Almunge, July 2018
Lilla Skola, where I was staying, meant little school. It felt familiar already, as I was here a few months ago, when the whole site was covered in thick snow. The house was part of the Haglund Skola compound where SU-EN Butoh Dance Company’s HQ is located, comprising the main school, little school, shower house, and guest house. Set within a forest in Almunge, I was well informed that there would be no WIFI, and mobile phone signal would be unreliable.
What is most disorienting for someone who lives in a city is probably the various tasks and procedures that one has to follow in and around the house. Upon entering the house, one needs to remove outdoor shoes and put on a pair of slippers. I’ve always considered this a good habit. There are various signs around the house, for example, ‘Haglund house order’, ‘Snow shovel plan’, ‘departure info’, ‘compost and recycling’, ‘fire instructions’ etc. One should pull the toilet flush knob straight up and gently. After shower, one should clean and dry the floor and walls. Do not use the oven at the same time as cooking other things; it will not get hot. There are 7 different bins in the kitchen: tetra/cardboard/thick paper, hard and soft plastic, metal, glass/ceramic, paper, compost, burnable rubbish, and something for the fox, if you know what goes in that bin. Compost is restricted to raw food: no eggs or egg shells, no citrus peels, no avocado or fruit with a large stone. I guess it’s a matter of learning a new habit.
After a day of meeting, preparation and rehearsal, I returned to my humble abode and continued with a different kind of busyness. I went through everything that needed to be binned and tried to identify the variety of materials our rubbish are made of. It might sound like an ordeal to have to go through all this, but the question that came to my head was: why did we make our life difficult by designing and producing packaging that cannot be biodegraded or recycled to begin with?