Possibly Here Editorial Posti persi / Lieux perdus Tiia Anttila Metamorphosis Megan McMahon se vires o mar que eu vejo (if you see the sea i see) Yip Kai Chun A Visit to Ys Edith Linnea Fung Cairo’s “informal” Mohamed Alaa untitled Antti Auvinen untitled Steven Cline Inner covers: Statue of King Gradlon, the Cathedral of Saint Corentin of Quimper, France. Wikimedia Commons user Thesupermat, 2011. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Quimper_-_Détail_de_la_cathédrale_-_014.jpg
Possibly Here Editorial
For this third issue of S’lim we have chosen to talk about a place that doesn’t really exist. Existentially speaking, maybe that in some ways denotes our own aims of focusing on particular places and the contemporary experiences related to them, but yet, it feels like Ys is maybe a perfect leeway into the sensation we may increasingly experience everywhere – a paradoxical feeling of loss... of everything becoming available. As always, our project only delivers a very slim outlook to vast entities, one at a time. But perhaps at the current moment in particular, it is worth stepping out into the unknown and to problematize and question the places we now seem to encounter, the realities around us – or places that (some say) still exist. In Praise of Shadows ( 陰翳礼讃 ) by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki was published in 1933 as an essay, a collection of thoughts, penned at a time when traditional Japanese culture had begun to merge with the modern development and aesthetics of the Western world. While acknowledging the irreversable changes caused by globalization, Tanizaki briefly discusses the (lost) possibility of an alternate modernity: But it is on occasions like this that I always think how different everything would be if we in the Orient had developed our own science. Suppose for instance that we had developed our own physics and chemistry: would not the techniques and industries based on them have taken a different form, would not our myriads of everyday gadgets, our medicines, the products of our industrial art—would they not have suited our national temper better than they do? (Tanizaki, 1977, p. 7) If Tanizaki was speaking of a actual alternate course of history, in Philip K. Dick’s fiction Man in the High Castle (1962), alternate timelines are shifting realities, representing situations and scenarios of what might have been. For the protagonists in Dick’s fantasy, hints and the mounting evidence of the existence of alternative histories turn into revolutionary and even spiritual discoveries. Should that not be the case for any contemporary observer?
In this light, the legend of Ys is not a neutral fantasy. But perhaps looking deeper into its mythicality and romanticism may serve as reminder of the fragility of all our collected and constructed images - and their potential. (But let’s get back to this issue) We are thrilled to have received poignant and exact responses to the open call for this issue. From castles in the sky to actual castles, from harbor lights in Hong Kong to Helsinki, from kaleidoscopic merging of light from different places and times, to illustrations of past and present histories, the contributions range from existing projects in photography and imagemaking to first appearances of works freshly produced under a variety of practices. In going through the selection of projects and finalizing this issue, we started to think further, about our contemporary viewpoints to mythologies – and especially their utopian/dystopian ambiquities. Even based on the short editorial moments had with this issue, it seems that the ways in which we are starting to handle the world around us are becoming more used to the idea of uncertainty. A simultaneity. Seen through our current lenses, it feels histories and timelines are in some ways dissolving. Similarly to nostalgia, or being enchanted by myths and fairytales, we are also seeing hierarchy and systems of stories written down as history – not all of which are pleasent discoveries or co-existances. Nevertheless, we hope that through imaging and imagining the world around us, certain patterns and affirmations become visible as documents of places and existancies. And perhaps, as a result, we will start feeling a little more at ease with the maelstrom of change? Welcome to Ys.
NM 30-10 Brest / France 1:250,000 Series M562. U.S. Army Map Service, 1954. University of Texas Perry-CastaĂąeda Library Map Collection. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/france/txu-oclc-6617501-nm30-10.jpg
Posti persi / Lieux perdus Tiia Anttila
Castles in the Clouds, 2016.
Metamorphosis Megan McMahon
I am glad you come celebrate with me. A festival you may barely know. For celebration, I have decorated here with lanterns. Follow my steps. Look to where the lantern hangs. It’s getting dark. Probably you don’t come to the castle at night this often. I see the sea from here. I see the sea of Hong Kong from here.
Or with a radio.
With a beer or two.
People like to go to the pier to fish.
The terminal stops working at night.
A few cars and lorries occasionallypass through.
The quiet roundabout in the middle leads to the container terminal.
Do not worry if you don’t see what I see. Just join me. Take a good look at the surroundings.
se vires o mar que eu vejo (if you see the sea i see) Yip Kai Chun
I feel the South China Sea.
