“Everything you are, I was; everything I am, you will be” – Stig Clausson
Talking about what places mean to us, inevitably the conversation turns to other ways we mark experience. In a wonderful discussion of this with Johan Wijk at Not Quite, he mentioned the above quote from the author Stig Clausson, a sentiment I found really fitting and poetic. Taken from a conversation between an older man and a younger man, the quote reminds me of not only our shared experiences but the cycles of time and place that we all encounter.
This week marks the beginning of the first stage of the project collecting stories after having met with several people to explain the project. Already there are a variety of responses to the question of which places hold a sense of significance: from the first time climbing the heights of the hills to see the vista below, to an “A-ha! Moment” where the realization sinks in that you know exactly what it is you want to do. I have enjoyed participating in these reflections with people, and reflecting on and sharing significant times and places in my own life.
The weekend is the Midsummer celebration –I’m really excited to experience my first Scandinavian Midsummer! I’ll be heading down to the lake to take part in the town’s celebrations and meet more people. This community has been so warm and welcoming, and I look forward to meeting more residents!
Photos to come!
After arriving very late on Thursday night, I have spent a busy few days getting acquainted with Fengersfors and the community. Karl Hallberg, Tom Russotti and I met with members of the Not Quite community, students at the Steneby art school, and even attended the Sweden v. Ukraine UEFA game at the Fengersfors football club.
In an effort to better understand what forms and bridges communities, I am creating Unicorn Union: a participatory project that maps the collective and individual relationship to place. Meeting with members of the local community, we discuss their relationship to Fengersfors: what brought them here, what is special about particular places, what memories they have. Linking these personal experiences to the physical space, I will place markers in the locations identified. A QR code on the marker will point the viewer to the project website where the stories will be captured and shared, creating a virtual community that mirrors the physical one.
I am excited that the project is underway! The first phase involves introducing people to the project, leading to the second phase of working with individuals to identify special locations and record the stories behind those locations over the next few weeks.
“Alexia Mellor is an interdisciplinary artist using humor and performative strategies to investigate issues of security, displacement and identity in an increasingly corporatized world. A graduate of SUNY Geneseo and a recent MFA graduate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University, Mellor transposes familiar gestures and objects that culturally define us into unfamiliar contexts to deconstruct social norms, consumer culture and notions of place.
She was recently featured in the Boston Globe as one of the six graduate students to watch and is co-founder of the WRMC Collaborative and ProjectSoya. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and has most recently been included in the Woman as Photographer: Picturing Life as a Woman, Mpls Photo Center, Minneapolis, MN, Mash-ups, Lake Forest College, Illinois, New England Photography Biennial at the Danforth Museum of Art, and at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. Mellor organized and chaired MIND THE GAP, a multi-media and multi-platform art initiative with a panel at ISEA2011 Istanbul at Sabanci University.”
Team Not Quite / Unicorn Union
Alexia Mellor – UK based artist invited to develop her project The Unicorn Union, designed for the A – team mission in Fengersfors.
Karl Hallberg – Local artist and project manager at Not Quite, assitsting and supporting.
Tom Russotti – Currently in Europe, artist experienced in participatory art projects and gamdesign, he will collaborate with Alexia and karl in the initial phase of the project.
We are still working on finding the right representatives of the local associations of Fengersfors who would like to collaborate with us in this project.
Not Quite a cultural centre in a rural part of Sweden, once a district of industrial production of paper now a place with challanges of how to create economic and social sustainability without a strong industry, a place with possibilities of finding new ways of surviving as a small comunity now based on creative work and small-scale buissness.
Since 2002 Artists, craftspeople, designers and other creative proffessionals have turned parts of the old paper mill into an cooperative of artists and creators of all kinds, with shared workshops, studiospaces, exhibitions, concerts, café and a shop. All the efforts of building a common projectplatform, showrooms and meetingplaces for creative people aim to facilitate for artists to make a living from their creative work. We are now around 40 members and we recieve 20 000 visitors each year, mostly during summer, a way for our members to meet the public.
4 A-Teams in 4 countries, 4 artists working with a cultural manager and supported by a local mediator. And here the story will be told. Every A-Team is challenged with a very specific theme but as if this wasn´t challenge enough, they will enter an unusual collaboration and act as a small collective intelligence into which each component brings specific skills: artistic sensibility and vision, managerial ability and vision and deep knowledge of the territory. The specific mix of both skills and personalities confronting the previously defined theme will determine the nature of the process and its outputs. This is a place for documentation, reflection and exchange. Between the components of one A-Team, between the different A-Teams, between A-Teams and the public, be it artists, cultural workers, locals, NGO´s, administrators or other.