Archive for september, 2011

Bodies and more bodies

It’s so quiet. During the whole performance soft music is only played occationally. All focus is on the two bodies on the floor and their movements. Painful imgresmovements, stretching every mussel to its utmost limit, posing the body in positions that confuses the mind. The stage is black, a white half-rolled out carpet or perhaps paper in one end hanging in the air, the other still rolled up. In between the two ends, the two bodies are placed as you arrive. One sitting up with the back to the stage, the other laying on the floor. Two round balls on a table, like eyes intensely watching the two dancers without once looking away.

Choreographer Jeanette Langert is known for her way of exploring movements and very rightly got this year’s Birgit Cullberg Award given by Konstnärsnämnden (The Arts Grant Committee) in a small ceremony right after the performance.

The Committee has published several reports on the economic conditions for artists in Sweden, working environment, type of organization, to what extend you can live on your art and so forth. Overall the cultural field consist of project work, short-term assignments and a working situation of many varied pursuits and multiple income sources. The dancers and choreographers are to a high degree freelancers with volatile and insecure working conditions. Awards like this are so important.

30 september, 2011

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Nordic Book Fair

If you enjoy star-spotting, Göteborg is the place to be in at the moment. The exhibition hall at Svenska Mässan is filled to its rims with well-known authors, writers, journalists, publishing houses, book-stores and others involved the art of words.

The Nordic Book Fair just started, this year with the theme Three countries – one language, that is the german speaking literature is in focus.

Nätverkstan is there with an exhibition place for the over hundred small cultural journals that we work with. This is probably the most important event for these journals. Tonight at a glamorous party at Storan, the Cultural Journal of the Year will be nominated.

23 september, 2011

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Book industry in transformation

”To see how profoundly the book business is changing, watch the shelves”

In the latest issue of Economist (Sept 10th–16th 2011) you can read how digitization is transforming the book industry. What has been known in newspaper and music world since late 1990s is now heading towards publishers. This year sales in the first half of the year of consumer e-books in America overtook those from adult hardback books.

As an example, watch the bookshelves, Economist say. IKEA is introducing a new version of the classic bookshelf ”Billy” next month, a shelf not necessarily for storing books, but a deeper one with glass doors to use for ornaments and other things.

Digitization has given new life to old books. Harlequin has digitized more than 13.000 of its books and the firm has started to publish romances as only e-books. Amazon is selling more copies of e-books than paper books. Digitization has for small publishers showed a way out of the difficulty of managing inventory. If you print too many books, many of them will be returned by stores. Print too few and publishers will get a problem of costing more than it tastes to reprint.

There are two important jobs for publishers:

”They act as the venture capitalists of the words business, advancing money to authors of workthwhile books that might not be written otherwise. And they are editors, picking good books and improving them. So it would be good, not just for their shareholders but also for intellectual life, if they survived”

Nätverkstan has started Samladeskrifter out if these exact ideas: to make small publishers’ and authors’ books available over time and possible to read in different digital formats. It’s both a digital tool for small publishers and authors to make books available on Internet, and a sales window towards the market. Building this has been an interesting roller-coaster ride through a book industry in transformation.

Read more here.

17 september, 2011

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Consensus and disagreement

The theories of philosopher Jacques Rancière and his politics of aesthetics got a very practical meaning the other day when listening to literature researcher and dramaturge Jan Holmgaard.

He was invited to give a talk at the closing of a mentorprogram run by DIK Association and took his standing-point in Rancière. Very simplified described as two spheres in constant struggle with each other; the current understanding of reality, and the resistance towards this understanding. The gap in between these two is where creativity and modern art finds its role in trying to distort current understanding. A vital society should be one that allows for this gap of disagreement to exist.

Translated to practical work in an organization or, such as in this case, a mentorprogram, it poses some crucial questions. Does a mentorship program institutionalize hierarchy? And is that good or bad? Can anything be done to brake this hierarchy? How would you radicalize the idea of a program for mentorship? What are the blind spots we don’t see, that influence on our understanding of reality and are used as the basis for decisions?

A struggle for consenus, a mutual agreement among a group of people, is undemocratic and just confirms the current. Instead, the democratic line is to allow for dissensus and disagreement, Holmgaard points out. A difficult task, and so beautifully addressed by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård in his summertalk in Swedish radio in August just a few weeks after the horrifying attack by Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo.

We are all pieces in the puzzle of existing understanding and structure in society. This was a good reminder of how important art is to keep us vital.

10 september, 2011

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Nätverstan Kick-off

Each year in the beginning of September everyone working at Nätverkstan gather to have a two-days meeting, drawing up the lines for the coming year. It can be to discuss future issues or particular questions we need more time to dig into. We have a look at the present situation, projects going on, and who is doing what, as well as just having time to talk and getting to know each other.

This year we went to Flatön, an island along the coast, to Handelsman Flink, a cute guest house just by the sea. We started of with a rattling exciting walking quiz competition and activities such as tandem-biking, crab-fishing, and knitting an art piece. Then into issues like Nätverkstan Gender Policy, present situation, and future projects 2012. Great fun with a fantastic group of people!

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2 september, 2011

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

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