Objects – part 1

by jasminmatzakow

Our group of attendees of the philosophies course visit Louis in his temporary home, which is situated in the greenhouse at Färgfabriken. Together with his family, he lives inside a public exhibition for two months. As part of his project presentation to us, Louis reads out loud two letters that describe the intention of this project. I close my eyes to better follow his words and I find it hard to take in the dense information and loose hold of the words. When he finishes, I open my eyes again, and immediately I am captured by all the objects around me. The objects in this in-between space are demanding my attention. I wonder: where did they come from? In which new and old contexts do they live here now? How did they get here? Someone asks about all the plants in the greenhouse. They are from his backyard in Puerto Rico, Louis explains. Some plants look really strange and foreign to me. Other plants, like the basil and the peppermint are from Swedish supermarkets. I recognise the typical little black pots, about 50 of them. The herbs have grown three times the size than what one would expect to see in a kitchen. Even though the supermarket variation of herbs is not meant to last long, they have grown wild and big, reclaiming some of their natural plantness. Louis tells us, the construction of this home is, within a budget, sustainable. The beams are from Swedish pines and the installation framework will be donated after the exhibition is over, nothing goes to waste. I wonder what will happen to the smaller stuff? The home is filled with objects, piles of things sit on the kitchen table, the sink and inside the little rooms. The amount is quite astonishing to me, considering this space exists only for a limited period of time. Some objects are obviously not from Sweden but from a country which is exotic to me. They attract me with their thingness, their generous projection surface, and I feel free to attach to them. Other objects are very personal, marked by frequent touching and it is hard to read their history or their meaning and function. They do not invite me into their world because they are closed and obviously occupied by Louis and his family.
These two categories of objects add to the picture of the creative artist. I am invited to see the artist’s mess. I begin to enjoy my role as a voyeur, which initially felt quite uncomfortable and forced upon me. I also notice  a candlestick and a lampshade, typical Swedish design from renowned department stores. Most Swedes with a good income will have them in their homes, too. These objects facilitate relating to the situation, to Louis and his family. They make a big group of people feel at home in the exhibition which I imagine helpful for the family actually living here. Or does it make visitors feel too comfortable and maybe extend their welcome?

Then, I am almost shocked, when I recognise kitchen utensils from Ikea. The presence of Ikea in this displayed home suddenly questions the ecological and holistic aspect of the project. Or does it make this home more believable because millions of people have objects from Ikea at their home? Now, the whole western world together with China and Russia, can relate to the project. By including objects made from a multinational company into the project, everyone gets an entry point. Could this entry point be the secret most important part of this home project? I am still so enchanted by the exotic things, like the enormous, strangely-shaped carpet hanging in the entrance, that the contrast to the Ikea objects pulls me out of the romantic magic into an interesting, trivial space. This pull is a strong movement and suddenly the hanging carpet becomes a flying carpet. In this specific, unique constellation, the objects show their vibrant matter, as Jane Bennett calls it. Louis has assembled objects that move with Deleuzian speed and allow me to hang out with them for a brief moment. I wonder if really Louis put together these objects or if the objects actually assembled Louis?