Stranger In The Village Essay

Stranger In The Village Essay-64
I began to mine our conversations for clues, for information on where to look, what to look at, who to look for.

I began to mine our conversations for clues, for information on where to look, what to look at, who to look for.

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So There were the models giving zoolander realness The musicians giving psychopath realness The boys-next-door taking selfies in their bathrooms wearing party hats, just straight chillin The Supermans busting out. Indeed, this fella, once I told him that my whole tinder presence was an art project and a bit of a social experiment, proceeded to offer to take me to his hometown, where the majority would have in fact never seen a black person, and he would stand some distance away so I can “experience the reaction”, and when it all became too much, he would step in and save me, because he is “very well respected in his hometown”. It’s interesting to see how people portray themselves on these things.

There were the intrepid traveler ones who opened with, “Hej! There’s something sort of earnest about Tinder – it’s all people who just want to connect with other people – and in that regard, there’s a sense of putting one’s best foot forward. The Africans, however, of whom, around LInneplatsen there were only a handful, I noticed seemed to curate their calling cards in a far more fetishised way. Interestingly though, whenever an African man connected with me, which wasn’t often, despite the sexual nature of their posturing, it was immediately familiar, platonic, “sister!

The case was written up in the press as ‘another gang related killing in the troubled suburbs’, and a lot of the middle class Swedes I spoke to about it sort of rolled their eyes as they brushed it off.

There were some stories I was told about that I later researched online, and added because they were important I felt to the tapestry of Gothenburg’s social narrative.

There had been a series of recent murders in the immigrant suburbs, and a tinder-gent from Cape Verde took me to his neighbourhood, where, on the 18th of March at 10pm, gunmen entered a restaurant where people were watching the Premier League, and started firing shots.

This was one of the saddest places I saw in Gothenburg.

As I wrote his name, paying attention to each curl of each scribbled letter, I imagined who made this poster, and how they must have felt writing it.

The ink of the fat parker pen was running out, so parts of the letters were more faint than other parts, and I imagined the writer shaking the pen in her hand, angry, confused, trying to will some life back into it.

I was met by my hosts and they took me to the Konstepidemin, where my studio was. I needed to meet people, to interact, to see how people here interacted with me, whether I would feel some sense of this segregation. Each day of the residency, I would choose one to draw, whether they swiped me back or not.

And one of the first thing they told me, as we trammed across the city, was: ‘Gothenburg society is very segregated.’ ‘In what way? ‘In the bad way.’ I think perhaps they felt they had to warn me, based on my appearance, and, coming from the freedom of London, and having grown up in an expat community where most people were Other to a certain degree, I felt myself immediately stiffen, wondering what indeed my month here would be like. I went to a bar and ordered a glass of wine and kottbullar with lingonberry jam and tried to look approachable and uncreepy. It amused me to spend hours drawing these intimate pictures of complete strangers, willing them to life as it were.


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