In Japan they call it Swedish design and in Sweden they call it Japanese design, even though it is the same works that are being shown. At same time gallerists call it “products” while retail stores call it “artworks”. It seems like there is no territory for selling works that lack a territorial designation. An artist around 40 years old: not a “young artist” any more, but no “senior artist” either. You feel that you stand out as Swedish when you are in Japan, and that you stand out as Japanese when you are in Sweden, but you cannot disappear into the anonymity of generality anywhere. That feeling of being part of a generality, a non-territorial experience hidden behind a territorial mask, has some allure. When definitively lost it gives you a small complex, but you soon get used to it.
There is no need to go looking for identity in the words of society or to feel let down when those words are not sufficient. And there is also no need to believe that the creative act of rectification, where a person or group ingeniously names and defines their circumstances, activities, visions and aims, is a site where identity is to be found. But what is non-territorial here? The word that does not fit the thing, or the thing that does not fit the word?
Territorialization is often found leaning on language and general concepts, and can as such hopefully provide consistency, directions and practical myths. But as artefacts of life these components of territorialization slowly drift away from the currents that shaped them and that put them into play. Heading for a ghostly existence as foreign language, pure aesthetic form and misguided attributions, they become non-territorial. Like sherry-glasses. The massive pile of inadequate words surrounding us is not really a mound of dead garbage, or, at least, if it consists of broken and discarded tools that have long since become relics, those relics are just waiting to bob back and accommodate your practical needs, or merely to interfere with you and be a burden. The same goes for your pragmatic, exalted and illuminating respective vocabularies, which even if they start by depositing you onto a clear blue sea soon might have you clogging up a sewer.
There is probably no pedagogy today that values the memorization of non-territorial signs more highly than the ability to make productive connections between signs and particularities of existence, to flip between semiotic registers. As non-territorial signs lose connections with the Real, their capacity to serve as hinges for articulations of mystical and transcendent qualities grows, and they attract projections of religious or bureaucratic feelings, or longings for a principal external backdrop of much larger duration that our lived fragments can fall back on and be explained by. In that case the generative void of the non-territorial sign fills in and tries to replace the generative void of non-territoriality inherent in the everyday mishmash of signals and semiosis that presents the complexities of the world. These trampolines for the imagination are not utilized to catapult oneself anywhere but away from the ground, to be suspended in levitation high up where the oxygen is low; and that thin air might provoke the most fanatical territorial claims. People are not likely to get out of the habits of sloppy generalizations, or of clinging to opaque and inexhaustible signs that have ascended to atopy. But on the other hand, and at the same time, they are not likely to cease with the habits of weaving their interactions and existential anchorings through the medium of objects, gestures, images and sounds, in embodied and semisomnambulistic symbolizations that works outside the realm of language. In the negotiations with the practical and social sides of Being, in coping with unknown and familiar horrors, imperatives and opportunities, objects get paired with all kinds of manners and intentions, and manners and intentions get paired with all kinds of objects. The objects are here components in processes of territorialization and semiotization, props whose meaning and function are determined exclusively within the performances they enter and modify. A non-territory before the act. In these processes, any meaning or function people (for example the creator) have previously attributed to the object is far less relevant than its material properties and the peculiar idiosyncratic associations and motor engrams it might catalyse in the current assemblage. With the exception of reliance on more or less informed stereotyped notions of the frames of reference that should be prevalent in a given demographic, there is no way to generally determine which aspects of the object will prove relevant for its inclusion in any of these potential use-cases. The variety in how people make use of and treat objects in their day-to-day activities – regardless of whether the behaviour can be said to be mainly culturally determined, dependent on some local or marginal sphere of influence, or stemming from an aptitude for free experimentation or a finely tuned sensibility – is an endless source of inspiration and curiosity. There sure is enjoyment to be drawn from the non-territorial.
Like getting glimpses of the processes into which your creations get inserted and in what way.
Creating works where the internal dynamic of the material makes its voice heard, where the life of materiality itself speaks and leaves its trail as a manifest. As opposed to making each example of an Idea appear identical, each glass in a series has an uncensored individuality that reflects the transcendental and stubborn properties of matter and the production-process.
Creating objects that are useful without giving any forceful indication of in what way. Even if the objects sometimes are created with a dedicated use in mind, that use is just one optimal route among perhaps several, and trekking along a sub-optimal path is no vice. Letting people discover their own uses is a much more satisfying scenario than being “understood”.

(April, 2020)






(For 「MUJI to GO」 / Jannuray, 2019)







(For 「MilK JAPON」 / February, 2018)