13 March, 2010

a little art & medicine in Stockholm

What a nice week. For the most part, it was slow (jag var sjuk) and sunny. We received an awesome care package from Nina & Todd, and she sent me a bag of only the best chai in the entire world, from a lovely little tea house in DC called Teaism. I really miss their bento boxes and salty oat cookies, but the chai is wonderful. It made being sick easier. Like medicine! Which is good because I used most of the Theraflu we brought over. *That* stuff is like crack.

I felt like I had a pretty inspiring end of the week. I went to several places I had never been before, and encountered art and ideas I hadn't known about.  Stu & I skipped Swedish class Wednesday night to attend a lecture at KTH by Dr. Hans Rosling. KTH is the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan.) We live quite close, as in walking-distance, but I had never been on campus before. Its large, and everyone else there is a hundred times more clever than I will ever be. Including Hans Rosling. He actually works for another big Stockholm school, Karolinska institutet, the well-regarded medical school on the other side of Stockholm where everyone else is also a hundred times smarter than I will ever be. His research relates to international health, and the man knows how to make statistics interesting and how to spin even the most dismal information into something that makes you wants to DO something about it. I had moments of why-is-my-country-so-stupid (the US) while at the same time feeling like wow-we've-come-a-long-way. Anyway, he is an incredibly dynamic speaker, and I suggest checking out some of his Ted.com lectures.  The second one is a doozy, if you get to the end where he strips off his shirt and swallows a sword!

Thursday and Friday were both quite long. We had lectures on curatorial tools with the head curator at Magasin 3, met with gallerists at Hudiksvallsgatan to discuss commercial gallery practices, then sat in on a thesis-planning session with art students at KKH, another school I had never been to. The royal college of art (Kungliga Konsthögskolan) is situated in a beautiful space next to the Moderna Museet, on the water, and everyone else there is a hundred times more crafty, arty and more stylish than I will ever be. It was nice to be talking with and working with artists! I guess I have not been as proactive as is possible in this town in meeting artists (there are a lot!) but my program is also pretty insular, in that we talk to a lot of curators and museum people, but not as many of the people actually creating what we will one day be displaying and writing about. Anyway, I hope to get over there more often to talk to art students about their work.
Thursday evening, we had a seminar at the Schefflerska palace on Drottninggatan, better known as Spökslottet, the Ghost Palace. Apparently August Strindberg coined that, and since he lived around the corner from it, maybe he knew things-that-go-bump there intimately. We live around the corner from it too, technically, but not close enough to determine whether he was right. If you are interested, I can tell you some more of the rumors in another post?
Anyway, Spökslottet owned by Stockholm University (when my mom attended, it used to be located there!) and houses a large and interesting art collection. They refuse to support it as a museum, so its now mostly used as a administrative office space and as a receiving place for important guests of the university. There is a curator, a woman who has been caring for the collection for the last 30 years, but its not open to the public and the university does not see it as important that the Bruegels and Tintorettos it owns be available on loan or for research. A bit of a tragedy, really. I could see liking working there, though. We've looked at so much contemporary art with this Curating Art master's programme, that it was refreshing to see some old dusty stuff.

I did not take a single picture of the Rosling lecture, KKH, Hudiksvallsgatan or Spökslottet, but I took several today at Bonniers Konsthall. We popped over to see the Tomas Saraceno show. Its fun...if you live in Stockholm, go see it.



  1. I love Hans Rosling! He actually lectured us in September for one of my classes at KI and I thought that was soooo coooool! :) My department is connected to his department, and that makes me cool via association, right?

    Did you see Hans on that tv show "På Spåret" - (translation 'on the railway tracks')??. I saw it this Christmas at my father-in-laws place and even though i couldn't understand a darn thing they were saying, i HAD to watch it cause he was on! I would have put all my money on him wining the game if they were taking bets.

    Good thing they weren't. He lost. BIG TIME.

    I cried a little inside.

  2. He is totally great! We watched all his Ted.com stuff, but I don't think the game show is available online. I would have loved to see that!

    What are you studying at KI?

  3. His Ted lectures are really awesome. I saw a documentary about the Ted lecture series (from this website if you wanna check it out - snagfilms dot com) and although the documentary was quite boring, it featured quite a bit of him. That satisfied my celebrity stalking :)

    I study public health - well technically health economics. I'm an economist by trade - please don't think less of me! :P I probably would have gone to SSE but they abolished the HE program a couple years ago, so KI is the only place in Sthlm. What does Stu study at SSE? Does he like it there? I went there for a Hans Rosling speech in the fall, and it looked like a place where much smarter people than me study.

    Take a look at the KI pages for the dept of public health - nice video by HR!