Posts Tagged 'Stockholm'

Flash mobs

Sergio Davila, Amsterdam – There is something fascinating about the flash mobs. It is amazing that human ability of synergic action. A guy in Japan finds himself suddenly followed by a group of 500 people, obviously he feels very scared. I wonder what is happening in the head of the mayor of Milan when he finds out that the city center has been invader by a huge crowd armed with pillows and they are starting a revolution. In this video 400 people suddenly appears in the field to support the ‘Hässelby’ a kid’s football team in Stockholm, and immediately something changes in the minds and the way of playing in these kids.

When I was 8, I used to spend hours staring and following a row of ants marching in the patio of my home. Nowadays I still have that biological amusement for the collaborative processes. Maybe Erich Fromm wasn’t right when he said that giving up your individuality is being afraid of your freedom. In my opinion flash mobs, smart mobs and similes are a great techniques to engage people in a collaborative process and would encourage the need to find new possibilities for them.

Our Neighbour Cyclop – A One-eyed Beauty

Trial and Error, Stockholm – In a deserted parking lot beneath a dumpsite in the Southern suburbs of Stockholm one does not expect to find much. But here a group of hard working enthusiasts have built a culture house called Cyklopen (The Cyclop).

In the part of Stockholm where we live, called South of the South, there aren’t many cultural institutions, except a couple of small libraries. So when a group of people offered to build a new cultural center the local politicians surprisingly said: ”No, we have enough culture here”.

Fortunately this was overruled at higher level and the culture house has now been built by those running the initiative, some of which architectur at the Stockholm University, and the result is this: Two containers upon each other on each side support a simple wood construction. Together with large windows and a drawbridge this is practical, low price and cool. Inside a big beautiful space opens up with stairs on both sides up to a second floor.

After the grand opening in September the house is now to be filled with activities, focusing on culture and politics. They discribe Cyklopen as ”an autonomous space, built on the principles of DIY and self organizing.”

Welcome our new neighbour Cyklopen!

Read more on their website/blog (in Eng and Swe) >>
And here is how it all started >>

Put the light out, erase a line

Trial and Error, Stockholm – The Stockholm Pride Festival 2007 has offered many things. The media, for example, still exclusivly focus on the flamboyant part of the gay community, all political parties (except for the christian conservatives) have competed in Pride exposure, and there has been a very good artist run exhibition.

Lord Peter Wright once wrote about the Swedes ”…they have an intonation which makes everything come out flat and boring; rather like Sweden, in fact.” This is one of the things the Swedish people is most afraid of – that we might be too square, and that other countries are funnier. With this in mind, it is not so strange that all the politicians has now been competing for exposure in the colorful Pride context. As long as it is cute and harmless, The Fab 5 glamour is very welcome in Sweden and that part of the non-heterosexual community has for a long time been the main focus in our media.

One recent reaction to this media focus is the book ”Bögjävlar” (approximately ”Gay bastards”), written by five gay men. ”The media has decided to portray the helpful gay as a service institution for the straight sociaty” one of the authors explains. The book and their blog aim to constitute a counter weight to that cliché.
”Bögjävlar” was published just before the Stockholm Pride Festival. The festival has traditionally been focused on gay rights and partying while contemporary art has been absent. But this year, an international contemporary art show has been initiated by two artists: Malin Arnell (curator) and Stefan Forss (working with the artist run gallery Studio 44). The exhibition was named ”PUT THE LIGHT OUT, ERASE A LINE” and, together with performances and a video screening, included twentyeight art works.

Malin Arnell choses not to call the show a queer exhibition, and writes in her statement ”in the exhibition /…/ we meet a number of artists that in different ways, momentarily, act entirely on their own terms”.

I especially want to mention two of the projects that I include with images:
Kajsa Dahlbergs project ”A Room of One’s Own / A Thousand Libraries” is a compilation of marginal notes made by readers in one thousand library copies of ”A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Wolf.
And Malin Arnell had a performance on the opening night, standing on a stool against the wall. Three members of the audience used four rolls of duct tape to fix her to that wall and then the stool was removed while Arnell was left hanging . The peice was named ”A better view”.

Read more about the exhibition at gallery Studio 44’s webpage >>

My Sweden: Clean Spaces, Clean Information

”I dont understand what you mean by street art. If it has no permission, it is regular destruction and should be punished. I think it is equal to destroying someones car.”

