Smoking is healthy: pt. 2

Text: John Westlund Art: Ushiri Stenberg Smoking is healthy part 1

Kane

Before I met Mr Downearth and Freddie, I didn’t know who I was. Life had changed for the worse and there wasn’t much I could do about it. Valerie left, the kids too, and they were never coming back. So I left too; ascended with my new friends.

In the first year, it felt like my flat was eating me alive. I was suffocating, like an indebted wretch thrown to the bottom of a deep, dark canal. ‘Who am I now?’ The question echoed through the empty space of my room, bouncing off the walls in an endless, erratic dance. Who am I, with my lack of presence? No longer a worker, no longer a father, barely a functioning man. A nobody.

In the midst of my despair, Mr Downearth appeared. I hadn’t spoken to the fellow in many years, but I vaguely remembered him from the days I spent at the library with my wife. I remembered his smile. His honest, unrelenting eyes. I remembered picking up his books just to put them back down and truth be told, I remembered my desire to stay away, because in his studies he was up to more than I could really bother to understand. I mean, why bother with all of that strange business if you have no reason to escape? Back then that was my one and only truth. But now, I need a new truth. The pining, red-eyed mess of a man I’ve become… he desperately needs something.

I stand in front of the smoky, bird-footed creature that used to be a man. When I lean down to take a closer look I notice the name tag attached to his robe reading “0001” in neat, black lettering. I turn to Professor Downearth who’s been observing me from a corner of the room.

– Is that him? I ask.

The professor nods. I turn back to the monster to greet him.

– It’s nice to meet you, Kane.

A subtle sound like a stifled laugh. I ignore it and continue:

– I’ve read about you. Can I ask you a few questions about yourself?

Silence.

– Maybe about your wife? Valerie?

More silence. The professor steps in and puts his hand on my shoulder. He’s smiling, yet I can’t discern the expression on his face as he says:

– Now, what you’re trying to do is very interesting, but it’s no use. He doesn’t know who he is.

– Not at all? I reply.

– No.

– So he doesn’t even recognize you anymore?

– He does not, I’m afraid.

– Does that upset you, Professor Downearth?

For a second, his face seems to freeze. Then he smiles even wider.

– The results of the study have been positive, haven’t they? Trust me, there’s no reason to be upset.

As the professor swivels us around to exit the room, the smoke around 0001’s head seems to puff even thicker.

Smoking is healthy: pt. 1

Text: John Westlund Art: Ushiri Stenberg

A recent study conducted by the University of Escapism indicates that, yes, it is indeed possible to ascend through smoking. I went to interview the university’s own Professor Downearth for more details.

Walking through the halls of the university, I feel the urge to question the tall gentleman once more:

– Is it true what you claim? Can you really ascend through smoking?

He simply smiles. He walks, I follow. As we walk, the walls start to cave in around us. Space crumbles, I follow. The professor saunters along the now non-existent floor nonchalantly. Dancing along to his own heartbeat in the thin air seems to be second nature to him. As soon as I manage to pry my eyes away from his feet long enough to start worrying about my own safety, he pulls me along with him by my wrist, saving me from falling into the lifeless abyss below. He walks, I follow. For a moment, or perhaps a million, I seem to lose my grip on the concept of time. When it finally, or perhaps immediately, returns to me, we are standing in front of a metallic door labelled “Air”. Professor Downearth’s calm expression remains even as he opens the door and says:

– Meet the Airheads.

The room inside is dark and foggy but I can see them clearly. Twenty-seven or so grotesque beings sitting huddled up on the floor. About half of them each hold a lit cigarette in their hand. These beings look human enough for me to not feel frightened, yet strange enough for me to become concerned. The shapes of their bodies I immediately recognize as my own. Their feet, however, are enormous and birdlike, sharp claws sticking out of coarse yellowish toes. It’s quite amazing. But the truly most amazing part is what I notice next: their heads. Or, the thick, swirling clouds of smoke that take up the space where a head should be. I’m not sure where their bodies end and the clouds begin. I’m not even sure if they really have heads, though I would guess they do. The lighting is a smidge too dim and the smoke a smidge too thick for me to confirm it, but in the center of the clouds above their torsos I can almost make out a dark, round shape that appears to be the core. It seems to hold some of the smoke together to form the shape of a head, while the rest of the smoke ascends and spreads throughout the room like a fleeting dream.

