This is the fourth of a series of exploratory essays. With them I am aiming to connect the dots of my artistic practice and research endeavours.
There is a continuous movement, a driving force toward one side and then the other, circling
around an unattainable central-point. When I approach points of interest, something always
eludes itself, what I am aiming to reach moves away from me. What I desire to know turns out
more complex than I anticipated, forcing me to take a step back to see things in relation with each
other. It is just as my mother described in her notebook when I was an infant:
“Nele is crawling backwards, which means that she is moving away from the things she wants to
It was late in the afternoon, when I arrived.
A decent layer of snow,
covered the small town.
The surrounding landscape
had been swallowed by mist and darkness.
From my bedroom window,
I was told I could see the all encompassing mountains
– all I looked up to was an apparent emptiness.
(adapted from Franz Kafka’s Das Schloss)
Some clarities only come to me, when I am observing in a very specific situatedness – it is in those
moments that I experience things in their totality. I have read that at a certain age an infant starts
to experience their separatedness from the world around them. They are forming an idea of an ‘I’,
all of a sudden a border around themselves arises, sensing that they are situated within a separate
body. Before, everything appears as one big mesh. 1
Moving away from things, does not bring me to an end of my wandering – it solidifies a
perpetually changing in-between. Different sides and points appear, revealing transitions and
gradients that I relate to through the created distance. Situating the things I am looking at and
sensing their entangled relations clarifies and muddles at the same time. The awe I am
experiencing leaves me torn between wanting to know and feeling not knowledgeable enough to
even be where I already am standing.
1 Siri Hustvedt, “Living, Thinking, Looking” (pp. 104-108, Sceptre 2013).