The non existent Center
Welcome to The Good Mission in Eksjö!
During the spring of 2015 we invited the artist group The non existent Center to create a new work for Side-Show. The work, which was presented in October 2016, was given the title The Good Mission in Eksjö. Based on the artist group’s many visits and meetings in the municipality throughout the two years, the finished work was performed over four days in October, at Kvarnarps Gård just outside Eksjö.
In the process of making the work, the artists chose to focus on different forms of caring and on the desire to “do good”. The Good Mission in Eksjö was an interactive performance in which you as a visitor would be invited to take part in a series of activities examining different types of convictions, dilemmas and actions. The work took on the format of an evening class held at Kvarnarps Gård. During the evening classe, the audience would move through the different rooms in the house, taking part in exercises in listening, sharing and showing care.
A mission could be described as a series of actions carried out with strong conviction and with a desire to do good. The non existent Center are interested in actions carried out by single individuals, either in private or under the name of work or organized charity. The artwork reflects on what it means to be moved into action, and why it is that we sometimes do not act the way we would have wanted to. Is there such a thing as fundamentally good deeds, ones that we can all agree upon?
An action of caring and the motivations behind this can take on such different forms; it could be anything from holding someone’s hand to guarding somebody’s border. The good deed could also be turned into its opposite; a caring action could become a violent action. A violent action could be a savior.
The Good Mission in Eksjö was performed during four evenings in the first week of October 2016
Location: Kvarnarps Gård, 575 95 Eksjö. View map
Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including interval.
Concept: The non existent Center (Eric Sjögren, Karin Linderoth och Carl-Oscsr Sjögren).
The Good Mission in Eksjö is produced by Side-Show in collaboration with Eksjö Museum, with support from the Swedish Arts Council, Region Jönköping County and Eksjö Municipality.
About The non existent Center
The non existent Center got to know Eksjö by talking to different people from a variety of social backgrounds. Their working process could be described as a focused creative research, where they start by mapping out the social structures of each town by visiting different places and taking part in a wide range of activities. As a starting point they often ask people they meet fundamental questions such as: What is a home? Where do you feel at home? What do you do when you feel lost?
Based in Gothenburg and Ställberg, the group is led by eight people with different backgrounds; from curating, art production, music and social psychology, to design, directing, choreography, psychology and lighting design. The group’s three artistic directors, Carl-Oscar Sjögren, Karin Linderoth and Eric Sjögren have been working together in Eksjö,
The non existent Center borrows methods from the performing arts, design and activism, and their presentation formats often echo these fields. Earlier presentations of their work have included a joint bus trip in Bergslagen together with the audience, a press conference and a cultural evening in Ställdalen. The people involved in the project during the group’s research phase, are also involved in giving final shape to the work.
An important part of The non existent Center’s practice is to examine and question existing structures for cultural production. The questions of whom art is for, how to create sustainable forms of production and how to “challenge the norm of a centralized cultural elite” are important to their practice. In 2014 the group together bought a disused iron mine in Bergslagen, where they have started an art center that they plan to run until 2070. They describe their activities there as an interdisciplinary creative community survey in depopulated areas, where the critical relationship between town and country, refuge and escape play central roles.
Side-Show’s partner in Eksjö was Eksjö Museum, who contributed with important historical knowledge and key contacts within the municipality. The museum has spaces devoted to contemporary art, as well as a large city history exhibition showing Eksjö’s 600-year history. In the museum courtyard is also Småland Museum of Military History. Learn more about the museum here.