I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (On Circles)

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (On Circles) by Freja Bäckman

Voice: Elena Schmidt

Recording, sound design and B side original score: Manuela Schininá

On bass: Cash Hauke, Freja Bäckman, Mitchelle Betancourt, Verónica Mota, Wassan Ali

Chopping wood: Hanna Maria Bergfors, Henna Räsänen, Winnie Olbrich

Sound technician (live performance): Lola Tseytlin / Sound Systers

The live recordings were made at District in Berlin in April 2018 in curatorial collaboration with Suza Husse as part of Freja Bäckman’s IwtIcwlabd series.

Cover Design: Ebba Fransén Waldhör

Published by Scott Elliott / Coda Press, 2020

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer

Freja Bäckman: I Was Told I Chop Wood Like a Ballet Dancer

A video and sound installation

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer is a body of work that has grown as a collective effort. Following the origin of the word concert – to contest, question, dispute (with) as well as agreement in action. IwtIcwlabd has been shaped by public workshops and through improvisation sessions with a group of bass players and the performers chopping wood.

Elis Hannikainen moves through their videography between the materials in the installation and the performers in a rehearsed choreography, thus having an inconspicuous presence in the space. Manuela Schininá has created the sound design for the installation specifically for this setting, based on live recordings done at District Berlin earlier this year, where a concert (performance / installation) also took place.

Freja Bäckman: I Was Told I Chop Wood Like a Ballet Dancer


Concept and text: Freja Bäckman
Sound recording, design and mixing: Manuela Schininá
Videography: Elis Hannikainen
Voice: Elena Schmidt
On bass: Cash Hauke, Freja Bäckman, Mitchelle Betancourt, Verónica Mota, Wassan Ali
Chopping wood: Hanna Maria Bergfors, Henna Räsänen, Winnie Olbrich
Costumes: Corinna Helenelund, Liisa Pesonen
Sound (performance): Lola Tseytlin / Sound Systers
Lights Support: Wassan Ali
Location: District Berlin

IwtIcwlabd is a co-production with District Berlin, as part of a series curated by Suza Husse at District Berlin, and Hordaland Kunstsenter.

Freja Bäckman: I Was Told I Chop Wood Like a Ballet Dancer

Supported by:
AVEK, Kone Foundation, Svenska kulturfonden, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Bergen Center for Electronic Arts

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (approx. session 20)

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancerPhoto: Tamir Lederberg

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer is a body of work that has grown as a collective effort. Following the origin of the word concert – to contest, question, dispute (with) as well as agreement in action – the iteration of IwtIcwlabd at District is a concert in the forms of a performance and an installation.

Acting in concert together, three figures chopping wood and five figures playing the electric bass make sound with the space, for what and who is in it. The space answers with lights fading into night, with colours, porosities, translucency, movements in fabrics and textures and places for the bodies to rest, to listen, to feel and imagine. Alluring for responses through murmurs and silences, with heartbeats, pleasure, alienation, repulsion maybe, with ways of doing time and dreaming.

IwtIcwlabd has been shaped by public workshops at District in summer 2017 and through sessions with a group of bass players.


On bass
Cash Hauke, Freja Bäckman, Mitchelle Betancourt, Verónica Mota, Wassan Ali

Chopping wood
Hanna Maria Bergfors, Henna Räsänen, Winnie Olbrich

Corinna Helenelund, Liisa Pesonen

Lola Tseytlin / Sound Systers

Lights Support
Wassan Ali

District Team
Andrea C. Keppler (Production and Curatorial Associate), Anka Mirkin & Ryan Mason-Bevan (Technical support), Emma Haugh (Night Sweats), Johanna Ekenhorst (Communication), Nino Halka (Knowledges), Shanika Perera (Curatorial Assistance), Suza Husse (Artistic Director)

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancerPhoto: Tamir Lederberg


A project by Freja Bäckman at District Berlin. Kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Kone Foundation, BEK – Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts and Cine Plus.




I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (one on one : Third Space)

IwtIcwlabd_5484Photo: Jenni Gästgivar

A loner melting in to their surroundings. Invisible for the one not knowing what to look for. Chopping wood out of pure enjoyment. Growing in the light. They have made it their world. Under covers they spend their week. Lingering in the threes they find each other. The rhythmic beating brings them together. The experience is one they can only have alone. Filtering through the foliage.

