Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Park Life - Exploring the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg

Way Out West is the archetypal big festival but differs due to its non rural greenfield setting, instead held in Slottsskogen, Gothenburg’s Hyde Park (if Hyde Park had a zoo and forest). The proximity of the park in relation to the city’s housing means no music will be blaring out of the park after 11pm but acts will instead head to Gothenburg’s clubs to play on into the early hours of the morning where their music will be isolated by the walls of the venues. There is also no campsite therefore reducing the footprint of damage done to the park and boosting business for Gothenburg’s hostels and hotels who must appreciate this model as much as the residents that inhabit the perimeter of Slottsskogen and  the festival goers who are spared long queues to the showers in the morning. The only downside being that festival goers are forbidden to bring their own alcohol inside and must purchase it from within the festivals fences. You could think of these devices as a way to maximise profits but they also provide an alternative to the grime that usually goes hand in hand with a large festival by ensuring all revelers would have beds and showers thus providing everyone with the opportunity to start each day fresh faced and ready to go, whether or not anyone feels the need to take advantage of this is another matter.

Day 1 

Thursday had arrived and after passing through the main entrance we found ourselves in the middle of soulful Albama Shakes. Instantly inspired by their conviction and strength of their music I felt I had suddenly been dropped into the festival. The next door to open took into a psychedelic world with Tame Impala as my guide. Their smooth riffs made all the more trippy by the appearance of a US, less unidentified and more quadrocopter with neon lights, Kevin Parker’s attempted to connect with it ET style, but ultimately never able to reach the dizzying heights of his robotic companion and its pilots ability to tease.

The night fell and as the sound dissipated from the stages of Slottsskogen people headed to venues of the aptly named Stay Out West. We headed to see rapper cross-dressing Mykki Blanco who was performing in the Clarion Hotel, one of Gothenburg’s most expensive establishments. Once through the queue we entered the room which was possibly the cleanest music venue I’ve ever stepped foot in. The low ceiling and odd bounce of carpet under my feet reeked of business conferences rather than a space that had seen it’s fair share of gigs yet nevertheless I was intrigued to see how this space would face up to a rapper the likes of which Sweden had never seen before. The result was not well at all. The bass was non-existent which meant the music lacked any punch, exacerbated by the carpet and soft furnishings present in the space, perhaps it was a conscious choice of materials enforced by the hotel to shield it’s customers or perhaps the venue would have been better suited to a less bass dependent genre of music. Dripping in sweat and topless, Blanco maneuvered into the crowd then up on to the bar to saved what was definitely not an aural assault with an inspired performance. DJ Rashad and Spinn came on and seemed to be ideal to see the night out too but the room quickly emptied and I was left feeling underwhelmed in masses of space surrounded by the props that were thrown into the now non existent crowd. Encouraged by my friends we left and headed home.

Day 2 

A comfortable bed, a shower and a good hearty breakfast left us in good stead for the day that was to ensue. We headed towards the main arenas only to walk past a giant disco ball on a crane, momentarily intrigued then recalling Giorgio Morodor was to make an appearance we realised what we had stumbled upon. The vibe was amazing, considering it was August in Sweden the weather was fine with the sun shining down on us all and with the absurd giant disco ball it was impossible to resist the feel good synths playing while being marshalled by Giorgio who seemed to be orchestrating the crowd with his finger and then regaling us with his voice via a vocoder. Our initial plan to stay for 30 minutes escalated into a few hours, having the knock on effect of us missing Angel Haze’s and Roudrigez’s sets.

Giorgio Morodor

During the night we headed to Nefertiti, a traditional club this with an even lower ceiling than that in the Clarion due to it being a basement venue and caught Svensk Bas, a record label specialising in bass heavy sounds, and this time the bass was anything but lacking.

Some friends asked if we wanted to head to an after party, not one to refuse we headed on an excursion that I would soon realise I was not prepared for in the slightest. I questioned the location of the venue but no one seemed to know exactly where it was so after a lot of conferring with google maps we took a tram to get somewhat closer to our destination. We departed with almost everyone else on the tram at a peaceful residential setting under the soft glow of street lights. Swarms of people all headed in the same direction in waves to higher ground and then to some obscure steps leading up into the woods when eventually the street lights gave way to the black of the moonless night sky. The scene would not be out of place in any zombie flick. Nothing was visible for what could have easily been perceived as a period of 1-3 hours, only the sound of those making their way back from our intended destination could be heard, their cackling laughs, screams and foreboding warnings of “there’s nothing up there”, “where are you going?”, and “everyone’s left” rang in our ears but we decided to persevere with the promise of alcohol and party. There was a stage during this journey where, whilst sobering up and continuing our walk into darkness, not much was said and we all silently brooded over the decision to embark on this journey only to be interrupted occasionally by one of us hearing phantom party sounds which, on closer inspection, turned out to be the rustling of branches, chirping, the odd howl and thuds made by those on the descent back from their pilgrimage.

