Faces and Traces book at Swatch art peace hotel, shanghai
Video art screening in the åland news
2017 - On The Road, The Film
Art vIdeo to be screened at art festival in åland
2017 - Altered State of Gagnef, Sweden
An audio narrative to be presented at Gagnef art & music festival
2017 - A Bird Ballet, Opus 1 No. 1, Sweden
A bird ballet - video and visual art meets classical Music at new stage for creative collaborations
2016 - The Jellyfish Trap, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
Science-Fiction novella by Alex Backstrom part of artist due Lundahl & Seitl exhibition New Originals
LUNDAHL & SEITL | New Originals 09.03. - 28.05.2017
"Are you recording this?"
"Do you mind?"
"Not at all, I prefer it actually. There's a big chance this will not be remembered if we don't. I may have forgotten it in the morning, as so would you, and I hate to have this conversation again."
"Would you like me to make you a copy?"
"Of this? No, it's enough to be part of the original. I don't need a copy."
"So that you can remember?"
"It's not my task to remember this; this is for the listener. Which part are you playing again?"
"I am the one holding the tape recorder." *
The Swedish artist duo Lundahl & Seitl consisting of Christer Lundahl (1978) and Martina Seitl (1979) are known for their performative audio works and situation specific artworks which they have been creating since 2003 and which put their focus on the perception of the individual visitor.
In their exhibition New Originals, the artists invite us to reflect on the origin of pictures and the development of memories. Where do pictures originate and how do we remember them? What role do original and copy play?
The center of the work is an audio walk specifically conceived for Kunstmuseum Bonn, extending over three exhibition spaces and further collection spaces. This production presents the Swedish artists' work in Germany in form of an exhibition for the first time.
With this performative exhibition project, Kunstmuseum Bonn is taking a new approach in its current exhibition practice. The exhibition does not only put to question the term of the "original" by creating an exciting and at times paradoxical dialog between selected works from the museum's collection and copies of them that the artists have edited and developed further in regard to their content, but also by interpreting anew the medium of the exhibition and the visitor's role in it beyond defined museum standards. The visitor is sent on a journey on which they have to make use of all their senses and, most of all, learn not to only trust their eyes. As an interactive part of the exhibition concept, the visitor even comes to reinvent the presented works while at the same time they are invited to reflect on the fundamental requirements for the creation and impact of art.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with essays by Ronald Jones, Sally Müller and Johan Pousette. This publication is the first to present the artists' work in a retrospective manner.
With kind support from Stiftung Kunst der Sparkasse in Bonn. In cooperation with The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
* This an extract from the science-fiction novella “The Jellyfish Trap”, written by Alex Backstrom for the exhibition “New Originals”. The novella will be available digitally on Kunstmuseum Bonn’s website and in printed form at the museum’s reception desk from February 2017. We recommend reading the novella before visiting the exhibition.
Opening: 8 March 2017, 8 p.m.
2016 - On The Road Exhibit, Los Angeles
LATEST ARTIST BOOK "ON THE ROAD" EXHIBITED
Big success showing the 2016 version of the artist book "On The Road" in Los Angels May 2016. As the content was transformed into an installation, additional photos from the book printed on huge canvases, and an experimental film played with voice over actor May Charters reading the poems in a low and steady flow, the huge industrial space was given a noir feel of old New York City portraid from a woman's point of view.
On The Road, 2016
Each page in the original 2015 edition has been turned into a poem by using the method of blackout poetry, transforming the original page into memories from Alex Backstrom's own journey across the United States at the age of 19, while traveling with an older man who promised to show her the world. A few years after she returned back home to Stockholm, Alex came across the rugged paperback copy of Kerouac’s book by the side of a railroad track in a broken suitcase. Time passed and the book rested on her shelf, until one day when Alex recollected her experiences from over a decade ago and began to single out words that spoke to her - and four years later every single page had been altered into a tale of a woman’s journey across America.
In 2016, the original artist book became part of The Swatch Group Art Collection, and Alex Backstrom recreated her collection of poems into a new unique artist book, accompanied with photography by Brian Yee, and a voice over audio track by May Charters.
