A/part from the family, living in the Copenhagen Free University.
We are both sitting
at the table, with our hands under our legs, waiting for the food to arrive.
I am not sure if I should speak, anyway she starts talking and pointing
at things on the shelf, but I dont know if it is an expression,
or a word. I try to copy what it is she is saying, but it is hard to keep
up. I do say a couple of things, but later I realise that it was a question,
not a name. I imagine what it would be like if I learnt to speak Danish
from her, and then I imagine how disappointing I must be, as an adult
that cannot answer her questions. I am not sure that she would be interested
in teaching me, if I was not able to have an exchange with her at this
point time, when she was willing to.
My room is built in
such a way, that it has both a door that leads directly to the outside,
the stairs, and another sliding door which is the entrance to the home.
You could be here, but feel quite separate from the rest of the household.
You could also come and go without the others knowing ( not that I have
done that) I prefer to keep the sliding door open, then I get to hear
more of the rest of the house and smell the cooking. It is hard to tell
how much I spill out, but there is definitely a place where we all combine,
and I like it when somebody pops their head around the door.
I know how to use
a salad drying machine, but I need you to tell me, like I want somebody
to explain the washing machine, the transport ticket system and translate
a late night TV programme.
I read The Dialectics of Sex by Shulamith Firestone last week.
Every person in his/her first trip to a foreign country, where he/ she knows neither the people nor the language, experiences childhood. Children then are not freer than adults. They are burdened by a wish fantasy in direct proportion to the restraints of their narrow lives; with an unpleasant sense of their own physical inadequacy and ridiculousness; with constant shame about their dependence economic and otherwise; and humiliation concerning their natural ignorance of practical affairs (Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectics of Sex).
I decided to cook
dinner. I wanted to cook something simple, that I had done many times.
I made an omelette, it was a little too small for three persons (Solvej
ate a separate dish, soup), but it tasted ok. I feel hungry, like somehow
it gave me the knowledge of food that I didnt have before, and I
am distracted by that thought, that it feels good to have forgotten for
Copenhagen May 2001
Im on the way
to my first visit at the Sewing Circle. Solvej is in the pushchair.
We have to be there at seven pm when the Circle opens, otherwise
we wont be able to get back in time for Solvejs evening bottle and
bedtime. Its a not-to-warm evening in June. I feel quite uncomfortable
with walking through Brixton, even though its not dark yet.
We enter the cafe
at the top level of the Ritzy Cinema and you sit by the door as a kind
of doorperson. You let us in for free. I release Solvej from the pushchair,
she has just learned to walk. With her in my hand I start to explore the
place and end up at a huge round coffee table in front of a window. There
is a heap of knitting yarn on the table. Two women are sitting in a sofa;
one of them is knitting something indefinable. There are other indefinable
pieces of knitting on the table. If you want to keep your hands busy,
you can just start knitting. I chat with the women and it turns out that
we are all here for the first time. We form a kind of first-timers-solidarity.
Now youre free
from your duties at the door and introduce me to some other women. We
sit around a table chatting. Solvej is on the floor keeping her balance
with one hand on my knee. She is enjoying the loud disco music and is
eating the lemon from my glass of Coca-Cola. Im enjoying myself
as well, but its time to go home to start the before-bed-rituals.
Henriette Heise, Copenhagen May 2001
The Copenhagen Free
University opens in May. The Free University is an artist run institution
dedicated to the production of critical consciousness and poetic language.
We do not accept the so-called new knowledge economy as the framing understanding
of knowledge. We work with forms of knowledge that are fleeting, fluid,
schizophrenic, uncompromising subjective, uneconomic, acapitalist, produced
in the kitchen, produced when asleep or arisen on a social excursion -
From the Copenhagen Free University launch flyer, 2001