily to the things that I enjoy, but more importantly to the things that assure me. I'm not yet there when it comes to drawing, because it was only a little more than one year that I was sure I couldn't draw a thing, given the many years behind me of ignoring this ability. But drawing has given me an identity. What I draw is what I want to say, strangely enough what I cannot say in words.

Pic: Beach in Cannes.

29.7.14

Blekinge Coffee Excess

I suppose that to be seen, one has to make oneself visible. After I got a forwarded email from a friend in my unit at the end of May, I sent three drawings for a competition arranged by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) for drawings produced by students in UK architecture schools. I submitted three drawings, none of them particularly related in any other way than being produced during the academic year, and them being drawings that haven't been published before. I don't like to live on past achievements. Today, I received an answer from the competition organisers revealing that one of my drawings had received a commendation. Given the fierce competition (last year had 200+ entries), I'm very happy to be considered among the nine best.

Such things give you strength to keep moving, to not act in the dark, to give off a bit of yourself even though it doesn't always turn out the way you expected. I'm also happy to be able to promote my unit at the AA, which I feel has given back so much to me. This is what school should be, demanding a lot, but rewarding a lot, as well.

Link to my commendation, including comments.
Pic: Paintings on the wall of "Mandeltårtan" in Ronneby.

28.7.14

As long as the opportunist is honest

Is it disheartening to write, if no-one will read it? As an author, you shouldn't strive to publish everything, because not everything you write will turn out to be good, which is proven quite elegantly by rereading a text which has been resting on your hard-drive for a few months. Some might be good, but taken together ... why publish it, when you can write so much better now? The risk, however, is that you never publish anything, since what you write will never quite live up to your demands.

It is much the same with drawing. You have a thousand shitty drawings within you, so better get them out quickly - but not quicker, of course. Talent in drawing shows itself immediately; the writer's reputation, however, grows slowly. Anyone can judge the technical merits of an illustrator with one glance. The skill of drawing a certain line is not comparable to using a certain word, at least not since even the tackiest of writers can spell his words correctly and obey proper grammar - in fact, in writing, one's merit, in the eyes of the reviewer, often has to do with how well he breaks the rules that language has already set up for him.

I like perfection. I simultaneously don't like change. I believe in craftsmanship, but I wouldn't want to be judged as a craftsman. I write, and I write, and I draw, and I draw. I make a bit of music, but that is one thing I have given up on, in terms of the perfect. To achieve something of musical expertise, one needs to be gifted. I can hardly read sheet music, and I cannot play Rachmaninoff, despite having tried now for ... nine years? There are simply thing you cannot do. I cannot sing, for instance. I don't believe I will ever be able to sing well, and I don't have a need to. But the merit of any man is not to know his limits, but to choose them.

Pic: Public park in Cannes.

27.7.14

The days we have

"Being and Nothingness" is a gold-mine. I can hardly read a page without throwing it away to write down a new thought, a new idea, another way of looking upon the everyday, or a challenge of my own perception. Compare this to another book which I received for the summer, that of "What is Architecture?" by Rasmus Waern and Gert Wingårdh (or Fjärt Fisgårdh as I've always called him - in an untranslatable form of juvenile humour that only Swedes will get, including mr. Wingårdh himself) and you realize the difference between what is good and what is great. It's difficult for me to react to a book like "What is Architecture?", because it is so laden with clichés and unable to challenge the contemporary condition it arose from. It is basically just a book of opinions, those of the authors.

"Being and Nothingness" on the other hand, strives to establish facts. It is also what I'm doing in my poetry project - I am not interested in giving expression to an "inner voice", but rather I challenge this voice by the voices of others, and the struggle that arrives from it is what becomes a poem. A poet cannot will the world to recognize him - he has to recognize the world. It reminds me of the ethos of Dip 9. One's relation to architecture is a given, but our reactions to it do not have to be. One cannot throw Piranesi out of the window and declare: I want to be free! Good architects invent freedom out of captivity. By all means, this does not mean I agree with setting constraints arbitrarily - I really don't have much good to say about a man like Perec. (He was very French, though.)

The ability to write fairly well is fairly dispersed over society. We are all technical masters of the language we've adopted since birth, which means that expertise has to arrive from something else than mere play of words. An author is a man of observation, apt not only at describing things as they really are (which is hard enough), but also endowed with insight into the relation between the self and these things. Perhaps we will see a revenge of the objective soon. Perhaps we're not living in anything but the hangover after the last century. Mistakes need incubation, before they can be committed once again.