Alas eventually the phantom sounds turned into the real unmistakable chirping of tweeters and thump of woofers, light bulbs appearing, at first in isolation and then linked together by a chain strewn through the foliage that acted as a canopy over our heads effectively isolating us from the night sky. To the right of us lay a sudden drop into what I can only recall as a large lake and around us lay the festival goers who were looking for the late night outdoor comradery and music that they weren’t meant to find during Way Out West. Unfortunately for us the alcohol had stopped flowing and although the Mars Bars and Twix’s looked appealing sitting idly on a foldable table I couldn’t bring myself to believe the woman standing guard over the chocolatey goodness who tried to convince us they would be restocked within the hour. The thought of an entourage carrying crates of beer up the same path we’d just trodden didn’t seem feasible and so it was there and then I decided my night was over, even the van the woman stood in front of and the fact that the dj shack and lighting was probably driven there couldn’t dispel my mind that the promises of beer weren’t empty promises conjured to keep us trapped at the top of this mountain by a siren in a never ending party where the drinks didn’t not flow. The crowd was littered around the floor, some embracing the current stage of their high, others chatting & reveling in the achievement of reaching this after party in the sky and some tired from the days events, and possibly lack of more beer, sleeping on ground. The music was playing but only served as background noise to the social gathering that ensued. A completely unauthorised illegal gathering of people who didn’t want the party to stop, all in little not so sunny Gothenburg.
The walk back down proved very stimulating, either because we were moving downhill or perhaps just in the knowledge we would be able to finally rest our aching legs. Taking the descent in our strides we celebrated our achievement by taunting those still making their way up, even meeting a stumped Aussie on the way embracing his nationality by wearing a stereotypical cork hat, mainly confused as to why flocks of people were heading down we ensured him that if he wanted to party that up and into the sky was the only place to go.

Reaching the top of the mountain

  Day 3 

Packed full of music, we listened to some of it then headed to another ‘Illegal’ party in the woods. By now the main stages were the savoury part of our day, wholesome good family fun, and the night was the sugary delight that came after, full of debauchery and all that comes with it.

Friday consisted of GOAT, with their energetic tribal style one can only help but be mesmerized swinging to the beat. We missed James Blake for Danny Brown whose energy and stage presence left us wanting more. Truly giving the crowd his all and feeding off the energy given back to him. The night was finished off Disclosure. An apt end to the night, we arrived late and decided to utilise the empty space at the back of the tent to bounce around to their beats and take in the light show. It was definitely one of if not the highlight of Way out West.

The Knife

The end of the performance marked the end of Way out West but for us and many others it was just the beginning of the night. Some of the friends I was with were invited to DJ at another party in the woods and with a playlist consisting of trap music in hand we headed to another non descript forest scene, this time luckily for us it wasn’t located at the precipice of a geological rock formation. This time, on the side of a hill with a steep incline but only a few hundred metres from society. The DJ booth consisted of a plastic tarpaulin that was hung from a tree and protected the sound system. The refreshments were provided from a single story brick building located at the bottom of the hill and we were served through a set of bars that protected the money and alcohol from any opportunists. I seemed to have free reign of the supplies for some reason and found myself over encumbered with refreshments for the night. The weather made a turn for the worst yet this didn’t dissuade the crowd. The trap music received a few complains for its misogynist content but it continued on into the early hours of the morning, with back to back sets. The night seemed to fly by and at around 6am I head with a few others to attempt breakfast at a hotel but we didn’t arrive at our destination due to the indecisive passengers in the Volvo Estate and arrived back to the party during daylight and to my surprise to find the party still going, not so strong and on it’s last legs but nevertheless it was there in what resembled a mud pit rather than a hill.

All in all it was a great festival. Not having to slum it in a tent made a great change and the alternative to the roulette game of trying to get into a Stay out West club was much preferred. Seeing the quiet town of Gothenburg suddenly transformed with an influx of people from around the world was great and is something that I'm looking forward to relive next year!


Mandeep Singh is a co-founder and editor of PAPER and is currently working at Wilkinson Eyre Architects in London.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Soylent Green is here!

