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The Answers





A novel by Leif Elggren and Thomas Liljenberg. Firework Edition, Stockholm, 1999. 118 p. Paperbacked. English text. Size 150×210 mm. ISBN 91-87066-22-X (FE no. 91). The answers to the letters in the book Experiment with Dreams.

In 1996 Elggren and Liljenberg published Experiment with Dreams, a book comprised of letters the artists had written to a selection of celebrities, autocrats, governments, and commercial and cultural institutions. In sometimes bizarre, often hilarious letters the artists describe how the addressees have appeared in or affected their dreams, and as a result, ”because these people profit themselves on everybody’s dreams and possibilities for the future”, demand monetary compensation. Writing in awkward English, the artists often take on different personas and alter egos, sliding between first person singular and plural. The relationship between the analyst and analyzed becomes effectively blurred and extended onto a collective social unconscious. The result is a poetic, hallucinatory, sinister and comical text, which is ultimately hopeful in its search for identity and affirmation against the economic and social forces of global capitalism. The Answers is the follow-up publication of this project, in which the artists will present the letters of reply they received. This collection of ”personal and indignant” replies from people in positions of power and influence should prove to be as intriguing, amusing and unsettling as the initial letters.

”In the course of earlier historical events the center of the market and commerce was symbolized by the town square, and power was symbolized by the church. Today these determining ideas are part of a global economic system, abstract and incomprehensible to the individual. But they are still cruelly present in our everyday affairs. They are in the images of TV’s hallucinatory eye, in war, in blood and money as well as in white laundry, in our food and unemployment. With insight into the frighteningly unjust distribution of human opportunities that continue to occur on earth, despite seeming hopelessness, the potential also exists to turn disadvantage into its opposite. We are all born like Jesus Christ.”

”The idiosyncratic Swedish artists Leif Elggren and Thomas Liljenberg have released a challenging but hilarious CD and book project from Firework of Sweden…coming up with these fantastic dreams”. (Neil Strauss; The New York Times, April 17, 1997)

”At times hilarious, disgusting, humiliating, boring, happy or just plain rude … A truly original experiment, and better still a superbly imaginative work”. (mFr; Immerse 001, London, 1997)

”You won’t believe this book, this conceptual approach to dreams. It’s a Wonder!” (Umbrella, USA, Vol. 20, Nr 1, Jan. 1997)

”Ich wünsche diesem absurden Package möglichst viele Leser und Hörer, denn ein so amüsantes Projekt ist mir seit Jahren schon nicht mehr begegnet”. (Martin Büsser; Testcard #3, Germany, 1996)

”Am besten ist es, man legt sich das ganze Package zu und hat damit eines der originellesten und abgründigsten Zeitdokumente, das in keinem Haushalt fehlen darf”. (Annibale Picicci; Artefakt #3, Germany, 1997)

”Återigen dessa underbara synergier av lustifikation och seriöst handlande, improvisation och notariemässigt rapporterande. Ett nytt beteende där lagar, etik och vanliga tankar är avskaffade. Tack”. (Mikael Strömberg; Aftonbladet, Sweden, 6 april 1997)

”Breven, som vart och ett är enastående skrattretande konstverk i mytomani, blottlägger genom sin absurditet och skenbara naivitet det ofantliga avstånd som råder mellan makthavare inom olika områden och den ’lilla’ människan”. (Mårten Castenfors; Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden, 1 Juni 1996)