They call it work. They find a common rhythm. They work (it) out. They take time to do this. They wonder if it is pr-oduction. They know the rules. They say it’s violent. They find them selves in stagnation. They a- scape. They are not reveling what is invisible. They know their abilities. They call it a repetitive motion. They make the rules. They say it does matter what stories they tell.


June 2nd until June 8th 2017
7 days, 7 sessions, limited to one person per session
Performance / Installation at Third Space in Helsinki

No play Feminist Training Camp – publication

No play_publicationNo play_publication_in

The No play Feminist Training Camp took place in May and June 2016 in nGbK in Berlin. The publication is an outcome of a collective process of editing and writing done by the working group; Clara López Menéndez, Elis Hannikainen, Enna Gerin, Ernest Högner, Freja Bäckman, Vappu Jalonen, together with Bogg Johanna Karlsson through transcribing audio recordings, remembering, negotiating and storytelling. It is an assembly of materials from the No play Feminist Training Camp.

The radical right wing or what we consider neo-fascists are being legitimized in parliaments all over Europe, immigration has been made the scapegoat of the financial economic crisis, and fear and ‘security’, as understood by conservatives, seem to be the main political engines dictating the discourse. The alarming developments in the political landscape and the speed of those increased the urgency of working out what our feminist practices can do.

You can order it here: http://ngbk.de/de/verlag

The Bright Lights of the Institution



“Even when we say “everyone” in an effort to an all-inclusive group, we are still making implicit assumptions about who is included and so we hardly ever overcome what Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau so aptly describe as “the constitutive exclusion” by which any particular notion of inclusion is established”
– Judith Butler, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly

How do we act together in a world that isolates us? What exclusions are we still performing, when we create spaces and possibilities for working, learning or just being together? And what are the (in-)visible mechanisms of opening and closing spaces?

The project in Node Space creates a framework for coming together and is part of the seminar “Theoretical Frameworks for Curating and Mediating Art” by Nora Sternfeld. When thinking about how we negotiate when working together and how borders are established, the act of the building, the physical creation of the space also becomes important. The space is accessible but not without a deliberate attempt at entering it. The fence we have to cross, when we enter is the visible reference to the borders of the institution – which, as every border are usually felt by some and (almost) invisible to others. It means both the concrete space at the Art Department of Aalto University as well as the art institutions we are talking about as part of a theoretical framework for curating and mediating art.


The Bright Lights of the Institution
19.10.–15.12.2016, NODE Space, Helsinki

A framework for being together by Freja Bäckman
built together with Heidi Lunabba and Karolina Kucia
Curated by Nora Sternfeld in collaboration with Darja Zaitsev

Supported by: Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Partisan café

partisaninImage: Bergen Assembly

“We invite everyone to assemble and dance with the tables”

Tora Endestad BjØrkheim, Freja Bäckman, Kabir Carter, Johnny Herbert, Jenny Moore (coordinator), Arne Skaug Olsen, Nora Sternfeld (freethought curator)

the Partisan café is an educational/performative/artistic practice as a coffee house in the Museum of Burning Questions – a Para-Museum realised in collaboration with the artist Isa Rosenberger – and one performative platform of the freethought infrastructure project at Bergen Assembly.

Located in the occupied historic fire station of Bergen the Partisan café is host as much as guest. It is a shared space and a contact zone. As educators and café workers we think about radical hospitality. As guests of the resident firefighters we think about reciprocities and commonalities.

the Partisan café borrows its name directly from “the Partisan coffee house” – a space for gatherings, conversation and debate in London Soho in the late 1950s, organised by the New Left. Our use of the name is not nostalgic but an actualisation: With burning questions of today, we relate to it and appropriate it.

the Partisan café is related to a choice: partisan instead of participant. As “participation” has become a main engine of neoliberal transformation, formulating and taking up dissident stances is necessary. Rather than interacting within prescribed situations, we choose to build situated knowledges and actions.

We consider our educational work – as much as our artistic, performative and/or curatorial actions – as an organic intellectual practice. We work actively against the unacceptable choice between either marginalisation or neoliberalisation of education in the cultural field. We practice our educational work differently.

Bergen, March 2016

(from the Partisan café post-manifesto)



freja010Image: Linn Heidi Stokkedal

“The café is run by seven educators/performers/café workers. Six of us are contracted to work 37.5 hours a week.”

This was my working suit for the whole time of the Partisan café Bergen in September 2016. Marking when my scedualed working hours started I put on the suit, taking it off when the shift was over.

