Summer adventure




I just came back from a few days in Sweden on my own personal writing retreat. I stayed at Varberg Kusthotell, and no, it wasn’t about spa days or luxury, just a calm space to work and a view of the sea.
I am now finishing up the last texts for HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 5, which comes out in September, during 3daysofdesign.

I had originally planned to write an online ‘behind the scenes’ story about why I love to go to Sweden when I want to immerse myself in writing. That will have to be a story for another time, because I stumbled on something I would like to share with you and which sent me on a small adventure.

Perhaps you read about the Form/Design Center Malmö in HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 3? If not, here is a link to the article, to give you a little background information.

Form/Design Center recently hosted Southern Sweden Design Days. They go all in, launching the new initiative as an annually recurring, international design event. (In the future, I hope that they and 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen will coordinate their dates. That would give international visitors so much more reason to visit; after all, Malmö and Copenhagen are just a 40-minute train ride apart.)

The premiere instalment of Southern Sweden Design Days unfolded mainly in the digital realm, and if you are interested, you can stream the many talks. That is what I was doing when I came across Emil Jensen’s performance ‘grädde på mosset’ (loosely translated, ‘the icing on the cake’). Emil Jensen is a Swedish singer-songwriter, comedian and actor, and he is a frequent and much-loved guest in Swedish Radio, among other platforms.

If you would like to see his talk at Southern Sweden Design Days, you can find it here.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt: ’I remember when we learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in high school. At the bottom you find the basic needs: sleep and food. The next level has social safety. At the top was self-actualization, which was often portrayed by a lone person playing the violin. It’s a good portrayal of how we view the arts. It’s something we can only entertain when all our other needs have been met, when everything else has been taken care of – which never happens.

Not many people know that everyone’s right to culture is in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights.
Arts and culture are both at the top and the bottom and in the middle of the hierarchy of needs.

It is essential. Consider the songs that slaves sang during the most horrible circumstances. I doubt all of their other needs had been met. Quite the opposite. It is the arts that keep us all afloat.

Storytelling, listening to music, reading – all of this is essential for our survival, just like food and sleep.

Arts and culture aren’t the icing on the cake. It’s the cake itself, as well as the icing, all at the same time!’


Many, also among those in power, might benefit from hearing Emil’s talk; I am not mentioning the name of any particular Government Minister.

I benefited too, it reminded me of my need for culture and made me dedicate my lunch break to a visit at Halland Museum of Cultural History, where designer Bea Szenfeld and illustrator Stina Wirsén are currently showing the joint exhibition ‘HAUTE PAPIER’.
Bea Szenfeld, who was born in Poland, lives and works in Stockholm, and I have been following her from a distance ever since she graduated from beckmans college of design in Stockholm in 2002 and, soon after, established her own design brand. She had a groundbreaking and extravagant and as far from Swedish minimalism as you can imagine. Nevertheless, then, as now, her artistic approach to fashion was welcomed and applauded. Fashion is no longer her field, although clothing forms still serve as her main source of inspiration for fantastical creations in paper. ‘I realized I don’t have the patience to talk to manufacturers, discuss qualities or, for that matter, to worry about consumers who get annoyed if they lose a button,’ she says in the excellent exhibition film that portrays both her and Stina Wirsén, whom Bea got in touch with because Stina is one of the best-known, if not the best-known fashion illustrators in Sweden. Fashion illustrator in a sense where fashion + illustration = new art form.

Thank you, Emil, and thank you, Bea and Stina, for a wonderful break.

Service info: Halland/Varberg is worth a visit for many reasons. If you go, book a table, so you don’t miss out on dinner at Johnssons Gård/Spiseriet. That place is a story in itself – for another time.






SOMMEREVENTYR PÅ DANSK


Jeg har været i Sverige et par dage, i skrively. Jeg har opholdt mig på Varberg Kusthotell og nej, ikke noget med spa og tjuhej, bare arbejdsro og udsigten til vand. Jeg sidder med de sidste tekster til HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 5, som udkommer til september under 3 Days of Design.
Jeg havde på forhånd planlagt at skulle skrive et online ´behind the scenes´, lidt om hvorfor jeg netop nyder at tage til Sverige, når jeg skal have arbejdsro. Det må vi tale om en anden gang, for jeg faldt over noget, som jeg gerne vil dele, og som sendte mig på eventyr.

