On Hanami at Botaniska Trädgården…

I spent lovely afternoon at Botaniska Trädgården today and celebrated Hanami!

Hanami

Cherry-trees in Botaniska Trädgården!

Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying blossoming cherry trees when people gather under the cherry trees and having a picnic and parties until nightfall…Plenty of people gathered today at Botaniska Trädgården to see different shows or just hang out in this beautiful park. I meet with my friends in front of the garden and we slowly walked through the park.

Fang against the sky...

Fang against the sky…

Unfortunately we missed most of the show, but I didn´t mind that much, since I´ve already seen it last year. There were still a few groups practicing different Asian martial arts  and people dressed in traditional Japanese costumes walking around. Of course all those hard-core fans of Japanese culture couldn´t miss event like this, so fair amount of cosplay buffs meet there as well. In the end it was really colorful mixture of people! Botaniska Trädgården is mostly about flora of course, so you had chance to learn something about dozens of different trees and flowers from Japan.  For a while we walk with the crowd, but eventually we took some smaller side-paths until we got up to the high rock where we basked in the sun while eating and enjoying the view. I hope you all had a great time as I did, and those who weren´t there today should definitely visit it soon! Good thing is, it won´t be as crowded as it was today so you will have chance to find some quite place and time to admire the beauty around you!

All the best,

Jakub

PS: Next weekend , if the weather allows, I am planning a two-days hiking trip, which I´ll share with you…

The ‘Jaha! Bulletin’ #2

In the ‘Jaha! Bulletin’ I will narrate stories about me surprisingly getting Swedish customs without even noticing!

In the first ‘Jaha! Bulletin’ I talked about the ‘Last cookie’, you can see it here ;)

https://lettersfromgothenburg.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/mini-bonus-blog-of-the-week-the-last-cookie/

This time is as it follows. I was talking with my friends about visiting Botaniska on Wednesday because, as you probably noticed already, it is spring in Gothenburg!

We set the time Wednesday at 15:00, when suddenly I pronounced the words: ‘Oh sorry I can’t! I have booked the laundry at 15:00!’ After five minutes of silence I just noticed that that’s the most Swedish reason for not going somewhere or doing something! In the Swedish culture the laundry times are sacred, don’t you ever use someone else’s laundry time or you will be dead…soon! (Just Kidding). But really, be extremely aware that Swedes have an intrinsic law about the laundry times and no one should interrupt this bounding moment between them and their clothes ;) . Guess what, someone is acquiring this custom…me!

Jaha!

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On Konstmuseum and spring…

Whoa, sun is finally in the city! Thank God I caught some last rays today, when I had a nice fika with friend-of-mine, after long day in wood workshop (which is located in basement, so I can only dream about sun there…). My degree project is ruining my social life and I am slowly turning into pale mindless zombie, therefore I am really grateful for every little break I can have. Outside seating are popping all over the city, so it´s great to hang out outside after all those rainy days! Me and my friends are planning some hiking trip to Skatås-Hindås area, the trail is called Vildmarkssleden Trail and it´s 38 km long, so that should took away all the stress which is piling up in our bodies!:) On 26 April there will be Hanami, Japanese feast where you´re adoring blooming cherry trees, in Botaniska Trädgården! Hanging around blooming cherry trees is good enough, but on 26 April there will be also some cultural program on top of it. More info here.

Yesterday I went to Göteborgs Konstmuseum, where I haven´t been for really long time. Except their permanent collection of European (mostly Nordic) art from 15th century to today, there are three temporary exhibitions. Photography by An-My Lê, sculptures and painting by Charlotte Gyllenhammar and results of DIY project.

An-My Lê is Vietnamese-American photographer, who explores war conflicts through still and moving images, which are balancing somewhere between documentary and fiction. In her recent project called Events Ashore, she travelled with American armed forces and documented their everyday life. The large format pictures depict everyday life of US soldiers deployed abroad, the contrast between routine everyday acts and exotic sceneries around. Of course, those routine acts of armed forces are very exotic as well, compared to our everyday acts. In contrast to Events Ashore there is  series of smaller black & white photographs called Việt Nam. In sceneries from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and rural Vietnam An-My Lê rediscovers her homeland after the conflict. Another An-My Lê´s projects you can see there are Small Wars, 29 Palms and Charlie Don´t Surf.

An-My Lê. Retrieved from http://blog.art21.org/

In her works, Charlotte Gyllenhammar, is playing with perspective and perception. She is challenging both spatial and moral preconceptions of a viewer, leaving herhim unsecure about what she sees. To disturb established orders is one of the important roles of art and Charlotte Gyllenhammar is doing great job.

