The Ur-stage – the Unmade Model

An empty square. In the background a hot-dog stand, or more accurately a fast-food shack, a fairly inconspicuous construction but essential to complete the square. It is quite a dreary place, not to say palpably desolate, as though it were an unseen, mute area you would like to shade, add some movement to – or just a kind of presence. Or perhaps you’d like to sweep it away. The apparently discarded office chair in the parking lot. What is it doing there? After a while, you feel that something vaguely unpleasant descends upon the square. Enough already. You want to move on. And yet you stay, staring at that fast-food shack and at the precise splashes of bird shit on the roof you have just become aware of. You raise your eyes, quickly and blindly wandering into the dazzling light, before lowering them again towards the now seemingly borrowed whiteness of the fast-food shacks. The reflecting surfaces of the windows. You cannot really see through them. The Open sign. But no, the door is locked. Or maybe just not designed to open. Many people pass by, forgetting the square, forgetting the fast food shack, unaware that in inside it, rendered exactly according to scale, there is a pool full of balls. You can lift the roof and look down in astonishment. A ball pool? In a hot-dog stand? You don’t really understand it. But there it is. Like an installation within the installation. And also the very center of the model, the mechanical starting point, its energy and mass. Every ball – fairy-tale blue, crimson red or rubber duck yellow – has a number. The numbers are not legible to the naked eye. But they are there. That is the main thing. Every number has a specific destination, as in rigged drawing of lots – a predestined flipper marble shot out into the world, away from the uncomfortable stillness of the square, towards bigger cities and other peripheries, a different space and stillness, along lively boulevards and giant mountain ranges: Himalaya, Owakudani, Beijing, Berlin, New York. And back again. The ball always rolls back again, relentlessly, imperatively. Home again. Norra Storängsvägen, Tunnlandsvägen, Bergslagsvägen. An apparently unremarkable turn, a rotation of the stage, a split-second movement in sunlight-shimmering stillness, in frozen speed, everything as if infected by the silence of the square and colored by the racing balls. The world, Europe, Finspång. Everything is connected. Everything is collected in that ball pool. But nothing would exist without the color blue.


Hans Gunnarsson

Translation Kerstin Lind Bonnier