No play Feminist Training Camp

No Play

at nGbK

The working group: Freja Bäckman, Enna Gerin, Annika Högner, Elis Hannikainen, Vappu Jalonen, Clara López Menéndez

A message from the future is warning us that time is running out. In the past years Europe’s colonial continuities and deeply rooted fascist practices have come to the fore in ever more frightening ways. Resistance is now crucial. We urgently need to revive old and develop new feminist and anti-fascist strategies of resistance and survival.

What training do we need?
No play proposes a structure, a temporal, spatial and social architecture that turns the exhibition space of nGbK into a resource, a site of activity and exchange in the shape of a Feminist Training Camp.

The Training Camp stems from a queer understanding of feminism with a strong emphasis on grassroots models of collective organization, knowledges based in lived experience and the handling of daily oppressions. A space for disagreement and negotiation that can create a situated public considered political. For this, an intersectional understanding of how categories such as gender, race, class, ability, and sexual orientation are intertwined in oppressive power structures is necessary.

Confession of an artist and other actors of the art field


Take a position that you are comfortable in, precarity is here to stay. It will regulate every move you make.

I could for example suggest you putting your ____ and _____ to sit as a ______.

When you are ready, please start.

12189327_947144151990130_2878678823901601102_oImages: Petri Summanen/Kuvataideakatemia

Workshop with writing, reading and listening to confessions from the precarious conditions.  The confessions were part of the Skills of Economy Sessions – Parasite in Helsinki. Curated by Jussi Koitela and facilitated by the Para-Site structure by artist Karolina Kucia.

Land-Insitut in Puerto Williams – A Failed Attempt





The starting point for Land-Institut in Puerto Williams – A Failed Attempt is the artist group Land-Institut’s trip that didn’t happen. The group was supposed to go to Puerto Williams at the southern tip of Chile in 2013. In spite of a long period of preparing, grant applications to Finland, Chile and Germany, an artist residency and an exhibition space, a producer, numerous letters of recommendation and a sponsorship of a ferry company, the project didn’t get enough funding. The exhibition in Titanik is concerned with this common situation: the time and work spent on preparing and applying without a realised project. Furthermore, the exhibition especially pays attention to the entanglement of collecting and producing knowledge, fantasizing and projecting in the preparatory work.

The Land-Institut in Puerto Williams exhibition was supposed to take place in Museo Antropológico Martin Gusinde in May 2013. Not only is the Martin Gusinde museum a producer and a frame of knowledge and information but also the object of the Land-Institut group’s knowing and thinking. The Antropological museum Martin Gusinde is built out of wood, pixels, Wikipedia articles, grant application texts, the colonial figure of Martin Gusinde and the imaginations of the extreme south, remoteness and the exotized Tierra del Fuego.

Land-Institut is an artist group founded in Berlin 2011 by Mónica Araus, Freja Bäckman, Vappu Jalonen and Maricarmen Jaramillo.

WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) / The Peoplemover 1968 – A demonstration poem


The Publication. Photo: Elis Hannikainen




What is ‘we’? What would ‘we’ do?

Is collective work still a political standpoint?
A marketing strategy? A failed project?
A necessity for our survival?

How would a demonstration poem look like today?


WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) is an artistic investigation on the topic of collectivities and the significance of the pronoun “we”. As part of the project a series of events was organized in the nGbK, New Society of Visual Arts in Berlin in 2013. Throughout the five events a variety of textual material was produced and compiled. The text took the shape of a theater play and is now published as a book. The exploration of different means of textual production was a fundamental part of each of the five events and the results have been transcribed, selected, fragmented and recombined, composing dialogues and speculative interactions. The sources of those words have been carefully kept – when possible – and appear alongside the text, in an attempt to evidence the complexity and veiled references existing in many speech acts, at the same time being willing to complicate the notion of authenticity and authorship.

The inspiration for the methodology employed in this book is a result of an encounter with Mary Ellen Solt’s poem “THE PEOPLEMOVER 1968 A Demonstration Poem“. The poem as well as its first German translation is reprinted as part of this book.

Publikationgestaltung / Publication design: Vela Arbutina



Photo: Ari Karttunen / EMMA

Photo: Ari Karttunen / EMMA


13 November 2103 – 2 March 2014

AYE / NAY / ABSENT – A Collection of Realities features the everyday life of the EMMA art collection. The exhibition team has studied what kind of a relationship the people of Espoo have to their art collection and the meaning of a public art collection – why and for whom is art collected, who encounter it and how?

