continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 5.1 / 2016: 102-105

Porr i Skogen / Forest Porn

Geraldine Juárez

Flashback

 

 

We are in the forest behind the street of the neighbourhood and the city where i grew up between the age of five and up to high school.  It is a small town south of Gothenburg or maybe a  Stockholm suburb.  Since I grew up right next to the forest, I played a lot here on my own or together with, well usually, together with friends. The forest wasn’t really that big but, you know, when you're a kid you love to just run around and explore it.

 

This place is where we used to play a lot and also where I found my first porn magazines in the forest, at a very young age.  It's like some kind of a mixture between myth and some kind of reality and it's a bit sort of tricky to say what is what.  

 

Porr i skogen is like a fairytale. It was never addressed from the adult world that there was porr i skogen, it was more something that only we knew about. It’s not like my parents or anyone close to me actually spoke about it or knew it existed, or if they did I thought they were like: who cares or that kind of thing.  But i don't remember anyone really talking about it, except me and my friends. It wasn't something that your parents would talk about. But I think it was real.

 

I moved here when I was five and I think it was the first time that I found the porn magazines. I was probably six or seven, something like that.  There is this kind of vague memory of just walking around in the forest and then it was behind these kind of shrubbery bushes kind of stuff.  Because it wasn't just anywhere in the forest. It was often tucked down under rocks or next...between trees and rocks like this. Look. There were more like bits of porn, not the full magazines, just like, you know scraps of porn. Fragments of pages and fragments of bodies. You didn’t see a whole body, it was like a leg there some breasts over there.  Pieces of paper – must be porn.  They were like strewn and kind of torn apart and they might have been rained on, so they were all like wrinkly.  You know, it wasn't plastic, it was paper, and if you put it here and you have one winter it just goes back to nature.

 

I think most people knew about porr i skogen from being the one who found it, not really the one who brought it there. So i know lots of people who say, yeah we used to find it all the time in the forest, but I never heard someone say oh no I used to bring it to the forest all the time, I went to the store, I bought it, I went to the forest, you know, I sat there, found a nice spot and enjoyed my magazine.

 

Porr i skogen felt like if it wasn't just left there. It was very consciously placed somewhere, as if it were like a treasure.  I never understood who it was who brought them here. I always thought, how did they end up in the forest?.  And I think it’s also because obviously it must have been teenagers, or I don’t know,  maybe it was an adult. It felt a bit like the porn that was lying there was kind of a bit for everyone I guess, because if you would like to have it for yourself, you would hide it better.  I mean they were obviously used, or opened, or watched, or whatever people did with them. When we found them we were the secondary consumers.. It was probably like a plastic bag somewhere, like lying there or hidden under a rock, and then we opened it up, and it was like wow, and ran away, and then like ran back to check it out... or something like that.  

 

Porr i skogen has both kind of a positive vibe to it, something like, oh that's nice, you know, you share your stuff. But on the other hand it is like really disgusting as well, because you know when you found this porn stuff, they were ... not so fresh.

  

So we were climbing here and I remember that it was in the middle of a climb, so i was going up somewhere and then all of a sudden in front of me i had these things in front of me and i started to look through these papers, and in one of them I realized...oh here is like a naked person.  You didn’t, the first time perhaps, you didn’t even understand what it was.  So, it was on the one hand this plastic thing that smelled really bad, or that looked really gross, and on the other hand these magazines, so I thought there must be some connection here, but I didn’t know what it was.  It was really funny cause when you encountered it, it was like wow is really weird that someone would stash these magazines there, and then I wondered whether it was actually other kids who were hiding the magazines in the forest, or if it was grown ups, and it was also like the forest was a little bit like a scary place.  Like this is a bit, sort of forbidden, and not really allowed but ok and, something that grown ups do, and you are not really supposed to see this. It was as bad as you could get, back then, with regards to media.  And then it's just sort of lying around in the forest and you can find it.

 

It's like, in a forest you can find all kinds of stuff, I mean whatever people put there someone else will find it I guess, and in that sense it is the same on the internet, more or less. I guess it takes a bit longer to find it. Internet  used to provide this private sphere, and private communication without insight from others, that only the forest did before. Maybe the forest is the medium, and the internet is the medium, and then the porn is the content.  I mean, also maybe the forest is media too and that it is like an experience right? You go into this world, and there are all these things that you like discover and may or may not see and there is like an interesting interplay of light and of humidity and smell and all these things are incredibly evocative and then of course, you are never the first person to discover a forest and the things of the forest. There are all these other people that have been there before, that have left like different traces of their lives, or have left things there to hide and discover later on. But it’s like private room here, that you don't have in a house with a family and… but with internet you did, you could sit with the screen turned away from others, or everyone's asleep or everyone's at work or whatever. The internet provided that, so there was no need for the forest anymore. And in one way maybe it's a bit funny because, the porn, the porn industry for the last fifty years have always sort of invaded any kind of new technology that arrived, and also being quite important I guess, sometimes, in media politics and stuff. Maybe it's a bit funny that it also has invaded the forest, at least in Sweden.

 

It’s typical that when we think of the 80's now, this nostalgia and retro for the ages, it usually goes directly to video games, old computers, pop music and video – these things that already were media and stored. But like half of my memories aren’t recorded. Maybe they are false or invented and I misremember like half of my past life? Maybe I romanticized part of it and made part of it more horrible than it actually was, or something like that, so this just leaves a lot more room for, i don’t know, subjectivity.  Just like having real artifacts from things can seem very harsh and arbitrary, because also what gets stored in media is always just like a sliver of what actually happened, a specific viewpoint of what happened, you know, depends of whoever happened to be holding the camera in a sense.

 

When tend to forget that all these things from our pre-internet childhood, which have never been filmed by a video camera or recorded by someone did leave physical traces; but paradoxically, the memory of it is gone in a way and porr i skogen then doesn’t exist anymore, and now it's just like a fairytale. It's only specific peoples perspective which is archived, multiplied and turned into history; at least that is the way that the internet has felt like in the last ten years. There are a lot of memories stored on video or cassette or records or diskettes or you know, these things that we can still find lingering everywhere around us, waiting to be found or forever lost. Yet, even if we sit in a place where things used to be, there is so much else that actually happened and perspectives about it that kind of.. got lost.

 

It's gone.

 

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Thanks to M, O and A for their memories in the forest.