Amelie Björck on Monument

In relation to the event you are my future reader. The Monument of Sunday the 24th of March 2019 will never come back.

All that remains with me are fragments. Memories detached from a corpus, blocks from which you must build new structures.

All that remains with me are fragments, but as long as the show goes on, it raises a new Monument over itself every night. Revives itself in a new version.

What do I remember?

Owls. A choir of human owls, ho-ho, Athena’s entourage approaching the stage in song. We are told they are judges in a competition for the goddess’s monument, soon to be won by Callicrates and his Parthenon. The defeated competitor suggested an Athena garden. Would the sacred owls still have lived in its trees?

Songs and things. Objects and infos in a quanity to fill an encyclopedia. We gather around the male and a female actor as disciples by the feet of the savants.

They two stand straight like pillars of salt. They never touch each other. Only their voices touch from time to time, overlapping each other. Or later, when we have all moved to the next room, blending with a recorded voice of a Norwegian ranting on about democracy deteriorating the freedom of art. 

The two actors are our teachers and guides. Dry and neutral, bordering on the absurd. Is it a parody of the current performance lecture trend?

Things they tell us:
That Callicrates made the pillars of Parthenon slightly tilted for the sake of straight illusion.
That in Australia there are more sculptures of giant fruits than of women.
That the highest statue in the world is found in India.
That there is a Taube statue portraying the songwriter as surprisingly small, a Schubert statue portraying the composer as surprisingly happy and a Zetterlund monument covered with bird poop.
That there are intentional and unintentional monuments.

The colour of the guides’ clothes has a pale, stealy coolness. In their first setting, among white geometrical shapes, rounded or phallic, they look like s/f figures. She keeps her voice monotonous, almost machine like, while his is calm but more vivid. They both have accents, hers Finish, his German? They are outlandish with all their curious knowledges. Opening past and future worlds.

The next room is like a store house or a theatre of things gathered in peculiar groupings. According to a hand out these are monuments over “the disappointed”, over “golden days”, over “interaction between light and darkness” etcetera. A cap here, some tiles there, a miniature fir tree, a plastic jar. All neatly clustered as if the configurations really meant exactly what they were supposed to mean.

What if I could find exactly the monument I always longed for in this store house? My gaze wanders hungrily over the stalls where the monuments are seated. We mingle among them, sit down where we feel at home. I end up close to “Monument over a memorial of last year”. Is it a dating club with the past?

 A quiz takes place before the lecture continues and I zoom out on the flight line of voices, thoughts and questions. Is the meaning of monuments to make us remember better or to let us forget? With the memories materialized in concrete forms we no longer have to carry them in our minds. 

Are monuments there to overcome time or to document the passing of time? I document the passing of time with this text. I hand over my debris from an odd but fascinating performance experience for the reader to reconstruct in his/her own mind. I deliver to free myself.

Will the future know more of my present than I do? The future will surely know more about the future.

One day the Taj Mahal might have fallen into marble crumbles and dust. Will the future know that in 2019 as the winner of the quiz in a show called Monument I won a miniature plan over the mogul palace mausoleum? On a small piece of paper every room unfolded itself, every ornament displayed in exquisite architectonic detail. I hold on to the sketch as if eternal secrets were possible. But the future might know something different.