August 11, 2016
So my medicine-themed(?) exhibition Vasta-aine is going on right now and during all of August at the Oulun Sarjakuvakeskus (Oulu Comics Centre) in Oulu, Finland. I’ll be present there during next week, especially on the 18th, with books etc.
Here are some samples. I took the first two pages of each of the three comics that are included in the exhibition.
Fragments (will be published in Alkom’X #9 & (probably) CBAvol36):
Medication (will be published in CBAvol35 & Alkom’X #9):
Happiness (published in Workburger & AltCom 2016 WORK anthology):
August 5, 2016
The AltCom experience of 2016 is over, as much as something like this is ever over, because when a festival like this is at its best, it lingers in your soul/mind/5D construct.
We actually managed to create this separate plane of existence. A space that is its own thing and when it’s over it’s like you’re going back home, even if you already live in the same city. And when I say “we”, I don’t mean me, I don’t mean the organizers or volonteers, I mean all of us who took part in it. The guests/exhibitors/musicians/visitors. The smokers and drinkers. The ones who woke up, went to the festival and stayed until they passed out or went home (sometimes when the morning sun had come out and the birds started singing, sometimes when the wine was over, sometimes when it was just the right time to go). The ones who arrived late at night, the ones who left early. This international family that’s made up of people you almost only meet in these liminal existences. These special relationships with people you meet a few times a year, in different parts of the world, that you consider to be friends even if you hardly know most of them in any deeper sense.
It started with the preparty sessions where a few of us sat down with some wine after putting up exhibitions, discussing anything from printing techniques to working conditions to drug culture to Pokémon Go to the effect the internet has on communication and on underground and zine culture. Then it all grew as the actual festival started. People meeting, inspiring each other, giving birth to new collaborations, extending invitations to future events, other worlds to visit in the future. An intersection of pasts, present and futures.
Many of us will meet again, because this part of the comics culture is borderless by nature and part of a network of recurring aquaintances, but we may never meet again in this exact same constellation of people.
And then there’s the story of the lost luggage that arrived just in time for the Saturday afterparty so we could complete the exhibition a few hours before it closed, the stolen items, the missed flight, the missing guest, like an offering to the god of Branquignole. Maybe the price to pay for everything else running more or less smoothly. Sleep was another casualty, but what are you gonna do?
So thank you to everyone who came, who let people stay in their homes, who participated, volunteered, carried tables, held talks/performances/workshops, who brought their art or simply their presence. For an AltCom festival that became something beyond the sum of its parts. Not unlike the language/artform of comics itself.
July 25, 2016
As you may have noticed, a lot of my life has circulated around AltCom this last time.
I would like to tell you all about it in an engaging way that really makes you understand why you should come, like all the exhibitions, parties, filmprogram, talks & workshops and the comics market and the free book that you can find all over the festival. But I simply don’t have time, so instead I’ll just send you to the festival’s website, which by now is almost completed with all the information you might need:
Hope to see you there!
July 14, 2016
The AltCom festival anthology arrived from the printer yesterday!
It’s a 100 page book with comics relating to WORK by an assortment of international artists and it will be given away for free before, during and after the festival. Some of the featured artists will also be present at the festival.
Read more about it here.
The festival takes place July 28-31 in Malmö. See you there!
July 6, 2016
Maybe something else will be added, but these are the main & exhibition posters för AltCom 2016. Read more about everything here!
July 3, 2016
Back from CRACKLAND, putting the preparations for AltCom 2016 into high gear (is that the expression? I never learned to drive a car and my bikes usually didn’t have any gears).
Most of the posters are finished, most of the program is set, most of the tables are booked, but there is still a lot of space for additions and changes, so it’s going to be a couple of interesting weeks until it all starts…
To start the month and also to put the festival in a bigger context, here’s a little thing I wrote on the site the other day:
So we just came back from the CRACK! festival in Rome, which is more or less the hub/parent/sibling of the European(+) scene for underground/alternative/DIY/art comics & temporary art. The festival gathers hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors under the same roof, or actually in the tunnels under the same fort.
CRACK! is the great inspiration for AltCom and many others, even if the conditions very from country to country. For example, the squatting culture in Italy and Sweden are completely different. If you try to occupy an empty building to turn it into a social centre in Sweden, you will have to deal with a massive police assault on you almost directly. No such squat in Sweden has lasted more than a few months in recent years, and even that is extremely rare. It’s more likely that you will be back on the street within hours. Whereas Forte Prenestino (the social centre where CRACK! is held) celebrates its 30th anniversary as a squat this year.
