Interview with a shell

After Hilma af Klint’s Group One Primordial Chaos No. 5, 1906–7, and Anne Carson’s ‘Mimnermos: The Brainsex Paintings’ from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry.

I: [recorder clicking]………………….. more about where you come from and about your influences, etc, could you tell me something of your significance to the series at large

S: —————

I: She earned money with conventional paintings of portraits and landscapes did she find you in one of these were you hidden underneath a figurative stone on a stretch of figurative Swedish beach

S: —————

I: They tell me you represent evolution or a cycle in which transformation occurs a labyrinth leading inwards to completion I’m wondering if there could be a parallel here with Jung’s diagrammatic abstractions of the psyche

S: —————

I: Wu is supposedly the essence of all human spirit representing the integration and union of male and female with one another is this correct

S: —————

I: Hmmm

I: When she painted you was she wearing a sad expression or a happy one was her mind in another place do you remember the sound of the colours she made

S: I remember all sound

I: What else do you remember

S: During the carboniferous period I would think about the way she always touched me with three fingers before she started painting

I: Transparence means experiencing the luminosity of the thing itself does this speak to you

S: You speak to me

I: —————

S: I myself speak in blue but it can only go so far because you see the ocean also likes to speak in blue and she’s much bigger than me so my voice is hard to find

I: I’m listening

Quote in italics from Susan Sontag’s Against Interpretation. Featured image courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation, HaK016. Photo: The Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


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