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|>Happiness, a Five-
||Year Plan

|>Freedom to Sing to ||Oneself
|>The Swedish





Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus")

Or – we might add – one must sing. During 2012, Nu-institutet and TCG Nordica in Kunming, China, worked together in a project focusing on the topic of "freedom", which involved Chinese artists and filmmakers.


While working in Mariannelund 2010 with the project ”Den svenska friheten”, we heard about a Chinese artist, who during a performance wrote the Chinese sign for ”freedom” and then, by adding one stroke in a different color, altered the meaning slightly into denoting ”to sing to oneself”. Apparently, this is a common way in which certain words can be ”softened”.
We were inspired by this thought-provoking and poetic act. Two signs in one, which could be read as ”Freedom to sing to oneself”. At least that is how the story travelled from mouth to mouth and eventually was translated into a Swedish context. It answered very directly to one of the main questions we were working with at the moment, namely: How and for what do we use our freedom in a privileged Western country like Sweden? Are we all singing for and by ourselves, but nobody is there to listen?
It turned out that the performance we had heard about never had happened, yet it sparked off a one-year collaboration between Swedish and Chinese artists, which in turn inspired us to make a short fiction film: "Happiness, a Five-Year Plan".


As artists and organizations working independently and in relation to a public -as well as in relation to the public space - we whished to share methods, knowledge, insights and know-how about different modes of production. But also about the limits and limitlessness of the poetic and artistic act in relation to forces of internal and external control.The exchange between Nu-institutet and TCG Nordica aimed to inform and develop our respective practices, both as artists and organizations, and to share work with a wider audience.The formats used were discussions, lectures, workshops, event scores, performance, film, and public events, carried out in China and Sweden during a period of one year.
The project was supported by the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.


TCG Nordica started in April 2000 with the vision of "Stimulating reflection on Human Worth as
expressed in various Art Forms". It has quickly become one of Kunming’s foremost galleries and a
popular meeting-point for the city’s residents, particularly artists, intellectuals and students.
A great variety of people pass through the venue, which is in accordance with the vision of the
founders. Swedish and Chinese culture workers, Anna Mellergård and Wu Yuerong, realized they
shared a common dream based on their interests for art and culture, which was to create a place that
promotes greater knowledge of their respective cultures.
TCG Nordica is situated in a closed down factory area. They exhibit international contemporary art with
an emphasis on China and Scandinavia, and take pride in exhibiting an unusual and sometimes challenging
mix of exhibitions. Around 30 Chinese artists now have their studios at "the Loft" in the same building, and this contributes to a pulsating and creative atmosphere throughout the block.
Read more about TCG Nordica >>