The exhibition has been realized by students from the CuMMA (Curating, Managing and Mediating Art) Master’s Degree program at the Aalto University in collaboration with EMMA staff.

Curators: Ahmed Al-Nawas, Helena Björk, Iida Jääskeläinen, Laura Kokkonen, Marianne Niemelä, Julia Nyman, Hanna Ohtonen and Selina Väliheikki
Graphic design: Stefania Passera
Sound design: Ari-Pekka Leinonen
Artist collaboration: Freja Bäckman & the Wir Spielen collective
Supervisor from CuMMA: Henna Harri

Act 5 of WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY): Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise

Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise with YES! Association

Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise with YES! Association

For Act 5 of WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY), YES! Association/Föreningen JA! invited us on a cyclical trip on the Berlin Ringbahn. We traveled collectively and engaged in our desire to make sense of “today” through looking, moving, conversing, and reading aloud.

Mary Ellen Solt’s point of reference for THE PEOPLEMOVER was the train that transported a fun-seeking crowd around Disneyland. This train was simply called The PeopleMover. For Solt The PeopleMover of Disneyland represented a world of fantasy, fake history, consumerism and political amnesia. Instead she wanted to locate The Peoplemover in the real world, in the USA of 1968, a nation transfixed by political degradation and in need of awaking. She envisioned The PeopleMover as a demonstration. We suggest to locate The PeopleMover in the public transport sphere of Berlin’s S-Bahn.


Landscape is an Invisible Language

Language is an Invisible Landscape - exhibition at Altes Finanzamt

Language is an Invisible Landscape – exhibition at Altes Finanzamt

LANDSCAPE IS AN INVISIBLE LANGUAGE is a book project by the artist Marta Leite.

Language is an invisible Landscape addresses the word as sculpture, as an element with weight. It is a research on the concept of “dawn”, confronting it with its own meaning when pronounced in the following languages: German (Morgengrauen), Icelandic (Dögun) and Portuguese (Amanhecer).  

(Marta Leite)



The publication was made in collaboration with the following artists: Yasmim Assade, Freja Bäckman, Jóhannes Benediktsson, Gudbergur Bergsson, Emilie Bernard, Hyeisoo Kim, Gaelle Kreens, Catarina Laranjeiro, Bárbara Marcel, Dídio Pestana, Eirik Sordal, Benedikt Terwiel, Marco Ugolini, Francisca Villela, Mário Gomes & Elisa Balmaceda, Mariana Caló & Francisco Queimadela

9B – 2H

9B - 2 H

9B – 2 H

Many pencils across the world, and almost all in Europe, are graded on the European system using a continuum from “H” (for hardness) to “B” (for blackness), as well as “F”, a letter arbitrarily chosen to indicate midway between HB and H. I have a 9B, 8B, 7B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F is missing, H and 2H. Reading left to right (9B to 2H), the range goes from dark to light.

As part of Marta Leite’s book Language is an Invisible Landscape.


Act 4 will be written in the form of minutes. Who will write the minutes of this event? - Photo: Merja Hannikainen

Act 4 will be written in the form of minutes. Who will write the minutes of this event? – Photo: Elis Hannikainen

With members of the nGbK and in collaboration with the Reiseagentur (Art Mediation nGbK: Birgit Auf der Lauer and Anja Bodanowitz). This event was concerned with the different forms of togetherness within the nGbK.

The new Society for visual Arts (nGbK) is an art society with 850 members, people with different professions and ambitions. The members (we) are the ones that form the organisation, all project-related decisions are taken at a grass-roots level and realized jointly.

What is the “we” within the institution? Which are the voices that speak in the nGbK?




WIR SPIELEN Act 3 with Rubia Salgado - Photo: Merja Hannikainen

WIR SPIELEN Act 3 with Rubia Salgado – Photo: Elis Hannikainen

The point of departure for Act 3 of WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) builds upon arguments on the questions of migrant identities, strategic essentialism, and ensuing contradictions occurring from this. These arguments happen within maiz, a feminist and anti-racist self-organisation of migrants in Linz/Austria, in which Rubia Salgado has been cooperating since its establishment.

Do migrants remain a group despite
 all differences? How can we act and negotiate with mainstream society equipped with our selfdefinition as migrants as strategically constructed identity without being consumed by the neoliberal utilitarian logics of diversity and without being pocketed as an alibi?




Plenum Null with Interflugs

Plenum Null with Interflugs – Photo: Elis Hannikainen

For Act 2 of WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) we invited Interflugs.