An all in one meal replacement is an idea most of us are familiar with. From pills in the Jetsons and nutritional gunk in the Matrix, it has become a staple of Sci Fi depictions of future society.

Solyent Green is remembered by many as a film staring Charlton Heston and is set in a dystopian future where global warming is causing havoc and the majority of the population survive on rations by the Soylent corporation. Their new product is Soylent Green. The disturbing secret being Soylent Green is made from humans!

A liquid meal replacement is now being marketed under the name of Soylent. Liquid food isn't at all new and has been in development and production since the 1970s. From NASA's investment into it for space travel and the medical professions use of it for those who can't break down food. It gained popularity with the general public through protein shakes used by body builders. It has never been marketed at those who spend most of their days sedentary and are pressed for time.

This use is fascinating and intriguing for me. As someone who's 9-5 is more 9-whenever with a 3 hour commute thrown on top I rarely have the opportunity to invest my time in creating nutritional meals unless all my organisation works out to a tee, which it rarely does. This also effects the amount of exercise I get so being able to replace the meals that I'm eating for the sake of silencing my gut with something that is providing me with efficient calories seems inspired! I can save money,  time and invest is say in one meal I can craft and enjoy!

There's a great in depth article and interview with the creators of Soylent in the New Yorker which you can read here.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Tempelhof Airport - Reappropriation of a Nazi Landmark

Tempelhofer Freiheit (Tempelhof Freedom) Once a masterpiece of the Third Reich, now a open public space and proposed site for a new social housing scheme.

Designated an airport in 1923 the old terminal was constructed in 1927 and was the first with an underground railway. As part of Albert Speer's designs for Welthauptstadt Germania ("World Capital Germania), Ernst Sagebiel was commissioned in to replace the old terminal building with a new building that was equal to the party's aspirations and ideology and designed in mind with anticipation for it becoming the gateway to Europe as well as the symbol for the Welthauptstadt Germania.

A monumental building, the biggest in Europe at the time, it embodied the Nazi ideology; clean, pure and strong with its repetitive limestone facade not dissimilar to a fortress, a representation of the strength and impenetrability of Nazi regime. “The mother of all modern airports,” Sir Norman Foster has called it. The terminal building consists of a 1,200-meter-long arc of hangars beneath a huge cantilevered roof that was designed to protect arriving and departing passengers from the elements. In plan the building curves to represent an eagle in flight, apt as the Eagle has always featured on the German coat of arms as well as being used by the Nazis atop the swastika.

Templehof played its role as part of the war machine and was home to over two thousand workers who initially were recruited from occupied European countries but later taken by force, abducted and brought to Berlin. Columbia-Haus, Berlin's only concentration camp, which was located on the edge of Tempelhof, also provided labour to Tempelhof.

Even with its design and conception firmly embedded with Nazi ideology along with its role during the war Tempelhof is equally associated with freedom. After the war it was the setting for “Operation Vittles”, the Berlin airlift that was executed during 1948-49. The Soviets imposed a blockade by land and water into the Western parts of the city, the only accessible routes being three 32km air corridors across the Soviet Zone of occupation. The Allies chose to supply the city with food and fuel to sustain the city's
 inhabitants for the next eleven months by air with 200,000 shipments that required planes to take off and land every 3 minutes. 

Tempelhof is now part of a masterplan, Tempelhofer Freiheit (Tempelhof Freedom). A proposition of residential and commercial sites with leisure and cultural amenities located around the edge of the park. The park is currently open and before I arrived I was expecting a barren landscape but was pleasantly surprised to see hoards of people enjoying the space around the airfield. Families having barbecues and picnics, kites being flown, people cycling and playing sports. People of different cultures and races now all re-appropriating a site that was once intended to represent the Nazi ideology. It is now a free public space for all to enjoy.

Templehof Terminal building from the airfield.

The once runway now park of Templehof.

Luggage loading bay.

Loading bay entrance.

Air raid shelter under Tempelhof.

Paintings inside the Air raid shelter.

Squash court located in the Basement

Squash court and entrance to air raid shelter.

Staircase inside one of the towers.
With the depths on Templeholf, under the services floors.

Above the main entrance hall.

Unfinished portion of the staircase.
Gymnasium for the USAF

USAF basketball team badge.

Bright shower.

USAF recreation area.

Once USAF bowling alley.

Main Entrance Hall.
Depths of Templehof.
Depths of Templehof.

Heating floor.

Heating floor.

