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Truly extraordinary beginnings Synnerligen extraordinära begynnelser

Installation, 2015
Photograph, cardboard, nylon thread, spray painted dry grass, text
An independent sequel to Holder/Revolve.


Truly Extraordinary Beginnings [1]

The gravity of the decisive break demands narrative.
Conflicting details must be resolved, reworked into a plausible whole.
Aging memories will be recorded as gospel.

How is the story of an expansion told, and how does that story keep the expansion itself going?

Expansion involves elements of destruction. To avoid slowing down, the expansion must both
silence those whom it affects negatively and present itself as attractive to supporters. Thus, the
Franciscan Movement narrates its establishment of a Mission system in California as a series of
extraordinary new beginnings – leaving endings unacknowledged. 

By creating new legends, new relics and new sites of veneration that offer a direct contact with
its origins, the expansion gives itself historicity. Objects and sites related to the time before the
expansion lose their significance and are no longer frequently used. A new sacred tree is found
in California, as a substitute for the old one in Italy.

The expansion offers its followers:
a fresh beginning
a promise of new opportunities and challenges
an escape from restrictions and tedium

Telling the expansion story involves: suppressing unwanted details and testimonies; romanticizing
the expansion’s initial phase and naming the involved individuals “pioneers” ,“heroes” and “saints”;
enrolling as many participants as possible in the ongoing practice of story-telling; painting the grass
green during severe draught caused by over-irrigation; making the construction of a life-like replica
of a California Mission a mandatory task for fourth-graders.

The story of expansion leaves out large areas of experience and creates silences and blank spots
(missing pages in the book, books never written). The story is designed to appear as a plausible
whole, a template and a model for the continuation of expansion. When properly constructed and
used for appropriate ends, models are elegant and manageable, tidy and comforting.

The expansion needs you in order to grow bigger.

The expansion wants to teach you the way to eternal happiness.

Always go forward and never turn back. [3]

[1] The title comes from a passage in From Assisi to the world, a text that is on display in The Museum of the Indios Mission, Assisi, Italy.
“From a look back over seven hundred years of Franciscan history, one striking revelation emerges: the Franciscan era was blessed with

truly extraordinary beginnings.”
[2] Joan Didion, Where I was from, New York, Vintage Books, 2003, p. 30

[3] The motto of Junípero Serra (1713-1784), who is often referred to as “The Founding Father of California”. Despite protests from
Native American organisations, Pope Francis has scheduled Serra’s canonization in September 2015. If this canonization proceeds as
planned, Serra will become California’s first saint.


Installation view, Combustion Gallery, Zadar, 2015.


Folded sheet of paper, 297x420mm. Front: screen shot of the Google image search "4th Grade Mission Project".
Back: Text from museum display signs in Carmel, California and Assisi, Italy.




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