Drawing workshop in Vivalla, 2016 Foto: Robert Stasinski
Workshop at Moderna Museet, 2017 Foto: Paula Urbano
Improvisation workshop with stand up comedian and actor Ami Hallberg Pauli, 2017 Foto: Paula Urbano
The Irrational Project is a work in progress and takes its starting point within the mechanisms and research on global suicide terrorism, but utilizes the knowledge and ideas from all walks of human thinking. It is a transdisciplinary project made in collaboration with Robert Stasinski, a critic curator and writer with a background in political science and public policy.
The research of anthropologist Scott Atran is the theoretical starting point of the project. Atran has spent several years investigating the reason behind the act of total sacrifice, whether it is for a religious cause or ideological convictions. His research has found that the mechanisms of radicalization are counterintuitive and center first and foremost around the creation of in-group feelings of meaning and transcendence. Most suicide bombers are not radicalized in a Mosque, church or a school, but rather in the playground, in cafés and among their peers.
In a few surveys Atran has asked young people in different areas of the world who their heroes are, something that has engendered bizarre answers which we explored in the 2011 work Who’s your Hero?, first shown at Kalmar Art Museum. The work is a three-channel video made from the answers to the question in the title. The result is three separate portraits that compares and investigates the heroic aspects of the individuals that were the three most revered heroes - Ronaldinho, The Terminator and Usama bin Laden.
In DIY Heroes we focus on what Scott Atran deems the most effective weapon to fight radicalization and destructive thinking, namely counter narratives. The first part of this project is made in both Vivalla, Örebro as well as in Stockholm. In Vivalla – one of the suburbs in Sweden that have seen a big surge in radicalization during the last years - we work through a number of workshops during almost a year, in order to find ways for young people to construct their personal heroes and new ideas of heroic actions. The hero or superhero stands as a symbol of a new narrative about the world and about the self and by constructing their own hero they renegotiate their relationship with their peers and their personal ideology.