Side-Show was a series of new temporary and performative art projects that took place in Nässjö, Eksjö, Vetlanda and Gislaved during fall 2016.
In October 2017, the book Side-Show – Art as a participatory social actor, was published together with the Konstfrämjandet. The book summarizes the project and discusses its core questions with artists, curators and other professionals within the contemporary art field in Sweden. The book is available for purchase through Konst-ig or Konstfrämjandet
The participating artists:
Side-Show is an art project that uses the specific and diverse social structures of each participating municipality as its starting point. Starting in October 2015, the participating artists were working within the municipalities on a regular basis, towards the presentation of four new performative and context-specific artworks in the fall of 2016.
Contemporary art practices are now more mobile than ever. Ideas, material and methods do not depend on the specificities of an urban art context; material relating to fundamental and important questions of human interactions, rights and interrelations is available on a local as well as global scale. The participating artists’ work within Side-Show involved meetings with a variety of people from civil society, politics and associations within the municipalities. These meetings and conversations became the starting point for works that addressed social conditions, power relations and individuals’ life situations.
Side-Show raises questions about the notion of responsibility, distribution and meeting places in our shared communities, and how we can represent different narratives about a place. Who gets to represent a place and how can such accounts be reflected somewhere else, on a national or global scale?
During 2015, public debates about the distribution of resources within society intensified, in light of unstable immigration policies as refugees arrived in European countries. Working through a variety of local perspectives, Side-Show sought to highlight the social and democraphic changes that Sweden and Europe are currently undergoing, with focus on issues of security, belonging and the right of access to the public domain.
Side-Show acted within the public domain and deliberately took on positions within society’s ”machinery,” in places undergoing significant demographic change and in manufacturing towns in transition towards a post-industrial society. The four context-specific works took place within a town assembly hall, inside housing for asylum seekers, in a former furniture factory and in a 19th century mansion owned by the municipality.
The participating artists make use of methods borrowed from political activism, dramaturgy, therapy and social psychology in order to investigate the specific social structures that give shape to a place. Working across the boundaries of different art forms, they use direct engagement and participation as tools to open up existing socio-political situations.
Side-Show has been developed collaboratively, and was from the outset based on the belief in the importance of an extensive period of research on site and a direct engagement with local organizations, institutions and individuals. Fundamental to Side-Show is the belief that the meetings taking place in the working process are as significant as the finished production.
Side-Show is produced by curators Therese Kellner and Nina Øverli, in collaboration with Mike Bode for the region of Jönköping. The project is being developed together with Eksjö Museum (Pia Löfgren), Gislaveds Konsthall (Jonas Nilsson), Nässjö Konsthall (Lennart Alves) and Vetlanda Museum (Thomas Johansson). Side-Show is supported by Kulturrådet, Region Jönköpings län and the local municipalities of Eksjö, Gislaved, Nässjö and Vetlanda.
Region Jönköping works actively to develop contemporary art in the county. There is a number of ambitious arts spaces in the region, and Eksjö Museum, Vetlanda Museum, Nässjö Konsthall and Gislaveds Konsthall were involved from the idea stage.
During 2014, the curators carried out an initial study in the region, and in the beginning of 2015 the project’s direction was developed. Four artist groups were invited to produce a series of socially engaged and performative artworks in the municipalities.
Nina Øverli is a curator currently based in Stockholm. Her main interest lies in experimenting with new ways of showing art, working with the notion of performativity and staging to create different audience experiences both from within and outside of museum and gallery spaces. She has previously worked at the IASPIS programme, Stockholm, Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm and at Sprüth Magers and Victoria Miro galleries in London.
She currently works as a producer for the Swedish artist duo Lundahl & Seitl, and is a member of HICCUP (Hub for Independent Curators and Creatives United in Production, Stockholm).
Therese Kellner is a curator based in Stockholm. Therese wants to initiate and facilitate situations where artists can ask questions about social processes outside of the traditional structures of art production. She wants to work in ways that can make curatorial practices more in line with contemporary artists’ mobility and interdisciplinarity. She has previously worked as Assistant Curator at Magasin III Museum & Foundation for Contemporary Art, Stockholm; producer for Mobile Art Production, Stockholm and at Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm.
Therese is a member of HICCUP (Hub for Independent Curators and Creatives United in Production, Stockholm).
Side-Show’s project group included:
Side-Show’s visual identity has been created by 2typer: Sepidar Hosseini and Moa Schulman. As a graphic design duo they also run their own research project called Bild-Ning. In their investigations they approach visual communication from the critical perspective of class, ethnicity and gender, in collaboration with invited guests. The project asks questions around the notion “good taste” and who has the right to define it. As with Side-Show, Bild-Ning tries to move the focus away from product-oriented creativity.
The collaboration began in May 2015, when Side-Show was still very much on the drawing board. We wanted everyone who would in some way take part in shaping the final experience, to be involved in the project’s creation from day one. By allowing the communication of the project to be integrated into our processes from an early stage, we believe that our fields can be brought closer together and that the final result will be experienced more as a whole. Our collaboaration with 2typer has helped us to ask questions about language and communication that we would not otherwise have asked so early on in the process.
Welcome to Side-Show’s press archive.
Swedish National Radio, Förmiddag i P4 Jönköping, October 27, 2015
(First at 2:47:50, then at 3:14:30)