Master´s Thesis 2021 Matter Space Structure

Klara Wahlstedt

Parallel Living

Looking at old photos of the city always gives me a strange feeling. The landscape surrounding the buildings seemed so alien; all covered by asphalt and stones, while the plants are limited to a few flowerbeds.

 “A ground that let human beings move freely, but that excluded all other species,” our teacher explained on a fieldtrip once. We were visiting one of those areas where some of the asphalt skin still was preserved. I remember that we asked him why it happened, why we started to use bridges instead of streets, and that he first mumbled something about tree roots and maintenance costs. But then he straightened himself up and looked at us. “But if you ask me it had nothing to do with that. It was just the right thing to do, we couldn’t have it all to ourselves anymore.”    

So nowadays we have left the ground mainly to others. You get glimpses of them from time to time. A slight movement through the grass, rustles from the bushes, glimpses of the birds moving between the trees. When I’m walking home at dusk the birdsong has died out. Flocks of jackdaws and magpies are convening in the treetops. From the street you can see their silhouettes towards the dark blue sky. During the night the activity down on the ground seems to increase. Or maybe it is just the silencing of our human lives that dominates the day that suddenly makes them perceivable. Even if the promise of a summer’s night can fill the bars along the street with human voices long after midnight. But on a chilly autumn evening the rustles from the bushes and the high grass bellow are present. It feels like I’m being watched, not watched in a creepy way, more like an assurance that I’m not alone.

I remember a late evening walking home from a friend’s house, it must have been early spring. A sound from somewhere below made me stop, and I found myself staring into the eyes of a deer. For a while the two of us were just standing there, noticing each other, waiting for some kind of reaction. I don’t know how much time that passed, but at one point the lights of an approaching tram finally scared her of.

When walking home I often imagine that she is the one making the rustling noises I hear from the ground. I know it’s a naïve thought that the encounter with me should have affected her as well, but I like to pretend. Like to pretend she is out there somewhere remembering me. That the city is full of beings remembering each other.

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