Outside (the uncomic)

Hey there!

Been a while. I’ve mostly spent this summer working on Outer Enemy, the new Piracy is Liberation book. And playing Cyberpunk 2077 and Horizon Forbidden West.

So I thought I’d show a little something from the comic I made for CBA vol 56|57.

It’s called OUTSIDE and is an uncomic made from one normal comic (a chapter from Piracy is Liberation 005) and three paintings (H8 from Alkom’X #8, the tape cover for the Noise Against Fascism/Legion of Swine split and Her Fiery Eyes from After the Ends of the World), piled on top of each other and cut up to create a non-narrative structure, something that can’t be read other than through vague feelings and instinct.

My first though when Allan Haverhom announced his theme (UNCOMICS) as guest editor for this issue of CBA was something like: “I should make something for this, how hard can it be?”

It turned out to be about as hard as I thought it would be, except the first idea I had didn’t work at all. That one was more of a deconstruction, literally, with the elements of a comic (panels, bubbles, texts, drawings, gutters etc) falling apart and off the page as the comics progressed, with an attempt at making some kind of point in the end.

Then I realized that I should view this project as visual noise rather than anything else. And when I listen to noise, I’m not very intellectual about it, and the noise I’m listening to is also generally made by musicians who go more by feeling than intellectual theory when they put together their music. Or at least that’s how it comes across, I’m far from an expert. The best noise to me is harsh noise walls that go for your intestines rather than your brain.

So I tried using that kind of approach instead. I took the chapter Outside from Piracy 005, put all the pages in top of each other for the first page, then added and subtracted more elements as it progressed through its 10 pages until I had a visual flow I felt was right.

Maybe I should note that basically none of what I’ve just said was done consciously at the time. But hey, after-the-fact constructions are also constructions.

Allan has a text going throughout the issue about how comics is (or could be) a visual medium rather than a narrative one. I’m not sure I agree with his points, because to me it has always been mostly about the narrative and the visuals are definitely a part of the narration and it doesn’t make sense to separate them. But it was an interesting theme to work with and see what I could do with it.

So what you’ve seen in this post are two pages from the comic (pg 2-3).

And here are some noise (and some non-noise) tips from my tape collection (I was going to link to some video or something but I’ve only slept 3,5 hours so fuck it, I’m doing it this way instead):

Books mentioned in this post that you can buy at Hybriden:
Piracy is Liberation 005: Free Section
CBA vol 56|57
After the Ends of the World (which also comes with a noise soundtrack, btw)

 

 

Nytt zine: Polisen | Vara Svensk

So I made a zine about a month ago to bring to SIS. It’s two chapters from Me & my Daddy & Zlatan. Probably the two chapters which, when juxtaposed together like this, most clearly point out a certain kind of Swedish self-righteousness and how hollow it can be. It’s a flip zine that stands on its own but also works as a sample of the actual graphic novel.

Polisen|Vara Svensk (The Cops|Being Swedish)
Det här myntet har flera sidor, men oftast är det bara en som syns.
(Translation: This coin has more sides, but most often you can only see one.)

The zine is only available in Swedish for now, but you can get the book in either English of Swedish, all available in the Hybriden webshop:
Polisen|Vara Svensk (the zine)
Me & my Daddy & Zlatan (English)
Jag & min Pappa & Zlatan (Swedish)

Polisen|Vara Svensk is (of course) made at Fanzineverkstaden, published by Tusen Serier.

Return of the live exhibition

CBK presents:
[PLACEHOLDER] & UNCOMICS
Double release exhibition for the new CBA vol 53 & CBA vol 56|57!

Where: Panora/Fish Tank Gallery
When: The exhibition starts Thursday June 9 at 19:00
and will stay up until the middle of August (possibly a bit longer)

Two exhibitions at once, with international comics art to celebrate the release of two new volumes of CBA! From comics about the special situation brought by the pandemic to comics that break up their own form to such a level that they begin to question what comics as an art form is.

At the opening on June 9 at 19, you can witness a live painting/music performance with Grønvall.Haverholm.

Since I have comics in both issues (and en extra text in CBA vol 53), I also have two works in this exhibition (and I designed the poster). But the best thing about this is that it’s a live exhibition where we can meet, look at art and drink together! So drop by and I’ll see you there!