Come and celebrate the conclusion of a long journey, and become submerged in the world of a young Swedish girl's crossing into adulthood as she traveled across the United States with a man she barely knew...
This was fifteen years ago, and now Alex Backstrom has created a one-of-a-kind artist book that containes a collection of 307 black-out poems, memories bound in a non-fictional journal inspired by the classic narrative On The Road by Jack Kerouac. As Alex Backstrom found a copy in her hometown Stockholm, Sweden, years after her travels across the US, left by a previous owner by some deserted rail road tracks, she began to single out words that spoke to her, and soon a long story linked each page together, slowly covered with her honest report of adventure, inner hardship, and freedom. As the original artist book is now part of the Swach Group Art Collection, Alex Backstrom has transformed her poems into a new unique artist book. Accompanied by photography by Brian Yee, and audio by May Charters, Alex Backstrom invites you to be part of the On The Road adventure in Los Angeles, May 14, 2016.
2016 - New Planet Under Construction event, Shanghai
DONATED ARTWORK ON DISPLAY IN SHANGHAI
Two canvases to be exhibited and sold at the event for autistic children to fund the organizations newest project with monitoring brain activity in autistic children when creating artwork.
2015 - New Planet Under Construction, Donation
two Unique canvases from the project on the road donated
As Alex Backstrom prepares to leave Shanghai and go back to Stockholm in Dec 2015, she donates her two unique canvases made for the open studio at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel to the organisation New Planet Under Construction, a cause that actions artwork to aid autistic children in Shanghai.
2015 - SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL, Open studio
EXHIBITING THE projects: transit, on the road, and "sorry I don't remember"
2015 - TRACES AND FACES AT SWATCH - TRANSIT, Artist residency
ALEX BACKSTROM's Studio at swatch art peace hotel, shanghai
Photos by Jim Lok, Photographer, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency, 2015.
2015 - WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR ASTRONAUTS, Exhibition
ONe day art exhibition in shanghai
2015 - SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL, Announcement
"Transit" and "On The road" now part of the swatch art peace hotel art collection
After Alex Backstrom's three months stay at the artist residency at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China, the trace Transit is now part of the art collection at Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai.
The one-of-a-kind artist book On The Road will also be part of the collection after the curatorial department of Swatch Art Peace Hotel Art Residency's offered to purchase the unique artwork after its display at the open studio Dec 2015.
2015 - KINKS, Book Release
SNEAK RELEASE OF ARTIST BOOK "KINKS"
ALEX BACKSTROM’S PROPERTY OF SCAVENGER
It was hard to know what to say about “Property of Scavenger,” mainly because it’s not a book. In length, it’s thirty-six pages, but they aren’t pages, they are all connected on a computer printout, similar to what Jack Kerouac is said to have done when writing On the Road, taping together several hundred pages of paper so he could keep typing without stopping to roll in a fresh sheet. Here, the long printout has the effect of creating the illusion that Scavenger used his computer and printer at the space-station/power plant to get this last message out.
This science-fiction story is billed by the narrator as a suicide note, though “suicide” isn’t permanent and seems to be an unfortunate part of any job on the power plant, like being put in charge of employee Christmas gift exchange. You can go to www.propertyofscavenger.com and download your own copy of the 200 limited edition suicide notes (you really should). I don’t suppose it will come out as a continuous printout because who has paper like that anymore?
The writing is broken up into small paragraphs reminding me of 18th and 19thcentury narrative poems, which works perfectly though it’s hard to know what to say about why. Is it a future/retro way of writing a dramatic monologue? My copy of the “book” also came with a 19” x 24” foldout with drawings by Chris Clemons (www.phonofidelic.com) featuring the layout of the Power Plant on one side, and on the other side some of the characters (who are all variations of the same character), a gas mask, a dream-machine, and an x-ray of the extra joint on Scavenger’s (when he was Harvester) left index finger and thumb, which was surgically added to make harvesting capsules of moss seeds easier. It is a subtly disturbing detail that I won’t soon forget.
