Ljusfältet part ii is taking shape. Birgitta has is doing brilliantly at putting together a panel that will discuss ideas of in between spaces and creativity in the context of my installation specifically and Stockholm generally. I would really like to be able to have sufficient command of the language to express myself in Swedish but that is not going to be possible. I hope that I am able to follow the thread of a more academic conversation in Swedish so that my (English) contributions are appropriate.

Writing a text for the leaflet that will accompany the show at the konsthall is proving difficult and time consuming. I have never been the fastest writer and now I feel hindered by a writing process that is so dependent on reading around my subject. I still enjoy going to the library, it remains an important part of my routine here however for very different reasons. Every Wednesday afternoon I go the ‘Swedish Language Café’ held at a library on Södermalm. Afterwards I often wander around the bookshelves trying to do what I used to do in British libraries – looking for words that make some kind of connection with the subject I am working on. My current lack of familiarity with the Swedish language makes this a challenge.

There is simply too much information on the internet. Something that I have always appreciated is that the process of producing a book – particularly before the advent of desktop publishing – includes a great detail of investment and commitment on the parts of both the author and the publisher. I am thinking mainly about academic publications at the moment. The fact that books made it in to a library gave them a veracity and authority that I understood, not least because I understood what a librarian was. On-line publishing is truly post-modern and even if I did not always accept it I miss the great casualty of post-modernism – the grand narrative with its clarity and singularity. I like to have something I can argue against or stand up for rather than a never ending collection of vague sentences that are always readily available cut and paste … this, if nothing else, is going to force me to become proficient in Swedish at some kind of academic level, in the meantime I will keep making trips to the UK to go to bookshops and libraries, and support them the best I can.

The current obsession with technology and the ability (desire?) to produce and distribute ceaseless unsubstantiated information is perhaps merely a phase we (western mankind) is going through. I am reminded of Lyotard’s description of postmodernism as a ‘nascent state’.

My practice is not global, my life is not global, I am not global. I am and I live here and now, I can call my practice site-specific and talk about my interest in social context or I can put it another way; my practice is local, my life is local, I am local – at least I am doing my best to be local …


Depressing but not surprising to read that London’s councils are selling off the family silver (‘Flashmob against sale of Henry Moore’s Old Flo’). I have often feared that Britain is collectively becoming like some senile old relative from a previously powerful industrial dynasty. Where is Ruth Watson when we need her? How about a series of London Council Rescue? She could suggest that rather than selling off their assets they should polish them up, bake cakes and get paying guests to come have a look at their lovely things. The councils (like some of the more sour participants on the show) might even find that they have a restored sense of pride ….

I am still folding away silver blankets – that and other demands outside of the studio mean that I am feeling that the week was far too short and should have been at least three days longer so that I had time to do things.

Received prints of some of the Ljusfältet pictures yesterday – I am surprised at the quality both of the print and the image. The pictures were taken on a small compact digital camera that serves me well as an everyday camera, however after seeing the quality of the prints my friend received (from the same printer) from her digital SLR I realise that I need to start using one all the time. It is time to have my own rather than depending on the good will of friends to lend theirs or take photographs on my behalf. In the meantime I might see what results I get from using my old 35mm SLR and asking for a cd of the pictures when I send the film off for processing. It could be a good short-term solution. Not only that but there is something exciting about receiving an envelope full of images that I have not really seen before … actually there is something exciting about receiving something, anything!, at all in the post.

Material things are important to me, they are at the core of my practice because they are at the core of my life. Often times the materials I choose are relatively humble and simple. I appreciate their honesty. That pair of ancient jade discs that I saw at Frieze Masters and memories of various other museum type objects (both precious and commonplace) keep playing on my mind. Out of the corner of my eye I can see some ring form baking tins – one polished, two not – I think I want to see them displayed as precious and meaningful things.

I am (almost literally) counting down the days to the end of my school term now. No matter what else I have to (or want to) do next year I have to have at least one full day a week in the studio. At least if I plan that then I change my plans!

27 days …


With Ljusfältet part one (as I now think of it) out of the way it is time to work on part two!

presentation of documentation

gallery version of installation

artists conversation


There are so many things that I would like to do, however I have to bear in mind the budget and, not least, how much time I can commit to it as the work load at school seems to be ever increasing. The four things mentioned above will be more than enough to keep me busy. Once again I am incredibly grateful that Birgitta is able and willing to work with me on this.

Perhaps I am a little too aware of the situation regarding the funding the project received from Stockholm City. As I write this I realise that this might be the first time that I am so personally responsible for producing art that is publicly funded. I want to feel confident that what I present (and how it is presented) puts me in a good position if I apply for support in the future – and also the studio too. It is too late to do anything about the problems out on the field and maybe that is why I am really determined to make the night at the gallery as good as it possibly can be.

