Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Limes norrlandicus of the imagination

railways and cosmology

If we allow ourselves the adventurous abstraction of a "national psychogeography", it would have to be noted that the Norrland limit would probably be an important border in the swedish imagination. The northern two thirds of this elongate country are darker, much more sparsely populated and in popular imagination (both northern and southern) far less civilised than the southern third. The biological and geological border is called "limes norrlandicus" and it partly follows a vague cultural border (if there is one) and runs along the river Dalälven. The lower Dalälven is famous for huge floods and wild nature, including many rare beetles, a lot of eagles, and one of the highest mosquito densities in the entire world. One of the large flooded areas, Storfjärden, with all its flooded dead forest emerging from the water, is probably the original habitat of the original cormorant council (not the dilettants running this webpage). Just north of the outlet is the first norrlandic town, Gävle, with papermills, a coffee roastery and an icehockey team, and not much else. Gävle has appeared in several dreams and interpretation deliria on this site and elsewhere and appears imaginatively important. But we must also ask ourselves more specifically what the Norrland border is about from the viewpoint of the imagination.

Dream this morning:

I am going with the trans-dalälven railway, in a new set of tiny plastic cars. First we're going north, and when we meet the river we turn right and most of the route goes west-east at the edge of the water. It is beautiful but the actual views remind me more of Florida swamps. Opposite me sits a guy looking like a rock musician, pretending to sleep, I'm sure he doesn't have a ticket. I don't know if I have one.

(Flashback: I have recently moved in with a girlfriend in a new apartment in a hypermodern apartment complex - or perhaps rather 60s Science Fiction style. She´s not there, and I'm not comfortable there with or without her. The walls towards the main corridor are transparent, so everybody can see me as I sit down in the hallway, spreading out all the stuff in my pockets on the floor in front of me. I sit there looking at the assorted items in despair, trying to make up a combination of objects that would possibly be valid as a train ticket.)

And here comes the conductor. To my surprise, the rock musician does have a ticket, and something I produce works too. So that wasn't really a problem. The conductor splits into three persons, two continue along the train and one remain with us, looking out the window and holding a soliloquoy in danish. I don't quite understand what he's talking about.

The swamps are lush, and there is large amounts of debris floating around as if from some major wreckage. I keep thinking this is all part of the restauration process, but I can't remember what it looked like before.

On the walls of the car there is a series of framed blackandwhite photographs. The first one depicts two stereotypic teenage girls in white summer dresses looking into the camera. In the following pictures (or do they replace the first one rather than follow next to it?), the girls make some efforts to incarnate some 50s or 60s concept of swedish sin, basically by making really stupid-looking american cheerleader moves, and occasionally flashing their breasts. It's awful, but I fail to look away, because I get the impression that the whole world is suspended between the facial expression of rational resoluteness of one and that of flabby improvisation of the other, and of the firmness of the breasts of one and the softness of those of the other, their opposite senses of being sisters. Yes, those oppositions do sound a bit stupid too but it's very subjectively captivating.

The two teenagers standing next to the pictures might be them. Their stupid name is "Rudy Gullet" (in english). They look ordinary and sound ordinary, but the questions they are posing are interesting enough for me to cut into the conversation, providing whatever information I might possess to contribute to answering the questions. So I tell them about the huge restauration project, the new dams and flooding of new areas. They reply that they consider it similar to their own ongoing experiment of reinventing the world by making a thin dough, covering it with the blood of innocents, then spreading out bits and pieces of everything there might be, and finally smoothing out the surface by applying a transparent lunar matrix. They bake it on the radiator of the railway car. I am somehow very excited to realise how they have reinvented the art of pizza-making in their cosmological quest.