Work as progress.

— Mateusz, you handsome devil, what is it that you do for a living?

I get this question more often than you’d think, even though the phrasing might be slightly different. My mother, for example, might sigh “Have you got a proper job yet?”

Every once in a while I go through an identity reassessment, especially when sketching a new version of the blog or a business card, or when I stumble upon a piece of insight like Merlin Manns “Watching the Corners: On Future-Proofing Your Passion” — the premise of which is that we hang our identity on old merits long after those merits have ceased to be relevant.

What got me thinking was my first ever end-of-semester gift I received from the students at Chalmers.

I teach courses in photography at community collages in Gothenburg (Folkuniversitetet & Medborgarskolan), and I work as a guest tutor at the international Master of architecture and urban planning studios with Ana Betancour at Chalmers and KTH, teaching people how not to fuck up public presentations, discussing the value of film as an analytical tool in architectural practice and generally asking future architects stuff which I wouldn’t ask if I’ve had architectural schooling.

Many of them don’t seem to know why they want to be architects, nor is there any consensus regarding what an architect does, so the area is ripe for someone like me to come in and ask what they think they are doing — it’s great fun.

The photography courses present a rather mixed crowd, from people who’ve taken pictures their whole life and who just want to learn the digital end of it, to people who’ve become parents and want to document their toddlers with the shiny dSLR the friendly salesperson sold them. I draw diagrams of focal length and JPEG compression algorithms.

That’s the tofu and potatoes of my life, and it’s pretty awesome. Teaching keeps you on your toes and I’ve learned to draw on the eclectic knowledge I’ve amassed, working with people to reach interesting conclusion and alternative angles to problems. The work description could be “talking with people” but in my more interesting moments, and with enough caffeine pills, I become an apophenic Eliza, channeling the on/off-lined world.

I haven’t done freelance media work for a while, but should anyone want to give me money for recording their seminar, proofread their dissertation or photograph something I could give references and manage it. So the question of how I make money is easy enough to answer, but the problem arises when it bleeds into my understanding of who I am, especially when there’s a discrepancy.

For example: I’m not paid to do art. I occasionally apply for grants, which in a sense amounts to spec work, and I do art works and publish them on/off-line, but I’m not getting paid for it. I do it, and my formal art-education opens up related fields (e.g. the urban architecture courses) but it’s not my livelihood per se. I know that this shouldn’t bias me against seeing myself as an artist, but I have always had the notion that one is in part one’s job description, and ones job is the thing one does for money. So if you describe yourself as someone who does something for which you’re not getting paid, the jump to describing yourself as monetarily worthless isn’t big. It’s a way of thinking which is hard to shake.

All this doesn’t interfere with what I actually do, as I’m doing more art now than before, but it’s a shift in perspective which I’m adjusting to.

The new and different you.

It dawned on me yesterday that I’m becoming that guy. I bike wherever I go and show up with a sweaty t-shirt, fanning myself and going “boy was that a climb! I’m all drenched here, phew-e!” not realizing that it’s the tenth time in a row that I arrive like that, and it has become the norm rather than the exception.

I’m the dude with a manic smile and rolled up pant leg, and even though I’m not wearing bike pants, an image of tights would show up on an aural image of me. If the country wasn’t so eager to promote a “healthy lifestyle” I would be beaten for showing up to work in this state long ago, and probably deserve it.

I would like to apologize in advance to those commuters whose personal space I will invade with au de wet dog and would you please let me know when the sweat dripping onto your blouse becomes annoying.

Incidentally, public announcements regarding my crotch have gone up dramatically, and I disperse the status of balls and ass freely and without prompting. Sorry about that, but that’s probably how things will be from now on. I’m really sorry.

To whomever. According to Artur

Let’s hear it for Artur Poças, the latest participant of To Whomever and one of the students at the course I’m teaching with Ana Betancour. Who could ever guess that there’d be so different takes on what this project was about? Thanks for the contribution, and email me your address – sending stuff by post has a nice haptic feel to it.

My name is Mathew Price. I came to Europe very early in my life and now I’m living in this small boring town where nothing attracts me more than my own room or the beautiful fingertips of my girlfriend, Therese.

Day one

My twin brother came to live with me. He left our parents house, I did the same some years ago and, apparently, the reason is the same, he became a vegetarian and our father told him: “if you want to eat plants, go to live in the garden, there are plenty of them”.

After so many years, his voice still echoes inside my head.

The good thing is that I found a job for my brother at the school, is going to teach with me, starting tomorrow.

One week later

First day at work, my brother fucked my girlfriend in our dirty bathroom at school. She thought he was me (eight years together and she doesn’t know I don’t wear silk underwear). He didn’t think at all. I broke up with both.

After all

Today I received the news by mail. She’s pregnant. Therese. For many years we tried an absurd amount of times to conceive a human being. Never succeeded. The fucker comes from the other side of the world and, with just one shot, guess what?


Summer project: To whomever

Petter took a picture of me last weekend, and I liked it a lot; For once I didn’t immediately recognise the person in the picture, but rather saw someone older, more tired, more drunk and in a jacket that doesn’t seem to fit. It’s easy to construct a story about someone when you’re people-watching in a park, or see images of them on tv or in a paper, but it’s seldom that you get to have that distance to yourself.

We joked that it looked like a self-promotional one, the “spontaneous” and “real” image you might see actors sign to hang on the wall of a local bar, or send to fans. And thus I decided to turn this into a small project to occupy my unemployed time.

I’d people to send letters addressed to whomever they think that the person in the picture is.

Write him an email for whatever reason; maybe he had a walk-on role in a movie you like and you’re collecting all the autographs from the cast; perhaps he was in a band fifteen years ago and you’re wondering when the next record is coming out; did he drive a car across twelve state lines in the longest car chase ever showed on COPS; is he the only member of an Esperanto club on an island you’re planning to visit, and does he speak English at all?

Make up a story, name, whatever, and I’ll try to reply to the emails in character. The first twenty or so emails will get a personalised and signed photo if you include an address. (I can’t really afford more than that) Should this project generate more than that amount of mail, I’ll reply by email. (if you’d like a reply at all, that is) If you don’t want your real name revealed, (or your using a pen name) let me know somewhere in the email, otherwise I’ll put it up in the post. To participate, send an email to:

All emails and replies will end up as individual posts on my blog, and there’s a feed tracking just those posts here:


I’ve modified the text above for clarities sake. Also, I’ve been told that this endeavor might seem megalomaniac, but since when can’t megalomaniacs have fun?