On the other hand, Malmö is a friendly city and it’s possible to cooperate with a lot of venues (like Folkets Park, Panora, Mitt Möllan and others during the previous AltComs) without having to spend all of your budget just to find a place to have the festival’s exhibitions, comics market, etc.
On the other hand, Sweden is kind of expensive compared to other countries (though Malmö is cheap for Sweden), if not as expensive as Norway or Switzerland, so it comes with some other issues that we need to handle when organizing our event. We compensate by keeping as many parts as possible of the festival free of charge, like tables, entrance fees, festival anthology…
An important aspect of AltCom is that even if the comics fair is an important part of it, since it gives small press publishers and artists the opportunity to sell their books and the public the opportunity to buy them, we focus a lot on the social aspect.
That’s why we start the festival off with a two-day exhibition opening for several exhibitions at once, gathered in the same place. It creates a meeting ground for artists from different parts of the world, to show their stuff, to talk, to drink together and make new plans for the future, as well as meet a public that get the chance to experience something new.
The CRACK! festival is truly a seed for a future that may come, a seed that may be part of creating an atmosphere based on participation, mutual respect, creativity and boundless exchange. And that’s what we also try to be with AltCom, even if we are in Sweden and don’t have a huge squatted-since 30-years fort.
This seed is already bearing fruit. Weeds are cropping up in various places taking different forms, such as:
AFA (Autoproduzioni Fichissime Anderground) Milano (ITA)
Combat Comics Livorno (ITA)
Ratatà Macerata (ITA)
Ca.Co.FEST Bari (ITA)
BORDA Fest – Produzioni Sotterranee Lucca (ITA)
PICS Pescara Intergalactic Comics Show Pescara (ITA)
F.OFF Angoulême (FRA)
Tenderete Valencia (ESP)
Gutter Fest Barcelona (ESP)
Vendetta Marseille (FRA)
PRINTNOIZE Berlin (GER)
Ohoho Festival Zagreb (CRO)
NOVO DOBA Beograd (SRB)
ŠKVER! Art Project Mali Lošinj (CRO)
Fijuk network (Balkans/International)
and of course AltCom and probably many more…
June 17, 2016
So next week is another CRACK! festival, that orgasm of creative underground madness that comes every year, like an internationalist family reunion.
And in the midst of everything else, I’m trying to produce something new. I didn’t have as much time for this as I had hoped, but here’s something at least that I painted the other day and will make some different versions of…
And then it’s going back home for the finishing run of the AltCom festival. But a lot of that is already under contol. Most of the program is set, most of the posters have been designed, most of the films are confirmed, and the anthology is now at the printer.
So it all feels good, and the extra shot of inspiration that is CRACK! won’t hurt either…
June 14, 2016
Sooner or later, all you see around you will have turned to dust. You will be dead as a doornail and then all of this will disperse.
It’s not completely unlikely that the expansion of the universe will one day have gone far enough that the smallest particles can’t interact even at the speed of light because they are too far apart. By then, the concept of “day” will be long gone. Text will be meaningless, because even if this sentence would be spread out over a bigger area than the now observable universe, no one could see it because no one would be close enough that its light could ever reach them because everything will be too far apart (and keep expanding faster than light could keep up) for light to reach anything.
So let’s spend the precious time we have being greedy, racist, homophobic etc assholes, why don’t we?
Because that makes sense…
June 7, 2016
This Friday we will host the release exhibition for Amalia Alvarez‘ new book, Five stories about prostituters at Hybriden.
As with her first book, Fem papperslösa kvinnors historier, this one is based on interviews with people who are often discussed but seldom with their own voices.
They live in a part of the Swedish society that isn’t visible for everyone but that still exists, under the surface.
Hybriden (Mitt Möllan, Claesgatan 8, Malmö)
Opening June 10 16-22
Opening hours until July 20:
From 17 during the opening, Amalia will hold a presentation and read some from the book.
See more at the Tusen Serier website.
See you there!
May 31, 2016
I’m having an exhibition called Vasta-aine (Antidote) at the Comics Centre in Oulu, Finland, in August!
What I will show is two of my recent (unpublished) comics and one a bit older:
Medication (made for CBAvol35)
Fragments (made for CBAvol36)
Happiness (from Workburger and the upcoming AltCom 2016: WORK anthology)
As far as I can remember (which isn’t always reliable, I have to admit), this will be my first solo exhibition in Finland.
It will go on during all of August, and at the same place (but a different room) there will also be a simultaneous exhibition with Tommi Musturi, which is bound to be interesting.
So if you’re in Oulu in August, drop by and have a look!
I won’t be there for the opening, but I will visit Oulu a bit later in August…