I Am So Sorry is an ongoing set of installations in different landscapes and settings. It´s about my relationship to nature.
”I'm so sorry” is an apology to nature rather than to other people and the apology is both personal and rather general.
I am sorry that I, as a human being contribute to the mess we´re in. Being conscious about this while continuing to be a part of the problem creates an inner conflict; a consumer-fed schizophrenia. I am too comfortable to give up some of the tokens of modern life. I am too keen on having things and services at my disposal- when I want them and wherever I happen to need them. At the same time I find the present state of things- escalating climate change and steady degradation of the environment – almost unbearable and very saddening. Walking down the street of any downtown depresses me. The abundance of goods for sale. I reject the notion that it´s my responsibility as a consumer to change the world. I don´t buy a macchiato to save the forest or help sustainable farming in a remote part of the world. I buy it for the caffeine. When I started making the ”I’m so sorry” pieces I found that they helped me address nature in a more direct way. The big letters stand there like an altar, a ritual place for reflection and meditation that hopefully precedes a leap into action.
People react differently to these words. What is he sorry about? Who is sorry about what? Patrik, what have you done now?
The little sign I added to the installation at Bungenäs clarified some of this- it read something like: “Description of my relationship to Nature.” Capital N. The big outdoors. That other place...I recently said I thought nature was like a stage set. A nice place to look at different events play out- sunsets, sunups, the grazing deer, the rustle of leaves. I very much use it as a backdrop. I realize that this is an apt description too of the problem- a distancing and otherness that comes into play.
The apology, once explained, tends to bring about a conversation with the audience. Usually it starts with broad sweeping notions of human interaction with the natural world, but pretty soon hones in on more intimate relationships. This is about where we are at, not just as isolated individuals, but as couples, as groups and as communities. I think we have ended up in a very emotional landscape when it comes to climate change and our relationship to the natural environment. It is emotional because it touches on very basic and mundane needs and desires- those of finding shelter, sustenance and a place in the world where we feel safe and useful to others.
Saying you´re sorry don´t change much, but it opens up new possibilities. For me, it´s about getting ready to try and make things right. A conversation about what needs fixing and how is a good starting point.