In Purple
18 jul - 21 jul

In Purple


A film by Johanna Billing with Mix Dancers 12,00 min/loop, HD, 2019

(English version below)

I snart tre års tid har konstnären Johanna Billing samarbetat med Mix Dancers från Råslätt, Jönköping.
Mix Dancers är en självorganiserad dansgrupp som också driver en egen dansskola, Mix Dancers Academy, för unga tjejer och barn. Mix Dancers är idag en av de mest aktiva dansgrupperna i Jönköping och fungerar som förebilder och mentorer i sitt lokalsamhälle för hundratals barn och unga. Dansgruppen och dansskolan drivs helt med ideella krafter och utan anpassade eller egna lokaler.

Råslätt är ritat av arkitekten Lars Stalin och uppfört i stora betongblock mellan 1967-1962. Stadsdelen är byggd kring ett centrum med skolor, idrottsplatser, en kyrka och andra offentliga institutioner och var en del av miljonprogrammet. Likt många andra stadsdelar från samma tid har man i det offentliga rummet gynnat typiskt manliga aktiviteter och utrymme för till exempel dans prioriterades inte i stadsplaneringen.

I “In Purple” gestaltas bristen på utrymme i det offentliga rummet för kvinnor och tjejer och hur kunskapen och arbetet i gruppen förs vidare, från de äldre deltagarna till de yngre. De stora, lila och tunga fönsterglasskivorna som dansarna bär på och lämnar över till varandra får symbolisera hur stark men också hur skör och sårbar en självorganiserad grupp kan vara.

Johanna Billing är född 1973 i Jönköping och har egna erfarenheter av att försöka arrangera egna kulturella plattformar i en kommun där utbudet är begränsat. 

Musiken i koreografin är skapad i samarbete med Neva Deelay.

Producerad av Statens konstråd inom ramen för regeringssatsningen Konst händer. Samarbetsparter: Mix Dancers och  Jönköpings kommun/ Stadsgården.

”In Purple” is a public art commission that stems from the activities of Mix Dancers, a group of self-organised women who for 12 years have run a hip-hop/afro and dancehall dance group and accompanying dance school, the Mix Dancers Academy for young women and girls. The group is based in Råslätt, Jönköping.

This area is notable for its buildings constructed in concrete blocks by architect Lars Stalin built between 1967–72 that were part of the ambitious million home public programme. Råslätt was built around a centre, comprising schools, sports fields, a church and other public services informed by the then radical thinking around the function and needs of neighbourhoods. Like many other estates of the time, a majority of outdoor spaces have favoured male activity and presence. Dance is here a mix of sport, leisure activity and cultural expression whose target group were never taken into account in the sporting arenas in the original urban plans from the 60s and 70s.
Mix Dancers are today powerful members and role models of their community serving hundreds of children with dance lessons and something to do. The school is still being run on a voluntary basis from a rented basement whilst local politicians and media have seized upon the group as a perfect example of a self-organised initiative.
In a physically demanding and choreographed parade the group move slowly through the housing area’s pedestrian paths and greenery, accompanied by the sound of a lawnmower, birds and maintenance vehicles, collectively carrying a number of large heavy sheets of purple coloured glass. They pause between movements, shifting step by step. A small mistake could cost them the panes of glass. The window glass reflects and echoes the pink, green and purple from the surrounding concrete facades made by artists Jon Pärson and Lennart Joanson, who in the 1980s painted 80 000 square metres of building surface to soften or humanise the brutalist architecture. The lens of the camera places everything on an equal footing; gesture, environment, sound, movement and architectural motifs are weaved into one experience.
The film project came out of a several year-long collaborative process between the group and the artist. It looked to incorporate the views, hopes and concerns about the future of Mix Dancers’ platform, as well as their choreography, interest in music and video production and narrative agency in visual appearance and media. Having grown up in the same city, Jönköping, and with a background in dance and music, Billing shared experiences of trying to establish alternative platforms where cultural initiatives have little or no investment. All these aspects shaped and informed the public performance to raise questions around precarious working conditions for non-profit organisations and associations in the area. The group harnessed the colour purple and glass as a leitmotif to speak of the complexity and vulnerability of Mix Dancers’ invisible position within this place, the purple paint of their windowless basement walls, their lives, and the responsibility of ‘passing on’ their role to the young women and teenage girls who will eventually need to take over as teachers and leaders when they leave for other paid jobs. The physical act of handing over weighty panes of glass embodies the burden of expectation placed on young shoulders, questioning the continued workload and voluntary labour through successive generations.
The work was commissioned by the Public Art Agency in Sweden within the framework of the government initiative Art is Happening. Music for Mix Dancers choreography was produced in collaboration with Swedish musician and producer Neva Deelay.

A film by Johanna Billing with Mix Dancers. Featuring Mix Dancers and Flavours Crew: Samantha Akdogan, Sibel Akdogan, Mashail Hussein, Lea Tesfagabir, Sabrina Akdogan, Julia Saydi, Louise Chung, Emelie Orskarsson and Carmen Chamoun Costume and Choreography: Mix Dancers Music for Mix Dancers’s Choreography: Dilje Özlem Yigitbas/ Neva Deelay, additional soundtrack recordings by Carla Jo Director of Photography: Camilla Topuntoli Second Camera Operator: Patrik Johansson Additional Photography: Henry Moore Selder Edited by: Johanna Billing Sound: Peter Adolfsson Still Photography: Jenny Lindberg Sound Mix: Henrik Sunbring, Helter Skelter Grading: Max Strömberg, VFX: Peter Marin, Swiss international Graphic Design: Leo Denis Norgren Filmproduction: HER film Produced by: Public Art Agency Sweden (within the framework of the government initiative Art is Happening) Partners: Mix Dancers, the municipality of Jönköping/ Stadsgården, Sweden Curated by: Marti Manen Project Co-ordination: Emma Engström, Public Art Agency Sweden and Hugo Ranerås and Filip Zezovski Lind, the municipality of Jönköping Special thanks: Stadsgården, Vätterhem, Rose Akdogan, Edin Benyamin, Jenifer Umatino, Gabriella Mourad, Olivia Yeboha, Johanna Linder, Lasses Glas, Taberg, Malin Hüber, Tor Lindstrand and Hannah Reinikainen

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