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Welcome to the school: Commoncause by Maria Friberg on the big screen

Each year in August, SSE Art Initiative welcome students, faculty and staff back to the school by screening Maria Friberg's video Commoncause in the atrium.

Commoncause shows more than three hundred basketballs stuffed in velvet bags that are heading down a staircase.

Our President, Lars Strannegård, sees the work as a metaphor for education:

"Commoncause can be translated in many different ways, such as uniting, working together and teaming up. Each August more than three hundred students begin the bachelor programs. Hopefully, it will feel like it's not a struggle upwards, but a move to something else which the students hopefully perceive as much more pleasant. Each and every one of our students have different paces in life, different approaches. We all have different ways to view the world, view the education and to view each other. These differences are what make SSE a really great place," says Lars Strannegård about the art work.

Commoncause (2008) is a seven and a half minutes long video. It was filmed on the main staircase at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. Three hundred velvet-like spherical forms roll like amorphous balls down the imposing stone staircase. The muffled, bouncing sound creates the impression of an on-going flow (download our sound app in the atrium to listen to it). The art work can be said to be an investigation of power structures and those who are marginalized or cast out of society.

Maria Friberg, born in 1966 in Malmö, is one of Sweden’s most established photo and video artists. From the start, Friberg has carried out intuitive, anthropological research using contemporary men as the object of her work. Commoncause shows a change in her esthetic expression, leaving portrayals of human beings and instead relying on more abstract forms. In her work she explores existential questions regarding identity, power and social hierarchies.

Maria Friberg is represented in the collections of Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zürich and the Denver Art Museum, Denver. 

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