Whether or not the Airheads still remember who they are, I don’t know. Neither do I know if they are better or worse off now than they were before they were brought into the laboratory. All I know is that they seem to have peace of mind. They seem to be part of a community, their heads evaporating and connecting in the ceiling like a smoky hivemind.

Smoking is healthy part 2 Will be published 29th of June 2021

Horseman

Text: Ushiri Stenberg Translation: John Westlund

If you don’t drink your coffee, the horse man will cut your face to pieces. Nobody wants their face cut off, especially not when you can influence the inner factors by slowly beating your head against a wall. The fractures you create makes it so that the horse man likely won’t appear. You want to avoid the horse man, do you not? He lives across the street in the entrance over there. Whatever you do, don’t peek through your keyhole at 1 o’clock in the night. He will most likely stand there. If he sees a ray of light he will strike and strike until your door is beaten down. Whatever happens next is anything but good, especially for the neighbours who will hear your shriek in the night. So come on, drink your coffee. Otherwise the horse man will guard your door every night, and the night it’s unlocked is the night you lose your face. The first stories of the horse man were told in the 17th century and can be found in the diary notes written by the former landowners of Häckeberga Castle. A heavily built man with a stooped back and a laugh like a neigh was seen near the water mill. That’s how the millkeeper told the story in the beginning of the 19th century. Shortly thereafter he hung himself in the barn. In 1932 the stables were ravaged by fire as two children disappeared from the village. A few days later, a boy said he had seen the children sitting on the stooped back of a man who was playing with them and who sounded like a horse. They were headed for the water mill at nightfall.   /Ushiri

God wants you to make love to him.

Text: Juan Pablo Tupper Art: Ushiri

She-he, God-Goddess, as consciousness itself, has not only waited since time immemorial to have a body capable of experiencing pleasure, a body through which he-she can incarnate the supreme orgasm of creation. In this aeon-long wait, she-he waited to have a mind that can make love to her, to him. Isn’t it what art actually is, the human mind, this small parcel of the divine mind, making love to God himself when being creative? It is copulation of cosmic forces, the yin penetrated by the yang, and yes indeed, the yang, in what it has of yin, being penetrated by what of yang there is in the yin. A yang ectoplasm ejaculation fertilising the yin ectoplasm, both part on one universal mind, we call “God”. It is also an epic masturbation.

The divine masturbation of God, through our minds having sex with his own self, which is not he nor she, and also is he and she at the same time. How have we ended up denying God theirself the pleasure they conceived as the ultimate earthly gift to us? We have moralised sex. We have commercialised and standardised art. We have, in other words, repressed God’s sexuality. Sin is not to fornicate but to abstain from fornication. Sin is to deny the body and sin is to desecrate the quill writing bibles. Sin is to aspire to achieve fame and to mechanise the magic intercourse, instead of letting ourselves be possessed by a frenzy of ethereal magma, flowing explosively through us, and to let it create through us what we fear to create. God wants you back in the church. Not the Catholic or orthodox, the synagogue or mosque.

Not the ashram or the crack-pothippy-guru’s sect. God, the ultimate she, the ultimate he, wants to hear the temples erected in his name trembling  and vibrating with the moaning of creation. He wants an immoral soma to replace the wine. A soma equally forbidden replaces the bread. Isn’t the wine in any case the fruition of the fornication of the grapevine? And the bread that of the wheat? Claim back those gorgeous architectural works of art, built by unaware libertines like you, away from the claws of “institutions” and bring them to the life they deserve.

