Staying the course

Together with Eric Saline I’m holding a course at KKV GBG in less than a months time. It’s called Drawing with a chainsaw and we’re going to do huge relief prints using non-traditional tools. Like for example, chainsaws. We’re cutting the boards here in Gothenburg, and then we’re trucking them up to KKV Bohuslän where we’ll use their giant press to make the prints – ought to be exciting! I made a video for this, and since it’s done on company time I can’t very well use it in lieu of my own projects here on the blog, but whatevs.

Project week 3: A gift

Audience at a gig of Fucking Werewolf Asso in March 2015, at Musikens hus Göteborg

I’m rediscovering the joys and perils of video editing. At work, I did en edit of the woodwork course I participated in last weekend (Take a look here: and shot a promo for Drawing with a chainsaw, a course I’m offering with Eric Saline where we still need to rustle up more participants. (That edit isn’t done yet)

Privately, I went to a gig with Fucking Werewolf Asso and tried out my new Nikon P7800 and was reminded of the value of external microphones; I used only the built in ones, and it’s inadvisable to stand in front of PA speakers if you can’t set levels manually. I’d hoped that I’d have a video done by tonights deadline, but alas. Ought to be done this week though, so although delayed I’m still doing something else for next Monday.

I’ve never been one for good timing when it comes to my projects, but I really should get the drone promo done before the discussion about the Swedish-Saudi weapon deals dies down completely. Not that the deals with Saudi Arabia are much more offensive than the ones we have with other dictatorships, but still. So although timing has never been my forte I should give it a shot – after all, mine is a project about the democratic control over technology, and it’s rather fitting that I slot that into the tail-end of the discussion of selling surveillance equipment and clandestine weapon factory projects.

Performative lying

What with all the surveillance-state bonanza going on, and a general feeling of unease and fear of shadows, I figure that now would be a good time to finish the video below. It’s a monologue on my experience as a doorman at various events. The premise is that I take a few minutes out of every hour and pretend to be a doorman. Very meta, but there are some valid points there; the main one is “don’t trust your instincts to obey”.

The original HD source files are lost — or they’re just hiding on one of the drives somewhere — but with the 2000-isch look I thought the SD video looks fine. Seeing as “good taste” is so easily acquired and/or faked, we might as well go for the “æsthetics of arbitrariness” as a valid expression.

Since I’m writing this in English, you’d think that I’d taken the time to subtitle the video, but as always I’m doing this at the last second and so the subtitling will have to wait. I’ll still count this as a win on the “do one thing a week” list though!

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Recurring up/down motions.

Last fall my knee was giving me grief whenever I went for a run, and when I asked my doctor about it he pressed, pushed and prodded my leg into different angles, suggesting that I muscle up a bit to alleviate the grinding kneecap. So I started the way anyone sets about doing things today, by checking what imaginary people on the Internet recommended. Metafilter has recurring threads on excercise and browsing through them one finds some regimes popping up more often than others. One of those is Starting Strength, a program devised by Mark Rippletoe.

The allure of the program is it’s simplicity — you do five barbell exercises over and over, and if you managed to lift the weights last time you increase them this time. It’s a beginners program, keeping the number of repetitions on heavy weights high so that you’re less likely to injure yourself. Also, it’s a comfort for me to give up the “ambition” part of excercising to a spreadsheet: You lift some stuff in a particular order and check the corresponding box if you succeed of fail, and you repeat this three times a week.

I’ve become such a cautious person lately that in addition to reading the book and lurking on forums, I wanted to start working out somewhere where people might stop me if I’m doing something horribly wrong. I found a club called Göteborgs Kraftssportsklubb (GKK) nearby and after a visit I started showing up at their prearranged hours; getting the hang of how not to cripple myself; difference is between barbells; this end toward enemy.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but GKK is a powerlifting club and I’m an odd duck out as a member cause the SS program is a mongrel of techniques — it’s not geared towards any particular sport but intended to make weak people less weak. So while most others in the club are focusing on powerlifting — squat, bench, deadlift — I’m doing powercleans and presses half the time. This hasn’t helped my assimilation into the group, but looking over my track record of “fitting in,” I’m doing OK.

As always, some people are convivial and welcoming while others seem annoyed at the intrusion, greeting me only by mistake. Mind, I’m not the only one, and there’s plenty of mute male bonding going on — adhesion by way of sweat and spotting each other — and I guess it takes a year or so before one’s enough of a fixture in the gym to hang anything worthwhile on.