Exhibition: [PLACEHOLDER] (CBA vol 53)
The pandemic was supposed to have a deadline, most of us agreed on a year but it lasted much longer. What happens when the world is paused for an indefinite time? What does this do to our experience of our existence? How do we replace our routines? We’re waiting, and in our wait, we imitate the “real” we hope will soon return. Like placeholders in our own lives.
Available now! Buy it here Participating artists: Adrián A. Astorgano, Aiden Kvarnström, Felipe Kolb Bernardes, Ivana Filipovic, Julia Nascimento, Kinga Dukaj, Matt Carr, Mattias Elftorp, Nataniel E, Saskia Gullstrand, Tom Mortimer

Exhibition: UNCOMICS (CBA vol 56|57)
Abstract art emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction to the complexities and — just as often — atrocities of modern society. Meanwhile, embedded in the entertainment industry, comics evolved primarily in terms of disposable spectacle or literary ambition; stylized pictures in service of story.
Comics scholar Jan Baetens noted a decade ago that narrative “melts in the air when [abstraction] walks in”. Living in a time of hyperlinked, multi-threaded and immersive narrative, we suggest instead that abstraction opens up to non-linear, ambiguous understandings of comics. Understandings so contradictory in terms that we need a new phrase to describe them — we give you: uncomics.
An artistic field where contemporary art and comics inform each other. Where the absence of sequence encourages the reader to investigate the picture plane(s) in any direction and order, becoming an active co-creator in the process. A space outside the tedious limitations of story where images both abstract and suggestive interact. Comics, at last, as a visual art form.
Available now! Buy it here
Participating artists: allison anne, Anastasia Hiorns, Churchdoor Lounger, Gareth A Hopkins, Jeremy P. Bushnell, Kimball Anderson, Laurel Lynn Leake, Louis Deux, Mark Badger, Mattias Elftorp, Miika Nyyssönen, Rosaire Appel, Shaun Gardiner, Simon Russell, Tana Oshima, Tym Godek, Warren Craghead III, William Lillstjärna

Performance: Grønvall.Haverholm
Grønvall.Haverholm is an improvisational, crossover-media act combining live music and drawing with appropriate amplification – distortion and back projection.
Allan Grønvall (bass/guitars) has a varied musical background in the Danish metal underground of the 90s. In Grønvall.Haverholm he’s taken the DIY-mentality and lo-fi focus from back then to a new level.
Allan Haverholm (charcoal/paints) is a visual artist and editor. Moving from graphic novels via musical expressions in comics onto his current, abstract expressionist work, his work remains deeply moored in comics.
Giving concerts since early 2015, the duo have joined their individual fortés in avant-garde comics and extreme music into a unique, creative performance.

CBK
Panora
Grønvall.Haverholm
Order CBK books from Hybriden
Exhibition produced with support from Malmö Kulturnämnd

Facebook event

 

Out now: CBA vol 54|55 & 56|57 (with samples)

Two massive new double issues of CBA just came from the printer:
CBA vol 54|55: Was it a car or a cat i saW
and
CBA vol 56|57: UNCOMICS

ORDER HERE (Hybriden)

180 pages each, and filled with comics (and uncomics) from an international assortment of creators. All printed on a shiny new paper stock that really makes both colors and blacks look great!

CBA vol 54|55: Was it a car or a cat i saW

Have you ever had to just stop what you’re doing and go: “Wait, is this a dream?”
When the unknown starts bleeding into reality and you are forced to question your sanity, if just a little bit.
You know the sort of thing that happens in dreams that makes you sure it’s just a dream? How do you cope when it happens in the waking world?

ISBN: 978-91-87825-28-6

Comics by:
Kinga Dukaj [SE], Knut Larsson [SE], Oskar Aspman [SE], Radovan Popović [RS], Aleksandar Opačić [RS], Marcel Ruijters [NL], Saskia Gullstrand [SE], Aiden Kvarnström [SE], Katie Handley [UK], Felipe Kolb Bernardes [BR/DE/SE], Susanne Johansson [SE], Korina Hunjak [HR], Mattias Elftorp [SE], Ollie Severin [SE], Sid Church [CA], Henrik Rogowski [SE], David Lasky [US]

Texts & illustrations:
Kinga Dukaj [SE], Mattias Elftorp [SE]

Cover & main editor:
Kinga Dukaj [SE]

CBA vol 56|57: UNCOMICS

Uncomics – an artistic field where contemporary art and comics inform each other.
Where the absence of sequence encourages the reader to investigate the picture plane(s) in any direction and order, becoming an active co-creator in the process.
A space outside the tedious limitations of story, where images both abstract and suggestive interact.
Comics, at last, as a visual art form.

