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Andreas Sandberg

The Year of the Rat

Wood, steel, trash can, frisbee golf target, sand bag, chain, chain mail, scale mail.

It’s the year of the rat and Gothenburg is struggling with a rat problem and a plague. The municipality heraldic seal is laser cut on armoured waste bins around the city to keep the the vermin out.

According to Chinese astrology the year of the rat is especially favourable for the self-employed and freelancers. The word freelance derives from the medieval term for a mercenary, a “free lance”, someone whose lance is not sworn to a paricular lord or authority, and can be hired for a specific task. Today, freelancing is the working condition that I enter into when I become an artist.

In Gothenburg, “the city of events”, the rider charges with a lance aimed at a quintain. The tournament sets up a series of relationships that, for me, point to the conditions of the freelance artist and the role of art. Semi-autonomous fighters at arm’s length from the power, put their own safety at risk to produce a spectacle in front of a blunted audience.

By positioning forms that refer to the medieval period along side materials from a contemporary lifeworld, I want to create an installation that negotiate the a transformation that is taking place today. A commonplace setting, like the public urban space and its municipal administration, moves this negotiation of concepts such as modernity and feudalism, closer to one’s own life — closer to one’s own year of the rat.

Text på svenska

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