”Illuminated dreams” is a pilot-project, consisting of a cross-disciplinary practice, where the civil society organisation Life Foundation, Egypt and art organisation, ArtAgent, Sweden produces workshops based on dream stories for female ex-prisoners in Alexandria and Aby Hammad, Egypt, 2017. It will be an exchange of art practices between the organisations in Egypt and Sweden, implementation of art and drama workshops, meetings and building of networks for the the future. The projects aims to give the women new channels to express themselves freely in society.
”The Daydreamer” was produced during a stay at the Lichtenbergs Studios, autumn 2016. The film describes an inner journey, a Jungian individuation process, where a woman meets herself and shadows from the past. The place where it takes place is Stasi Museum, the former security department for the DDR regime. The woman walks inside the museum and wears a dress that matches the environment from the 60’s. It is difficult to determine if she is in the present or not. Heavy memories and something inexplicably glimpse behind curtains and polished furnitures.
Sound design: Teresia Alfredsson and Tillmann Richter, Germany.
Imagine the city
The project ”Imagine the city” aims to investigate stories of Berlin in order to remember the past and discover the present in other ways than the common pictures. For the project a video was produced describing the feeling of both being present and absent, and the anonymity that can arise in a big city. What are our own images and expectations of the city and what is projected towards us?
”Imagine the city” is inspired by theorist Guy Debords “Dérive”, an unplanned journey through the city in which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding directed the travellers. It was developed during autumn 2015 at the ZK/U, Berlin. During this period a collaboration with the performance group Triola took form.
What is female/male? Can we change the regular outfits into something new? The artist Charlotte Åberg encouraged young participants in the project Unisex to create their own costumes. The aim with the art project was to investigate what gender means for young people today. An important part was to create an open dialogue while creating the costumes and by this method reach a deeper level of the subject.
“Unisex” was a part of the international collaboration project by ArtAgent, “Visualize the Invisible”. The final outcome was dissiminated through photo and performance at Tullhuset, Stockholm konst in december 2014 and currently at Botkyrka konsthall till february 2015.
Visualize the Invisible
In the project artists have implemented participatory art projects in Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and Sweden. They have used different art forms such as video, installations, performance and dance in co-operation with people in residential areas, roma communities, in social institutions such as prisons, schools and care institutions and reach a wider discussion about arts impact for a societal change. They project was co-ordinated by ArtAgent, Sweden.
For the project Lott Alfreds and Charlotte Åberg produced the book ”Visualize the Invisible”. The book was relased at Botkyrka konsthall in december 2014.
The project ”Visualize the Invisible” has been realized with support from the Creative Europe Programme, European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Botkyrka kommun, Kulturbryggan, Botkyrkabyggen, Stockholm konst, Stockholms läns landsting, Statens kulturråd and Stockholm stad.
The immaterial monument
“The immaterial monument” was an interdisciplinary art workshop held in Skopje, Macedonia in april 2013. The ArtAgent artists (Charlotte Åberg, Lott Alfreds, Helena Byström, Anna Källblad and My Lindh) and the researcher Mona Livholts, Sweden, together with the art-theorist Suzana Milevska, Macedonia, joined artists from the Contemporary Art scene in Skopje, Macedonia and Tirana, Albania, architects from Skopje, Macedonia, and the Human Rights organisation Refraction Association from Albania for an engaging conversation about different ways and approaches in their Participatory Art practices.
The workshop aimed to enhance knowledge about Participatory Art among the artists and the sociologists in the EU-Project “Visualize the Invisible”. In the workshop we focused on the certain meaning of memorial or a monument as a public work of art or a building with the intent to recall a person, an event or condition in the time period. The concept of the monument and memorial is linked to collective memories. What makes a certain memory more important than any other? What memories are invisible and not preserved in the public space? The workshop investigated the unsaid that does not always come to the light but still has a relevance to our times.
Dream box workshop
Lott Alfred and Charlotte Åberg was invited by the organization Refraction Association to do a workshop in Elbasan, Albania for artists working in the social field. The project “The Use of Art Where It’s Hard to Talk – Exchanges between artists working in the social field” was a continuation of a previous EU project by the human right organisation Refraction Association. The artists made a workshop in which participants talked about their dreams and portrayed them in boxes.
The Use of Art Where it’s Hard to Talk–part 2
The Use of Art Where it’s Hard to Talk–2 was a project about participatory art in the Western Balkans during autumn 2012. ArtAgents members Lott Alfreds, Helena Byström och Charlotte Åberg continued an earlier project with the organisations Refraction Association, Albania, Media Artes, Macedonia and KRCT, Kosovo. During three days artists where investigating the city of Ohrid, Macedonia and Pristina, Kosovo . Media Artes was hosting the program in Macedonia and the Faculty of Arts, University of Pristina in Kosovo.