What all of this revolves around, like a moon orbiting a dead planet, is how Earth gets its power in the future: Former inhabitants of Earth work on a space ship/power plant circling Saturn, because water needed for the workers and the functioning of the power plant is in endless supply, trapped in the ice of the planet’s rings. It is completely believable. Also believable is that the actual power comes from energy obtained from a moss that the workers plant on the decomposing dead. However, I don’t know how the power is actually transferred to Earth.
This is the most inventive, strange, and affecting short piece I’ve read in a very long time. It has the weight of a novella at least, possibly a novel. It feels like Literature with a capital L, though it’s hard to know what to say about why the story is so effective, or why outer space is such a perfect environment for creating an ideal stage for existential dread. I think it has something to do with what Scavenger, the first-person narrator says: “There’s always that one thing that you can never fully adapt to: complete and utter solitude” (13). The same effect occurs in the famous, strange, Kubrick movie, 2001: A space Odyssey, and some lesser-known sci-fi movies, such as the incredible short film I saw recently on TCM which 12 Monkeys was based on.
This is an amazing novel/novella (or whatever you want to call it), and there’s no reason to think that the movie won’t be creepy and fantastic as well. I don’t know anything about any of these people responsible for “Property of Scavenger,” but it was my great pleasure not to know what to say, and call it a review anyway.
FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] – back to the future between physical and digital realities
If you discover QR codes in the city of Stockholm these days that are not connected to advertisements, try and scan them with your smart phone! You’d be surprised by the result and the world that suddenly opens up on your display.
FUTURE SCENARIOS Stockholm - QR code on the street
Reading the information condensed in a patterned quadrate with a QR app leads me to a website called Parallel Production. It shows me a photograph of the exact same spot I find myself at and where I discovered the code. Underneath the black-and-white image that is titled Stockholm #83, I find the question “why are you here?” I wonder what this vastly philosophical seeming question is supposed to mean.
Scrolling further down leads to a comments section in the style of social media, with all sorts of possibilities of sharing information on various networks. People have left comments, such as “To think about all the forgotten places and meet my friends“ or “out of curiosity”.
The website is connected to an exhibition in a small second hand record, film and book store in the South of Stockholm called Larry’s Corner. In the room next to the shop, a tiny exhibition space opened a couple of months ago. The show on view until Saturday, 26th November 2011, is called FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm]. One wall is covered with photographs of dark and dodgy seeming places from urban Stockholm. There are graffiti covered walls and concrete blocks, abandoned staircases, tunnels, backyards, shop shutters, and other places one does not expect to exist in such big quantity in Sweden’s capital. All photographs are held in black and white colours, most taken during daytime but conveying a sentiment of grey and empty streets at night. Beautifully melancholic and deserted places suggest a different reality of Stockholm that I have not been able to discover myself yet.
On the opposite wall, there are two maps, one of Sweden with Stockholm marked by a pin, from which a line of red yarn leads to another QR code, and one map of the capital itself. On the second one, several locations are highlighted in the same manner and the threads lead to even more codes. Scanning them in on a mobile phone leads to the same website with digital versions of the photographs printed out and exhibited at Larry’s Corner. The exhibition thus connects the analogue world and urban spaces with the virtual realm. Whereas one may find oneself at a certain physical location, by connecting to the website and a photograph of the same spot, one obtains the possibility of looking at the place with the eyes of another. Reminiscent of Street View, the project FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] links our physical with our virtual position. The difference to Google’s global mapping project is the focus on a personalised account of a city. The emphasis on off-places, where few people pass and where there are no shops or places of interest for commercial use that Street View is aimed towards, poses questions about a metropolis and its citizens’ attitude towards it. The project asks about the responsibility of inhabitants towards their city and how its development is influenced by its population. In that sense, FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] is a small and precise project with the large aim to think about visions for our urban reality.
Behind the initiative are Alex Bäckström, who took the photographs and wrote the texts, and Sally Müller, who acted as curator and project manager of the exhibition. The project is produced by Parallel Production. As the emphasis of Stockholm in the title leads to assume, the project will take place in different cities in the future, for example Los Angeles, where Alex Bäckström is going to live next year.
- text by Stefanie Hessler