Art Inside Out
Current languageen

Conversation with baucircus

Maria Votti & Frida Iman Charara i samtal med Lars Fridén.
November 2023.

– Can you describe what you did at the residential area Sloalyckan and the three-year long process that made you end up there again?

– Basically, there’s a very clear line, at least in our head, about how it developed from year one to year three. The main thing that guided our approach for our first visit was to work with the kids through different tools and media, beginning with spatial mapping and then using the different figures they drew through that process to tell their story of how they use the space by the stream Gruebäcken. They then directed us to where we placed the benches we built together, the placement of a bridge, stairs, and the actual figures that we cut out in metal. One of the things that came up during the first residency was a wish to have a slide next to Gruebäcken, which became the objective for our second visit. Most decisions were decided on the spot with the kids and the four adults that helped us.

– This year, with a focus on culture and related to what the municipality is trying to establish, we looked at another tool – other than mapping, coloring, direct story telling through fictional figures and construction. We wanted to use film making to also target and include the older kids that had not been interested in our first invitations/actions. Can they use filming as a tool to tell us their own stories about how they would like to use the space, the multi-purpose court, on the other side of the stream?

– To try to find a medium that brings in their stories and perspectives. That materializes them somehow. Without judging or valuing them in a superficial way. The tricky part was to navigate away from the film itself becoming the focus, which is exactly what happened. Instead of a tool it became the object and the objective. How to do that in a collaborative spirit where they still have agency remains a question mark to us.

– We were hoping that they would take the camera and go beyond the initial space and starting point. Following different topics that could bring us into spaces that are more relevant to their daily lives and for us to come with a contribution there. Even in another part of the city. But the interest was not big enough. If we try again, we will just lend them simple and portable film cameras and let them use them for maybe a week and then gather to look at and discuss that material together. Finding a different and possibly more successful role for us.

– So, we ended up filming the occasions when we did meet and reach them and that became a sort of statement/documentation about us trying to address and involve them. Shifting the eye to the spatial and socioeconomic conditions of Sloalyckan. And then we continued with the idea of creating this space for their own ideas, a temporary scenography made up of orange fences, film projection surfaces and lights, that observes and accentuates other qualities of the site. As a suggestion or a proposal that highlights all the potentials here. What could that tell us about this space? What is this place that is generated around the multi-purpose court? And how is it connected to Sloalyckan? And the structures beyond it?

– There’s a theatrical scenery there. With the stream. A forest playground. The almost natural amphitheater forming around the small hill. Several of these aspects became part of the last action we made, for a very limited group of people. The potentials are still there.

– We were looking forward to using our architectural skills to open up a conversation about how to engage with, think about and activate this place. Not to build or construct something or point firmly in a specific direction. To instigate or facilitate a dialogue that bridges the interests of the Sloalyckan association, the municipality, the stream, us and Art Inside Out. That can be taken further by local actors and give them open access to decision making and spatial imaginaries.

– But then there’s a question of how to invite better, properly, to such a mutual dialogue. To construct a logical chain of events, a continuous presence and trust, of hosting, relationships, that allows for that and doesn’t constrict but become equal and caring. And about how to do and divide the hard work that can make that possible. Especially when trying to engage with young adults or teenagers – and the social, cultural, and educational structures that frames their daily lives. It is a tricky equation and one that is easy to interpret as a failure. But it is from mistakes that we learn.

– Yes, our expectations this time was that the instructions and suggestions drafted together with the association should support and frame your return. Provide something for you to respond and react to. But it was practically difficult, and the reality became something else.

– Mm, maybe that is one of the things that we – this collective of institutions, residency artists and local stake holders – can actually do without falling into the trap of projectification of art, culture and participation, especially when working with segregated spaces. To facilitate a radical shift of roles where all parts involved can see themselves in a position with access to power, and to create spaces and situations where that can occur.

– But if we cannot bring ourselves that far and when participation doesn’t happen is it then better to nothing than to do something? No presentation, no artwork, no performance, or result. Is that even a possible method, model, or response? That is the last and crucial question that we did not really answer or hesitated in front of. We just ended up filming, doing, suggesting, and building. Frustrated but as usual.

– It’s a logical conclusion of a participatory process going astray but a complicated one to deal with from an institutional perspective. So yes. Maybe we should have done nothing and focused on taking care of relationships (which in itself is something) instead of doing something that, honestly, did not feel very well constructed or situated.

– As a final reflection of our urge to produce.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.