ISBN: 978-91-87825-29-3

Comics by:
Tym Godek [US], Kimball Anderson [US], Warren Craghead III [US], Simon Russell [UK], Anastasia Hiorns [UK], Gareth A Hopkins [UK], Tana Oshima [JP/ES], Rosaire Appel [US], allison anne [US], William Lillstjärna [SE], Louis Deux [US], Mark Badger [US], Miika Nyyssönen [FI], Shaun Gardiner [UK], Laurel Lynn Leake [US], Churchdoor Lounger [US], Mattias Elftorp [SE]

Texts, illustrations & main editor:
Allan Haverholm [DK/SE]

Cover:
Jeremy P. Bushnell [US]

I copied this blogpost from CBK, but since this is my personal blog I’ll also add a few samples, since I have comics included in both issues.

My palindromic (if that isn’t a word it should be) story in Was it a car or a cat i saW.

My entry in the UNCOMICS book, called Outside. Abstract comic consisting of re-used old comic pages and images.

 

SIS 2022 – fan art & competition

I’ve taken a short break from posting about Piracy is Liberation in order to be able to spend more time on actually drawing the new book.

Today I took a break from that as well in order to make some fan art for the upcoming SIS (Stockholms International Seriefestival):

COMPETITION:

If you are the first to identify which comic pages are surrounding the dog, I’ll give you a gift. Email me with book title and page number or part of the dialogue from the page (since I don’t normally use pagination) for all of them*. And let me know which one of my books you need as reward and I will send it to you.
*I say all of them, but one of these pages is from the upcoming book so it’s enough to identify it as the unpublished one.
Important: contact me by e-mail (see the contact page). No other means of contact counts.

Anyway, maybe I’ll see you in Stockholm, May 20-22? I’ll be there with Hybriden (CBK/Tusen Serier/Wormgod).

And with that, I’m back at the drawing table again (I mean not ALL the time, but as much as I’m able in between everything else I need to do). It’s hard to finish a book when I’m constantly adding pages to it, but I’m at least more than halfway done by now…

2019 is over, and now it’s … 2022?

Time is weird lately. I normally make a couple of blogposts in the end/beginning of the year to let you know what I’ve been up to, stuff I’ve made, stuff I’ve read/watched/played etc, but I didn’t manage to do that last year so I have some catching up to do.

Seems I have more to talk about than I really have the time to write, but I’ll do my best in the coming blogposts, beginning with

What I did in 2020-2021

I didn’t actually do much this last year. Mostly since I’m not allowed to do too much due to the unemployment insurance rules. Even the amount of pro bono/non-profit work is restricted (as it turns out, even more restricted than I thought, but that’s a story for another time. I can hopefully talk about it after I’ve managed to sort out the whole mess OR after I’ve given up on fixing it). But I did some stuff in 2020, and even if I didn’t actually produce all that much in 2021, I got some stuff published during the year.

I’ve written about some of it earlier in the blog, so this is more of a list to sum things up. Links to more info are in the captions.


To start with, you can get all my available stuff through Hybriden by ordering (books, prints, anthologies, zines) from the webshop there.


COMICS

ILLUSTRATIONS / COVERS ETC


I’m not doing a post about upcoming stuff this time because I’m mainly going to try to have an income in some form or other and I’m not sure yet what that will mean. Right now I’m living on money I managed to put aside last time I had an employment, plus a couple of grants I got, so hopefully I can fix this situation before I run out. If/when that changes I’ll let you know…

Coming up soon(?):
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt1a: What I read
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt1b: More things I read
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt1c: Even more things I read
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt1d: Further readings
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt2: What I watched
-Escapism 2020/2021 pt3: What I played

Arg Kanin & Hybriden

Yesterday, an exhibition opened that features a bunch of local comics creators in order to highlight Malmö as a comics city. Including me and Kinga Dukaj, as representing Hybriden and Fanzineverkstaden. You can find the exhibition at Norra Parkgatan, along Folkets Park in Malmö.

The description I got for my entry was that it should both represent me as a comics creator and the part of the comics culture that I’m part of, in this case CBK and Tusen Serier. So I made a collage creature out of cut-up cover images from CBA and various Tusen Serier books, and gave it a dialogue with my recurring character, the Angry Animal, called Arg Kanin (Angry Rabbit) in Swedish.

