It’s an attempt to figure out the new meanings of words after some years of degradation and erosion where some words now seem to mean the opposite of what they used to and some simply don’t really mean anything anymore. At least if you are to trust how the words are used in the news and on social media…
Magasinet Konkret is publishing one word/day on their start page, with a link to the complete list. I like that this gets some attention, since CBA often goes under the radar for a lot of people.
Another illustration I made for Magasinet Konkret a while ago.
The text is about how the far right in the US has two images of Sweden that serve to present us as both a role model and an example of how bad things can get. None of which are true. We’re neither the heroes who successfully ignored COVID nor overrun by queers and foreign criminals. We’re not even a Socialist paradise. Which any thinking person could figure out, but truth went out the window a long time ago in this stupid propaganda war…
We’re just as Capitalist as any other country, complete with racist migration policies and everything, even if we don’t currently shoot queers in the streets and we still have some sensible things like public health care etc, but who knows how long that’ll last…
Anyway, here’s the article, by Lisa Bjurvald (it’s in Swedish and you need to subscribe, but if you know the language, this is a subscription you should get anyway).
Remember when alternative media used to mean news and articles written from more of a leftist perspective compared to the mainly liberal mainstream news channels? When “liberal” meant center-leaning right-wing (which it still is even though the rest of the right are now trying to paint liberal as some kind of extreme left, inspired by the political climate in the US which is a two-party/one-ideology system)? Before alternative media as a concept was taken over and almost dominated by the far right (nationalist/conservative/racist etc) who are doing their best to paint the mainstream as dominated by extreme leftism, even though it’s still dominated by the same liberalism as before?
Anyway. Magasinet Konkret is trying to compensate by being a space for a bit more of those leftist perspectives that are so rare these days.
Arg Kanin om Kulturkanon (Angry Animal about the Cultural Canon), the same comic I had (still have for a couple more weeks) in the (Anti)rasism exhibition, is also published in the new issue of the anarchist magazine Brand!
This issue was printed in 3 separate colors, so I hade to modify it a bit. It felt similar to preparing files for risoprinting and I wasn’t exactly sure how it would turn out, but in the end it looked just as I had hoped.
The comic itself was heavily inspired by Sven Lindqvist‘s books Exterminate all the brutes and The Skull Measurer’s Mistake: And Other Portraits of Men and Women Who Spoke Out Against Racism, which I’ve written a bit about before. And also the recent debate in Sweden about the conservative nationalists wanting to impose an official cultural canon. Which is an idea not to be taken seriously as anything other than a way to make everything a bit more racist, nationalist and right-leaning.
As usual, Asylgruppen i Malmö are publishing their calendar for the next year, and as usual, I made something for it. The theme this time was dreams. They sell these as a way to raise money for what they do, which is help undocumented/asylumseekers in different ways, so it’s a good thing to support!
You can get it from Asylgruppen by sending your
– amount of which calendar
to: asylkalendern [@] gmail [.] com
I made a one-page Arg Kanin story for the week-based calendar. Here’s a panel from it:
-You mean where the borders are open and nations dismantled?
-Sure, why not? They’re outdated concepts, anyway.
I also made this image for the month-based calendar. Less political content, but I still liked how it turned out (EDIT: this one didn’t make it into the actual calendar, but I liked how it turned out, so showing it here anyway)):
I was one of 12 winners in the Seriefest i Väst (a recent comics festival in Gothenburg) comics competition.
The themes were sustainability, good work conditions and equality, so I submitted this one:
Translation: ANGRY ANIMAL about SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION
Pha! That doesn’t even exist!
If you have an iPhone, it’s most definitely been built under slavery-like conditions. The same is probably true for any smartphone.
We in the West/North think that we need to have them, and many of us are ready to pay a whole lot of money for it, but that money will first and foremost go to profits for Apple and other corporations, not to whoever actually makes the products.
It’s the same with other electronics, clothes , shoes and whatever else people keep buying all the time. More or less anything we buy has been made for cheap in some other country and been shipped here.
Yes, I know that when people talk about sustainability, it’s not usually about work conditions. But what the hell, us humans are also part of the environment, aren’t we?
And yes, nature will also suffer from the cheap production since the main problem is that companies prioritize profits above any other concerns.
Sure, you can buy ecologic and so on, and that’s good even if it’s more expensive so only those with money can afford to take that responsibility.
And of course none of us should buy more food and stuff than we need, which should be obvious but obviously isn’t.
From all around us we get signals saying that more stuff will make us happy, which takes us back to profit interest as motivation, which is the core of the whole problem.
Individual solutions for sustainability are nice and good, I’m sure, and we can all sit in the shine of our low energy lamps and have a our consciences clean, but it’s far from enough since it’s the overproduction of all kinds of crap which is the real villain.
And that’s all because of profit interest, and the only way we can really achieve sustainability is to get rid of Capitalism!
For fuck’s sake!
The comic will be published in an upcoming issue of Bild & Bubbla.