One side-effect of training with GKK is that I’m no longer self-conscious about making noises; Sara has a video of me grunting unceremoniously, and I bark and wheeze at the slightest pretext. The main effect though, is that I can lift slightly heavier things than before. And I’m also more injured than previously, with pulled muscles and a busted rotary cuff and other such annoyances keeping me company. Judging from everyone else injury is part of the process and not something one can completely avoid, so best treat it as the occasional speedbump and adhere to rehab exercises.

Last weekend I tagged along to the Swedish championships in powerlifting as a photographer. 30 or so sports organized their championships during one week in Halmstad; there were gymnastics, badminton, and apparently castling is a sport now. Three days and as many thousand photos later I’m back home; it was fun but exhausting — except ten minutes of roller derby I only saw powerlifting. We had three lifters participating from GKK, one of which set a Swedish record and won her weight-class, which was exciting all round. I still need to do a final selection, but there’s a bunch of images up on Facebook if you follow these links: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Every sport has it’s idiosyncrasies which get cemented over time; In the case of powerlifting it’s a compulsion for playing loud metal between lifts; MegaDeth, Manowar, whatshisface and angry druid. They keep having to turn the music down for the judges instructions, but most of the time it’s grinding guitars and someone shouting about war or hate or killing demons. I get that in a sport that is about lifting heavy things for a very short time there’s a proclivity for using powerful imagery, but after three days it gets a bit old.

Also, in a different setting you’d be forgiven to confuse some of the participants and trainers for rightwing bruisers, but without knowing anything about anyone I’ll give people the benefit of a doubt and guess that the Norse motifs are there to inspire strength rather than viking-based patriotism. The participants were predominantly whitish, but there were prominent exceptions and I didn’t hear any slurs regarding them — so perhaps I’m reacting preemptively and as a photographer judge people by their skin and projection.

At the moment, I’ve been to Slottskogsvallen 45 times, and gone from deadlifting zilch to 3×120kg, and feel that I’m getting the hang on the exercises — although I’m nowhere near techinical proficiency in any of them. I’ll give it a while longer before I start changing the program around too much, but will try to keep to something simple with checkboxes. Things only exists if you’re able to tick them off a todo-list, after all. For example, this here post being the “confess to grunting in public” post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. Check.

Number of Goats!

A while back there we went to a concert at Henriksberg, and and one of the acts was a young band playing psychadelic rock. I remember commenting that if that’s the next big thing in music, I won’t like it, no Sir. Dubstep is done, overly sensitive singer-songwriters even more so, and indie-rock shoegazing types were penned and shot behind the shed. But somewhere in a tie-dyed recess of my heart, there was something funky going on, and once Sara told me that she’d been asked to do light for the Swedish band Goat and played it for me, I was humming along — it feels natural to listen to this now. Listening to Goat, i become sheep.

It was a great gig, and even though you can’t tell from my crappy video below, it sounded and looked good. I’ve ordered some stuff to allow for better sound recording (because I love you all so much that I will give of me my only begotten dollar) and promise to use manual focus next time around.

Only bad thing about the event was the prowling security — unless Storan is haunted by fights breaking out there was no reason to be so zealous in the walking and posing and the pouncing on anyone who stumbled. On the few occasions that I’ve been at the door of a party, as soon as you start posturing and taking yourself or your uniform too seriously, people are provoked and it increases tension. So the mood was at times unpleasant.

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You can find more info on GOAT on on their blogspot account — — and the opening band SONSON have both a tumblr and soundcloud. Djungeltrumman put up some images from the event, and if you actually want to see something of the concert you might want to head over there.

Jakob Hellman, Foajébaren, Göteborg

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Regardless of how bland and uninspiring you find something — be it music, art, food, whatever — there will be some people for whom it was a defining moment of their lives. For example, Jakob Hellman had some hits twenty years ago and is still fondly remembered for his one and only album. He performed yesterday at the city theatre, and Sara got us on the guest list. The cover charge for this low key evening was 250 kronor, which is 200 more than I would have considered paying, but judging from the 200 odd people in attendance others aren’t as cheap as I.

Hearing a song live which you’ve been singing in the shower for a couple of years can be great fun, and there’s something to be said about seeing the original artist perform it. But I’m not sure if Hellman managed to rekindle the memories of youthful naïveté in his audience, or if he just piddled on the embers.

