- Smitta : Contagion -

Malmö : a middle-size town in the south of Sweden : like a very small town anywhere else: presumptuous, conceited, self-assertive. "Ochwadådå" : "Andsowhat" does every real malmötian say when he/she hears about something great happening in the world : "we have it here too!", like: bananas.

They call it a'Cultural Centre of Sweden', and after a week walking around the city I asked myself : What actually, do they mean?

The good point about Malmö is that it is very close to Copenhagen : La Bella Europa! Continental Life, real bananas, a few minutes on a boat and you're there. Consequently, a few minutes on a boat and they are here, the others, the non-welcome guests, and they do come anyway. Malmö has the largest number of immigrants / strangers / refugees in Sweden : and they are certainly not welcome. 'Far too many' I heard the taxi driver say after just two minutes sitting in a cab from the airport to town, and there is me, kind of blond white male with a strange accent. Are you French? : Oui : Tourist? : Business.

The Malmö Art Museum is hosted in a fortress build in the 16th century to defend Sweden from the continental attacks, becoming the City's Museum in this century. During World War II it was converted into a refugees camp and hospital to host the people persecute by the Nazis, the 'white busses' stopped there loaded with human beings. A couple of miles from there is the Lund university, then the most pro-nazi centre in Sweden, now educating for the sake of Science. While we were building our show at the Museum an article was released in the main newspaper written by a Lund professor : 'Our homogeneity it is getting strangled by tentacles from abroad, every immigration leads to decadence' : Goebel's rhetoric : a Professor : 1997 : this seems the right place to do Smitta.

 
  "Bara Konst är ingen Konst" (Casmo Info) (Only Art is not an Art)

Our point is : to show Art is not enough, something else got to happen, like real life, good fun, experience, you name it. This time 17 people where involved to co-elaborate this part of the project, which is an experience in itself; as a famous horse race jockey said: ' first in the track you can really see the horses' : and that's the way it is. In the preliminary discussions everybody is open, exited, positive, and yes yes yes. When it comes to action some join the adventure were others are blocked by their own myth of the 'Romantic Artist' and can do nothing but to be their own 'perpetual mobile' in total solitude. Yet there are some that just don't give a shit about all that bla bla bla of yours and use every means to put themselves in the spotlight, hence overshadow everybody else. People come people go, that is the way it is.

Nicola Pellegrini chose the artist from Italy, Lennie Lee those from London and Jonás Peirone was ask to choose some from Malmö : In e-mail after e-mail Jonás insist in the importance of having young people involved in the project , we of course agree, even art students he pointed out ('the chickens' was the word he used)..., well why not? There are some talented ones, ...go ahead I replied,... : and so he did! Though surprise, surprise what a strange coincidence, one was his all-round assistant..., and the other one was...his daughter...who doesn't even live or study in Malmö. The kids are talented indeed, but the smell of nepotism still disturbs me: 'first in the track......'

The Malmö experience happened in three different planes and locations: The Flat: the private part of it, just for our own sake, but in some way the heart, the nucleus of all what came out. Eleven of us lived together in three small bedrooms, a living room, a tinny kitchen and two bath rooms, creating somewhat of a non stop Monty Python situation. The Street is a usual arena for the work of FA+, Lennie, Casmo Info, and some others, so, it was natural for us to place work and energy in the open public space, to expand the Contagion to the non-art-interested people. For the ones that never do so it was something to discuss why how when what who where etc. etc.... And of course The Museum, actually the real reason why everybody was in Malmö.

 
Read all the juicy gossips about these three moments: Click on the pictures to continue.

Newspaper: Sydsvenska Dagbladet, author: Lilith Waltenberg. Title: They are going to contaminate Malmö with Art.

The contagion started in Stockholm. After a dinner at Moderna Museum 9 Th. of October last year, it spread all over the country, and this week it reached Malmö. From the Art Museum's F-room (the artistic experimental-room) the complete town will be contaminated by the international Art-project called ' Contagious '.

The artists that has initiated the project (Ingrid Falk and Gustavo Aguerre) did a time before meet at ' the first dinner ' artists, scientists and other experts, looking for a collaborative method of working togheter. After a while a group of artists from England, Argentina, Italy and Sweden, together with scientists and an advice-board from Sweden took shape. Semiotic, Biotechnology, Art historian, Philosopher, Anthropologist are just some of the titles that is mentioned in the catalogues that is done for each phase within the project.

The Director of the Art Museum Göran Christensson that for several years has been contaminating not just different parts of the museum, but also places like the former offices of a social-care centre at Rosengård (suburban area) and at an old factory, does mean that the project very open, and in a concrete way, makes the viewer question and gives new perspectives to the situation of individuals today.

In Malmö the exhibitions theme mainly talks about the confrontations between the immigrants and native-born. J. C. Peirone has made an installation done with boxes collected from foreign food-stores. As a part of the work a letter was sent to the boss of all the Malmö Museums, saying that the Museums should keep the sculpture ' Todo Bien Livs ', as a documentation of a for-ever-changing part of the city contaminated by immigrants.

Midday on Saturday, the 10:th of May the whole group of artists makes a manifestation at Möllevångstorget in front of the statue 'Work is Honour '.

After Malmö, different places in Sweden, England and Italy will get contagious. In year 2000 the project shall be all done as well as documentation different catalogues and a CD-ROM should also be available.

The opening is on Wednesday 14 May , and it continues till the 18 of June 1997.