ART – MEDIA – RESEARCH
Isabel Löfgren b. 1975 is a Swedish-Brazilian visual artist, independent curator and researcher in art and media currently based in Stockholm, Sweden.
I create installations in public space at the intersection between art, media, architecture and network cultures. I am interested in issues of diaspora and spaces of flows, whether of people, objects, information or narratives.
Since 2011, I have been working on participatory art installations in public spaces and memorial sites. The projects usually involve long-term residencies involving the participation of local communities or groups, and resulting in art exhibitions, events, lectures and articles. The art practice also includes a pedagogical component in the form of workshops and short courses.
I have lived in different countries, Brazil, the United States, France, Sweden and Singapore. While in Asia, I travelled with design and communications students on research trips to East Timor, Nepal, and Cambodia. Since 2011 I live in Stockholm, Sweden and I have been active as an artist, writer, curator, digital strategist and researcher in Stockholn and Rio de Janeiro, my two hometowns.
In 2015, I finished my PhD in Media & Communications in the Divison of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School with the thesis “Hospitality and its Other: Media, Migration and the Divided City.”
I wrote the ethics of hospitality in relationship to spaces of “otherness,” specfically focusing on segregation patterns in divided cities, social housing, participatory art projects in such areas, and the role of media cultures in shaping a sense of belonging among communities of persons in exile. The participatory art project Satellitstaden is an essential component of this investigation working with a single community in a Stockholm suburb for one year. By getting on the inside of this community through the project, a more hospitable image of the divided city is revealed, thus opening a discussion of how cultural initiatives can help rethink human relations in contested environments, and a responding philosophically to the question “how can we live together?”
Since then, the interest in marginalized communities, struggles for social emancipation and their relation to the urban environment has led to new research possibilities.
In my post-PhD work, I am interested in combining a decolonization and feminist theoretical framework to re-imagining hospitality in divided cities by examining the work of specific activist groups and their media and artistic expressions. I worked as a freelance researcher in an assignment about the artistic expressions of queer movements in relation to the city in Sweden (2015). As an artist, I have made an exhibition (Black Mother) about issues about motherhood and the memorialization of slavery in Brazil in the specific context of the recent archaeological discoveries of Rio de Janeiro’s colonial downtown (Read my article about this).
At the moment, I am a member of the artistic research collective IDA – Institute for the Decolonisation of Art where we are working on a short research project about diaspora artists in Sweden and the contemporary art context. I am also working on a post-professional course in architectural theory as a means to expand on my PhD research on divided cities.
Before embarking on a professional arts and academic career path, I worked for several years in digital consultancy as a project manager, UX consultant and interaction designer. Since 2007, I have been working as a freelance digital strategist for a variety of clients mainly in the cultural sector with experience in graphic design, WordPress, UX and user research. Please contact me for more information about consulting regarding UX and digital strategy.