concrete & the smear

Esbjergs kunstmuseum
Esbjerg, Denmark, 2008

Signals [the excrements, they pile up and freeze]
Front [the beach, the roadblocks that bind us]
Animals [you hear it, it’s an animal’s voice]
There’s movement [after the first sleep of the night]
Paths [pearls of sweat traversing his forehead]
There is movement [no vowels, no consonants, no letters [letters are insects beneath your skin], that’s the way to do it]
Passage [shoe prints in the concrete, a drawing of an Edelweiss flower on the wall]
Concrete [the bunker is what was there the sun and there’s another sun, a black one]
One thing and another [Lili Marleen]
The bunker [this is his true crime]
The smear [an entirely different gravity, one that eliminates all organs and all bodies and your teeth too]

NEON Gallery
Brösarp, Sweden, 2009

Concrete, & The Smear from Ola Ståhl on Vimeo.

RM Gallery & Project Space
Auckland, New Zealand, 2011

A R C H I T E C T U R E ,   C U T   O U T   O F   S T A T I C
 
Raised edge, but slightly, 
shaded 
space beneath, crevice
 inhabited
 by microbes
and bacteria
;
crevice 
where microbes
 and bacteria 
might multiply.
 
Raised edge, but slightly, 
dim spread beneath, across paper's
 fibrinous
terrain, beneath its span. A distance,
but slight, between gloss and paper.

 
A distance, 
but slight, separate 
surface 
gloss from paper
coarseness;
reserve beneath, a place where microbes
 and bacteria 
might multiply

reserve beneath a place where microbes 
and bacteria 
might once have multiplied; 
now vacant.
 
Space beneath laid barren, 
a reserve now fully vacant;
above, embedded 
in surface 
gloss, plains where vehicles 
might once have gathered;
above, embedded 
in surface, 
lustrous 
but with faded 
demarcations

above, embedded 
in surfaces, 
lustrous, 
with demarcations, 
faded, 
but slightly, 
the plains, arid, composed of desiccated
mud and packed layers 
of withered 
foliage;
a region 
where once might have dwelled vehicles 
of different dimensions.
 
Demarcations
above, slight, but bearing
witness
nevertheless to passing
vehicles'
 
abrading
movements.

Demarcations
above, tire marks, marks left by tracked, armoured
vehicles,
slight, faded,
bearing
 witness
to passing
vehicles'
abrading
movements.
 
Traces
across lustrous 
surface 
above, tire marks, marks left by tracked, armoured
vehicles, 
disappear into the ambiguous 
territories
which separate
living
matter
from arid plains' vast expanse, withered.

Traces left by multiple 
vehicles' 
movements
disappear into the perimeter
where living 
matter 
cling onto arid plains' withered vastness.

 
Darkness
recedes. The black forms crevices
and tunnels
between solid white patches.

The black recedes, forms crevices
and tunnels
while white patches emerge, solid
in the foreground; 
in the background,
the black, clandestine,
subterranean,
a monochrome

the black beneath, clandestinely,
obscured, in the background,
subterranean
monochrome
upon the surface
of which the white appears in patches,
upon the surface
of which the white patches
 will eventually
dissolve, their contours
increasingly
vague, they will fade back into obscurity,
 in an elongated
 breath; spent, vanished.
 
upon the surface
of which the white patches
will eventually 
dissolve, also, their contours
increasingly
diffuse, they will fade gradually
back into the black, in an elongated
breath's worth of time they will be spent, vanished.
in an elongated
breath they vanish
to return once more, kooped, their movement
an undulation
circumscribed, entirely
without progression.
But only to return, once more, looped in the warped logic
of their cohesiveness
;
Except they vanish
only to return, indefinitely, 
in their intuitive
coherence, 
appearing
again as constituents
of a collective
resolve, its image
.
appearing
once more as constituents
of a collective
resolve, fractions
of an image's
silence
,
fractions
of its mute architecture.
 