Ear drum head bang

Two gigs I’ve been to recently. Koloni presented Charles Haywood at Kajskjul Fyra Sex, and Kylesa performed along with two other bands at Truckstop Alaska. Haywood was rather fun to watch as he was making a twisted angry face at the microphone — his music is repetitive and manic, just as his stage presence — and occasionally it’s great fun to listen to good and tight drums.

A week later, four of us took the ferry over to see Kylesa at Truckstop. I thought their melodic trash metal was humdrum and uninspired, and the headbanging so perfunctory they might as well have hired extras to do it. Mine was a minority opinion though, and Petter even bought their record.

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Computer games and almost an opening.

Olle Essvik has been working on a computer game based on Beckets Waiting for Godot. A month ago he gave a presentation of the finished first part of it at Gallery 54, and I took the opportunity to record a short video. If you like to play the game you can do so at and should you want to learn more about the making of and thoughts behind it, you can read an interview in Swedish at and another in English over at Game Scenes.

Following that, Andreas Vesterlund is presenting the Skup Palet event week Your Mentality is Alert. It was a week-long process oriented collaboration which ended with not so much an “opening” as a “closing of the process so far.” In practice, it’s difficult to organize something which looks like an opening without interpreting it as one, but in the video Andreas tries his best to explain what has been going on and some of the ambitions going into it.

Both videos are in Swedish.

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Every once in a while I think I ought to be more serious in documenting these kinds of events in Gothenburg, but can’t seem to make good on my ruminations. If you enjoy these videos, or if you have suggestions on improvements, let me know and I’ll add your voice to the todo-choir.

Honestly, one of the things driving my ambition to make a more focused video blog is that I get to play with my old MIDI keyboard, and I’d have to finally learn After Effects properly to do titles and whatnot. In addition to, you know, providing a cultural service with above average editing and good taste.

In concert: Fucking werewolf asso

iTunes keeps track of how many times you listen to songs, and upon my return from Finland I’ve apparently listened to Fucking Werewolf Asso’s album Kid, just letting you know we’re doing it again 69 times. I was sure the number would be higher, but there you go. Ever since I saw them at Henriksberg two years ago, I’ve been hoping to catch them again, and yesterday they played at Pustervik for the release of their computer game, made by Cactusoid I think. The game looks like any self-respecting retro LOL-pixel adventure ought to, judging from the video loop the band had in the background.

It was enjoyable to hear old and new ditties, and singer Dennis is shouty and entertaining. There was a strange vibe to their show though; While Dennis is a spastic nihilist who’s jumping around (probably very bruised today) Martin is an angry drummer who keeps tipping over cymbals and swatting at things, particularly the new bass player EmoHair who mostly tries to hit people with his instrument and whose strongest card is “menacing pose.”

Had I been a bit more drunk or a half my age I wouldn’t have minded the posturing and the throwing of stuff, but since I got the show straight from work I was too sober not to frown disapprovingly on throwing cymbals at audience and staff. In all, it was a throwback to the days of mosh pits and bodysurfing; The music is excellent and would the energy be focused more on kicking ass instead of each other the show would be even better.

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Take me to those stars.

I’ve lived in Gothenburg for almost as many years as I’ve wanted to visit the star observatory in the park, and not until yesterday did I actually go. Bus 60 took me and Sara to the top of the hill, and after a while Olle and Helga joined us at the small building which houses four telescopes and dioramas left over from other, probably upgraded, museums.

At the observatory, a gawky guide shuffled us around telescopes swaying in the wind, requiring constant adjustment to remain fixed on the Pleiades or twinkly Sirius. The stars look nothing like in the movies, and even less like the colour-composite images NASA releases. Turns out that when you’re looking closely at bright dots, what you see is slightly larger bright dots, and even more dots around those. It’s dots all the way, so to say, which was the sentiment of one vocal woman, who exclaimed “you have got to be bloody shitting me, I can see as much in my binoculars at home!” It was a tense moment, and with the exception for a brat who just wouldn’t shut the hell up — his parents resigned to his annoying existence — twenty or so people held their breath, expecting the woman to lay into the poor, bumbling, guide. She was somewhat placated by seeing the Andromeda galaxy.

At the end of it all, we got to see some constellations and their constituent stars, and even got to see a blurry Saturn with a blurry ring. According to the other guide — the jovial one with the nose ring — this popping of ones Saturn cherry is a big moment in any stargazers career, and we did our best to feel properly awed. It was very nice to see it for real, and next time I’ll be in a city with a bigger telescope I’ll do my best to sneak a peek at the other planets. Not buying my own telescope yet though.