Pretty sure I may have posted this here before, since I made it for AltCom last time it was an election year. Unfortunately these things never seem to get too old because the problem remains… So here we go again, a little something for this toxic election:
So, the question some of us are thinking about these days: Will AI replace human artists?
I think most people who make comics and other kinds of art don’t do it with getting rich as the motivation. We don’t even do it to get paid. Don’t get me wrong here: Getting paid for it is a way to be able to do it, it’s a way to make a living doing something you like, to have the time to do it. So it’s important in that way, it’s just not the main motivation. So even IF AI was used instead of human artists/illustrators/cartoonists, humans would still be making art. I know, because I’m doing it and I seldom get paid for the actual art (I get mostly indirect money like grants or by doing art-related projects etc, what I get from the actual comics/illustrations is often a pretty small part of my income).
And I believe that as long as people are making art, there will be an audience for it, because even if the AI can make beautiful images, there is more that goes into art, like individual artists’ experiences, thought processes, emotions, skills, personality. Even if an AI would become sentient and have all that, it’d be one among many. And as long as it doesn’t, it’s a tool to be used in the process of making art.
I just read a comic (Summer Island) written by Steve Coulson, a human, with art ”by” Midjourney, an AI. But the AI didn’t make the comic. The human fed it lines of text and (probably) got a huge number of results to choose from. So there are possibly hundreds of unused images that weren’t selected because they didn’t fit what the human wanted them to express. So it’s not really the artist, just like a pen isn’t a creator, or a brush or even Photoshop.
Sure, some potential employers would rather use an AI than pay someone to make illustrations, but they still need someone to wield it. And they probably would’ve paid as little as possible to a human artist anyway, or do the old ”you’re doing something you love so you don’t need money and besides, you get exposure isn’t that great”. This may sound hypocritical since I’m also working with a publisher that mostly hasn’t been able to pay for comics, but we do when we can, and no one is making money off anyone else’s work. Because it’s all non-profit (and pretty non-commercial), and the editors mostly don’t get paid either, and the artists know what they’re getting into and so on and so on and these days we’re actually paying at least a little.
Making it big in art is about knowing the right people, existing in the right social circles, being the right kind of social chameleon, being either born into the right family or being lucky. I don’t have that, so to me there’s no difference between an AI- or human-generated image being sold for $433K because in both cases it’s someone else making that money. Maybe that’s why I’m not worried about being replaced, because what are they going to take from me, my non-profit work? I’d be happy to be able to focus on my own comics instead. Just like most economic crises haven’t really affected me since I didn’t have a lot of money before or after the crises either…
People still listen to guitar music even though electronica exists. The problems with the music indistry are, as they have always been, not that people don’t listen to music or that no one makes music, but that music companies want to make a profit. Record companies always got more than the actual musicians, just as it is now with Spotify.
The problem, as always, is Capitalism, not the tools we use to make art.
The images in this post were made using Craiyon. Not to complain, but very few of these images are even close to what I would have done…
[Sorry for the language, English wil be back soon]
I posten igår:
SD skryter om att de minsann var först med att vara rasister och de andra partierna bara apar efter (som jag sagt tidigare: det är värdelöst att försöka ta röster från dem genom att haka på samma tåg, inte bara för att rasism är värdelöst utan också för att SD alltid kommer uppfattas som bättre på det) och skickar med ett kuvert med någon slags listor över olika rövhål (på kommunal, regional och riksnivå).
V skickar det mest utförliga valmaterialet av alla partier hittills. De ser ut att behålla positionen som det minst dåliga alternativet (iofs ingen stor bedrift). Det är bara synd att V har såna extrema åsikter, som att vården ska vara tillgänglig för alla, så inte ens sossarna kan samarbeta med dem utan hellre går till L som har gjort klart och tydligt att de hatar (bruna) 2-åringar och älskar (bruna) SD.
Eller den senaste grejen, att flera i V har synts med PKK-flaggor så S är alldeles till sig, för det är ju Turkiet som är de goda nu (förutom att de väl nästan är på väg att slängas ut ur NATO så vi borde inte ens behöva lyda allt Erdogan säger längre, om vi inte jättegärna vill. Vi har ju redan visat tydligt att vi inte tycker oss behöva hålla internationella löften). Det är som att S har glömt att vi terrorstämplade PKK för att vi var “tvungna”, inte för att vi ville.
Och ett paket med min Galagodebut (en sida Arg Kanin i Tecknaruppropet mot kärnvapen och Nato). Mycket fin! Det blir också en utställning med material ur boken på Galleri Mint i ABF-huset i Stockholm 1-4 sep så gå dit och kolla, ni som kan! Och köp boken! All vinst går till Svenska Freds.
So, my international friends, let’s talk a bit about #Swedengate.
First, what you need to understand is that in the international country, Sweden is very much a little backwards countryside community where we just discovered the internets.
We’re pretty well off now, which makes us think that we’re a bit better than most other communities, but we used to be poor not long ago. The secret is that we have some natural resources that others wanted (and we also managed to stay out of the big war, so when others needed to rebuild, we were happy to sell them building materials.
