Radovan Popović made this comic during the festival, out of pure inspiration. It felt like a good description. Feel free to (literally) draw your own conclusions:
[Click images for bigger/sharper version]
Here’s the entire program for AltCom 2016:
Friday, July 29
@ Panora (films/exhibition opening):
1430-18 Knut Larsson – Aniara
15-18 Film program
@ Mitt Möllan (exhibition openings – day 2):
17-23 the exhibitions’ opening party continues
20(?) 3ZB [Malmö] (LIVE MUSIC)
21(?) Feberdröm [Göteborg/Bergen] (LIVE MUSIC)
And at all events, you will find the free AltCom 2016: WORK anthology!
This is the program for talks and workshops at this year’s AltCom:
SATURDAY (@ Moriskan in Folkets Park)
1500 – Tonina Matamalas/Projecte Úter: poster storytelling/presentation
1600 – Stripburger: presentation
1700 – Frances Tuuloskorpi: Gråt eller strid – Om arbetsplatskamp
SUNDAY (@ Moriskan in Folkets Park)
1500 – Taija Jyrkäs: Oulu Comics
1600 – Rakel Stammer: Art & activism1700 – Underlandet: Visuella dagböcker – en utflykt till Underlandets kreativa observatorium (starring Lynda Barry)! (workshop)
1800 – Amalia Alvarez & Bellas libres y locas: teater/presentation om Fem historier om prostituerande
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.
This seed is already bearing fruit. Weeds are cropping up in various places taking different forms, such as:
AFA (Autoproduzioni Fichissime Anderground) Milano (ITA)
Combat Comics Livorno (ITA)
Ratatà Macerata (ITA)
Ca.Co.FEST Bari (ITA)
BORDA Fest – Produzioni Sotterranee Lucca (ITA)
PICS Pescara Intergalactic Comics Show Pescara (ITA)
F.OFF Angoulême (FRA)
Tenderete Valencia (ESP)
Gutter Fest Barcelona (ESP)
Vendetta Marseille (FRA)
PRINTNOIZE Berlin (GER)
Ohoho Festival Zagreb (CRO)
NOVO DOBA Beograd (SRB)
ŠKVER! Art Project Mali Lošinj (CRO)
Fijuk network (Balkans/International)
and of course AltCom and probably many more…
Things are taking their shape, slowly growing into something resembling what was planned from the beginning…
Here’s the Facebook event!
The AltCom 2016 festival is organised by Tusen Serier & CBK and will take place in Malmö, July 28-31.
WHAT: AltCom 2016: WORK – international comics festival for alternative/underground comix
WHEN: July 28-31 of 2016
WHERE: Malmö, in the dirty south of Sweden, at The Hybrid and neighboring spaces in Mitt Möllan + Folkets Park
WHY: Because YOU deserve it, you smokers and drinkers
The guest list isn’t complete yet, the exhibitions aren’t all confirmed, but we have the venues (various spaces at Mitt Möllan & Folkets Park) and lots of plans.
In a number of exhibitions, a free anthology (thanks to our Kickstarter supporters) and a comics fair with a mix of international and local comics creators, we explore this year’s theme:
We sell our time, we sell great portions of our lives and how much we are worth seems to differ a lot depending on whom we sell ourselves to, on the work environment and what kind of tasks we have. We are often cheaper the more our work tears down our bodies. Also often depending on who we are, where we come from, etc.
Some work with owning and administering capital and means of production. Others work with cleaning their offices. Some of us work in cooperatives, others in large or small corporations. Some are run their own companies because of their entrepreneurial spirit, others because they have to to get jobs in their line of work. Some are making phone calls, bothering people, and it’s permitted and encouraged only because it’s a job. If you’d do it on your own time it wouldn’t be ok.
And some don’t have a “real” job but do other things, like selling sex, begging, selling drugs. Jobs that don’t count as jobs but follow the same basic rule: you sell goods or services for money, or you satisfy the customers’ view of what you are (the image of the whore, the image of the poor). There is also danger involved; the risk of being subjected to violence both from the people you deal with at work and from the police, the ones whose job it is to protect (some of) us.
And then we have Phase 3 (Swedish measure for long-term unemployed), where employers often receive more money than the ones selling their work through institutionalized coercion. Where people are expected to work for someone who doesn’t provide a real salary. In a way, but not at all, like the slaves who harvest the cocoa, the coffee or the diamonds that we happily consume, pretending that there’s no cost in human blood.
And there is the unpaid work that’s performed on equal terms, where everyone works for free for something they believe in, where money is not the driving force.
What is your work? How is it organized? Who gets the profits? How much of your time is spent on work? Does a job have to be so much work? What can you do to improve the situation at your workplace? Thoughts to think of, questions to answer…
Maybe you will find some answers in the festival anthology, at the exhibitions or at the comics market during AltCom 2016, the fourth edition of Malmo’s underground comics festival.
AltCom 2016, with support from
and the lovely Kickstarter crowd…