Sikt, sjikt, dikt
In German, the words for face, history and poetry resemble each other: Gesicht, Geschichte, Gedicht. If one removes the prefix ‘ge-‘, one is left with sicht, schichte, dicht, in Norwegian: sikt (sight), sjikt (layer), and tett (dense). The word poem (Gedicht) relates to densification.
The German philosopher Husserl wrote that the moment we human beings perceive is such a densification of impres- sions. It lasts long enough for things to seem interlinked and short enough for us to connect to what is happening in front of us. We see movements as continuous and not divided, even if we blink our eyes. We have built-in tempos that are linked to how we experience the world outside of us. One assumes that animals can perceive moments as both faster and slower than us.
The poetical can often not be rationally described and can only be experienced in meeting, in a densification. Is the way we perceive time fundamentally poetic?
Some physicists are calculating whether time is something that comes into existence between things, and not a fun- damental constant structure.
I find it poetic how different life forms contribute to shaping the world. One believes that mushrooms ate rocks and created the first mould for plants to grow in.
We can consider such processes in nature to be linguistic expressions. Nature is a language in itself and our civilisa- tion is an expression of our biological nature.
In his book The Animal That Therefore I Am, Derrida writes that to think about animals, whether it is possible, must be related to poetry. The poetic experience cannot be maintained, it opens up towards something unknown; what one cannot hold on to has often not been named.
Possibly, a form of consciousness or something interior exists in all material things. Does that not mean that everything has an intrinsic value, and its own self-expression? Some philosophers argue that in order for us to sense things, these things must want to present themselves in the world. And that this willingness or ability to present itself comes from an inner self.
Face in Norwegian (ansikt) is reminiscent of Ansicht in German. But in German the word means judgement or thought. When we experience something we connect it with thoughts, feelings, facts and values we already know or have heard of.
When I had my son my sense of scale changed. If I moved my eyes from my baby’s face to my partner, my son looked like a giant. He still seems enormous when I hold him in my arms.
By law, the property of a landowner by the sea used to stretch as far as a horse could walk out into the water at ebb tide. Today this property boundary is set to two metres. There is a difference between a horse and two metres.
We have organised society so that we are detached from the environment that subsists us, and the consequences of our way of life are generally invisible. Neither do we often physically sense nature’s basic conditions. Perhaps this is also a matter of (deficient) scales.
In the work Sikt, sjikt, dikt (bomull, skyer, fugl, sjøsprøyt) (Sight, layer, poem (cotton, clouds, bird, ocean spray)) I have been inspired by how clouds are formed, cotton is grown and how birds can live gliding in the sky for months without landing on earth. The birds eat aerial plankton (aerosols) – different kinds of organisms that float around in the air, some of which live their entire lives inside clouds. Scientists have discovered that these organisms also contribute to the formation of clouds, and that clouds cannot be formed without small particles that water vapour can attach to. This can be dust or small microorganisms. Where there is a lot of plankton in the ocean, a lot of clouds are formed. One believes that when dead plankton is lifted up into the air by ocean spray, the water vapour gets something to attach to. Where cotton is grown, the ocean is often polluted because of all the chemicals that are sprayed on the cotton and transported into the ocean with water from the cotton fields. The areas dry up and the fish die.
Looking up the words costume and national geography in the dictionary, costume means dress and geography the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere. In Germanic languages, the word for dress is related to how much one can carry. How much can we and Earth carry?
Image: Så mykje som ein ber, riksdekkande jordoverflata og forholda der
(Costume og National Geographic) 1, 2018