Jan Svenungsson


April 3, 2024 – "Hypocenter"

I write this eleven days later. When you travel from place to place, from experience to experience, reporting on each and every one in real time is not my model. No social media travelogue for me. Yet certain points in time and place are recorded here, where they will stay fixed in their place as long as I control this space and hopefully longer. We spent two days in Hiroshima. I had never been there before and I was always hoping to have the opportunity one day. Now that I have had it I know I will never forget it. The city was in full cherry bloom and people were behaving accordingly. Still, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was incredibly crowded and you walked slowly from tableau to tableau, picture to picture, from surviving clothes to artifacts which all told a complex story of how life was ended in a flash, for about 100.000 people that day, August 6, 1945. And how it was destroyed for many more over the following years. This is all well known and I don't need to repeat it. Yet while I was in the museum I had this one very un-original thought in my head: I wish every world leader come here and study this in detail. For a long time. Without photo-ops and reporters.

As I write, Sunday afternoon, April 14, this seems even more necessary, as we are all waiting to see what will be Israel's response to Iran's unprecedented direct attack with drones and missiles earlier today. Which was a response to Israel's strike on Iran's consulate in Damascus on the same day we experienced the ultimate peacefulness and beauty of Saihoji's garden.

Crazy has no limits.

April 1, 2024 – "Moss"

I had wanted to visit a moss garden ever since I heard David Bowie's eponymous track on the Heroes album a long, long time ago. Today we did, at the Saihoji temple on the outskirts of Kyoto. It's nature, it's wild, it's organized, it's carefully taken care of and it was very silent.

March 31, 2024 – "Afternoon"

In Kyoto, Sunday afternoon. A guided tour (booked months ago) through Villa Katsura and its gardens. You may not enter the buildings, only look inside. On this picture a tea house, for the tea ceremony. Designed in the 17th century. The beauty.

March 31, 2024 – "Morning"

In Kyoto, Sunday morning. We visit Takashi Murakami's exhibition at the Kyoto City Museum of Art: "Mononoke Kyoto". It is a real experience. Murakami may be ultra-commercial but he also has real depth and ambition. Beauty and horror battling it out.

March 30, 2024 – "Rokka"
Kyoto in the afternoon. On a long walk from A to B we visit a winebar. It's very small and still empty. Classical music radio is playing. The announcer speaks Swedish. It's P2, from the state radio channel, thanks to the internet. The friendly proprietor speaks some Swedish. He spent a summer in Växjö long time ago, because of the glassworks. As a child I spent three years there. The bar is called Rokka.

March 26, 2024 – "Grave"

In Tokyo on a rainy Tuesday: visiting Katsushika Hokusai's grave.

March 23, 2024 – "Lost and Found"
On the way to Tokyo I forgot my computer on the plane, when transferring in Beijing. And got it back.

March 22, 2024 – "Copy"
I received the finished text from the copy editor Scott Evans and we discussed a few points.

March 20, 2024 – "Contract"
I signed the contract for the publication of my new book "Art Intelligence" with the international academic publishing house transcript Verlag.

February 17, 2024 – "Alexey"
Yesterday Alexey Navalny was killed by the Russian state. If directly or indirectly makes no difference. In the New Yorker today his friend Masha Gessen writes about his life and death. Just before the end she writes this:

A month later, Navalny flew back to Moscow. His friends had tried to talk him out of it. He wouldn’t hear of staying in exile and becoming politically irrelevant. He imagined himself as Russia’s Nelson Mandela: he would outlive Putin’s reign and become President. Perhaps he believed that the men he was fighting were capable of embarrassment and wouldn’t dare to kill him after he’d proved that they had tried to. He and I had argued, over the years, about the fundamental nature of Putin and his regime: he said that they were “crooks and thieves”; I said that they were murderers and terrorists. After he came out of his coma, I asked him if he had finally been convinced that they were murderers. No, he said. They kill to protect their wealth. Fundamentally, they are just greedy.

He thought too highly of them. They are, in fact, murderers.

February 15, 2024 – "Text"
I'm alone in a house in the country. I have a very wide table at which to work. In front of me is a wall of windows facing north. The weather is gray and damp, though no snow. The house is warm. I am deep in the final editing of the book I have been working on since June. About AI, art and artists. It's complicated. Nobody really knows... me neither. That's why I write. Writing is a process of gaining knowledge. I love the final editing phase: you have the parts, you work on the details and you want them all to sing together. In rhythm. You are still discovering.

When so many scary things are going on outside, what one can do is doing what is meaningful as well as possible. Every word counts. Take care of them and make something good. It's a privilege.

February 5, 2024 – "Two Books"
I'm working on two books which I hope will be published latest in summer. One with text only (almost), which will be titled "Art Intelligence". And one with pictures but no text, except for the title page and impressum. It's title will be "2024".

January 1, 2024 – "2025"
What will the world look like on January 1, 2025?