Beyond the Headlines – Sweden.
For the fifth time since Abba took the title 38 years ago, last weekend Sweden won the top points in the 2012 Eurovision song contest. Loreen Talhaoui’s winning performance of club track “Euphoria” – accompanied by fake snow, wind machines and tai-chi style dancing – was only one of the many strange spectacles on show. But while all the song and dance on the night may just seem like a bit of fun, the impact of actually winning can prove phenomenal for the crowned country. Loreen has already appeared on the charts in 14 countries and topped the charts in five. With Euphoria sweeping Europe, we take a look beyond the sequins and fireworks to see what else has been going on in Swedish pop culture.
At lunchtime yesterday over 1000 workers across 15 cities walked out of their office to a chosen vacant space, paid a fee, grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water, and danced for an hour. Lunch Beat is Europe’s new lunchtime dance craze founded by Molly Range in Sweden in 2010. With just fourteen people dancing in a car park at the first one, May 31st hosted the biggest simultaneous Beat so far. Between midday and 1pm venues were streaming live videos and photos of people all over Europe loosening their ties and hitting their local make-shift dance floor. Check out their site for photos and videos from yesterday and past Lunch Beats.
ERIK JOHANSSON’S ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ PHOTOGRAPHY
25-year-old computer engineering student Erik Johansson’s photos have been described as ‘impossible’. After posting his heavily manipulated images online Johannson has attracted a massive buzz and lots of job offers too. Tweaking the aesthetics of reality and questioning the commonplace, Johannson’s surreal images will play tricks on the keenest of eyes. His M C Escher style stairwells and peeling tarmac roads are among our favourites. Check out more of his mind-bending work here.
Back in 2009-2010 when viral campaign iamamiwhoami was all over youtube everyone was asking ‘Who is she? Who is she? Who is she?’ The stream of bizarre electronic music videos had bloggers excitedly making guesses as to who the mysterious blond female appearing in each could be. Many even attempted to decode the numerical song titles and onomatopoeic signals that appeared in each video. After much speculation, Swedish singer-songwriter Joanna Lee was revealed as front woman of the ongoing project. Both Joanna’s glacial voice and the Nordic landscapes that accompany it continue to attract many viewers, as well as awards. Their first studio album Kin, an audiovisual release, is due to be released on 11 June 2012 through the project’s own label To whom it may concern.
Watch all of iamamiwhoami’s hypnotic videos here.
Ingrid is the newly formed record label/collective from a group of young Swedish artists including Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn and John, Miike Snow, and Teddybears. This collaboration is not just a matter of a few clever Swedes putting their already recognised heads together to sell more records either. ‘Created over numerous cups of pitch black coffee at Mellqvist’s in Stockholm’ Ingrid was created by a group of friends who wanted to create something outside of ‘world tours, indie cred and empty pockets’. As the manifesto on the site goes on to state: ‘Ingrid plans to offer a home for the new guard of musicians and artists. The opportunity for creation, collaboration, and compilation sonically and visually/ Ingrid will provide in an unadulterated space.’ With ‘Volym 1’ released back in April, we really look forward to the second installation. In the meantime, check out their site for announcements and emerging talent.
By Zara Miller