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.
Today is the opening for the digital exhibition WAS IT A CAR OR A CAT I SAW at Hybriden.se!
Go see it! I have a piece in it and Kinga Dukaj who is the main editor of the issue and who also made the exhibition did a great job of aligning the exhibition with the dream-like theme of the book. Just try to see it on a computer rather than a phobe or pad or it won’t work properly.
I also have a couple of artworks in the UNCOMICS & [PLACEHOLDER] exhibition at Panora/Fish Tank Gallery, which closes tomorrow with a finissage starting at 18.00!
All these books are of course also available in the shop at Hybriden.se.
Recommended for everyone who prefer readin comics in books rather than on walls/screens:
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.
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.
If you think the uncomics concept is interesting and want to explore it further, check out Allan’s site: uncomics.org
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):
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.)
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 hereParticipating 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.
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…