Email from Rosie Dahlstrom to Georg Dahled, Tuesday 4th October 2022
I’ve attached here a draft of what I’ve written up for your exhibition. I already happened to be thinking about this idea but not sure what to do with it so the timing is very satisfying. The text is based on case studies of schizophrenia patients as documented by R. D. Laing in The Divided Self (1960). Some of the text includes schizophrenics writing about their own illness and they use super interesting imagery to describe their experiences. I think perhaps a credit would be appropriate, as if anyone reads this press release and has also read this book then they will recognise some of the wording. However I’ve more tried to capture the state of mind in a short narrative than copy exact phrasing.
I was obviously already thinking about the incredible words in these stories before you asked me to contribute a text to your show, but I think there are strands that match up. I’ve tried to incorporate some themes of your artwork in the text. These to me appear to be disruptions of reality (self/other, 2D/3D), the idea of searching for nourishment and only finding phantoms (balloons made of hot air, flat images rather than sustenance), and also the interesting characterisation of fungi as not animal and not plant, but something other, a magical sentient substance. Much as the schizophrenic patients characterise themselves as not human, but as a toxin or void or ghost. Also I think there is something interesting, but quite a straightforward interpretation, about mushrooms offering mind-altering psychedelic substances which was very much a part of R. D. Laing’s swinging 60’s radical research into psychiatry.
Please edit or offer suggestions to the text as you see fit, and I hope the show goes well and you send pictures!
I was born under a black sun.
It’s a good thing you didn’t screw me after all. That would mean I was really dead. You would have fucked my animal body thinking that I was a woman, and you wouldn’t have cared that the real me was dying. I am not a woman. I was up on the ceiling watching you do real things with that body.
She was not a woman. She was the ghost of the weed garden.
When you feed me, you make me feel that both my body and my self are wanted. This helps me join back together. When you screw me, I can feel that my body is dead. People can screw dead bodies, but they never feed them.
It is wonderful to be beaten up or killed because no one does that to you if they don’t care. If you killed me, it would be because you want to resurrect me, you want me to be really alive, really good, really here. If you beat my ugly parts I could at least feel that they were mine, I could bring them into me instead of trying to cut them off.
Some people go through life with vomit on their lips. I can smell their terrible hunger, but they can’t be fed.
I wish you could understand just one word that I say. I can see you want to help me, desperately. Day after day, you come back. You are trying to break through. Your eyes are wet with warm life, freshness, goodness – but if you get too close, I am terrified you will breathe me in, breathe in whatever dirty ash or black spores I have inside me. You will breathe that in and then all that is good and fresh will be gone. It is too awful that you will be hurt by the sickness.
There is an I looking for a me.
She is not very strong anymore.
In silence I am naked and my thoughts pour out of me like a scream. She could seep into you, and take you over, and we know that she is not a good girl.
There is an eye looking for a home.
Are you crying?