Off the grid

University dissertation from University of Gothenburg

Abstract: Off the grid is an artistic research thesis which puts a Swedish housing estate in a video interview dialogue with homeowners in the Northeastern US through focusing on three topics: travel, self-definition, and community. Based on the situated, visual and conceptual image the project merges seemingly incompatible experiences: eight residents in Husby, an immigrant community outside Stockholm, and eight households not connected to the utility grid, in upstate areas of New England and New York State – and two artistic researchers at University of Gothenburg. The interviewees are paired together and handed unedited copies of each other’s reflections. We asked them for their comments, elucidating the practical and metaphorical consequences of travel, self-definition, and community. Even though backgrounds, stories and current conditions differ, an understanding of common interests and similarities are clearly identified. Among the three questions discussed the right to self-definition stands out as central: it is opposed, delayed in its implementation, violated or threatened – still, all participants individually and/or collectively struggle to uphold it. In thinking with the visual and conceptual image Off the grid also offers new perspectives on the significance of artistic research, contributing to its further contextualization.

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