• Sweden edition
 
US envoy lights up Stockholm park with 'green' public art project

US envoy lights up Stockholm park with 'green' public art project

Published: 15 Feb 2011 12:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Feb 2011 12:42 GMT+01:00

While the recent blast of heavy February snow left many Swedes shaking their fists at the resurgent winter weather, the new blanket of fluffy white powder brings a smile to the face of US ambassador Matthew Barzun and his wife, Brooke.

As it turns out, the fresh snow makes for a perfect canvas on which to view a newly installed public art project designed to celebrate the Swedish winter in "A Different Kind of Light".

Consisting of a specially-created video art instillation by Brooklyn-based artist Chris Doyle entitled "The Underglow", the project is meant to show that the darkness of the Swedish winter can be a thing of beauty.

The installation, which features a 3D animation of mushrooms presented in three parts, each one representing a type of light, is a gift to the people of Stockholm from the Barzuns.

It will be projected from the US ambassador's residence on Nobelgatan onto the park below every morning and every evening until March 25th.

Ambassador Barzun was inspired to move ahead with the public art project as a way to heed the call of US president Barack Obama to increase and diversify US engagement in the world.

“I think engaging the next generation is so important,” Barzun tells The Local, before turning his thoughts to the recent youth-led revolution in Egypt.

“Look at Egypt today: 60 percent of people in Egypt are under the age of 30. So, they don’t remember America’s role in World War II. They have more recent memories and we need to engage with them and help them understand what we’re about as a country.”

Doyle chose to focus his work on mushrooms after visiting Sweden for the first time last September.

The recent removal of a diseased 150-year-old tree that was beloved by the ambassador and his family led Doyle to reflect on the fungi which sprout from death and decay. During subsequent dinner conversation he learned of Swedes’ love for mushrooms, allowing him to make connect his reflections to Sweden.

"In a way, this piece is more about my experience of this place," Doyle says.

"So, whether or not it’s successful on the level that people recognize it and think, 'That’s so Swedish', for me, it represents my experience of Sweden."

The first part of Doyle's work depicts bright green bioluminescent mushrooms, which are thought to have been used by Swedes in medieval times to guide them through the long winter.

The second depicts red mushrooms that resemble glowing fire embers, and the third depicts poisonous amanita mushrooms, whose white dots become stars in the video.

“I sort of thought of the embers, the stars, and the bioluminescence as three ways of lighting up the winter,” Doyle explains.

Doyle also said he hopes that viewers who stumble upon the work will experience an unexpected “shiver of magic” in their day.

The focus of Doyle’s work on subjects that are able to create energy from the earth (as mushrooms don’t grow through photosynthesis) also serves as a step by connecting to President Obama’s goal of “trying to save the climate, create new jobs and clean energy,” the ambassador said.

The Barzuns have also made some strides themselves in implementing climate-friendly measures, recently converting the heating in the ambassador's residence from gas to geothermal.

In addition, the electricity used to project “The Underglow” from the residence is 95 percent hydro-powered and 5 percent wind-powered, the ambassador explains.

In unveiling the public art project, Barzun describes his recent realization of the “power of art to start new conversations and to start new ways of thinking.”

“That’s what President Obama has charged us and all of us as American diplomats [to do] – to engage with the world, to start new conversations to tackle the challenges we confront,” says Barzun.

He hopes that Stockholm residents would ultimately take two things away from viewing "The Underglow":

"One, I hope that they will appreciate it as a gesture of thanks to the people of Stockholm and of Sweden, who have been so welcoming to Americans for 200-plus years of our official relationship," he says.

Secondly, the ambassador wants the presentation of Doyle’s work to mark the “beginning of new conversations” about the ways in which Sweden and America “can have a more sustainable future together.”

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
The view of Kebnekaise's southern peak, soon to be the second highest peak in the country. Photo: Stockholm University

Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year

Mount Kebnekaise's southern peak will no longer be the highest point in Sweden by 2015, researchers predicted on Thursday, adding that the change will spell a major blow for tourism in the region. READ  

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different economical situations of families as one reason for the change. READ  

Presented by Stockholm Business Region
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Many consider Sweden a pretty safe place to live, but what if an icicle pierces your little toe or a ray of midnight sun sets fire to your kettle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered when it comes to sorting out insurance in Sweden. READ  

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
The cast of The Cold Swedish Winter.

Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show

The Local chats to UK funnyman Danny Robins about his new radio show The Cold Swedish Winter, which is making waves on BBC radio. He talks elk, moose, and what it means to be a Swedophile. READ  

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages
Peanut photo Shutterstock

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit. READ  

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door
Flag photo: Shutterstock

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door

Who said there were hard feelings between the oft-confused Swiss and Swedes? A new survey shows that Swiss people would rather have the land of Abba as their neighbour over anyone else in the EU. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: TT

What's On in Sweden

Plenty of events around Sweden to get your teeth into this weekend, with Sunday capped off with a free visual-music concert in central Stockholm. READ  

Elections 2014
Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls
The Allliance party leaders. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls

While the gap between the red-greens and the Alliance is decreasing, the opposition is still far ahead, scoring 48.8 percent of support in a fresh poll. The Alliance came in at 37.7 percent. READ  

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait
Striker Magnus Eriksson sprints onto the pitch at the end of Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait

Malmö overpowered Salzburg on Wednesday night to become the first Swedish team to reach the Champions League since 2000. READ  

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony
Queen Silvia. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony

Members of Sweden's royal family have revealed that they boycotted the Polar Music Prize ceremony on Tuesday, due to Chuck Berry's past conviction for human trafficking. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

744
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se