Exploration MSS3 Fall 2021

Disappearing Site

The tale

”Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.”

– T.S Eliot – Four Quartets

Book cover
chapter 1. mirrored city
Mirrored image

The Neverending story / But where is this book?’ And he wrote the answer: ‘In the book.’ ‘Then it’s all a reflection of a reflection?’ she asked. He wrote, and she heard him say: ‘What does one see in a mirror reflected in a mirror?’ (Ende, 1979, p.222)

Disappearing site / This is a tale of a site in Gothenburg which is under transformation. What once was has now been removed to make room for something new. At Vallgatan/Kungsgatan a couple of buildings have come and gone over the centuries. There are many different visions of what the city should be and look like − its image is constantly changing. Which vision is real and which one is just a fantasy?

chapter 2. ghosts of the past

The Neverending story / ‘They are forgotten dreams from the human world,’ Yor explained. ‘Once someone dreams a dream, it can’t just drop out of existence. But if the dreamer can’t remember it, what becomes of it? It lives on in Fantastica, deep under our earth. There the forgotten dreams are stored in many layers. The deeper one digs, the closer together they are. All Fantastica rests on a foundation of forgotten dreams.’ (Ende, 1979, p. 480)

Disappearing site / If one were to imagine a cut straight through the earth – one would perhaps see that, just as Fantastica, Gothenburg rests on a foundation of its past developments which are layered over time. Mirrored ghosts of buildings embedded deep within the earth.

Chapter 3. Veil of forgetfulness

The Neverending story / ‘Did you notice it other times? Once you’ve forgotten something you don’t know you ever had it.’ ‘What am I forgetting now?’ ‘I’ll tell you at the proper time. If I told you now, you’d hold on to it.’ ‘Must I lose everything?’ ‘Nothing is lost, she said. ‘Everything is transformed. (Ende, 1979, p. 470)

Disappearing site / What do you see when you look at a building? When you pull back its outer layer? Do you see the traces of the lives people have lived in there? The dents in the wood, the cracks in the stone − speaking of movement and usage. Or have you forgotten it all?

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