The theme of my comic was provoked by some of the latest outbursts of stupid neonationalism from the politically brown part of Swedish politics, where they thought that busdrivers should only be allowed to play purely Swedish music. Not because they normally play music on buses but because it was an opportunity to make a point designed to appeal to anyone who feels uneasy when they see a busdriver that is anything other than super White, or when they happen to hear music that was made in another country than Sweden (or USA, UK, Denmark or whatever else they count as Swedish/familiar/safe).

And also the general tendency nowadays for politicians and people to want to illegalize anything that doesn’t fit into their narrow tastes. Nationalism really doesn’t promote any kind of intellectual growth. It’s truly a culture of inbreeding.

Here’s my contribution to the exhibition:

Title: Anrgy Animal & Hybriden on Cultural Inbreeding
Animal: If they get things the way they want, I guess the only music that’ll be allowed will be Ultima Thule* and folk music.
Hybrid: As if they even like folk music.
Animal: It’s all such obvious bullshit. The only thing they like about it is that it’s mostly made by white people.
Hybrid: Look at my face! It contains traces of Poland, Bosnia, Chile, Chine, Croatia, Mexoico and Sweden.
And there’s even more in my body! How is that supposed to be wrong?

*Ultima Thule is an old Swedish band from the white power movement with connections to the Sweden Democrats…
Animal: It’s such a trend these days with politicians who want to use laws to get rid of everything they don’t personally like.
And by that I don’t mean trans people who stopped liking Harry Potter. I mean politicians who want to ban not only clothes and art but also people.
Hybrid: The kind of people who want to solve social problems by adding more cops and security guards on every street corner, and cameras in every apartment building and probably every home as well…
Hybrid: …when everyone actually knows that what’s needed is better schools, social safety nets and economic equalization.
Animal: But some people don’t give a shit because they just want to be able to get rich and not have to see anyone who doesn’t look like them.
Inbreeding politics is what it is!
Hybrid: Yeah, their talk about “culture” is so obviously not about cultural expression at all, they just want to get rid of some people.
Animal: All according to the principle: “No one can call you a racist as long as you pretend to just talk about culture or religion”.
Hybrid: As if we’d fall for that? As if we didn’t recognize that they talk about Muslims now in the same way the Nazis used to talk about Jews. And we already saw how that went.
Animal: Fucking racists.
Mine and Kinga’s contributions in their natural(?) habitat…

Don’t forget to visit Hybriden, check out the exhibitions, webshop etc!

The project that this exhibition is part of is called Seriestaden Malmö (Malmö, the comics city). Seriestaden is a concept that’s been around since the late 90s, just before the comic school was started, and we who are active in the Malmö comics scene have used it now and then as a way to highlight the great variety of comics, cretors and comics-related projects, collectives, associations, publishers and activities that are around. So this is the latest in that line, this time organized by BID. BID is an association of landlords in the area and is a concept borrowed from other countries. Their purpose is to make our streets ”safer”. In many cases that has meant a combination of repression, gentrification and cultural work. So let’s hope the Malmö variant focuses more on the cultural projects rather than the repressive gentrification stuff and that they understand that making an area more expensive doesn’t help the people living there, only the owners of the buildings. This exhibition is a good start by supporting the local comics culture.

Den Onödiga Flyktingkrisen

Den Onödiga Flyktingkrisen (The Unnecessary Refugee Crisis) (Migra förlag) has come from the printer!

My contribution to this book is that I made some interior illustrations and they used a color version of one of them for the back cover. So I havenät been very involved in it, but it feels like an extremely important book right now.

I do have some reservations to the perspective of parts of it, that it focuses on the years since 2015 which may misrepresent the situation before that, but they also acknowledge that in some chapters of the book, so that’s ok. It’s nothing that should dissuade anyone from reading it.

Release events are coming up. I may go to the one in Lund if I can make it. Check out the event schedule and ordering information at onodigaflyktingkrisen.se.

Here are a couple of my illustrations:

And a bonus one that didn’t make it into the book:

About six years of cruelty (illustration in Ordfront Magasin)

My latest published work is an illustration in Ordfront Magasin #3/2021, a special issue about the current state of migration policies in Sweden.

(Click image to see bigger version)

The title of the article translates as “Six years of cruelty”, which refers to the changed policies since the “Syrian refugee crisis” back in 2015. Earlier that year, the Swedish prime minister said that he wants to live in a Europe that is open and helpful when people are in need. In the fall, after a few months of massive refugee immigration, he chose to close the borders. They also “temporarily” stopped most permanent permits of residence, while temporary permits are the norm, along with other restrictions making it harder to pass an application for asylum. “Temporarily” in quotations, because that rule is still active 6 years later and we’re not expected to be going back to normal for a while, if ever. A new law that was passed June 22 of 2021, they made things even harsher. For example, they now have a list of “safe countries” from which asylum applications can be denied with a minimum of deliberation. Which would be hard to combine with the rule that you need individual cause when you apply, but I guess it’s easy if the main goal is to deny asylum for as many as possible and everything else is secondary.