Mikael Söderlund, vice mayor Stockholm 

Trial and Error, Stockholm – I recently went to a concert with my father, where the artist Peter Carlsson sang ”You have to wipe your shoes clean before you get into town. You cant leave any fingerprints in town.” Stockholms transformation into a large clean shopping center started long ago, but since the conservative party (Moderaterna) gained control of City hall, it has accelerated. Two examples:
1. They have decided that the subway is a largely unused commercial space. But today I waited for the sub on a platform covered in huge commercials, got into a wagon that was totally covered in a commercial on the outside, and then I counted 40 commercials inside the wagon.
2. At the same time they introduce a zero tolerance policy against graffiti, scribblings and postings in unassigned places.

My first naive reflection is the difference between the underground landscape and the above ground landscape, rather like a city plan made by Leonardo da Vinci, where a whole city was to be built in two floors. The lower floor, without sunlight and wind, was populated by workers. Their goods and services were transported up by stairs to the top floor, where the noblemen, priests and so on lived with sunshine and good air.

The Stockholm City museum has a very popular guided tour which is sold out all the time. It guides people to the street art of the town. ”To have tours in city art is like picking mushrooms” says the guide. ”I never know what is there and what has been taken away.” Since these tours are legimitizing something that the conservative party is against, the newspaper Södermalmsnytt contacted our vice mayor Mikael Söderlund. Here is the interview:

SN (Södermalmsnytt): But the tours are popular and many think that city art is fine.
MS (Mikael Söderlund): I dont understand what you mean by street art. If it has no permission, it is regular destruction and should be punished. I think it is equal to destroying someones car.
SN: Posters, mosaics, miniature summerhouses and decals. Have you not seen it?
MS: No, but Stockholm would look pretty strange if everybody would put up summerhouses everywhere. If you want to erect an art piece you have to apply for permission. Everything else is illegal.
SN: Can you apply for permission for the erection of a graffiti painting?
MS: No, we dont accept graffiti in Stockholm. And we dont think, like others, that graffiti is an art form. We dont want graffiti here.
SN: The English authorities declined from washing away a spray painting from the street artist Banksy because of his great popularity. The value of the apartements in the houses he had painted has peaked. His wall paintings are valued to more than 4 million kronor [about 580 000 USD, writers remark]. Any comments?
MS: He is not welcome to Stockholm.

A hotline will now be set up to take emergency calls on new public art, graffiti or posters in Stockholm. After the alarm, it wont take more than 48 hours before a squad will be sent to the new illegal painting (or what it might be) and remove it. Reading about this on the internet also gave me the information about how to bring down this new hot line with fake alarms, etc.
Searching this information on the net also brings up the issue on Swedish surveillance. Beside all the security cameras in buses, subways, squares, shops and every possible public space, the Swedish government also hope to pass a law which gives them the right to monitor Swedish and international traffic on the internet. This proposition has been debated (lamely) in Swedish media but has also caused Google to compare Sweden with Saudi Arabia and China.

My Sweden from an international perspective: Its not a country in any risk of terrorism, or a country involved in high risk security issues, or war, or large scale crime or violence. And it might not be the home of the brave, but we really take our cleanliness seriously, both when it comes to our spaces and our information.


Recent articles

“Veiling the unveiled truth”: the conceptual art of Silvio Berlusconi
Published August 3, 2008 by Antonio Scarponi

We all know that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of talents. First of all he is a man of spectacle, a perfect actor from the old school. He is able to dance, sing and his practical jokes are famous world wide [...] We all know these skills, but recently in two occasion he demonstrated also to have great talent as conceptual artist.
Made in Sweden
Published July 9, 2008 by Trial and error

On a recent journey we visited two well-known Asian landmarks: The Chinese Dragon Gate and the Royal Thai Pavilion, both located in remote places in Sweden.
From motorcycles to 3,5 million pieces of art
Published July 3, 2008, 2008 by Marja Salaspuro and Sergio Davila

Can classical conservative museum structure keep its historically layered architecture, rooms, collections and objects – and still attract the interest of the modern visitors, mainstream tourists and experience seeking travelers? A philosophical reconsideration around the purpose of museums in our era and the architect’s role as a curator.

Popular articles

My Sweden: Clean spaces, Clean information
Published June 12, 2007 by Trial and Error

”I dont understand what you mean by street art. If it has no permission, it is regular destruction and should be punished. I think it is equal to destroying someones car.”
Mikael Söderlund, vice mayor Stockholm ...
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder where you are?
Published January 3, 2008 by Katja Aglert

Imagine a future generation who has never seen a star in real life. It’s a future when the night sky has transformed into a thick layer of artificial light and micro particles that doesn’t let through the sight of any stars or planets, not even the moon is visible. What effect would that have on us and other life forms on earth? ...