Charlotte Gyllenhammar also returned to the image of the woman suspended upside down, a motif she explored in still and moving images and recently in casted sculptures.

“The image of the woman stayed with me and it took me several years to find a way of relating to the motif. In the end I was able to approach her by changing perspective. I stood underneath the suspended woman and saw her from below. Suddenly it was another image entirely. Even if you understand what is hidden behind the surface . the woman´s exposed genitals – you cannot actually see them. There is a big difference.”

For me it is about the integrity of the motif, not to expose the motif to an assault by its depiction. It is an approach to the subject that I think is important and dilemma that one must consider when portrays something vulnerable.”

I have complaints to way of showcasing her work though. All works are exhibited in dark rooms, illuminated with spotlights, which leave her highly textured sculptures half consumed in black shadow or overly highlighted on the other hand. In my opinion it destroys the details of the work and it´s an unnecessary exaggeration of already highly expressive art-pieces. Image below is from Christian Larsen gallery and it stands in contrast to installation in Konstmuseum.

Charlotte Gyllenhammar. Retrieved from http://www.christianlarsen.se/.

Enjoy the first sunny days of upcoming spring and don´t forget to check out those exhibitions before their end.

All the best,

Jakub

Mini Bonus Blog of the Week: That Yellow Thing in the Sky…

That yellow thing in the sky is…the sun ladies and gentleman! These days have been wonderful! And according to the forecast today we will reach 14 degrees!! And it will be similar this whole week.

So here I bring you three easy, quick, do it ASAP tips to do these days:

Go for an Outside Fika!

Yes, the coffee shops put chairs and tables outside so don’t miss the opportunity to get a bit of fresh air together with a nice coffee. Can I suggest Haga for example? ;)

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Get an Ice Cream

For the ice cream lovers as me the sun is the best motivation to get an ice cream and go walking around the streets. Have you tried the new Ben & Jerry’s of cinnamon buns? This can be your chance :)

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Go to Slottsskogen

Slottsskogen is a park full of entertainment (and animals ;) ), and with this weather you can go there, lay down in the grass, play frisbee, make a barbeque or just relax with your friends!

So what are you waiting? Chop chop!, ela ela!, ale ale! or however is in your language ;) Get up and let’s go! Enjoy the sun ;)

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On past two weeks…

I was quite silent recently, because of my MA project, which is taking over my life sometimes. Nevertheless it wasn´t just all about work, I saw a couple of great exhibitions and few gigs. It´s also time when applying master´s students know their results, so congrats to all who have been accepted! Majo wrote a very nice and comprehensive guide for incoming students, read it here, if you haven´t already!

Opening exhibitions are great way of socializing, even if you´re not an art buff. When you´re a student, free entrance and free snacks, are also big teasers, as we all know! And when you´re studying at HDK, you don´t even have to go very far…there are exhibitions around the building, Röhsska Museet is next door and Valand Akademin is across the street. If we are talking about Valand Akademin, students of Fine Art and Photography are exhibiting their Thesis works! It kicked off March 27 and it´ll open until April 2. I haven´t been there yet, but I am planning to do that. I recently visited an exhibition of another Valand student, Emma Skerfe, called The roles we were born to fill” in Galleri Monitor. Several objects, two paintings and texts were well-presented in small, dimly lit space of the gallery. The absence of spotlights, so often use in museums, created an interesting atmosphere around the already very darkly colored paintings. It also allowed play of shadows on the walls and floor, which were very complementary to the presented art objects. And obviously it also worked very well with one of the motives of the exhibition, a motif of “departure”.

Last weekend I went for “The End” party of “Frippe och Frida” cafe, which is closed now. Unfortunately I never had chance to visit it and I went to this party, because my friend´s band, Poppets, was playing there.

“Have you ever chewed a big wad of bubblegum on the beach and gotten sand blown in your mouth? That sugary crunchiness, crackle and pop sensation is similar to the sound of POPPETS, a drum machine based garage-pop duo from Sweden. The group consists of Lina and Magnus, whose crazy pop hooks will instantly make you fall head over heels in love.”

That´s who they are and this how they sound!

Röhsska Museum is currently hosting a first separate major exhibition of Christian-Pontus Andersson called “Eden, See you on the Other Side”. Christian-Pontus Andersson is a Swedish artist who is creating hyper-realistic nude sculptures in porcelain or fibreglass. Realistically made human bodies are merged with artists imagination and as a result you get fairly disturbing images, which’s interpretation would be a longer story.