Main entrance.
Tempelhof facade.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Support PAPER magazine and the Visualising Architecture exhibition

Our names are Samuel Michaelsson, Hugo Losman and Mandeep Singh. Together we are running the architecture journal 'PAPER magazine' (Platform for Architectural Projects, Essays & Research). It was founded in 2011 by us, while studying at the University of Westminster in London. So far we have published nine issues and a compilation of small pamphlets containing shorter essays about architecture as well as longer interviews with interesting people such as Iain Sinclair, Geoff Manaugh and RIBA bronze medal winnner Ness Lafoy.
PAPER magazine is also part of Elias Redstone's world touring 'Archizines' project and is currently being displayed in Shanghai. We are a non profit organisation run by young people with a background in architecture.
In the end of May we are putting together and curating an exhibition at Frilagret in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is called 'Visualising Architecture' and will display work by some of the most prominent visualisation artists and architects today, exhibiting a broad range of architectural representation and illustration. Listed below are the exhibitors: Peter Guthrie - architect and visualiser based in London and Sweden
MIR - visualisation firm from Bergen, Norway
Ness Lafoy - architecture graduate and winner of the RIBA bronze medal
Factory Fifteen - animation and film studio based in Brixton, London

To coincide with the exhibition we are also launching the next issue of PAPER, Visualising Architecture, which will also act as a catalogue for the exhibition. We have interviewed the above named artists for the catalogue and it will also feature essays and texts by the following contributors:

Johan Linton - Chalmers University
David Ottosson - Lunds University
Victoria Watson - University of Westminster

To make this edition of PAPER possible we are now looking for your help! 

You can show your support by donating on our crowdfunding website.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ruff, Rugged & Raw - An interview with RUFFMERCY

As part of an interview series exploring the relationship between design and music, PAPER have spoken to several artists whose work is heavily influenced or connected to music. First off is visual artist 'Ruff Mercy'. In the interview below we are discussing his background and breaking down his work methods and inspirations. This interview series will be featured in the forthcoming PAPER issue 'Music and Architecture', set to be released this autumn.


PAPER: What’s your background, how did you get into visuals and graphics?

RUFFMERCY: I have always been into art since I was small, and as I got older I discovered that I was pretty good at it (and not much else). I don't think it crossed my mind to do anything else, I just knew I wanted to follow that route. After school I went to university to study illustration, whilst there I dabbled in animation, mainly stop motion stuff.

P: How would you describe your style?

RM: RRR: Ruff, Rugged & Raw.

P: You’ve done some work for Ministry of Sound Australia, and electronic music seems like a fitting genre that is open to visuals accompanying the beats. Most of the work in your portfolio however are music videos for Hip hop artists, do you think that certain genres or musical styles translate into visuals better than others?

RM: I would love to make more videos for electronic artists, it's something I plan to do. I listen to that genre quite a lot and at the minute I play Shigeto almost once a week. I would love to work with him. The reason that I've done so many urban videos is because I've had a passion for Hip hop since I was 13 years old kid blasting Public Enemy's 'Yo! Bum Rush the Show'. I listen to a lot of different genres but Hip hop was the first one that hit me like 'POW' when I was young, and it stuck with me to this day. I didn't plan on doing mainly this genre but when you do one and you're lucky and people like it you get asked again and again. The first video I came out with as RUFFMERCY was for Blu x Flying Lotus, this was a perfect track for me. I loved the combination of Hip hop and Electronica. I'm drawn towards heavy tracks with that kind of energy.

Blu x Flying Lotus - BNG

P: In many of your videos you highlight certain words and phrases from the lyrics. In your video for ‘Numbers On The Boards’ (Book & Bronze Bloodsport Remix) by Pusha T for example, I find it interesting that some of the vocal samples in the beat appear alongside the lyrics. This way they play a part of the song in a way that they hadn’t if they weren’t visualised. It reminds me a bit of screwed and chopped music from Houston as well as Ghetto Tech from Detroit where elements in the music (lyrics usually) are repeated and chopped up so that they are imprinted into the listeners ears. I guess in a way you’re doing something similar but visually through graphics. What can great visuals add to a track in terms of depicting the mood and atmosphere of the beat and lyrics? (‘Blue Daisy presents Dahlia Black - Fuck A Rap Song’ for me is a great example of the visuals doing just this).

