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Perspective. We all have it and we all need it. Our scope can be both narrow and wide. Joakim Sjunnesson reflects upon the meaning of this word through art and why art can help us get wiser.

3 min read

Imagining the future through an unquestionably progressive lens. Building a retro fantasy through a mish mash of nostalgic all-time-favourites or to live mindful in the “now”. None of these approaches are sufficient in itself in tackling the day to day problems and questions of our existences. We need to combine elements of them all to construct a kind of pragmatic coolness, a stance and practice we gain through experience. What we call wiseness. To have perspective usually means to cope, think and live less anxiously, more constructively and most of all more openly. 

Excellent ways of working with yourself in this ongoing process of getting wiser are to... TA DA!... engage in art activities. These past weeks I have seen the current Ai Weiwei exhibition at newly opened Galerie Forsblom on Karlavägen and seen the band The xx at Hovet. Both gave me reasons and opportunities to learn, to question and to feel. 

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei creates beauty through his politically anarchistic, morally sharp and historically poignant installations, photos and sculptures. A reminder of a fight for global freedom through proper crafting. The grand scheme of things. The exquisite curation leaved a memorable impression on me. I got inspired to create, to take action and the importance of a historical understanding of the world. 

The xx created an equally important experience. The introspective hymns of these young and beautiful trio really did it for me emotionally. Being a fan for years I enjoy the way The xx communicate their dark romantic love songs straight to my sensitive core. They capture me. The stage featured excellent aesthetics with the band being dressed in their slick all black silhouettes standing in front of slowly turning huge mirrors and bright lights. The effects created a wonderful kaleidoscope where we in the audience could see ourselves reflected on stage. The way Romey Madley Croft and Oliver Sim talked to the audience in between songs filled me with joy. Their apparent thankfulness and gratitude to the overwhelming reception, despite their large success worldwide, humbled me. The current tour (and album) is called “I See You”. It felt like they saw me like I saw them.

In my own process of constantly learning to live I tend to take the longer view of things. This comes from partaking in activities such as these. It helps me compare, weigh and measure my feelings and thoughts. Art in all forms gives you opportunities to open up. It provides a toolkit. If you try and understand what you experience you might be a better person. You can tighten loose screws in your head and soul. 

It doesn’t matter if the art is awful or great - you’ll most certainly learn something about yourself and the world anyway. It helps you live. It gives you perspective.