From the eyes of the painter
This summer, the artist Ylva Snöfrid sat outside the Stockholm School of Economics with a mirror in one hand and her brush in the other. She painted what she saw in the mirror; her own eye and the pictures from the School that was reflected in the eye.
This performance lead to four paintings titled "From the Eyes of the Painter". The next step in the artistic work was to install the four paintings in the School of Economics, in the four niches that exist in the auditorium. The result has become four eyes that see whoever is there: lecturer as well as the audience.
The associations go to the French philosopher Michel Foucault's idea of panoptism, which in many ways describes the time we live in. Panopticon is a building for prisons where the prison cells are located in a round building with openings in the courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a tower where a prisoner has a total view. Prisoners do not know if they are monitored or not, but the architecture creates a sense and reminder of the constant monitoring.
Today's digital world has made surveillance ubiquitous. Our computers and mobile phones leave digital tracks. Big data makes it possible to map our behaviors, the cashless society maps our supplies, and what is known as the Social Credit System in China makes it possible to quantify citizens' friendliness, compliance, and emotional expressions. Great breeds and big sisters are everywhere.
"From the Eyes of the Painter" is a work that is completely in line with the School of Economics' ambition to increase the reflection among students and visitors. Ylva Snöfrid's artwork is in all its simplicity both a mindset and an image of the opportunity of reflection to make us see the world from other perspectives. The art installation is a generous donation from the HHS alumni Alexandra and Michael Storåkers.
Lars Strannegård, President of the School of Economics