Where are you going? How do you relate to the person next to you?

A smartphone in your hand can open up new worlds and connections, and also create isolated bubbles and segmented societies. In Next to You at Korsvägen, Hedemyr explores this paradox through an interactive walk where your choice of direction is crucial for the course of events. The work remixes the city's visions of Göteborg as a destination with quotes from Vilhelm Moberg's novel series The Emigrants, and facts about Korsvägen. A private mixed-reality situation where the experience of the place and the passers-by is intensified.
In which direction are you heading? Get ready!

OPNENING: 6 September 2017 as part of GIBCA Extended - Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art.

The work derives from Next to You, a concept and format for crossroads.

Watch the trailer:

Watch a reportage on the technical development, filmed during the open work in progress showing in August 2016 (a film by RISE Interactive):

A work by Marika Hedemyr

Concept, script, direction, and voice: Marika Hedemyr
Creative Technologist: Jacob Michelsen (RISE Interactive Göteborg)
Film: Maja Kekonius
3D Animation: Lena Trapp
Sound: Helena Persson
Project management and public relations: Vanessa Labañino, Jörgen Wade (Possibilitas)

Partners and co-producers:
Produced by: Marika Hedemyr Projects
Co-produced with: Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival
Created in collaboration with: RISE Interactive
Presented in collaboration with: GIBCA Extended, and Museum of World Culture
With support from: Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Region Västra Götaland, Gothenburg City, Kulturbryggan, Kultur i Väst, EspressoHouse

Premiere: 6 September 2017

Artistic startingpoints

This is a work in The Event Series, and I'm exploring a site-specific public work in the form of an app for smartphones, in order to explore the limits of performativity and the choreographic in relation to bodies and their actions. Also to examine how a public artwork can move the performative function from the performer to the user/audience, while still being a “mediating art object”. I'm interested in exploring how smartphones and Augmented Reality (AR) technology can be used to add layers to our present "here and now", and how these tools, which mostly are used for commercial activities, ca be tweaked and used for art.
In my work I explore how public art can open up and create alternative approaches between people and places in the public space. I believe the topic urgent and challenging because of on-going changes in urban public spaces in Northern Europe. The gentrification, regeneration and commercialization processes of urban city centres appropriate and use artistic methods, performative expressions, and cultural capital in their efforts to replace one (less wealthy) population with another (more wealthy) population. City centres are often constructed with consumer logic, where digital technology is mainly used for advertising, targeted ads and to give quick answers, not to raise questions, and where a performing body is most often read as an advertising event for a commercial product. Artists and artist-led venues and organisations are often forced out of urban city centres due to increased rents and prices.

To create performative public art at these locations is a challenging situation, both artistically and from a democratic and citizen-perspective. My approach is to go straight into these urban spaces, working with the complexity and tweak the performative and the digital technology into artistic expressions that can generate insights about alternative approaches. In Next to You at Korsvägen, I explore these issues and create the work together with Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, a non-profit research institute for IT and interaction design.
In other words, there are two areas of research that form the basis of this project:
1)    What can performative art in public space be, beyond the performer? I expand the concept of choreography by exploring how choreography, direction and dramaturgy is created in the "eyes of the beholder" as an embodied experience in public situations.
2)    What are the potentials of the intimate space of a smartphone user in a public place, as space for action, ethical negotiations and new forms of expressions? How can augmented and mixed reality technologies be used for expanded forms for how to “tell” a story and create situations of critical reflection?

— Marika Hedemyr

Documentation from the Process

Have a look at the images from the different steps in the process:

Public Sharing of Work in Progress August 2016

Public sharing of a work in progress version of Next To You, at Korsvägen created in residency of and presented at Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival 26 August 2016.
A reportage on the technical development, a film by RISE Interactive:

Workshop for PhD students May 2016

Creative workshop by Marika Hedemyr for PhD students of architecture and design in the European Traders program, at which they created their own mini-versions of Next to You at Korsvägen using iPods.

A Pilot created in January 2016

A first pilot version of the format was created for and presented at Göteborgs Kulturnatta January 23, 2016. It was presented as an "hybrid app", a new public artwork at Korsvägen− an app for smartphones − that with sound, stories, films and animations take you through Korsvägen in a different way.

Event Films, a pre-study 2015

A pre-study exploring augmented reality and film. Collaboration between Marika Hedemyr and filmmaker Maja Kekonius, funded by Kulturbryggan.