Since the 1990’s Wrange has been directing a combined think-tank and studio called OMBUD, consisting of professionals from architecture/design, the humanities and social sciences. Their projects have recently been shown at Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles, HABITAT-Baltic Biennale of Contemporary Art, Szczecin and Heidelberge Kunstverein.
At Andréhn-Schiptjenko Måns Wrange/OMBUD will show the two last parts of a trilogy that was initiated in 1999 with The Average Citizen, wherein, a real person, Marianne, was allowed to represent a statistically established profile of an average citizen. She was then given the opportunity to influence public opinion through a lobbying strategy modeled on that of product placement. In cooperation with some of Sweden’s most influential figures in popular culture, media and politics, Marianne’s opinions have under a number years spread through TV series, parliamentary speeches, radio talk shows, political debates, novels etc.
We are now presenting The Good Rumor Project and The Revolutionary Word Experiment. The former was created for the InSite Biennial in San Diego and Tijuana. Wrange/OMBUD has for two years worked on researching rumors as societal phenomenon in a politically sensitive area, the border between the US and Mexico. With the help of an anthropologist, an activist group and a marketing professor, demographically composed focus groups have constructed two rumors: One about the inhabitants of Tijuana and one on the inhabitants of San Diego. As opposed to most rumors, that according to sociological studies to 90% consist of destructive and negative descriptions of people outside the own social group, these are good rumors, positive and created by the very same people the rumors are about. Via a networking campaign borrowing its structure from word-of-mouth marketing and from social games, tens of thousands of people – in the project called nodes –have been recruited from both sides of the border to actively spread the good rumors.
The Revolutionary Word Experiment starts in the present exhibition. Words can launch new phenomena and pinpoint neglected identities. New terms can change values and views on things we already know, i.e. ”new Swedes”, ”mentally challenged” etc. What Wrange/OMBUD is interested in is how systematically the rhetoric power of some words is used. Many of the terms we use on a daily basis have not appeared spontaneously, they are the result of a lobby campaign. A current Swedish example is ”lifepuzzle”, used to designate the difficulties of combining a career with a satisfactory personal life. The word is not only created by TCO (The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees), they have also made it a registered trademark. In the project The Revolutionary Word Experiment Wrange/OMBUD has enlisted the help of polls and experts from rhetoric, copywriting, literature and media theory to construct a new word. Using strategies similar to the ones developed in the previous two projects the word is now spread in the population so as to make its way into the Swedish language.
The exhibition opens Thursday February 15 from 5-8 pm and runs through April 21. For further information and visuals, please contact the gallery.
Markvardsgatan 2 - Stockholm