Archive of the Average Swede

$12 / $10 for current subscribers

Softcover, 64 pp., 5 x 7.5 inches

Inspired by literary precedents such as automatic writing, by the resourcefulness of the bricoleur making do with what is at hand, and by the openness toward chance that all artistic production under severe constraint must necessarily incorporate, Cabinet’s “24-Hour Book” series invites distinguished authors and artists to be incarcerated in an unfamiliar space to complete a project from start to finish within twenty-four hours.

The fourth volume in the series, Fabian Kastner’s Archive of the Average Swede considers a project initiated by Sweden’s National Archive in the early 1980s designed to fully record the life of a typical citizen. The archive’s subject was a randomly selected government worker, at the time an employee of Stockholm’s municipal bus service, who agreed to begin donating his personal papers to the collection. The man, however, turned out to be a very different figure than what the archive had hoped for. Adrift in a society undergoing fundamental transformations, the “average Swede” slowly descended over the years into bitter derangement, overwhelming the institution with masses of indiscriminate materials that the archivists were finally forced to refuse.

This book, a collaboration between Cabinet and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, was commissioned on the occasion of Bonniers’s exhibition “Insomnia” (24 September 2016–22 January 2017), and was composed as the show’s closing event.

A few sample images from the book are available here.

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