’89: student protests, Autonomous Student Organisation / Interflugs ist founded, gets a professor’s salary! What to do with the cash? On April 23rd ’13 we travelled in time, restaged the situation of ’89 today. WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) invited Interflugs to nGbK. We played: 80.000 Euros for Autonomous Student Organisationsat UdK! Interflugs gets funding from an Excellence Initiative. What to do with the cash?

Act 1 of WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY): THE PEOPLEMOVER – A Demonstration Poem

wir spielen 1.event

Photo: Elis Hannikainen

Two day workshop conceived around the reading and deconstruction of Mary Ellen Solt’s play “THE PEOPLEMOVER – A Demonstration Poem (1968)”. The workshop was conducted by the dramaturg Amelia Bande and the NGBK-workgroup WIR SPIELEN (WE
 PLAY ). Various collective and anti-authoritarian writing methods were explored with the participants, with the intention of re-negotiating and composing a new Demonstration Poem for Act 1.



WIR SPIELEN (WE PLAY) is a series of events at NGBK (Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst), an experiment with an open outcome, a collective writing of a theater play in 5 acts, an investigation into the topic of “we”. The play will be staged and published in winter 2013.

A project by the NGBK-workgroup:

Freja Bäckman, Elis Hannikainen, Annika Högner, Vappu Jalonen, Bogg Johanna Karlsson, Clara T. López

How can I survive at the documenta?

Studio d(13) for Kids and Teens

Studio d(13) for Teens

Imagine dOCUMENTA (13) is a world. There are houses, gardens, people, animals, work and pay funds in it. How is the life shape there? Who owns the world? Who is part of this world? What should we know in it? How should we behave? How is communicated? Is there something to learn? And how to survive in it?

Concept and realisation together with Sara Hossein.


Three weeks, three acts. A project by the group Acycle, where each week a new act was published in the window of Koh-i-noor in Copenhagen.

7-14 november
1 ACT: A question written with the style of a theatre play on an A4 white paper.
(We develop/find/brainstorm the question together. During this week we ask that question in our everyday routine. We record, remember or take down notes of the answers we get.)

14-21 november
2 ACT: Answers written with the style of a theatre play on an A4 white paper.
(The answers that we got during ACT 1)

21-28 november
3 ACT : A: ‘we’ answers sorry for being late. Location: Warschauer Brücke, Berlin, 27th November 3-4pm. (All the answers that were handed in too late for the ACT 2 deadline A4 publication by Acycle)

Acycle was founded in 2011.

Acycle seeks to negotiate and analyze the contemporary culture of sharing and cultural production of art and action.

Within the field of art and activism the goal and practice of Acycle is to have and create discussions, text readings and read-outs, learning processes and generate projects from these meetings and experiences.


What makes you happy in your life? What does degrowth or downshifting mean? How could the economy of a town like Salo look like in the future? Can we live with less material?

The quesations lead to a performative happiness testing with rocking chairs in the Salo market place as well as many interviews. The end result is a video and sound installation in the Salo Art Museum as part of the Halikonlahti Green Art 2011.

The project was initiated by Media artist Mari Keski-Korsu and sustainable consumption researcher Satu Lähteenoja. Part of the work group were also Art worker Freja Bäckman, researcher and producer Paavo Järvensivu, researcher of futures studies Aleksi Neuvonen, Demos Helsinki, film-maker Miia Raivio and researcher Helmi Risku, MTT.


Monica Araus, Freja Bäckman and Vappu Jalonen

Land-Institut deals with the question: What is land? The question is vague, fluctuating, local and universal, and understood differently in varying languages. There is no official definition, rather there are as many definitions as there are people.

What is land?
Away with borders – in the head and on the ground.
Move yourself over the land.
It is far but at the same time near.

The borders first appear when thinking about land. Even when thinking of something other than a state. The first picture before our eyes is a map, traversed by borders, a eurocentric globe, which is spread to a square. This has little to do with the real proportions of the continents. The eye searches for Europe, in the form of the learned, at a learnt location.

Or thinking of a state. A construct of our time, not immutable, certainly. Its boundaries are multifaceted and different for everyone.
The definition of a land as a nation-state, privilege some in positions of power. The state excludes, but also immures, claiming some people as its own, it is a patriarchal power structure.

I do not want to get categorized by a booklet.

It is important to raise these issues, especially at a time when the spreading of the right-wing populism in Europe, including Finland, and the fear for “the other ” is becoming stronger.

Land is a four-letter word. A piece of cake.

