The Beauty of Collectivism
Being an American immigrant to Sweden, I’ve had to adjust, at times grudgingly, to an entirely different paradigm in how to live life in a community. Sweden’s collectivism has always been a challenge to my self-governing sensibilities even when I encounter the positives involved in the system.
Housewives and Laundry
Recently I discovered through the Swedish Nobel Committee the short stories of Canadian author Alice Munro. She wrote her works from the washroom while doing the duties of a traditional housewife. This turned my attention to a place that was the ordinary setting of her writing, the mundane place that is a typical part of collective Swedish living.
The laundry room gets booked by those who live here day in and day out. Occasionally I discover an angry letter on the door from someone to someone else about how they didn’t clean up after themselves on the night of X, Y or Z. Occasionally we find clothes left in the wash when it’s or time to begin. I deal with it.
I had always viewed this collective space as the place of washers and driers, and of notice boards and random encounters with neighbors. It occurred to me that this room housed a great majority of other things functionally unrelated to washing and drying. The pipes, cables, meters, tubes and valves that extend into each and every apartment all led here. This was a convergence. This was a node. This was the meeting place of strangers, both personally and via infrastructure.
About the Series
This series of 20 images captures those elements of the laundry room that have little or nothing to do with laundry. These are the pipes, the wires, the mechanics behind a building and its dwellers. In all cases I have left the images as is, excepting that I have added the beautiful VSCOcam filter B2, to capture the wonderful but strong light of this white room.
The series encompasses for me a new perspective on how a certain Scandinavian people live and live with.
My VSCO grid
You can see these images and the rest of my VSCO grid here: mobilography.vsco.co.