Blue Daisy presents Dahlia Black 'Fuck A Rap Song'

RM: Yeah, I love picking out the words from tracks that stand out to me. I love drawing them, as I'm always doodling words on my desk and napkins. The rise of the 'lyric video' however, has ruined that for me. I hate the idea of a lyric video (haha). Also, a lot of people have been trying to get me to stop writing lyrics in my videos which pisses me off. So I'll probably keep doing a little here and there, fuck 'em. Love your chopped and screwed analogy though. I never thought of that before, but yes, it's the same thing, tapping into the subconscious. I also love dropping in words not from the song, and even lyrics from other songs. Possibly the geeks and heads will see it and get the references.

P: When I first saw your visuals I thought of Basquiat in some respects. A lot of his work is covered in fragmented writing which gives the impression to have been painted almost effortlessly, similar to the way your graphics are depicted in the videos. I read in another interview that you never redo a line or a stroke but move on to the next frame, do you think that this way of working is vital to achieve the final result?

RM: It goes without saying that i'm a huge Basquiat fan. I didn't set out thinking 'yeah I love Basquiat, let me copy that', I saw an exhibition some 13 years ago and was blown away. I think his images have stuck with me since then and have definitely influenced my work. I don't know, I'm feeling like a cheap knock off right now. I think the main thing that I get from his work is seeing all the fragmented images and text together, it feels like seeing my brain on paper and also the looseness of it all. It's very graphical but oh so loose.. Can't beat it! 

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Yeah, I try to stick to that rule of not going back and correcting anything. I have broken that rule a couple of times but I have always been happier with the ones where I stuck to the rule. You ask whether it's vital to achieve the final result - I like to think that it is, but for me it's more important to feel loose and not so precious about it, that mistakes are okay. I have spent a lot of time in the past trying to be a perfectionist with work and I wanted to break away from that. I hope that the viewer feels the looseness but I reckon a lot of people (especially cell animators) probably think I'm a bit shit (haha).

P: When re-watching your videos I tend to pause and play every other frame to see the graphics as still images and to study them in detail. After I started an animation and 3D graphics course at college I began to really appreciate frames and understand how they finally become a sequence. The fact that every second in an animation is built up from 24 or 25 frames (depending on the format) is something that one rarely reflects over, but for you and many others in this field this is the reality in which you work. Still, in your creations, the fluidity and flow of the graphics is vital. How do you manage to keep the whole picture in mind whilst working at such a fragmented level?

RM: Ah, welcome to a world where 10 seconds can mean a day. I'm both lazy and hardworking. I'm lazy in the sense I can't be bothered to plan, yet I'm hardworking in the sense I'll sit for hours upon hours drawing. So how do I keep the whole picture in mind? With the hand drawn stuff I don't, I just draw what I feel that day till it's done.

House Shoes - Danny Brown

P: What other artists inspire you?

Right now I'm thinking: Basquiat, Keith Haring, Blu, Run The Jewels, David M Helman, Steve Pilling, Kaws, Cleon Peterson, Jason Jagel.

P: What makes the music video such an interesting platform for you to work with?

RM: Freedom, especially on the low budget ones, the ones where no one tells me what to do. They are my favourite and funnily enough, they seem to be the ones people like the most.

    P: Would you consider moving into a different format in the future, maybe a short film or something completely different?

    RM: Yes, I really want to make a mini series based around music. That's the goal, I'm just trying to find the time to do it. Watch this space!


    Ruffmercy was interviewed by Samuel Michaƫlsson.

    Have a look at RUFFMERCY's work on his website.

    Monday, 3 March 2014

    Visualising Architecture - call for papers

    On May the 24th the exhibition Visualising Architecture will be opening at Frilagret in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is organized by PAPER magazine and will exhibit a wide typology of architectural visualisation, exploring and analyzing the current climate.

    We have collected material from writers, students and tutors, as well as interviewed several leading artists in the field such as Peter Guthrie and RIBA bronze medal winner Ness Lafoy. This will all be featured in a publication that is to be sold in various architectural bookshops after the exhibition.

    There is still space for more contributions however, so if you are interested in architectural visualisation in any form: renders, models or drawings, please get in touch to be a part of the exhibition catalogue.

    Word limit is between 500-1500 words and the topic is architectural visualisation.

    Deadline for submissions are at end of March.

    Please email samuel.michaelsson@gmail.com if you're interested.


    Friday, 7 February 2014

    A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne

    If you haven't seen the films by Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne, please do watch them. The films explore and document the ever-changing nature of London over the span of nearly 10 years. The films are beautifully shot and accompanied by the music of Saint Etienne, they also explore film as a medium and music's role in how we perceive and remember spaces and places.

    Finisterre (2003)
    What Have You Done Today Mervin Day? (2005)
    This Is Tomorrow (2007)