B U N K E R   [ i ]

is to listen
inside, 
to listen, 
is to
listen, 
inside,
for sounds, from outside,  
sounds outside 
the bunker,

to picture
surrounding
landscapes;
barbed wire enclosure
finished, 
now, to come, 
 a certain
inevitable 
slowness,

a certain
slowness 
to come, 
inevitably; 
everything 
that exists must exist somewhere, 
must occupy 
some space, what is nowhere 
in heaven, nowhere 
on earth, is nothing 
at all; is to learn again, to learn to learn again, how to mix coffee
with grain alcohol 
in proportions
appropriate
in bunker's 
darkness, 
here is how: fold thumb over 
cup's cusp, pour coffee, 
then, to pour the coffee,
until hot liquid 
burns thumb's tip, straighten,
then, your thumb out over
cup's brink, pour alcohol
into cup until 
liquid, 
tepid now,
reaches
thumb's skin; to hear, then, to listen 
to the voice of another, 
in this voice, the voice of another, 
elongated, 
detached, lost in this voice's mass, then gone; is not yet positioned,
is positioned,
not yet a position,
is to not represent something 
for someone,
 
is not a representation,
is not a sign, not a signifier,
not content, 
not expression,
is not a model, 
not a copy, 
is not figuration; 
is not undifferentiated,
not unformed, not a void, not
black matter,
not dark matter,
but a darker
patch, within the darkness, 
a darker
patch;
is what comes to be, it comes into existence, 
is what comes to be, to vanish,
 
it comes to be, but to vanish, 
a vanishing 
position,

for what comes to be, is what comes to pass inside, 
what passes
inside, 
it passes, 

carrying
traces
of a world, outside,
an undulation, 
a memory, 
a tension,
is intensity,  
continuum,
negativity
without negation,
without contradiction;
is hollow, 
receptacle, 
it appears different, 
at all times, 
diverging;
intensities, 
they move across, pass through bodies, 
here scattered
 
 
B U N K E R  [ i i ]
is to listen, 
outside, 
to listen, 
to listen 
for the dull thud, for the bunker's 

chime, its dull thud,for the dull thud of the bunker's
chime; there across, the plank, wooden,
there, across the ditch, across the ditch, excrement
pile up freeze there, you use a stick to knock, to use the stick to knock the upper 
layers 
of excrement 
off, it is the only way to do it; shoeprints,
in concrete, 
an edelweiss
flower,

a drawing 
of an edelweiss 
flower, 
a tank, in concrete,
engraved, in concrete, 
fluorescent bunker 
lights, the photograph
backlit, 
blurred,
white strip across, surface 
divided,
narrow strip in concrete, 
strips of visibility,
fragmented 
landscape, 
it appears artificial, 
as if not really there; turret 
concealed, inside 
a haystack, 
an octagonal 
pill box disguised as part of a church, emplacements,
camouflaged 
as a fairground,
on the beach, standard 
octagonal 
pill box with infantry 
patrol;
no perceptible
distinction 
between concrete 
slabs, sea, horizon - 
barely 
divergent 
nuances 
of grey, they fade into a near monochrome 
surface, 
it appears entirely  
flat,
it appears a surface, 
dull, entirely 
flat; concrete structure 
embedded in pseudo-organic 
rock surface,
but facing 
the ocean, an unsheltered 
length, concrete 
stairs alongside, to access structure's 
flat roof, framed by birch trees; rows of poles, secured, sunk deep into the seabed 
at equal distance 
from one another,
green moss covers
each poles' upper 
half, contrasting 
in colour 
with seaweed, 
red, dreary ocean, grey, 
while nearby bushes grow thick, mirror 
ball water 
drops sway, dangling 
from ends of slender
branches, 
skeletal,

from slender 
ends of skeletal 
branches, 
they dangle, 
while asphalt 
paths gleam with rain, their blank surfaces 
reflect skies, overcast, 
the sun, too, its round shape, a disc, barely 
perceptible 
against consuming 
mist's greys, blues, in the foreground, 
a darker
sprawling 
silhouette, barren 
trees' figure, 
branches, 
black against monochrome 
grey background, 
withered;
faded graffiti - 
pink, white - covering 
concrete 
walls, cracks in the concrete,
filled in with white matter,
the white matter,
it blends with white graffiti
tags; deep 
cracks,
deeper 
depressions 
too, some filled with black matter, 
others left gaping; 
a circular
crack in the flat roof, surrounded 
by smaller 
cracks; twinned natural
rock formations
protrude from the concrete, 
water gathers 
in pools, in the circular 
cracks water gathers 
in pools
; a deep depression 
filled with black matter, 
it too cracked, matter 
cracked, in the crack, 
now a gaping
wound left, the colour 
of volcanic 
rock, hard, solid;
grass protrudes
from depressions,
from deeper 
depressions, 
a metal 
hub towers 
up, minute fissures 
stray from the deeper 
fracture,

from its base, minute fissures 
stray; rain and sea water 
form compound 
pools in deeper 
depressions, 
in the concrete 
surface, 
pools appear yellow, 
concrete 
near pools' edges, 
in nuances
of pink and shimmering