AltCom 2018 is now confirmed, and it will take place in Malmö August 23-26.
You won’t get much more info than that at this point, but we’re planning an overhaul of the website pretty soon. Meanwhile, you can check out what happened last time, at AltCom 2016. But there will be exhibitions, market, talks and international guests as usual, as well as a special collaboration with the TRAUMA noise festival. AND…
…there will be a festival anthology again this year. If you want to get started on your comics already, the deadline will be in April or May, the format will be 140x182mm, black/white and 5 pages/person (same as usual if you’ve participated before). You won’t get paid for contributing, but on the other hand no one will pay to get the book either since it will be given away for free during and after the festival.
We will publish a proper call for submissions pretty soon, so look for it here.
And so begin the preparations…
AltCom 2018 is arranged by Tusen Serier in cooperation with CBK, Wormgod, Noise Against Fascism and Panora, with support from Malmö Kulturstöd and Kulturrådet (so far). More will be revealed later… Main organiser is Mattias Elftorp.
Speaking of anthologies, CBK is right now looking for comics and texts for CBA vol 40 – worst case scenario which is planned to be released in time for AltCom. Check it out!
The AltCom experience of 2016 is over, as much as something like this is ever over, because when a festival like this is at its best, it lingers in your soul/mind/5D construct.
We actually managed to create this separate plane of existence. A space that is its own thing and when it’s over it’s like you’re going back home, even if you already live in the same city. And when I say “we”, I don’t mean me, I don’t mean the organizers or volonteers, I mean all of us who took part in it. The guests/exhibitors/musicians/visitors. The smokers and drinkers. The ones who woke up, went to the festival and stayed until they passed out or went home (sometimes when the morning sun had come out and the birds started singing, sometimes when the wine was over, sometimes when it was just the right time to go). The ones who arrived late at night, the ones who left early. This international family that’s made up of people you almost only meet in these liminal existences. These special relationships with people you meet a few times a year, in different parts of the world, that you consider to be friends even if you hardly know most of them in any deeper sense.
It started with the preparty sessions where a few of us sat down with some wine after putting up exhibitions, discussing anything from printing techniques to working conditions to drug culture to Pokémon Go to the effect the internet has on communication and on underground and zine culture. Then it all grew as the actual festival started. People meeting, inspiring each other, giving birth to new collaborations, extending invitations to future events, other worlds to visit in the future. An intersection of pasts, present and futures.
Many of us will meet again, because this part of the comics culture is borderless by nature and part of a network of recurring aquaintances, but we may never meet again in this exact same constellation of people.
And then there’s the story of the lost luggage that arrived just in time for the Saturday afterparty so we could complete the exhibition a few hours before it closed, the stolen items, the missed flight, the missing guest, like an offering to the god of Branquignole. Maybe the price to pay for everything else running more or less smoothly. Sleep was another casualty, but what are you gonna do?
So thank you to everyone who came, who let people stay in their homes, who participated, volunteered, carried tables, held talks/performances/workshops, who brought their art or simply their presence. For an AltCom festival that became something beyond the sum of its parts. Not unlike the language/artform of comics itself.
/Mattias Elftorp, 2016-08-02,
about to go into a 2 week coma
so you may not hear from me for a while.
Don´t take it personally, I love you all.
In the coming period, we will add some documentation to the site, like comics interpretations, photos, videos etc.
The festival anthology arrived from the printer yesterday!
It’s a 100 page book with comics relating to WORK by an assortment of international artists and it will be given away for free before, during and after the festival. Some of the featured artists will also be present at the festival.
The name AltCom is an abbreviation of Alternative Comics. To us, “alternative comics” means making and/or publishing comics that aren’t first and foremost commercially viable. It’s more important to do something that feels meaningful and interesting rather than something that will make you rich. This is why what you’ll find at the festival are smaller publishers and individual artists rather than the big commercial ones.
We also want to give visitors a chance to find new things, to experience what used to be alien or unknown. Because we don’t believe the myth that says you have to be afraid of what you don’t know. We don’t believe that everything needs to be familiar or safe to be appealing. Nor do we think that art (a term which of course includes comics) has to be appealing or adhere to “what people want”.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t find any comics creators whose works you’ve seen before. This is the fourth AltCom in its current form, and there’s something to be said for continuity as well as for innovation. So this year’s guests will be a mix of familiar and new faces.
All to make AltCom as meaningful and interesting as possible.
So we just came back from the CRACK! festival in Rome, which is more or less the hub/parent/sibling of the European(+) scene for underground/alternative/DIY/art comics & temporary art. The festival gathers hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors under the same roof, or actually in the tunnels under the same fort.
CRACK! is the great inspiration for AltCom and many others, even if the conditions very from country to country. For example, the squatting culture in Italy and Sweden are completely different. If you try to occupy an empty building to turn it into a social centre in Sweden, you will have to deal with a massive police assault on you almost directly. No such squat in Sweden has lasted more than a few months in recent years, and even that is extremely rare. It’s more likely that you will be back on the street within hours. Whereas Forte Prenestino (the social centre where CRACK! is held) celebrates its 30th anniversary as a squat this year.
On the other hand, Malmö is a friendly city and it’s possible to cooperate with a lot of venues (like Folkets Park, Panora, Mitt Möllan and others during the previous AltComs) without having to spend all of your budget just to find a place to have the festival’s exhibitions, comics market, etc.
On the other hand, Sweden is kind of expensive compared to other countries (though Malmö is cheap for Sweden), if not as expensive as Norway or Switzerland, so it comes with some other issues that we need to handle when organizing our event. We compensate by keeping as many parts as possible of the festival free of charge, like tables, entrance fees, festival anthology…
An important aspect of AltCom is that even if the comics fair is an important part of it, since it gives small press publishers and artists the opportunity to sell their books and the public the opportunity to buy them, we focus a lot on the social aspect.
That’s why we start the festival off with a two-day exhibition opening for several exhibitions at once, gathered in the same place. It creates a meeting ground for artists from different parts of the world, to show their stuff, to talk, to drink together and make new plans for the future, as well as meet a public that get the chance to experience something new.
The CRACK! festival is truly a seed for a future that may come, a seed that may be part of creating an atmosphere based on participation, mutual respect, creativity and boundless exchange. And that’s what we also try to be with AltCom, even if we are in Sweden and don’t have a huge squatted-since 30-years fort.