The sea where you can view from the southern island of Hong Kong.
The sea that leads you to Vietnam, Malaysia, or the Philippines.
You see sparse lights far away.
I cannot tell if they are remote islands or fisherman boats.
Or are they military camps?
This shore was where the Vietnamese landed on Hong Kong to escape from the war several decades ago.
Before I was born.
Wind from the South China Sea is always strong.
We have stood here for too long.
It’s chilly for me.
It’s probably too windy.
Let’s go inside the castle from the entrance next.
far, far end, a cargo ship sails slowly across the harbour. another harbour. another sea. another continent.
But I am not with them this year at the Mid-Autumn Festival. Itâ€™s some time before dawn in Hong Kong now. Most people are now asleep. After the celebration. Or after another ordinary day. I am late for the Festival. But I am under the same moon. I am in Arraiolos. I am with you.
Tonight, in Hong Kong, and in many other places in another part of the world, people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. People eat moon cakes. People play with candles. People carry lanterns. People just enjoy being outside. People go to anywhere that you can see the moon. Like the empty land here. Like us.
At the To yet To yet To yet
From here, looking outside, you see further away of the sea. you see boats staying in the middle of the sea at night. The boats barely move. The smaller ones are boathouses where the boat people live. The larger ones are crane ships for construction along the coast. Yes, the coast is constantly destructed and rebuilt. To have the most extravagant harbour view. No history is preserved. Nothing like Arraiolos.
I am glad you come celebrate with me. Boa noite. Adeus.
Let’s enjoy a moment of tranquility. Of togetherness. In Mid-Autumn Festival. What Mid-Autumn Festival is about.
The moon. Is it fuller than usual? It lights up the town. But not the sea.
Central Ferry Pier is not far away from us. It is right in the middle with an ‘L’ shape. It has a tip extending to the sea. There is a ferry going to the other side of Victoria Harbour. My favourite way to go back home after a day. After a night.
Boats with shiny white headlights come to here. A remote island with few lights is at the far end of the sea. And another yet more remote island sits farther away than that island.
Look to your right. This is the sea I have seen the most here. The dark, calm sea. The sea of Arraiolos. The sea of Hong Kong.
I have seen this same view for some time. But you may have seen it more. When was the last time you had a good look at the town?
untitled Antti Auvinen
Verkkosaari is an old harbor area in Helsinki. It is located between two newly built residential areas that are taking over the old industrial coastline east of downtown Helsinki. After 145 years, buildings are now slowly filling up the area where this harbor used to be, having moved away approximately 8 years ago. Even though I am an architect, and have even been an active proponent of urban life and the need for new housing to control the surging housing prices in the city, I somehow became sad while cycling through the area. Many of the old industrial buildings and warehouses have already been torn down in anticipation for the new residential uses to come. In the past few years the area has been used by legal and illegal raves, squats, the homeless, fishermen, a reception center for asylum seekers, a motorcycle club and just as a place where you can dump unwanted furniture or vehicles. There is a sense of both freedom and melancholy in an area like this, that is close to the city center but still feels remote. There are very few people around and even less presence from the everyday life of the city. There is no pragmatic reason for keeping an area like this around, it serves no purpose to anyone. But its atmosphere, specifically in these last moments when time seems to stand still, was something I felt I needed to conserve. I recently read a text considering ruins from a feminist point of view which I related to strongly:
In the ruin, we can clearly notice traces of various interactions the building has had with other entities: people leave behind graffiti drawings and trash; animals and plants build homes; exposure to the elements leaves walls mouldy and metal structures rusty. Unlike in the planned environment, these traces are left for us to see, hear, smell and touch. They are not immediately removed, because we do not have a fixed notion of how such a ‘functionless’ building should look. The ruin is a not yet (or: no longer) designated space: a space of in-betweenness, or a ‘halfway house between place and nonplace’, as philosopher Dylan Trigg calls it. As such, it is a transgressive space that is not obliged to re-produce the normative system of the meticulously planned-out city. Ruined space allows for a different kind of being, as human (and nonhuman) subjects get to leave the paved roads and explore other and new interactions with their environment. Ruins are spaces where that which usually gets banished from ‘normal’ urban life can flourish.
1. Sanne Kanters interviewed by Mark Minkjan in “Spaces of Otherness: Ruins Through a Feminist Lens.” Failed Architecture. 14 June 2016. https://www.failedarchitecture.com/spaces-of-otherness-ruins-througha-feminist-lens/. Dylan Trigg, The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia, and the Absence of Reason, vol. 37, New Studies in Aesthetics (New York: Peter Lang, 2006).