Röhsska Museum is An Institution, with their collection of design and Asian artefacts, but mainly because of their top exhibitions, cultural activities and never-ending effort to make that place even better.

As a part of his master´s project, Ibou had an exhibition, where he was exploring a relationship between designer and client, the ways how to communicate and understand each other better, or maybe how to fight better…Getting in Touch 3.3

This Friday, Magnus was hosting a workshop “Sound Perspectives on Critical Type”, which was also part of his degree project. Magnus is a graphic designer and musician (Poppets!) and he sees a connections between music and typography and he is questioning both.

” The ”good” typography should not be visible, but help the reader comprehend the message of a text with a minimum of obstructions. But is the “good” typography always the most efficient way to get through to the reader? Is efficiency even relevant?

As a musician and music nerd I often find that skewness, mistakes and distortions is what make music interesting and attracts attention, rather than when radio friendly produced to upset no one.

During an evening of music, lecture, bar ( ◖tiny, so think BYOB/own bag◗ ), workshop and discussion we will together explore how the skewness, mistakes and distortions from music can give us new perspectives on typography.”

I finished the week with another lovely gig in Truckstop Alaska, magical place in Hisigen, which was hosting  great and only Bob Log III. Even though my body still aches, it was a great party!

All the best,

Jakub

PS: Next post will be about Botaniska Trädgården, if weather allows…

You Have Been Admitted to the University of Gothenburg

These times bring back memories to me…memories about me biting my nails waiting for an answer from the University. Everything in my life was in hold until I received ‘the letter’.

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For people that come from far far away like me everything get another meaning when you get the letter of admission, let me explain you this. Is easy to say that if I applied is because I indeed want to go to Sweden, but once you really get ‘the letter’ everything start getting shape in your mind. In my case was double nervous because I was waiting also the acceptance letter from the scholarship and once I got both it was REAL.

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Wow I’m going to Sweden for 2 years! What about my family? My dog? My friends? My dog? My job? My dog? (True story). Everything starts crossing your mind given the fact that I knew it would be difficult to go back to my country inside those two years. But one thing that surprised me is that all these fears that I felt disappeared really really fast!

The emotion starts when the adventure starts, doing what? the following ;)

Documents (Do it now!)

First of all is never too early to start preparing your documents in the Swedish embassy. The procedure will take several weeks until you get the visa so don’t hesitate to start it really soon. Don’t be afraid to ask whatever question it comes to your mind in the embassy since the people there is there for helping you.

One confession…I look awful both in my passport photo and in my resident permit card, and you will look bad too! (just kidding :D)

Feeling homeless is normal!

The second step that is another urgent one is to start looking for accommodation. You can start subscribing to SGS (Have a look of my previous blogs to have a clearer idea of what steps to take to get accommodation ;)). As I said before you might feel hopeless (and homeless) sometime but that is normal! (sad but true ;)). But, don’t worry! It take me months (yes) but at the end I got accomodation and I wasn’t homeless anymore :) You’ll find it too!

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Facebook is key

Start following the University of Gothenburg or Chalmers in Facebook, is a good way to start feeling the University environment. Also look for groups of previous years of your future Master or Bachelor programme, over there you will find people that can inform you about important things and also you can possibly find friends that will be here when you come. Over there I got in contact with the current people of my Master programme and now we are really good friends :)

Get a student buddy

Suddenly in the upcoming months you will start receiving a lot of e-mails from the University, in one of them they will ask you if you want to get a Student Buddy. The Student Buddy is a person like you and me that came the previous years or lives here and is the best contact to have for the previous months prior to your arrival. When suddenly a question comes to your mind like how expensive is the food or if it is dangerous to feed squirrels on the street (true story too) they will be there to help you :).

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Time will fly!

Indeed time flies! So the best you can do is to take advantage of all the time that you are spending in your hometown. Do it like this:

1. Take your dog for a walk

2. Feed your doggy with a lot of delicious things

3. Pet it

4. Tell your dog that you love it!

(Repeat 1-4 with your family)

Ok, ok, now for real, spend quality time with your family and friends, take a lot of pictures and talk with them about how excited you are or about your fears. These memories will go with you all along your trip :D.

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As you see I followed all these steps and here I am. No regrets and having the time of my life! As I always say Gothenburg is the perfect city for having a proper student life, so If you are still clearing your mind about coming here trust me: you won’t regret!.