Books are expensive here in Sweden, especially imported one.
Today two books arrived that I ordered online (I try to support local bookshops but at the moment my finances can’t support my moral high-ground).
The parcel has three labels on it.
Each label has an address.
The first has my address here in Stockholm.
The second has the online companies address in North Las Vegas, United States.
The third has the address of a ‘mail centre’ in Auckland, New Zealand.
I can’t tell if the books have come from the US or NZ, or if they’ve gone from one to the other before arriving in Sweden.
I was reading the blurb on the back cover and I spotted that the books were printed and bound in Italy.
The books are co-published by Whitechapel Gallery, London and MIT Press in the US.
I had planned to buy the books at the Whitechapel Gallery bookshop myself, but noticed that the online price including postage was the same as the price in London and I wouldn’t have to think about paying for excess luggage. Originally I had planned to buy them last week when I should have been in London, however due to the volcanic ash cloud my flight was cancelled.
The books arrived the day I was due back.
I get fascinated by things like this.
I’ve been thinking about the points around the globe; Stockholm, London, Massachusetts, Las Vegas, Auckland, Iceland.
I feel, at once, both incredibly global and very very small …
So I’m not going to London then!
At the moment it looks as though my trip will be cancelled – although I can re-book my ticket it doesn’t look like I can do it for later this week.
I feel very unsettled – I thought I knew what I would be doing, and now it’s not happening. I feel quite weightless.
I will see if I can get my brother to download Skype so I can ‘join’ my parents and his family for dinner on Wednesday. I will raise a glass of something fizzy to Ken and Julia on Saturday afternoon and be with them in spirit of not person.
I’ll find other ways to sort out the other things I was going to do … and I’ll enjoy a ‘free’ week in Stockholm ….
ps. I’m reading Lucky Kunst: The Rise and Fall of the Young British Artist (by Gregor Muir) at the moment. It’s amazing to think I was both so near and so far from it all … a few miles and few months can realy make a difference
I’m coming round to the idea that I won’t be in Sweden this summer. I’m making it okay by telling myself that I’ll be here lots of other summers.
Today I uploaded my application for a (the!) practice-based PhD that is being launched here. Yesterday I had a very good meeting with the research co-ordinator. It was an informal meeting to answer some questions I had about the structure of the application, I had been feeling very unconnected with the academic world but as it turns out I was on the right track. Meeting her was also very pertinent to my ‘dilemma’ (?) about whether I could really move to Sweden. She has recently returned after many years of living in the UK, it was interesting to hear her opinions and observations.
On the subject of moving to Sweden friends seem to be falling into two camps. This evening I’m with the ‘DO IT’ team. The thought of trying to manage a flat, or even find an agent I trust, and dealing with all the things that go with being an absentee landlord are far less attractive than thinking I could have enough money to rent a studio and not have to worry about paid employment for a few years …
Next week I’m in London for a wedding and to deliver work to a gallery for a show that opens in May. It will be good to see my friends, my flat and London again. I still have a lot to think about in the coming months.
I feel as though I’ve really been through the wringer this week.
One of my flatmates in London told me that he plans to move out at the end of May. Basically it means that I have to go back to London and find a new tenant. The news was like being hit with a massive lump of reality! I’ve been able to spend time in Stockholm because my house and mortgage was being taken care of. I rarely thought about what was happening in London and recently I’ve even allowed myself to think that I live in Stockholm now. Suddenly it felt like I was being pulled back – very much against my will!
A good friend here pointed out how my reaction to the news (feeling physically sick and unable to sleep for three days) could be an indication of where I really want to be. To be honest I’ve been avoiding the reality of my situation, and now I’m going to have to face up to it.
In one way the current situation is making think about where I want to be in the future and it’s made me realise that I really don’t have the resources to live in two countries.
I was looking forward to summer here, now it looks like I’ll be in London sorting out my flat and working to cover the short fall in rent. I hope that I can find someone I already know to take the room – I don’t like the idea of letting to a stranger and then leaving the country! It also feels very unfair to my other flatmate who’s been a wonderful tenant for nearly six years.
All this happened at the same time as I’m working on an application to study here!
Suddenly I have a lot of thinking to do …
The weeks are passing so quickly. It feels very late to mention the snow sculpture workshop again but I just want to say that the two days out on the field were great. The weather was perfect – cold and sunny – the children were great, and I had a great time too. The whole thing reminded me just how enjoyable this kind of event can be, it reminded me why I got involved in education and children’s projects in the first place.
Birgitta did a wonderful job organising everything, I would never have guessed it the first time she’s done it. She designed, managed and promoted the event, raised money for it, employed three artists, recruited volunteers from the Årstafältet Nättverk, she also organised hot food and drinks for everyone, got a cinema ticket and made a ‘SnÃ¶stjänor’ [Snow Star] ‘diploma’ for each participant, and commissioned Irina to make a trophy for the sculpture that won the most votes. Did I mention that she also provided simultaneous translations when I spoke!
And again I was very impressed with the children, and how they worked together and behaved.
And I was really impressed with the sculptures they made!
Saturday was a little chaotic because the public were invited to come along too and they arrived before we set up! Some of the children came with their parents and other siblings, all of who joined in too.
I’m very pleased to say that the public vote for the ‘best’ sculpture was a tie so the trophy was awarded jointly to two schools. (I also very pleased that one of the winning teams was one I worked with!) I found it very interesting that although there was a competition (and some of the children really got involved in campaigning for their sculpture,) it was a good natured kind of competition.
As I don’t have a studio at the moment I’ve decided that I will go to at least one art event during the ‘working week’ – this an extra thing and in addition to visiting galleries. Last night I went to the launch of a new exhibit in the ‘Studio’ programme at Moderna Museet. It’s a curatorial project by students on the curating course at Konstfack. It was very ‘curatorial’! I met up with Karen and Hans (Karen’s husband) who were very good at introducing me to their artist and curator friends. In another example of my ever-shrinking world it turns that Hans knows my former Swedish teacher in London. They worked for the same translation office many years ago! One day I’m going to draw a diagram of all these Swedish connections … I’m fascinated by how coincidental they all are …
Last week I heard about some new studios near to Färgfabriken (an independent contemporary art space) in a very post-industrial part of town. I want to go and check them out. When I heard there were whole floors being let out I started having fantasies about having a real live/work studio. Apparently live/work doesn’t happen here – maybe I should start it ….