“Clothes have in all times been a sign for class, gender and group belonging. They are a part of ones identity and show the persona of the individual. Old clothing still remains as a part of a memory, and it might still tell a story of the past. By working with clothes we hope to receive different stories and memories connected with the objects. The workshop is an example of how we can use art in order to make people talk more freely and reach unpredictable results.”
Lott Alfreds, Helena Byström, Pontus Lindvall and Charlotte Åberg conducted participatory art workshops for artists in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia for Konstfämjandet, Sweden for the project “The Use of Art Where it’s Hard to Talk”. At the ”Clothes workshop”, all participants had clothing with them that they told stories about. After the story-telling, the clothes were transformed and joined together in sculptures, which the participants later presented.
A project selected under the IPA call ‘Support to Partnership Actions between Cultural Organisations’ 129799 of the European Union, DG Enlargement. The project was financed by the European Union–DG Enlargement and the Swedish Institute’s (SI) “Creative Force” initiative in the western Balkans.
Social sculpture, dreams and gender issues
In January 2007, Lott Alfreds and Charlotte Åberg took part in a preliminary examination with employees at Ali Demi Prison in Tirana, Albania after an invitation from Refraction association. In October 2007, part one of the art project ”Social sculpture, dreams and gender issues” was initiated at the prison with workshops where the paricipants told about their nightly dreams. Part two of the project, carried out in February 2008, consisted of an evaluation, a movie workshop, documentation and follow-up of the work of the employees and interns.
The project was financed by Konstfrämjandet, European Cultural Foundation Step Beyond travelgrant, the Swedish Institute) and Iaspis (International Artists Studio Program in Sweden)
The Dream laboratory
The artist duo Charlotte Åberg and Lott Alfreds have created ”dream laboraties” at different locations, where they have showed fragments of dream narratives in video and audio works. At the same time participants have been invited to record or donate their dream stories. Can dreams be shared and communicated through art?
The Up-site down day and the Dreamgarden
Lott Afreds and Charlotte Åberg were engaged in Konstfrämjandets SKISS project 2005-2006, placed in Botkyrka Municipality, Sweden. The artists found a special way to develop the concept of Social sculpture. Social sculpture is a specific example of the extended concept of art,that was advocated by the german artist Joseph Beuys in the 1960s. It is an interdisciplinary process in which thought, speech and discussions are core material.
In the project “The Dreamgarden”, at Tumba elder care, Botkyrka, 2006, Lott Alfreds and Charlotte Åberg found a special way to develop the ideas of Social sculpture. They asked the staff at the eldercare to share their nightly dreams with them, while they were building a winter garden together.
The work ”White collection” dealt with the fact that female clothing and the fit that matches the female body does not get as much space as the male uniform in society. In the art project “Artist Clothing”, created by Ulrika Gunnarsdotter during fall 2004, Charlotte Åberg contributed with a collection of doctor coats matching the female body. The project, in where one looks into the relation between fashion and art, gave many ideas, but eventually the artist decided to look more into the uniform fashion at hospitals. The doctor coat is still a masculine symbol and distinguishes what is visible everywhere in society; that the masculine form of something is the standard. With small means Åberg tried to dislocate and change the look upon the female representation in the health care sector. The clothing collections touch the questions concerning how the human can be unpersonified in the group.
Charlotte Åberg and Florence Montmare have collaborated since 2003 on ”Phantasme”, a series of video performances portraying persons in the act of consumption. The products used in the performances (cream, ketchup, hair dye) are transformed into a disguise, and the body is concealed. Transformed into phantoms of their own desires, they are eliminated by consumerism. Conventional ideas of beauty are violated and the bodies is transformed and distorted beyond the recognizable.
Closer/Seeing without seeing
In the films “Closer” and ”Seeing without seeing”, the characters are dressed similarly, in space-like unisex suits. They are settled to leave their past, and leave their previous male and female roles, to enter a new, unknown identity. Here, they hope to approach a new way of seeing, since they never can reach absolute satisfaction and liberation in their ordinary, restricted lives. They hope to reach a state were there they can see beyond the signs, the representations and the pictures of themselves.
The films ”Vacuum clean love”, ”My love has got a gun” and ”This time it looks like love is here to stay” were created during the years 1995-2000. They give form to a young woman that, masked with a wig and costume, acts out her feelings in a table similar to the cleared-up and polished environment of a commercial. In the made-up world where people reproduce, transform and become a product, the woman revolts by trying to puncture, or strive, to get out of her present reality.
”Love Theme” is a series of three videos in which the glossy language and subtle eroticism of fashion photography combine with the sterile light and intense colouration of science fiction films of the 1960s and 70s. Against this luxurious and decadent visual backdrop, Åberg acts out the scenario of a doomed love affair, from narcissistic self-absorption to suicide. The videos satirise the idealised portrayal of romantic love within advertising and the unattainable ideals of a culture obsessed with youth.”
Paul Stone, curator at Waygood Gallery