Måske har du læst i HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 3 om Form/Design Center Malmö? Hvis ikke, så poster jeg artiklen her, så du har lidt baggrundsinformation.

Form/Design Center har netop været vært for Southern Sweden Design Days. De tager munden fuld og kalder sig en ny international designbegivenhed, planlangt til at være årligt tilbagevendende. (jeg håber, at de og 3daysofdesign i København fremover koordinerer datoer. De vil give internationale besøgende så meget mere at gå efter. Malmø og København er trods alt kun adskilt af en togtur på 40 minutter).

Southern Sweden Design Days har denne første gang primært været en digital begivenhed, og er du interesseret, kan de mange talks streames. Det var det, jeg gjorde, og her stødte jeg på Emil Jensens performance `grädde på mosset` (frit oversat ´glasuren på kagen´). Emil Jensen er en svensk singer-songwriter, komiker og skuespiller, og han er hyppig og elsket gæst på Sveriges Radio, blandt andet.

Hvis du vil se ham optræde på Southern Sweden Design Days, så ligger hans performance her.

Ellers får du et kort uddrag her: "Jeg erindrer, at vi lærte om Maslows behovspyramide i gymnasiet, lærte, at mad og søvn er det mest basale, herefter følger tryghed økonomisk og socialt, toppen af pyramiden handler om selvrealisering. Selvrealisering var ofte illustreret med en figur, som spillede violin. Som symbolet på kultur, som noget vi engagerer os i, når alle andre behov er opfyldt, når alt andet er klappet og klart!

Kultur er en menneskeret, få synes at vide det, men retten til kultur er inkluderet i FNs menneskerettighedserklæring.
Kultur bør findes både øverst, i midten og nederst i behovspyramiden.

Jeg tænker på, at de sange, som slaverne sang, da de slavede under de mest modbydelige forhold, næppe blev sunget med oplevelsen af, at alle andre behov var opfyldt. Tværtimod.

Kultur er det, der holder os flydende, lige så grundlæggende som mad og søvn.

Kultur er ikke prikken over i'et eller glasuren på kagen. Kulturen er både i'et og prikken”.


Mange, også blandt magthaverne, kunne have nytte af at høre Emils performance, jeg nævner ikke navnet på nogen minister.

Selv havde jeg også glæde, og jeg kom i tanke om mit behov for kultur og dedikerede min frokostpause til et besøg på Hallands Kulturhistoriska Museum, hvor designeren Bea Szenfeld og illustratøren Stina Wirsén har fællesudstillingen ´HAUTE PAPIER`.

Bea Szenfeld, som er født i Polen, bor og arbejder i Stockholm, og jeg har fulgt hende på afstand, siden hun i 2002 tog afgang fra Beckmans Designhögskola i Stockholm og umiddelbart herefter etablerede eget designbrand. Hun var banebrydende og ekstravagant og så langt fra svensk minimalisme, som man kan komme. Ikke desto mindre blev hun den gang som nu hyldet for sin kunstneriske tilgang til modebranchen. Mode er ikke længere hendes metier, selvom beklædningsgenstande stadig er hendes foretrukne formmæssige afsæt, nu for fabelagtige kreationer i papir. ”Jeg har indset, at jeg ikke har tålmodighed til at tale med producenter, diskutere kvaliteter eller for den sags skyld bekymre mig om forbrugere, som bliver sure over, knapper som falder af”, siger hun i den fine udstillingsfilm, som portrætterer både hende og Stina Wirsén, som Bea har lært at kende, fordi Stina er en af de mest kendte, om ikke den mest kendte modeillustrator i Sverige. Modeillustrator på en måde så mode + illustration = ny kunstart.

Tak Emil og tak Bea og Stina for en eventyrlig pause.

Service info: Halland/Varberg er på mange måder et besøg værd. Skulle du begive dig afsted, så snyd ikke dig selv for at booke bord til middag hos Johnssons Gård/Spiseriet – det sted er en historie i sig selv, den får du en anden gang.