Julia Kolehmainen on Monument

Turteatern March 24 2019. Gunilla Heilborn. Kristiina Viiala and Lorenz Kabas. A choir.

They spoke of statues.
They spoke of sculptures.
They spoke of fountains.
They spoke of monuments.
What did they sing about?

She told us that in Australia there are more monuments of animals and oversized fruit than there are monuments of women.

She spoke of…
I don’t remember what she said.

This all happened a long time ago.
This all happened yesterday.
This was a long time ago.

They perform a lecture in cultural monuments. Served in a zappy but monotone way. I struggle to keep up. A process starts in my brain trying to comprehend what’s of worth to remember.

Can I trust what they’re telling me? Can you trust what I’m telling you?

He tells the story about S. – the Russian myth of a man who remembers everything. Who was desperate to forget. Writing down unwanted memories on a piece of paper. Tearing it up. Setting it on fire. Still remembering.

Scary thought: I myself cannot determine the value of a monument. The monument will survive me and not the other way around. No predetermined time-limited life span.

They tell me about Tornedalskvinnan. A monument in Övertorneå in the north of Sweden. Highly criticized, strongly humiliated.
The artist said: ”This is the sculpture.” The residents said: ”I can’t see what it’s supposed to resemble” and they said ”It looks like shit” and they said ”Is it made out of plastic?” and they said ”Can you uncover it?” and they said…

…whoops, I realize I haven’t been paying attention. What did I miss?
Wait. Repeat please.

They’re in the middle of a discussion on whether to reconstruct or tear down broken monuments.
They don’t reach a conclusion.

Ok, try to focus. I read the paper I was given. It’s some sort of map of the room containing the monuments. A list of them. A quick look around the room.

”Monument of the wagon with seats
Monument of memorial site from last year
Finished monument
Monument to the disappointed
Monument of great days
Monument of interplay between light and shadow
Monument of my good friend
Monument with unnecessary ornaments
Accidental monument”

Looking up from the paper I notice that Gunilla Heilborn is sitting right in front of me in the audience.
She’s observing her own work. Her own monument, in a way. Very meta. This is not her first time at Turteatern. One could even say it’s a monument over her artistic journey. Maybe.
When I was born she had already lived as long as I’ve lived today. I automatically measure life in my own age. This means Gunilla Heilborn has lived two lives.

Realization: memory deteriorates for each renewal.
Realization: each new idea slides further away from the original idea.

And suddenly I realize I’m not in charge of my own memory.