I think what I'm trying to achieve in my writings, and by extension, my architecture, is a form of "fragmented metaphysics", in the sense that after Lyotard, architecture, art and philosophy has no choice but to refrain from the totalitarian, not the totality. A totality can be composed of fragments, a totality emerges from within the many stories caught in its scope, e.g., a city. It is a criticism against hierarchical society, which is the real struggle of our time - not capitalism versus socialism, but the powerful versus the powerless. But this is also a fragment. Our struggle is greater than the words one can put on the struggle.

Pic: Sea-wall in Antibes.

26.7.14

Energy flows from Energy

Writing is a bit like a drug. When you've taken the pill, the words spit themselves out in the manner of a machine gun. There's always the problem of how much you can write before there's nothing to write of anymore - I had to take a break from my architectural writings for a day in order to regain confidence that there were still things worthy to be written about. If I had writing as a day-to-day job, I would probably be able to eject 4,000 words a day. My record so far was set in arch school when I - purely for my own amusement - decided to write a three-paragraph poem for each of my project images. I managed a bit over 8,000 words that time. Now, enjoying "vacation", taking trips with family, sleeping fairly much, I average 1,500-2,000 words a day of pure philosophy. Is it enough? I seem to be just hunting that next kick, that sudden realization of the function of the universe (or, at least: man's universe) by the speed of a thought which translates itself to digital text.

Another thing that should be a hindrance to my production is the fact that I'm writing in my second language. With Swedish, I can manage many styles and crack many inter-lingual jokes, but in English, I tend to isolate myself to what the Swedes themselves call "chancery language", that is, making a subject sound just as hard as it is (philosophy itself). Some may scorn my way of writing, but I write in this way not to obscure the truth, but to challenge the reader's own prejudice of what the truth may be, in his limited and determined use of everyday language. There is a scepticism against the ability of present, metaphorical language to establish new concepts, but perhaps this scepticism is unneeded. I don't know. Yet. Writing is a way of finding answers, and I'm discontent with the postmodern position of the impossibility of proper answers and the making of scepticism into a lifestyle. Periods of materialism follow periods of idealism, and vice versa.

However, it is easy to become disillusioned as to the value of writing. While it is a thing that I love, what use is love if there's no one present to receive it? I duly post my daily writings on my blogs, but I don't think they're read. People seem to have a difficulty understanding me. Or a plain disinterest thereof. I'm not popular. My writings are not of wizards and castles, nor of whores and murderers. I write in the strange intermediary space between philosophy, art and architecture, sometimes extending into political theory, theology (is this even sane today?) and pure poetry. I don't have a reader in mind, other than everyone. That reader is myself, for I am all men. Is this my tragedy?

Pic: Beech tree next to Stenshuvud National Park.

25.7.14

When I think, I cannot draw

And when I draw, I cannot think. The distance between the two seems unbridgeable. Every attempt at taking control over the process, of drawing according to a plan, reveals my inability to be content. Sometimes I'm angry, sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I retreat, sometimes I come forward. Nothing's certain. I take a bit of everything, synthesize it, and what emerges is not a project, but a lifestyle. Perhaps that's what I'm building - not so much myself, but a method, a scheme, a plan, of living, of acting, of making, of sleeping.

The remnants of what we do, the corpse after the mind burnt out ... is architecture nothing more? Who cares for such things when there are guns being handed out in the shadow of a fatwa. You wipe away the blood of a friend that died from shrapnel next to the window where you both thought you were safe, and you think: nothing more, nothing more than justice.

A friend told that it is necessary in school today, as a student, to adopt a political stance. Perhaps it is more important to do so after we leave school, when we cease to be students (despite what Brett said) for few things seem as certain as the favela-conscience turning into a gated-community lifestyler once the salary begin to drop in and you can suddenly afford that house you've always wanted. My dreams are for me only. Such a long distance we have covered since 1930, but then again, the problems of that time were problems in one's backyard. It is always easier to promote a future which you've known of since birth.

(New drawing.)