Turn them into the bridal bed where an endless orgy honours God’s sinless debauchery. Turn the physical church into the archetypal church, that one hidden in the depths of your soul. Open the portal to the womb of the collective unconscious where nothing is sin and all is permitted. Be fornication, be art. Be art, be philosophy… be what you will to be, but be! Return to the temple, I command thee! Undress! Copulate! It is God’s will, written in your

body, written in your mind.
Written in the air. The most delicious
pheromones, craving to inebriate you
oblivious, the ink. Abandon your
sinful waysand just… be!

“How Corona created a friendship and made earth a very small lovely place”

Text & Art: Ushiri

Two years ago I actually made a big painting for the first time in my life and it’s based on an idea to make erotic art with less sexualised characters. This one here is a mix of Donald Trump and the Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven, also some parts Belgian blue (the anabolic steroid cow) and silicon tits.

The kitchen knifes in the background also add a nice feel to it. It was not actually my point that it should like the character in the painting has a knife in the butt, that detail was pure coincidence. This painting is now hanging at  ” Vegan bar ” in Malmö and the owner of the bar said each week many people admire it.

I was on a flight from Bulgaria to Sweden and I noticed that straight across from where I sat there was a weird young fellow with sunglasses a baseball cap and a big black oxygen  mask. He also wore silicone gloves. It all looked really strange. If you truly believe that these precautions will help you even if there is only one person in the cabin with the virus, then you have a more vivid imagination than me.  Anyhow there also was a quite cool looking guy that could been from the tv show the vikings with a similar look to Ragnar Lodbrok and with a giant Thors hammer. When we came to Vienna he saw an ID card on the floor and I said it might belong to the “gas mask dude”, so he gave it to him.

He said, very briefly, thank you. On the next flight me and the Viking were sitting on the same row and I said to him that it was so much fun when he gave it to the “gas mask dude”, and I said  ” He must got a serious nervous breakdown since you gave it to him with your bare hands.” He answered that he probably would try to use a flame thrower to clean it afterwards and we had a laugh.

We then talked about the Kukeri festival in Bulgaria and lots of things and about cultural differences between Sweden and Bulgaria. I  was told that Finnish people really don’t care much for smalltalk and that it takes time to learn to know someone there and for them even to say hi.

Then I remembered a story a friend from Japan told me. When she first came to Sweden she noticed that Swedish people love to talk about the weather she realised that it was smalltalk because we can’t stand the silence here.  He then told me about a friend from Japan that he met when he worked on the Silja line who was also a flight attendant and had had a son recently and was living in Vienna,  it turned out that it is the same person.  So it turned out that the Bulgarian and me, the   Swede shared a friendship with the same Japanese girl that lives in Vienna, The world is quite strange sometimes 🙂

Worst vacumcleaner memory

Text: Alexander Strinder & Art: Ushiri

This happened in the 80’s when we still had landline telephony. It was Sunday and I would, as usual, vacuum my apartment for it to be clean and nice during the week. I put on the vacuum cleaner and it started to hum. I’ve always wondered why a vacuum cleaner must sound like an airplane engine every time you clean. Therefore, initially I did not hear that the phone rang. I thought it had probably rung a couple of signals already, so I’d have to hurry to answer before they hung up on the other end. Admittedly, I had an answering machine, but I was curious by nature and wondered who it was, calling on a Sunday afternoon.

I turned the vacuum cleaner off, put away the vacuum cleaner nozzle and directed myself to go towards the phone. In my eagerness to catch up to the phone, I happened to trip over the vacuum cleaner and fell forward, while I managed to step on my big toe. It hurt immensely and I couldn’t stand on my foot. Now I understood that it is the big toe that allows the foot to keep the balance, and if you cannot support the big toe you have to walk on your heel.

I called the hospital and they told me that I’d probably broken my toe. Unfortunately, it is not possible to plaster the big toe, as it must heal itself while walking on the heel. I also couldn’t call in sick due to a broken big toe, so I had to hobble to my job in the video store. Sometimes I stumbled on the heel and ended up on the big toe, which hurt immensely. It felt like someone hit the toe with a hammer, with full force. Since that day, I have full respect for the vacuum cleaner and therefore still have an unbroken big toe. Who was calling me on that Sunday? I don’t remember.