How the World Works by Maria Safronova Wahlström and Johannes Wahlström intends to describe the rapidly changing world that we and our societies are surrounded by; and that became more visible in connection with the pandemic.
The first invited artists in the Research Lab InSILo, Maria Safronova Wahlström and Johannes Wahlström are working on the project How the World Works. This project finds its inspiration in classical Swedish school books, in particular, How Sweden Works from 1976. While the book in a playful way described the Social Democratic Folkhem, or "people´s home" and its special place in the world, the book, How the World Works intends to describe the rapidly changing world that we and our societies are surrounded by; and that became more visible in connection with the pandemic. For example, taking the machinery of the global distribution chains: how shrimp caught off the coast of Gothenburg are transported to Morocco, where they are hand-peeled and then packaged and travelled back through the continent. Or how closed borders affect our grocery stores supply, as a large part of the workers in Dutch and French agriculture are borrowed from low-wage countries. How the World Works is based on the UN Sustainability Goals 2030 and interviews of the people active in the fields affected by the proposed changes. The answers will form the basis for a series of graphic works that playfully highlight the topics that we all too often resign ourselves to considering too complicated to understand.
The project will have a clear stylistic solution, where illustration together with text takes the form of a large poster, similar to school posters that were produced as teaching materials between the 1930s and 1980s. The surface of the poster will be divided into different sections, which with the help of text tell about specific social phenomena and show different situations that happen in connection with them.
The illustration by Maria Safronova Wahlström from The Intermediary Chains presented at Öbergska Galleri, Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2020.
Each poster will then be turned into a spread in a book under a respective topic that will be produced upon completion of the project. The aim of the project is to connect our research on current political and economic issues with a simple and playful graphic form, which can be exhibited and distributed in art contexts as well as in schools.
Maria Safronova Wahlström is an artist based in Gothenburg. With a deep interest in social myths, she works with themes of collective behaviour and linguistic practices that signal our social belonging. Artist’s work has been exhibited in places such as Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, Göteborgs Konsthall in Gothenburg, Tbilisi History Museum and Gallery Jean-Pierre Gros in Paris.
Johannes Wahlström is an award-winning journalist, film director and author who has made several films for Swedish Television (for which he has been awarded Kristallen, Guldspaden and Stora Journalistpriset) and has worked with Wikileaks - the latter he documented in the film Mediastan which was produced by Ken Loach's Sixteen Films.
Together Maria Safronova Wahlström and Johannes Wahlström curated and participated in the exhibition “The Intermediary Chains” in Galleri Styrsö, with the focus on Middle Man as a social and historical phenomenon. In 2021, they worked on the international group exhibition “For Sure” at Hjalteyri Verksmidjan in Iceland, with a focus on collective identity and different types of collective behaviours that are often perceived as personal. In the summer and autumn of 2021, together with other participants, they had an exhibition about the forgotten history and speculative architecture at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg. Both their works related to the history of silence and unanswered questions are now exhibited in GIBCA Extended 2021.