2020, Nobody. First edition. Clothbound hardcover, 216 x 270 mm, 168 pp. with inserted saddle stitched booklet with text, 111 color illustrations. Photographs by Stephen Gill. Text by Karl Ove Knausgard. Design by Greger Ulf Nilson.
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2020 by Rachel Barker, Gregory Barker
It was in 2017 that I began to have an inkling that a single fish might contain a universe of infinite proportions and how amazing a journey within its body could be. So I started to research everything I would need to embark on such an expedition. By January 2020 I had built a work top, obtained a microscope, a camera, optics, lights and fridge. Mentally, though, I was far from ready. I was lacking the courage, time, energy and mental strength to set out on this unknown voyage.
By February, the world exposed and in the unimaginable grasp of the pandemic. Time moved in entirely new ways as so many were affected, taken ill and had their lives claimed. This void in time, with all movements restricted, somehow presented a platform from which I could finally launch my inwards fish journey. I was prepared to explore for an unknown period but first of all I had, of course, to catch a fish. Being really unskilled at fishing this took a total of nine trips and thirty hours.
On the 10th April 2020, at around 15.30, equipped with sleeping bags and instant noodles, my children and I arrived at a spot where flat rock, grass and shrubs meet the sea. I had almost got into the idea of never catching a fish by this point, so it was a sudden shock when a jolt was sent through the rod to my hands followed by a silver splash that appeared on the waveless water. My daughter Ada shouted, “Get the net dad!” and she saw the slight panic in my face as I had failed to remember the next thing required to land the fish.
Knowing it would be a time-sensitive journey as decay commenced the following day, I started what was eventually a ten-week voyage. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to encounter along the way or how sick I was to become during the making of this work. Stephen Gill