Skip to content
Open today: 12-17
Free admission
Main menu hidden.

Elin Wikström / Half Being, Half Flow

2005-02-27 to 2005-04-24

In her work Half Being, Half Flow, artist Elin Wikström has reflected on the global market and the relationship between those who buy clothes at H&M here in the West and those who make them in Cambodia. The exhibition includes video documentation. A group of upper secondary school students will be involved in both the exhibition and related activities.

Wikström often works with constructed situations, primarily investigating social and economic systems and conventions, as well as issues relating to consumption, solidarity and power. The Half Being, Half Flow project, featuring material from Cambodia, Germany and Sweden, highlights both production and consumer perceptions of the clothing giant H&M.

Elin Wikström is one of Sweden’s most internationally exhibited artists, and is a professor at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts at Umeå University. In Half Being, Half Flow (part 1, sequences I–IV), she collaborates with people from Bremen in Germany and Phnom Penh in Cambodia:

“These individuals have no historical, geographical, religious, linguistic or environmental connections,” she explains. “What they all have in common is their association with the same company: H&M. People from both cities answer questions about their life situation and their future dreams, jobs or studies.”

Wikström interviews customers entering and leaving H&M stores in Bremen in the first part of the work (sequence 1), and textile workers in Phnom Penh entering and leaving factories that produce clothing for H&M (sequence 2). Participants in the project also have the opportunity to react to each other’s interviews, and to discuss ethics and values within the clothing and lifestyle industry with specially invited guests.

Bildmuseet also presents the second part of the work, Half Being, Half Flow (part 2, sequences V–VIII), with video documentation from Bremen and Phnom Penh. The exhibition space can be used by visitors as an open archive and a discussion forum. The exhibition and the archive are an ongoing process, and activities will take place during the exhibition period, including outside Bildmuseet. These activities will subsequently be documented and presented. Questions will be asked, such as: What are the responsibilities of various actors within the global production and consumption community? How do ethics relate to clothing, fashion and consumption?

Upper secondary school students have been invited to the exhibition to comment on the theme. Other events include a do-it-yourself T-shirt competition and a clothing swap day.

The first part of Half Being, Half Flow has been produced in collaboration with the Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst in Bremen. The second part has been produced by Bildmuseet in collaboration with Umeå Academy of Fine Arts. The entire project has been carried out with support from the Swedish Research Council.