The unrecognized, and intentionally forgotten, on the fringes of the city, and within the empty urban pockets, sandwiched between fixed boundaries, generating its own alternatives, and rising up to announce a physical presence. Cairoâ€™s informal settlements.
Cairo’s “informal” Mohammed Alaa
I was given a chance to visit Ys, the city which we thought once lost into the sea. Yes, it is still there, the old Breton nation, a remnant of the Celtic Otherworld - where past, present and future are fused together, apparently. Several gateways to the Otherworld exists.
gathering the last few batches of seaweed from the sea. ‘I can smell the storm coming,’ he muttered. He sensed it from the humidity before I noticed the mild breaking waves. Now this really triggered a series of imaginations in my mind - am I here, back in time, right on that night when the devil disguised as the red knight, came to woo the princess? Who would not be able to leave because of the storm? Following the legend’s storyline, the princess would then sneak into the King’s bedroom and steal his keys…
“If you look closely along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, search for the caves under the cliffs which have seemingly no ends, notice the slits between the lime-formed rocks, how they Princess and King! Some stories that Saint Winwaloe form an angle with where the standing stones are pointing left behind I bet. Words of mouth, passed down through at...” superstitious filters and here we are today. I was told. ‘Before guessing what is in your head, let me reassure what Directing myself after all those clues my sight was drawn back you are thinking is not going to happen.’ to the horizon. He sounded like I was not the only stranger whom he’s ever There appeared to be a shadow in the sea. picked up from this shore and dealt with their confused looks. He took no interests in where I came from either. It must just be some mirages like other fiction described, I thought. ‘Whatever your version of the story is, a storm is a storm, cyclical movement driven by the cosmos. It doesn’t bring But the line of horizon suddenly approached my vision, along anything good or evil. It doesn’t give meaning to any breaking my perception of space. apocalyptic consequences. The line drew closer and closer, and blurred away the sea. Slowly, that shadow I saw earlier, revealed itself, as a topography of an evenly portioned natural landscapes and settlements. I guessed it was Ys. This is how you got acquainted with the Ys experience. How straightforward it sounds. Thousands of adventurers went for their search of the miraculous but did not go as lucky as you. Perhaps you never had an attitude quite the same. You never saw the urge of seeking an other world. It then came to you instead. Ys was in a distance from me, semi-covered in mists arisen from the sea. The sun was setting behind the mists brushing Ys in a pale gold. I found my feet on a thick pile of washedup kelps, still damp. A fishing boat rocked near by and I asked the man on it if he could take me to that shadowy place ahead. He said he lived there. He was going to return after
We, the citizen of this shadowy land, take in whatever the nature presents us and make the best out of it. I am grateful to all the gifts from the sea. And tomorrow I shall continue to work hard and live my days.’ Startled by his words, I asked the calm wise man, ‘are you a d-druid?’ ‘I call myself a farmer,’ he softened. ‘I farm seaweed, understand plants, learn the ecology behind, read the weather, taste the acidity of water, design the farming tools. Why? Because depending on these I can survive, as everyone needs to. Economical concern is the prime. The more we KNOW about adapting the environment the higher chance of survival. Druid is just an idea. ‘An idea in which case one strives to become a knowledgeably respected person, self-made, self-empowered, self-educated through developing their individual specialities and performing their roles within the society, rather than a static class member.’
A Visit to Ys Edith Linnea Fung
Dahut was my great great great grandmother. She wasn’t any princess or Royal figure, but a daughter and inheritance ‘Where there are wise words will attract listeners. There has of a large landowner in Ys. She owned a lot of housing never been an obligation to ‘preach’ or be ‘followed’. If you plots, farms and woodlands of Ys. Her family supplied the want to follow someone’s practice, go to the priest. Druids community wheat, fresh water and wood. She received gifts aren’t priest. Druids aren’t interested in power. from her tenants in return. Eggs from husbandmen, wool from shepherds, jewelries from blacksmiths and so on. It is what ‘Every once in awhile mutation occurs with one societal you may understand today as barter exchanges. member suffering from power struggle. They play ‘leaders’ by spreading words about things they know, in the name of For hundreds of years Ys has shut itself out from the world in preaching, and marginalise others who do not agree with order to protect against foreign occupation. Since Roman’s them, as I understand.’ frequent attempts to rule over our land, Ys was vulnerable and bounded to doom in days. When Saint Winwaloe invaded The tides rose, as if they were pushing the boat desperately to my ancestors were forced out from their lands. Gradlon, one the direction of Ys. It was officially dusk. The city lit itself. of the warriors who fought to against the conquerors, took The profile of buildings were less evident, but the lights were an oath to keep Ys safe from being converted into a different sharp and focused hegemony. He and the citizens of Ys worked with tides to hide the place from the outside world, turning this place For it is telling you, the form and shape of things aren’t of the legendarily swallowed into the sea. city’s interest. It knows its place, where the lights are, where the shadows sink. A closed circle economy developed and has functioned until Rather than a mystical figure who holds supernatural powers.
The sea waves continued to hit the boat. Each strike of the wave, each swing of the boat. The strike. The swing. The lights of the city seemed to glow with the rhythm too. The higher the tides, the stronger the glow. This is no illusion at all, my dear. Ys is lit by tidal energy. Each dwelling has its own tidal power unit. Everyone is equally served by nature. There’s no magic, yet you can always be hypnotised by nature’s pattern.
today. It is a place self-sustaining through autarkic practice of working with nature. I am afraid this is all I know, as you see my bloodline had lost ties with the city long time ago. About Morvarc’h, Dahut’s beloved horse, which your world believed as a solution to fight against Trojans
We arrived at the pier, I farewelled the farmer. Immediately spreading around digital infrastructure, I reached the centre of town surrounded by clusters of wooden in Ys as you might hope to encounter, houses. Streets, sometimes alleyways were defined by the boundaries of these organically arranged houses most of which I am sorry to hear it did not appear. were extended by ground floor verandas. The definition of threshold was obscured; whether the spaces I walked through were public or private I did not know. Live and work unit were probably mixed too. Weavers, woodcraftsman, leather makers and cheesemongers, calmly finishing off their work at this time of the day, were visible at street level. Looking up the second and third storeys were other men and women, carefully removing clothes from the drying line. People’s lives were somewhat transparent that it was impossible for me to picture orgies or killings in this place, recalling from the legends. So I heard.
untitled Steven Cline
Contributors & Contemporaries
We would like to thank all the contemporaries who shared their contributions on Kêr-Is.
S’LIM is a zine that focuses on a particular place at a
Tiia Anttila is a flâneuse and a recently graduated architect with her head up in the sky. Based in Helsinki, she runs her own design studio Collaboratorio together with her two associates. She studied architecture at University of Oulu and ENSA Paris Val-de-Seine and has previously worked in both architectural and artistic practices in Finland, France and Denmark. The phenomenological aspects of architecture are of particular interest to her. (http://www.collaboratorio.fi) Megan McMahon is an artist living and working out of Austin, Texas. She is interested in searching for aura and spirituality in the landscape and the indexical approaches to photography. Megan is currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Art at Texas State University and has exhibited work in Texas and Florida. (http://megancmcmahon.com) Yip Kai Chun is an artist who has lived in Hong Kong for his whole life. He has been to four artist-in-residencies in a row this year. Now, he wants to try living somewhere else. (http://www.yipkaichuns.com) Antti Auvinen is a Master’s student in architecture, focusing on architectural theory. He has been photographing as a hobby since high school, for over 10 years now, and is interested in the strange things built or left behind by people in urban environments. (http://anttiauvinen.tumblr.com) Mohammed Alaa is an Egyptian architect / artist living between Cairo and Paris. He studied architecture in Alexandria, and later worked in the field of architecture and heritage on several historical sites in Egypt including the Giza pyramids and Luxor. Currently, he is channeling his experiences into a hybrid form of architectural artwork using Book Art and threads. (https://kemeticblue.wordpress.com) Edith Linnea Fung (Edy) is a multidisciplinary creative, specialising in architecture, design and curating. She developed an interest in the expanded field since graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, experimenting with forms produced across writing, moving images and narrative space. (http://edy-f.com) Steven Cline is a collage artist and graphic designer living in Cartersville, Georgia. In addition to collage, he also helps run the surrealist journal Peculiar Mormyrid. (http://stevenclineart.com)
time, merging the contemporary and the historical experiences of visiting, living, staying and theorizing. ISSN 2343-1016 (online) ISSN 2343-1024 (print) Edited by Selim, a Helsinki-based contemporary platform for editorial / curatorial / cultural / visual / spatial projects. SELIM Selim Projects Katajanokankatu 8 D 24 00160 Helsinki, Finland http://www.selim.fi firstname.lastname@example.org © 2016 Selim Projects / Henrik Drufva and Mika Savela. The copyright on the individual text and images is held by the respective contributors and authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the publisher, except for works existing in the public domain.