An architectural exploration of four geometrical shapes. The triangle, rectangle and the Pentagon that is cut in to a circle. They are forming a calm space in a busy city environment. The triangel is above ground among trees, the pentagon is blow ground under a pond that is visible in the ceiling and the rectangle is acting as the entry point.
The drawing is done on MDF board with a layering methodology for the exploration over a period of 3 months time.
November is cold and wet, it has not become a white and frozen beauty. At this time of the year it’s hard to find energy.
An architectural exploration of the of Dziga Vertov in the film Man with a Movie Camera that resulted in three concept models. The main model emphasis the heaviness of this camera in combination with his own agile and balancing movements in the industrializing Russia of 1929.
Imagery from a frost beaten landscape. The nature form abstract pattern when the new fallen snow barely covers the ground.
Per is out and sailing, try to find the joy of life.
I was following Per Eriksson during one of the legs of his trip across Baltic sea during 2013. During some days in September we sailed from Åbo to Mariehamn in Åland, the last day it was storm and the wind reached 19 m/s.
Morgan has taking care of the STF (Swedish Tourist Association) arctic shelter Syter outside Hemhavan i Sweden for 25 years.
After a day of travel through Rwanda over the mountains to Burundi the plains surrounding Bujumbura opened out before us. High up in the mountains it was cold and rainy but on the plains the nice central African weather met us. The light was intense, the temperature was about 30 degrees centigrade and the air was dry. It was late afternoon as we entered Bujumbura.
I was visiting a friend who was an aid worker in Tanzania. I had joined him on a trip to Rwanda and Burundi for about two weeks. This was a golden moment to get close to the central African culture as we were travelling alongside Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Burundi.
Three years earlier in 2005 the civil war in Burundi had ended. Over 300 000 were killed in the twelve-year long conflict. The conflict had the same origin as that in Rwanda, between the two ethnic groups Tutsi and Hutu. In Rwanda that ended up in a genocide. Hundred of thousands of machete equipped Hutus had slaughtered over 800 000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu men, women, elderly and children in less than 3 months. Would that be an open wound in the society or would life go on as usual?
Everything can be carried on your head. In a land where buses and cars are something you use as a last resort when it's not possible to walk yourself, everything is carried in your hands or on your head. The later is the only way to carry these heavy things without being worn out.
All these people are merchants carrying goods in and out, from left and right. They are crossing streets, loading cars and trucks, emptying small minivans and there seems to be no end to the work. From the air it probably would look like an ant colony.
In a market like this one in Bujumbura there are no big brands or stores. Everything is on a very small scale: the largest market stands are just a few square metres. But a lot of the goods are not for sale in Bujumbura and will be rerouted out to the countryside after changing owners at the market in Bujumbura.
The market itself is under a huge roof, about 15 metres high and 100 metres along each side. Inside there are endless small alleys, most of them less than one metre wide. There is no other way than to carry the goods in your hand or on your head, if you want to get them out of the market.
There are very few bags or dedicated carrying equipment. Almost everything is carried in its original box, simple plastic bags or is wrapped with some cloth and held together with small strings.
Business as usual
Trade and markets are the economic nerve centre for all cultures. Some goods were only available to buy during some parts of the day and other goods were available almost 24-7. In the beginning I had some problems to find where things were sold. There were no signs and if there were any signs they were probably be in Swahili. But there was a hidden system. Fresh food was outside and everything else was kept inside. Almost all the businessmen and women were working in clusters. Fabrics were sold in one place and seed in another. It is very simple when you see the pattern behind the chaos.
Muzungo, Muzungo, MUZUNGO!!!
I have never felt so white as I did on my first day at the market in Bujumbura. Muzungo means “white guy”. It can be said in a friendly way or it can be quite aggressive. In any case it's hard to ignore. You automatically turn your head and then everybody shouts Muzungo after you. This was very refreshing and I'm sure that after being called Muzungo constantly for a couple of days, I will never call anybody anything else but their name.
In the word Muzungo, there is a whole palette of associations. Morgan C. explains it like this:
The Rwandans didn’t always call white people "Muzungo". Back when the Germans were the colonisers, they were called German. The French were the French. Et cetera.
But after World War I, when the Belgians came to take over the territory from the Germans, they were called Abazungu, not Belgians.
Because the verb that Muzungu and Abazungu come from is “kuzungura,” which means “to replace, to take over”. … [Nowadays all western people are called Muzungo].
There are no free meals
In Burundi you have to take care of yourself and those close to you. Building social networks is important. There is practically no social welfare system at all; you must work to stay alive. The people from Africa I travelled with ignored beggars. They felt sorry for them but were not interested in helping anybody who did not work for their food.
Actually it was quite seldom I met beggars. In Burundi there is always a job to do, even if it is not so well paid. There is no limit to how little you can earn, therefore almost everybody works in one or other way.
When I had been walking the same streets for a couple of days I found people who sat or stood on the same spot everyday. The woman sitting on a simple chair or the man standing at the crossroads with a white shirt and newly polished shoes. What are they doing? They are of course working; opening a gate or having an exchange office in their pocket.
Some of my friends were really worried when I told them that I was going to Rwanda and Burundi. From a Western view of point there is no more dangerous thing to do, outside of visiting a war zone, than visiting black Africa. I don't know what makes them so afraid. Perhaps it is the brutal genocide in 1993 or the fact that all the European colonial powers were forced out of Africa in the 20th century.
It's true that many awful things have happened in Africa and often it has some connection with history and the old Europe. But the dreams of the young and the elder in Burundi are more or less the same as I have: to fall in love, get an education, have a good job, have fun with your friends etc. The young people I met in Burundi lived a life quite similar to my life in Sweden, with the exception of our relative economic wealth.
History connects European culture with African culture. It's easy to adopt and like Africa; a laugh is never far away.
My key to Africa
Per Eriksson was my key to Africa. He opened doors and let me enjoy his network in Africa. 2008 was his last year as the Swedish Temperance movement’s project manager in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I visited him just a few weeks before he went home to Sweden.
Per, Thank You!