Henrik Malmström: The Eye Consumes the Body’s Economy

My dead mother in my dream
Remember when December blew her ashes ‘cross my jeans
Somethings only I have seen
Some people only I have been
-Death Grips, “Up My Sleeve”

By Brad Feuerhelm, August 2015

From the Watchtower in my nest of dirty glasses and cables littering the floor, I peer out into the vast gray and murky evening a bit drunk with melancholy and cheap wine. I click, I whir, I sip, I deny.

It’s all a bit of an ode to my insalubrious daytime narcolepsy. I stand adrift on my feet punching the button on the machine over and over. I retrieve the embossed metal plate and stack it on the pile of never-ending embossed metal plates. I am not here. I sleep on my feet, my nocturnal interests affording me to punch the fucking button, punch the fucking button, oddly never careening into the loss of a limb. I remember reading about a certain cyanosis on the active region of a limb…the active region of a limb….narcoleptic preservation compels me. I am a robot of gristle absently counting the seconds until it is night when the whistle blows and I leave this place, which smells like the sweat of old men and machine oil.

 

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The specter of their sexual economy, a twitching eyelid on the stained playing field of the grossly inept “body politic” they used to teach us about before I left university.

 

At the end of the day, I pick up my assorted groceries, maybe some beer or more wine. I spend less and less money on clothes, toiletries, shampoo. I prefer to keep my hair short and resist the urge to fraternize with others. At night, I watch the economics of bodies corralled on the street below my apartment passing into and out of automobiles…re-adjusting skirts, wiping mouths, re-applying cosmetics. There is a ritual to all of this. I seethe with neither anger, nor joy at their passing below. I have little interest in being involved. I decided long ago to negate my priapic integrity for that of a “look in” over that of participation. Tonight it is cold and the grand feast for mediation has begun. I can smell perfume, cigarette smoke, and wine from behind my closed window in my little room outfitted with a mattress, a chair, and a thick haze from my own cigarette. I click, I whir, I sip, I spy.

 

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I remember reading about a certain cyanosis on the active region of a limb. …the active region of a limb….narcoleptic preservation compels me.

 

In the morning, after the charade of commerce below has passed and the last utterings of Spanish, Polish, Ukrainian, maybe even Romanian have faded down the street, I take my little sandwich bag of film towards the pharmacy where they will develop my 35mm cassettes. They will make all things of shade and of difficulty light again…to be seen…to have the light shine through their celluloid bodies. The specter of their sexual economy, a twitching eyelid on the stained playing field of the grossly inept “body politic” they used to teach us about before I left university. The same Specter that Marx would have his namesake employed for. Only Marx doesn’t matter so much on this level. His spirited conversations and economic prowess a laughing matter in many of the clinics this morning. At lunch, I will drink water, eat bread with a little cheese and pick up my film from the pharmacy. I will consider during this reprieve my coming evening where I will click, I will whir, I will seethe, I will deny.

I met Henrik Malmström a few years ago for a European traveller’s project with 1000Words Photography from whom I collaborated. I found Henrik an odd sort of young man. He was full of intellect, dry and cutting humor, but refused to smile. He said little about this body of work for which he has now published. Trying to elicit an amount of energy from him at the time seemed to be a battle for which I would not win no matter how talented I believed he was. I could only imagine him creating this book by sitting in a room alone, without compassion, but without enmity either for his subject. There seemed to be a casual air of a Finnish “fuck-off” written to his demeanor. It was something that I do respect no matter what my own personal philosophy is about photographing prostitutes. The book by Kominek is nocturnal in every way. Black pages, black endpapers, black outlook, black object, black vision. Black is not to say bleak, but there is also no hero here, nor a victim, necessarily. It is a passing observation on life beneath one’s windowsill and it is unnerving and lethargic. I highly recommend alienating yourself within its pages.

 

 

A Minor Wrong Doing

Henrik Malmström

Kominek

 

(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Henrik Malmström.)

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