So let’s talk about the normal. Because I’ve seen this 6 year thing mentioned a few times now, and it always bugs me. The text goes on to describe how the whole asylum process has become worse. How asylum decisions are arbitrary, how translators sometime don’t even know the language they’re supposed to interpret but the interviews carry on anyway, how cases are decided without even being thoroughly researched, how lawyers who are supposed to represent the interests of asylum seekers don’t take their jobs seriously etc etc. And I’m sure things have become much worse after the laws were changed BUT all these things were true even before 2015.

I understand the need to really look at the current situation and look at how the laws and practices have become much worse in the last few years. But I also think there is a danger in pretending that if we just go back to the situation as it was in 2014, things would be good again. Because they weren’t.

The illustration I made, representing the migration process as a sort of lottery, was inspired not by what’s happened recently but by how it’s been as far back as I’ve had any kind of insight into the whole thing.

Twenty years ago, we protested against the “refugee storage facilities” (flyktingförvar), as detention centres for asylum seekers are dehumanizingly called in Swedish. People had to hide refugees who weren’t allowed to stay but were desperate not to go back to where they came from. Refugee children were apathetic and mentally unreachable from hopelessness and fear. We were protesting what was called Fortress Europe. Sweden sent money and personnel to Frontex, the EU joint border patrol project designed to keep the unwanted out of Europe. Scientifically dubious age assessments were used to deem children to be older than 18 in order to be able to deport them easier without having to (on paper) violate any UN conventions.
Ten years ago, we were protesting mass deportations to Iraq and Afghanistan, basically active warzones. Palestinians who has been without a country to return to, in some cases for their entire lives, were hungerstriking outside the Swedish Migration Agency in hopes that they would be listened to and finally be allowed to have a place to call home. Various government agencies were cooperating with the Police to hunt for undocumented immigrants in special projects that used racial profiling to find the ones they were looking for.
And none of these things are over. None of them are things of the past, even if the names and methods change slightly, but they are also not things of only these last seven years of even more monstrous policies. And if this is how we treat refugees, it’s gonna be even worse for non-refugee migrants.

The neofascist/ultra conservative/nationalist party Sverigedemokraterna haven’t grown to become Sweden’s third biggest party as a response to Sweden being overrun by hordes of foreign rapists, as they would describe it. They’ve grown in a climate where the “normal” parties have pursued increasingly restrictive migration policies for the last 30 years or so, lending normalcy to anti-immigrant sentiments simply by realizing those sentiments through laws and governmental praxis.

Arbitrary and legally insecure are definitely words to describe the current state of the migration system, and it needs to change. As it has been for a long time, it’s just extra worse right now.

Anyway, if you want to know more (and if you read Swedish), go get the latest issue of Ordfront Magasin. Even if the “six years” rhetoric makes me angry, it is something that needs to be talked about from perspectives other than the currently dominating “immigrants are the cause of all crime and terrorism and all the other bad things” delusion.

The New Frontier

Today, the new Tusen Serier exhibition opens at Hybriden.

It’s a sci fi project about border politics that also touches on other subjects. It was started by Open Art Week as a collaboration between Tunisian and Italian comic creators, as the first of (so far) two such exhibitions. We got the opportunity to join and expand upon their concept with artists from the network connected to Tusen Serier and Hybriden.

The showcased artists in the Tusen Serier edition are:
Elida Maiques
Korina Hunjak
Julia Nascimento
Felipe Kolb Bernardes
Leviathan
Ana Biscaia
Amalia Alvarez

and me

You can see the exhibition now at hybriden.se

It’s been some work with coordination, programming etc, but it feels real good to be part of this project.

Here are a few panels from my contribution:

To be continued in the exhibition…


La nuova frontiera (The new frontier) was initiated and produced by OPEN ART WEEK.
In partnership with: Biblioteca delle Nuvole (IT), Lab619 (TN), Fokus Illustration (CH) Tusen Serier (SE), Hybriden (SE).
Artistic coordination: Claudio Ferracci and Abir Gasmi.
The Tusen Serier edition of The new frontier is presented with support from Malmö Kulturnämnd.


Also, here’s the poster I made…