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A Stage, Konstfack, 2023

ACT 1:

Absorbing the present

 

I am arriving through the gate, the stage feels quiet and empty. The back side of the vibrant yellow building draws my attention immediately. It is adorned with intriguing props, hints of the life that once thrived within it. I am moving towards a covered ventilation system, and as I approach it, my eyes catch a glimpse of a basketball ring clinging to the side. But, a car is parked in front of it. I wonder if someone still plays here, and then I see a bird. A small bird shows me that it has taken up the basket and transformed it into a nest. A piece of plywood with meticulously cut entry is adding a touch of humanity to it, encapsulating the community spirit of the Henriksberg.

 

A cat mews and my eyes move fast. I catch its gaze from a ladder road custom-tailored for its diminutive stature, almost as if it's guiding me through a secret realm.

 

I continue to move around the building and eventually find myself in front of a small, mysterious door. Curiosity courses through me, but before I can investigate further, a young woman emerges from within, her face adorned with a warm, welcoming smile. She locks the door behind her, leaving me to ponder the enigma of these doors within doors.

 

Intrigued, I follow the woman as she begins to sing, her melodic voice serenading the wild plants that have taken root in the water pipe.

 

Rain suddenly falls, a gentle drizzle, but she departs. I decide to remain, captivated by the sight of the raindrops journeying from pipe to pipe, etching the silhouette of the long-stepped house's roof before cascading to the earth below.

 

With the rain comes the scent of fresh paint, and I soon spot faint traces of it on the facades alongside the water, like lingering brushstrokes from the hands of artists now gone. It's a testament to the layers of history and emotions interwoven with this place, waiting to be uncovered.

ACT 2:

The Threat of Erasure

 

As I turn around, a disorienting feeling washes over me. Everything appears to tilt and shift, and when I glance towards the nest, the bird has vanished. The cat is gone, and the paint is slowly disappearing from the walls… It's as if the very essence of Henriksberg is slipping through my fingers, fading into obscurity.

 

In the background, I strain to hear the woman's voice, her words echoing her connection to this place, her home, and her artistic studio. She speaks of the critters that inhabit Henriksberg, a harmony between nature and humanity, yet it's as if her words fall on deaf ears. The stage, once a canvas of wonder, becomes crowded with people who never had the privilege of hearing that woman sing to the wild plants, nor have they explored the ingenious ways crafted by the critters of Henriksberg.

 

In the second act, the layers of time, the very palimpsest of memories, is systematically eroding before the public's arrival. I'm compelled to take action, to document, to collect these precious memories, ensuring they aren't lost to time. I pick up my sketchbook, my pen, camera and my sizars, and I begin to record everything - the architectural details, the functional elements, the stories of those who once called this place home, the antics of the critters. I'm determined not to let these memories slip through the cracks. I become the curator of Henriksberg's past, holding onto it with every stroke of my pen and every word I write.

ACT 3:

The Revitalized Stage

 

The third act sees the birth of a vibrant stage, constructed from the collected elements of old Henriksberg. This stage is no longer a passive relic but a living memory theater, open for all. The critters of Henriksberg, resilient and adaptive, find their way to the stage, where they perform their daily routines, each action adding to the ever-expanding narrative of this place.

 

As the layers of history intertwine with the present, a new palimpsest emerges - one that reflects both the heritage of Henriksberg and the vibrancy of the present. My mission, which began as an effort to document and preserve, has now evolved into a performance. The audience is no longer spectators; they become co-creators, filling the stage with new layers of time and stories. The old and the new coexist harmoniously, allowing the past to breathe life into the present. The woman's song still echoes, but now it's joined by a chorus of voices, each with their own connection to Henriksberg.

To be continued...

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