21.7.14

The Line

When I was in high school, I wanted - among other things - to become a politician. It is still bothers me a bit, the wondering, do I really want to spend the rest of my life drawing neat buildings for customers of A-Europe, I-world, or, more urgently, to decorate my fifth year project with confetti of moderately leftist jargon, just enough to scoop the honours and get the job I covet, where I will still just be doing Zaha's or SANAA's job. Some people make up their mind early, I don't. I'm mostly just disgusted by all the idiocy in the world. The question is: do I turn my back to it, and carry on bringing revolution to my own world, or do I run the risk of becoming "one of them" by taking a stance? I pay my fees to the school not because I'm able to, but because I believe that this is the right place, the right forum, to ask these kinds of questions.

Politics without knowledge is like playing Roulette without being able to count.
Shot-down airplanes, land assaults, and the latest transfer in Premier League ...

And I know, the Western moral intelligentsia, to which I belong, engages in a game of words - words! words! always words! discussions! peace talks! words changing nothing, acts that stretch only as far as altering little details in your lifestyle - Diogenes knew this more than two thousand years ago. And yet, I blame myself, for I am nothing but a talker myself, as I sit here, in my sofa, listening to Ram Rider over YouTube mixes while crying for a fairness that doesn't exist, that I'm not a part of, that no-one will hear of, that changes my life but not the life of the ones I write for. They will go on. I will stay, stranded.

What is life if not just one's share of frustration.

16.7.14

Skanör, Falsterbo, Höllviken

Telling the truth is much harder than to lie, because to lie, you don't need to know the truth. The lie and the truth seem to be impossible to separate, because even the most preposterous of lies can have us doubting our own account of reality - the lie becomes truth by the consideration of the inaccuracy of the senses and the mind that operates them (or which is operated by them). But this only holds true for a certain form of truth, that which actually has an impact. No-one cares what you ate for dinner, hence a lie here and a lie there doesn't make any difference - it is forgotten as quickly as it was asked, mere decoys of politeness.

I considered things that have influenced me the most in my affair with poetry, and I went in search of a poem I had read of in a Swedish information booklet on the Holocaust, which we received on our obligatory field trip to Stutthof in Poland many years ago. It read:

Written in Pencil in a Sealed Railway Car

Here in this carload
I am Eve
with my son Abel.
If you see my other son
Cain, son of man
tell him that I


The problem with this poem, as my search revealed to me, is that it is fake. What gave it its strength, in my eyes, was the success of the narrative. I truly believed, for all these years, that a mother on her way to the concentration camp carved this into the walls of a cramped and noisy railway car as a last, simultaneous resistance and acceptance of the fate that lay ahead. I was convinced that she was forced out of the car before being able to finish the poem, and as such, it harboured a much deeper connection with the act of *writing* a poem, the necessity of its speed, the impossibility of editing. This unfinished allegory was honest. The writer died. Her poem didn't.

But it is all fake. The real author of it is named Dan Pagis, a holocaust survivor. And I struggle to come to terms with the fakeness of it, coupled with the authenticity of his suffering. The anonymous poet seemed all the more haunting than the imagination of a broken hero.

Perhaps the author has no obligation to tell the truth these days
for a poem on the unimaginable will sound much better if we ignore
to make humans out of the inhuman.

12.7.14

Soleil Dramatique en Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne

Heavy clouds approach from the south, many clouds, opening up with light and thunder for me to change from shorts to trousers (if I weren't stubborn enough to stick with my shorts - which I am). Many hours in the car, with Japanese (what else?) pop songs I'm trying to understand, which, once I understand them, in a way, lose their heimat - there seems to be a barrier between what I perceive of Japan and what Japan really is, that cannot be taken away without losing a bit of the magic that makes me want to go there. If I understand it, there is no more place for thoughts, no more wonder, no more childish play with the automated soda vending machines ...

Tomorrow's back to Sweden again, back to an inevitable vacation which I must fill with the same things I spent with my work-hours in school (drawing, writing, and a bit of music). It is strange when there isn't any difference in temperature, any longer, as if I could dread the summers in Sweden as much as I dread the snow in winter in an authentic olive tree Provence. Why, you ask, do I choose the hottest countries to dwell in, if I was born to love the cold? Perhaps because I don't choose my home to be where I feel myself in it, but what I find there which is not me.

Swallows riding high, discharging the lightning from the clouds again. It appears as if they are lying to me, but I will not write them off just because they decided to ride high above the roofs of my mountain village, these birds who are here, like me, just for this moment, and now, we will not see each other for the rest of our lives. You can't trust swallows.