Moving to a new city (country) is like starting over again and I guess that it is gong to take me time to build up those all important professional friendships which make so much of an artist’s practice achievable and sustainable. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to do the project in the first place, it is certainly a very positive way to mark my first year of being an artist in Stockholm!

One of the members of the gallery committee here is taking a sabbatical and will stand down in the new year, he suggested that perhaps I and another artist should join in his place. Yesterday I accepted their invitation. I think that it will really good for me to be more involved: not only will my Swedish improve but I will start to learn the kind of Swedish that is spoken by artists(!), I will get to meet more artists, and I will get gallery experience. There are some very interesting konsthalls (non for profit and publicly supported exhibition spaces) in and around Stockholm and the one at wip has great potential. It has been a good few years since I was so involved with Crystal Palace Artists and it feels like the right time to take on something new and exciting.

Do I believe in luck? Recently a friend (here) said how lucky I have been to achieve so much so quickly. Afterwards I thought about it again and wondered if it is luck. It was not luck that brought me to this studio in the first place, it was research and persistence coupled with a willingness to take a risk and holding down at least three (sometimes four) part-time jobs so that I could afford to come here for three months. Over the years between my residency and actually moving here I kept in contact with the artists here (not that that was hard work!) and made the effort to come to openings whenever I visited (again it is not exactly work or a hardship but it is a commitment and an interest). More recently I took the studio for six months not knowing if I would be able to stay longer and agreed to participate in a project that was anything but secure. Is it luck that I have a contract to share this studio, luck that the project is going ahead? Luck or just how life works? My ‘work’ as an artist is hard to define (not what I produce, I mean all the things that I do that sustain my practice), many of these things are ‘soft’ and informal and sometimes I get something back (rarely money!) but it is all work. And I am very glad to be able to think of myself as a working artist!


One corner of the studio is covered with crumbled silver blankets that I brought back from the field yesterday.

When seen at night the piece did what I hoped it would do – created something that glittered and sparked. I am really pleased with how it looked. People were intrigued and interested in it which is always a good sign! I also had some good conversations (in my Swedish!) with people who passed by during the day while I was setting up. One man really liked it and suggested that each blanket could represent a different person and how all the different ‘people’ needed to work together – ‘like in life’ (that’s what I understood that he meant). He also made the point that because it was silver and without its own colour it reflected back the colour of the person who looked at it, he really thought that that was really good. I would guess that he was from India or Pakistan and his comment made me wonder about ideas of art and inclusivity … or art and exclusivity …

I am really pleased with the actual material – the silver blankets. They work visually and conceptually for this piece. More than just being visually interesting the foil blankets, which are design to protect and identify someone (something) vulnerable, gave the piece a poignancy and specificity to its location and the other events on the field that evening.

If I had had time to try different options for the lights I would have positioned them differently so that people could get a good effect without having to walk around the work. However it was not really an option to move them once it was dark!

So artistically the piece was a success, however there were technical and administrative problems that have given me a lot to think about in terms of future projects.

I did not understand everything behind the scenes and, perhaps naively, trusted everyone’s calm confidence. I had explained my lighting requirements to the man who was supplying the lighting for my installation as well as the marque and stage where people would be talking. He in turn had spoken with the event organisers and confirmed that they had sufficient generators. It turned out that on the evening one generator was faulty and another produced only enough power for one of my floodlights. This meant that while people were on the stage speaking my installation was not fully illuminated. There was nothing that could be done about it and there was no point in making a big fuss. Of course I was disappointed but I also had to be realistic about the practicalities of doing something with no possibility of rehearsal and which depended on the goodwill of a lot of hard working volunteers whose priority is their campaign to save the field from re-development (which was the focus of the presentations on stage) rather than exhibiting artworks.

Another difficulty was the lack of administrative support from the studio and I am really grateful that Birgitta took on so much in addition to organising her own event with children from local schools. The producer who was invited to take over this and two other projects at Wip:konsthall felt unable to take the work on at such a late stage which left us without anyone to organise things from the artistic side. Birgitta and I sent out press releases and promotional material but it needed a professionals focus and time.

There is a second part to the piece which is a presentation at Wip:konsthall in early January. I am going to start working towards that now so that I have the best chance of it being successful!

For the future:

Understand the full technical requirements of an artwork and it’s presentation, and double check that everything is suitable, working and compatible.

Start to build up my own contact and mailing lists.

Make time to rehearse as much as possible – use models?

Assistance – include in the budget!

Research in to the historical aspects of All Saints Eve and Hallowe’en have been very interesting – things for another blog ….

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