We used to be known for our almost socialist welfare system, but that was like 50-60 years ago. Around the same time, we were also known for our generous and welcoming attitude, because back then we needed people to come here and work. So we took in people from exotic places such as Italy, Finland and Yugoslavia, and some political refugees from Latin America. After a while, we kind of stopped doing that, but we kept and cultivated the self-image anyway. This was also around the same time we figured it was time to change the name of our institute for racial biology, and maybe stop forcefully sterilize poor people with mental health issues.
I say we used to be that way, a society where we took care of each other on an institutional level, where most of us were kind of (at least seemingly) on the same level. Now, however, our rich are getting richer and our poor are getting poorer at a pace more rapid than most other places.
We also make money selling guns to the bigger cities and we don’t really see a problem with that, because it’s a good thing to make money, right? That’s what you’re supposed to do and it’s what all the other kids are doing when they grow up.
So we used to have this cultural thing where families ate together and if other kids were visiting they were expected to eat with their own families later, so instead of giving them food they had to sit in the room and read comics or whatever. No one thought much about it because everyone did it like that, except the immigrant kids who weren’t used to it because they had perspectives and experiences that were a bit bigger than what we had in our backwards little town.
This was around the same time when our view of culture was also a bit backwards. It was frowned upon to listen to weird music like hip hop or techno, it was kind of frowned upon to read anything that wasn’t detective stories and you didn’t watch anything other than the most mainstream of Hollywood movies. While the rest of the world knew us for Ingemar Bergman, we viewed (and still kind of do) people who watched Bergman movies as stuck-up snobs who thought they were better than the rest of us.
And when something bad happened we tended to blame the out-of-towners.
We were visited once by a foreigner, a Chinese musician (I know I may have talked about this before, but it’s such a telling story) who was interviewed in one of our morning TV shows. When she got the question about how excited she was to have made music for such a big movie, she was kind of embarrased (not for herself so much as for the interviewer) because she had been doing huge concerts for years and that movie was just one job, and not the reason she was here. It’s quite possible that the interviewer, being kind of a journalist* in this small backwards countryside village, didn’t mean it as a belittling kind of racist comment. It’s more likely that he had just discovered that they actually make movies in China and (if he had even seen it himself) he was probably mightily impressed, and which one is China again, it’s the one with the samurais, right (whatever that means)? He probably wasn’t even aware that he maybe should have made a little more research before the interview because why would he need to know more than that she’d made music for one of the few Chinese movies that were good enough to be shown in Sweden (ok, kind of racist, but in a way he may not have been aware of)? Also, and I think this is important: the imagined audience for that morning TV show were ”normal Swedes”, i.e boomers who just recently heard of the internet (if they even heard about it at all), and who were a bit racist/ignorant, and you mustn’t scare them off by acting as if the world is bigger than their living room. I still get more or less that feeling when I watch morning TV, even now, 20 years later.
And when bad things happen, we still, embarrassingly, tend to blame the out-of-towners.
So that’s some of the context. It should be noted that not everyone did the ”let the kid’s friend wait in the room while we eat” thing, but enough did that it was a pretty common occurence. It would make more sense if it was a class thing (and maybe it was, originally?), but it seems to have been more widespread than that. It seems to have been more common in some areas than others, but it was pretty standard all over the country. It was, however, still possible to grow up without experiencing it, depending on what (more or less random) circles you grew up in. And it seems to have more or less stopped since the turn of the millennium, so the current international astonishment over this whole thing is about 20-30 years too late to be meaningful…
Edit: I was just made aware that Sweden is one of two(!)** countries that offers free lunch for school kids, so I guess the joke’s kind of on the rest of the world.
I mean, it doesn’t change anything I’ve said above, but it is something that most (as in: almost all of them) countries should do something about because it is pretty shameful.
How to cook a You can go sit in the room while we eat family dinner: Portions: exactly 1 family
Put 1 Dinner is the only real family time we have between work and TV (God probably told us that, back when we all believed in Him), just after he taught us the virtue of wage labor, 1 It’s your parents’ responsibility to feed you and 1 You can read comics while you wait or similar flavour into a bowl and stir until you get a Dinner’s ready (not for you)!
Boil in a bowl of Food is expensive until you feel that you’re Acting the proper Swedish way.
Season with some Let’s just pretend this is normal until it is, a spoonful of If you don’t feed my kids I’m not feeding yours, a bit of It’s just kids, they have no feelings anyway, remember when we used them in the mines and a pinch of If I feed your kid you may feel that you owe me and I wouldn’t want that to happen to me so I won’t subject you to it either.
You know that it’s almost ready when it smells like That’s simply how we do things here and you’re a weird foreigner for questioning it.
Let it simmer for approx. 20-30 years for an added taste of Who’d’ve thought this would ever come up and bite us in the ass?
Serve as an embarrasing Social media event.
* I should add that of course I can’t know the actual vews of this interviewer, and I’ve embellished/speculated a bit, so don’t take it as a critique of that individual but rather as a representation of the general sentiment in the Swedish mainstream. The movie in question was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon…