November 25, 2014

He’s dead. They start to walk as soon as they feel it. The heart beat stops and they leave. Infrasound. It’s a memory but oh so present. They feel. They arrive at his house half a day later. They see he’s wife and ignore her. They make circles, they stand still.
They greave for as long as usually. Then they leave.

In a documentary Malik Bendalouj was about to make (interrupted by his own death) the meeting between the wildlife expert Lawrence Anthony and a couple of groups of traumatized elephants turns in to a kind of fairytale as their friendships evolves with mutual understanding. [1]

Anthony was convinced that elephants where able to communicate over long distances.[2] It is said that the moment when Anthony died (in Durban) two of the elephant herds he’d been working with started to walk towards his house (in Zululand). They walked for 12 hours and arrived to his house where they walked in circles around it and stayed for two days – a similar ritual to those they have when an elephant family-member has died.


As Donna Haraway says, you should not see animals and humans as separated through the uniqueness of humanity but rather see the connections between nature and culture.[3]

It is only a dot, a black dot on a grey background. You say it’s alive but the image is still. You say that it’s true but I never know. There is no motion so I can’t feel it.
It exists and it doesn’t exist. They tell me to cry, to feel sad. I feel nothing.

You might feel with someone but you might also not feel anything. You see a dot on a screen, someone tells you it’s your child, you see a dot – you feel a dot. Someone buys your body as a carrier for their child – you feel a lot. Someone buys your body for pleasure – you try to shut down. As if pain where only mental or physical. As if physical was always mental and as if physical was never mental. As if you couldn’t heal cancer with your thoughts. As if you’d always love a child that someone says is yours – you see a dot. You might be born into the wrong body. You’re a container of knowledge, of emotional knowledge. You’re a container of nothingness.

My body is mine but it’s always projected upon. It changes me and it changes my feelings towards my body. You say I’m beautiful – I feel beautiful, or not. You say a meet lump is a child – I might believe you. The Monthy Pythons ironically sing “every sperm is sacred” and turns it into chaos. On facebook you might show your body if it’s according to how they are expected to look and be shown,[4] you show your hairy armpit and the rage is all over the place. You’re being critical toward the way people are exposed[5] or show a sketched image of different kinds of vulvas – you’re banned for some time to come and the image is quickly removed.[6] Haraway say that “etching of modern Christian creationism” could be seen “as a form of child abuse”. Someone puts films of you, being naked, in a public forum where heartbroken guys put up videos of their ex’s as revenge, but it’s not a crime to be filmed while having sex. Who’s the victim? The law can’t tell.

Knowledge knows no boundaries with Internet, or does it? Aaron Swartz thought that knowledge (through internet as a media for fast and open access) should belong to everybody. In his attempts to search for ways to open knowledge sources he became a victim of the authorities aims to control people from using what they created. We shape technology, technology shapes us. We create tools that society controls and sometimes society knows more boundaries than technology.

Your body might be built up by prostheses of ideas: The idea of the hymen being like a membrane covering inside the vulva. An idea so widely spread it causes disasters for women not “breaking it” and bleeding while for the first time having intercourse with a man. Ideas about two sexes being each other’s opposites leaves out other possibilities. As if everything was yin and yang, or black and white.

Assumptions are made. We make things up, we tell stories and always leave things out. I make up stories of a waterbear being able to connect with other waterbears in a mirror neuron-like landscape. I make it up, but I can’t know that it isn’t true. By making it up I program the waterbears, I give them functions and prostheses that might be taken for truths, just as the idea of the hymen. We are not un-shapeable organism, we are re-programmed machines. We are not complete robots, but we are not isolated bodies. We buy clothes made in horrible working environments but we don’t feel it because we don’t see it. We text sms’ to someone and assume that they’ll get exactly what we mean, see what we felt. We feel lonely when that person doesn’t respond.
/Tove Grönroos

[1] 2014-11-18


[3]Donna Haraway, ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, London: Free Association Books, 1991, pp. 149-





One Response to “Contradictions”

  1. elsajannborg Says:

    This was a really touching post which generated a lot of different feelings, and a beautiful picture.


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