Land-Institut originated through the collaboration of the Berlin based artists and art workers Monica Araus, Freja Bäckman and Vappu Jalonen. Land-Institut’s starting point is the exhibition place, the Finnish Institute, which functions as a forum for Finnish art and culture, science and technology as well as economy in Germany.

We here see a necessity to reflect on the place itself and to investigate the land construct, which it is a part of. The Finnish Institute is part of Land-Institut.

What is a land? The works are responses to this question and hope to open the question further.
We want to look for other possibilities, how land can be and is thought of and seen as.
No new definitions are to be created, but the word itself is to be examined and the concealed constructs within. They should open up, how, we leave that open.

An important aspect of Land-Institut are the workshops and discussions with artists and activists. The basis for the workshops consider the question What is land? As a result of the discussions in Land-Institut, we will come to produce our own Atlas. Lena Siebertz and Jovana Komnenic will present their works in a discussion, which will afterwards also be shown as part of Land-Institut.

Also in the Program:

Thu 24 February, Thu 24 March, Thu 7 April, always 9.30–11.30 am:
 Workshops for the school classes

Wed 2 March, 7 pm: Discussion with guests and the audience: Jovana
Komnenic, Lena Siebertz and TBA

Wed 30 March 7 pm: Workshop for adults

Thu 28 April 7 pm: Finissage with Artists’ talk

If you want to take part in a workshop, please sign up at least one
week in advance: tel.
030 520 02 60 10, info (at) finstitut.de

Where: The Finnish-Institute, Georgenstr. 24 (1. floor), 10117 Berlin-Mitte

Opening hours: Mon 10 am–5 pm, Tue–Thu 11 am–7 pm, Fri 9 am–3 pm

A question for Land-Institut

Bitte beantworten Sie in eigenen Worten, per Text oder Bild, die Frage.

I’m currently working on an exhibition project ‘Land-Institut’,
together with the artists Monica Araus and Vappu Jalonen.
The exhibition will be opened on 10th of February 2011 at The Finnish
Institute in Berlin.

The central question of our project is: What is a land?

Die Führung

Potosi Prinzip




























A guided tour through the exhibition The Potosí Principle at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Using the text in the booklet for the show, a script was edited to take a group for a tour through the exhibition space. The tour took place as part of an arts mediation programme.
The guided tour was done together by Barbara Antal, Mónica Araus, Michael Bahr and Freja Bäckman


Die Hollywoodschaukel at SCHNELL&SCHMUTZIG

Die Hollywoodschaukel will be part of SCHNELL&SCHMUTZIG

7.-10.10.2010 in the Markthalle IX, Eisenbahnstraße, Berlin-Kreuzberg

Mobile-Hollywoodschaukel, Oranienplatz, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 2009

Die Hollywoodschaukel, 2006

A Hollywoodschaukel (German) is a swinging, roofed and padded garden bench. In German this piece of furniture is named after the American movie city Hollywood.

The inventor of the Hollywoodschaukel has not been passed down. There is proof that this type of swing existed in England from 1909. The breakthrough came in the 1950s: By means of various Hollywood movies the swing became well known in the rest of Europe and most likely was given its name – Hollywoodschaukel – for marketing reasons. The Hollywoodschaukel became the epitome of a modern and fashionable form of leisure in the time of the German Wirtschaftswunder. As it was considerably cheaper to have a Hollywoodschaukel in oneʼs own backyard than to build a swimming pool, and as it was even possible to have one on the balcony, the Hollywoodschaukel became a widespread phenomenon.

In the 1960s and 70s the Austrian journalist Margret Dünser invited members of the international Jet-Set to the successful German TV show “V.I.P. – Schaukel” (V.I.P.- swing). She interviewed the celebrities in their private home and sometimes even in their own Hollywoodschaukel, which gave the show its name. Through this programme and its soon proverbial name an even more cosmopolitan flavour was associated with this simple piece of garden furniture.


Group, Collaboration, Network, Sharing – How does it really work?

July 2010

Megafån (Fredrika Biström, Freja Bäckman and Heidi Lunabba) invited artists, art workers and aktivists to discuss what it means to work in a group, with a feministic/queer/gender perspective. Using collaborations as a feministic strategy.
Discussing what it means to work in a group, how is it possible to use it as a tool? Collectivism, the strength in organizing, different forms of collaborations, concrete examples…
How does it really work?

A Town Trail

June 2010

An introduction to: Exploding School / Future Academy

Together with Michael Bahr.