Nina Lundström, 2017
Actors: Gilda Bartel, Bettina Schünemann
Camera: Nina Lundström, Christian Bannat, Jens Preuschgat
Cutting: Nina Lundström
Images: © Nina Lundström, Bettina Schünemann, Karo Kollwitz
J_a_n_._ _‚1_7_ _I have this image in my head of two women sitting in the forest, crocheting. With the work of their hands, they slowly produce granny squares to hide the ugly fence separating them.
March 10 Found a description on the internet of how to make granny squares. My first 3 attempts were catastrophes, but by the fourth, I managed to make a good one. Even the first three are sort of sweet though, getting one step closer each time I tried.
March 14 Ran into a gardener friend today. Asked him where I might find a suitable fence for my video. As I was explaining my project, he told me about his experience taking down the border fence during his military service 1989.
March 17 By now, I can make the granny squares without looking at my hands all the time. The yarn makes these complicated figures, it is hard to believe that my hands are creating them. Slowly my stash of squares is growing.
I_ _d_o_n_’t_ _t_h_i_n_k_ _m_y_ _g_r_a_n_d_m_o_t_h_e_r_ _c_o_u_l_d_ _e_v_e_r_ _h_a_v_e_ _i_m_a_g_i_n_e_d_ _s_o_m_e_t_h_i_n_g_ _l_i_k_e_ _this. A granny square blanket sewn into an old fence in a forgotten part of the forest. Her handicraft was made for very different reasons.
Apr., 6 I laid out all my crocheted squares like a blanket on the floor. So many already, so beautiful! Sweet perfection in numbers and repetition.
Apr., 15 Went to a flea market, in Ljungskile, Sweden. I got crocheting needles, 7 for 10 crowns (less than 1 euro). This got me into explaining the project to my mother who was with me.
She got excited about it and after dinner, we looked through her stashes of left over wool. Even though she is an excellent knitter, she had never done granny squares. But she caught on right away. We had some hilarious discussions, my father and boyfriend making fun of us for talking in very technical t_e_r_m_s_._ _D_o_u_b_l_e_ _c_r_o_c_h_e_t_,_ _d_o_u_b_l_e_ _c_r_o_c_h_e_t_,_ _c_h_a_i_n_ _s_t_i_t_c_h_… _
Apr., 17 As we were leaving Sweden, my mother handed me 31 squares. She promised to continue as long as she has yarn left.
Apr., 18 Contacted Ulla about getting help with crocheting. She went right to her stack of old handicraft projects and sent me an image of 25 already completed granny squares. She will send me these and promised to make more squares from her left over wool.
I need 2 women crocheting in my video. I imagine them having grey hair, but not otherwise looking old. Not hide the changing color of their hair, proud and strong women.
Feminists become more radical as they get older, as they experience the glass ceiling in reality and not only in theory.
Apr., 19 Karo found me a fence when she was walking her dog. An old fence that no longer belongs to any particular property. It sounds perfect. It seems to be in a more overgrown area than what I was imagining.
The forest is slowly taking back this land. The fence is no longer really effective. It is rusted and bent, the pillars crumbling more with each passing day. Just a few more years and there will be no fence left, no sign of a border.
Apr., 24 Gilda called me. She will be one of my actresses! So excited, things are moving forward.
Apr., 30 My first crocheting party. Good friends, wine and cheese, and granny squares! 54 squares in one evening. This time I am involving so many people, feeling the pressure of making something really special, as they are giving me of their time.
I very much appreciated the conversations we had. As if the activity of working together and using our hands opened up for subjects that we n_o_r_m_a_l_l_y_ _d_o_n_’t_ _t_o_u_c_h_ _u_p_o_n_._ _
May 1 Today Bettina agreed to be the second actress for my video!
My mother called and asked if she is allowed to continue making squares. She has made 68 and is having so much fun making them that she went and bought new wool because her left overs are all used up.
Crocheting can be so obsessive. Just one more square, this little piece of wool, that color. The perfection, the complicated still repeating movements, the meditative feeling of sinking into creating.
May 11 Went to the forest. I found the place to film my video. There is an old fence, rusting and bent. On both sides there is a little opening. Light falls through the leaves of the high trees, making everything dreamlike. But the fence is very real, disturbing the fairytale beauty.
That fence is so silent. The forest is full of sounds, birds singing, leaves rattling, people walking by. But the fence – _just quiet._ _D_o_e_s_n_’t say a thing, stands there, a silent intruder. We get tired, try not to see it, just as we do not hear it. To make it "disappear", we decorate it, make it look "nice". Adding square after s_q_u_a_r_e_… _
May 13 My son loves to play with the granny squares. They turn into space crafts, boats, sleeping bags for his stuffed animals. He too loves the touch of yarn, the endless possibilities.
May 15 Ran into Jens today. I w_a_n_t_ _t_o_ _i_n_t_e_r_v_i_e_w_ _h_i_m_._ _I_ _c_a_n_’t let go of what he told me about taking down the wall during his military service. He made history, or more correctly, he undid history. That wall, the wall separating the east from the west. It did happen. It is real. It was real. It came down, piece by piece.
May 22 Talked to the forest ranger from Forstamt Bad Berka today. I got my filming permission without any problems. No need to sign any papers, just a_ _v_e_r_y_ _f_r_i_e_n_d_l_y_ _“ok”!_ _A_l_l_ _s_e_t_ _now.
I lay out my granny squares and they look just beautiful on the floor. Maybe, just maybe this will work.
June 7 My filming day in the woods. It was really windy but sunny as we started into the forest. 6 persons all in all. I was nervous, had a nightmare the night before that seemed way too realistic. In my dream, I could not find my fence anymore. Then there was snow in the forest where my fence was. 2 houses stood so close to the fence that we could not get any good shots without the houses in the images. And finally a whole group of small children came, they were a_l_l_ _o_v_e_r_ _m_y_ _l_o_c_a_t_i_o_n_… _
But actually, almost nothing went wrong.
The forest was magic, all the sounds, the little animals, the dreamlike surroundings. As the day went by my fence became more and more covered in granny squares. They fit just like I had imagined they would. One granny square in each square of the fence. A crazy blanket, made from loving hands. 2 women sugar coating a fence.
I drew a line and stepped over it
And on the other side, I was free.
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden. She lives and works in Weimar, Germany. She received her Diploma of Fine Arts in 1999 from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Norway. She has taught Fine Art at the Bauhaus University and currently teaches at Erfurt University. The main focus her work is on video and experimental drawing. She is interested in how we live with the consequences of migration, voluntary or not. Questions of breaking borders/expectations are predominant, reflecting on a steadily changing society and the consequences this has on an individual level.