”I´m an artist, producer, maker, artist coach and a vanlifer. I find value in the meeting between people, in the work of putting up a fight against that which is unfair, helping others to find their own creativity and belief in themselves. My work always focuses on things like that. Remodeling an old van into a home on wheels serves double purposes, both living quarters when I’m out working at festivals and a fun project towards being self-sufficient. That, the work as a festival organizer and making sculptural art mixed with a bit of digital technology are my means to tell a story.”
Peter Gahnström is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Bachelor in Culture and Media production at Linköpings University. 13 years experience in event managment and project leadership in culture productions. Former productions include NMM, Öland Roots and Makers of Norrköping. Currently working part time as a coach and project manager at Transit Kulturinkubator.
Available for talks and presentations on topics ranging from the own artistry to organization and co-designing processes. See BOOKING/SUPPORT for more information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
I´ve been creating things to match a specific need of aesthetics or space since I started as a festival organizer in 2006. As events like this are built to stand for around a week or so, it always becomes something different and new each year. You learn and adapt, a process I like and have honed over the years.
Since 2018 I have been calling myself an artist just because others started to do it. I have no formal artistic education other than being self taught so before that I simply called myself a maker, creator or do-it-yourselfer.
Since the days of the festival New Media Meeting I have been around people that took matters into their own hands. Artists, researchers, makers and others. When I saw people think of ways to make it happen in spans between showing feelings over the internet, projecting artwork outside on buildings to growing plants with music I needed to do the same. Every wierd idea that came to mind needed to be tested. Every piece of knowledge needed to be acquired and shared.
When Youtube got big on creators making things and showing them off I devoured it and still do. Their passion and strife inspires me to do the same. In my own way.
Early on in my career I was a producer for the grand opening of Visualiseringscenter C i Norrköping, managing both the content and the production of the event. There I met some of the artists behind the VJ-label Anti-VJ Joani Lemercier and Romain Tardy which did a projection mapping of the whole facade of the center. They showed me how they worked, which tools to use and we had discussions about inspiration. That period in my life led me into making my own artwork with the technique.
Later on I found Simone Gierts, Laura Kampf, Bob from I like to make stuff and others over Youtube. Makers, artists and creators from all around the globe that just did things, recorded it and uploaded it to Youtube. It gave me the guts to try myself.
In 2018 I visited Louisiana in Denmark, an art museum, and fell in love with the works of William Kentridge. He combined the things I do as an artist at festivals, making sculptures or furniture with a twist with projections. Also capturing a story using a different why of telling it. It blew my mind.
As I am based in Stockholm, a city that has one of the highest number of people moving into it in the world, I got really upset hearing decision makers and politicians say you needed to be willing to make a “housing carrer” to get a place to stay. It means that you must flip houses and apartments to be able to afford living in the city. Why not just build housing that people can afford and enough of them I asked myself, is that not a better solution to the problem? We should only the rich be able to live here? At that time I was working at a university and had a good pay-check but not even I could afford an apartment in Stockholm, so who could?
Based on these questions I made the ar piece “Bostadskarriär”, a series of 10 scupltures in a birdhouse size with the architectural style of different areas and buildings. Both rich and poor. They are interactive as they speak to the audience when they pass them by, citing quotes of politicians and decision makers on the subject.
This art piece is still topical today as the situation has not been resolved, rather it has become worse. Now people of power talk about artists creating gentrification as a good thing, make artists increase the worth of the city to a point where they themselves can’t even live there anymore. And believes we will fall for it, it’s absurd.
Nowaday that has developed into my passion for vanlife. Remodeling an old truck into a home on wheels. This serves double purposes, both living quarters when I’m out working at festivals but also as a protest to the system. Trying to make myself self-sufficient as much as I can.
One of the most fulfilling things in my line of work is the day before and just as we open the doors to the festival Öland Roots. After nearly a year of planning and discussing, building up hopes and killing your darlings the day is finally here and everything you have made meets the audience. It all becomes worth it when you see them happy, participating, interacting and showing care to each other and the space.
In line with that is when I talk about my work either as a lecturer or as a workshop leader and you see that it makes sense to people. They start asking questions and give their point of view on things, that’s magic. Also when I can support other artists in their processes with my knowledge or help them in struggles by being there as a co-worker of sorts in my work at Transit Kulturinkubator. I felt the same when I was working as a Innovation adviser for students and researchers at Linköpings University, a sense of purpose which is hard to beat. I love being able to help others out and contribute to the collective. I find value in the meeting between people, in the work of putting up a fight against that which is unfair, helping others to find their own creativity and belief in themselves. My work always focuses on things like that. If something is wrong, say it or make art about it. We all have the right to do it and can do it. You just need to find your own way of doing it and in the process fight the urge of thinking “this isn’t good enough”. Everything is a process to something else, we build on the experience before this one, things evolve and take new routes.
No one was good at riding a bicycle the first time so what makes you think you will be good at any other thing the first time? Failing and learning is key in life, grown people have just forgotten that. I want people to have patience and trust in what they do and also to stick it to the man!