Photo Competition 2011 – Sculpture Parks

The previous photo competitions such as the one in 2010, did not have special themes. This year is different. Looking back at my summer days, I realised that I spent a good deal of them in parks and gardens with wild and weird sculptures. All very different, and highly enjoyable.

Your job this year is to select the nicest sculpture park collage. Of course, it’s more fun if you comment on your choice here or on Facebook, but if you’re a bit shy you may send me an email instead. This competition is open to my friends and family. You can win flowers! Some money goes to charity! I want your vote no later than January 31, 2012.

Happy New Year!

Want more information about the locations? Check out Gunillaberg, KivikLouisianaMarsvinsholm, PilaneTagel and Wanås!


A Touch of Frost

I knew it was coming. The day before, I had put my home-grown vegetables to rest in a basket with fine-grained sand on the balcony. I had brought my winter clothes down from the attic and now they were everywhere, breathing new air. I had bought two pair of black winter boots, with thick rubber soles to put between me and the ground, while waiting for the bus in the mornings.

I knew, and still it hit me. Hard. Despite layer upon layer with fabric, I felt naked. The first night of frost. Very much like a relationship gone cold.


Negative Space

In his new book, Negative Space, artist Noma Bar uses this feature in a very creative way. I very much like the dog-cat-mouse cover, but the dog front and back picture is also very appealing. Constantly questioning what is foreground and background. Which incidentally is a very good question when it comes to formulating agreements between partners involved in research and innovation projects. But that’s another story. 

I feel the disharmony the concept ”negative space” brings. It makes me remember the times I’ve struggled not to let a certain place become a negative space because of the events that took place there. Maybe that is also a question of defining what was foreground and background. Or perhaps rather what is.


What Touches Us

I was going through some of the boxes in my attic, when I found this poem written in my own hand on a piece of paper:

It sometimes happens when looking for
Lost objects, a book, a picture or

A coin or spoon,

That something falls across the mind - 

Not quite a shadow but what a shadow would be

In a place that lacked light.

As though the lost things have withdrawn
Into themselves, books returned

To paper or wood or thought,

Coins and spoons to simple ores,

Lustreless and without history,
Waiting out of sight
And becoming part of a larger loss
Without a name
Or definition or form

Not unlike what touches us

In moments of shame.

"Lost Things" by Mary Swann (as created by Carol Shields)

It was waiting to be found...Again...

From Åhus 2011


Metaphor Terror

The recent horrible development in Oslo demonstrates the difficulty facing those we employ to look out for potential terrorists. What makes a person go from talk to action? When should we take threats seriously? When are figures of speech just images? And what predispositions make us look and interpret in certain ways?

It’s only natural for a government initiative with the tag line “ Be The Future” to launch a Metaphor Program. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) recently opened up for researchers to contribute in the development of automated tools and techniques for recognizing, defining and categorizing linguistic metaphors associated with target concepts and found in large amounts of native-language text in order to identify the conceptual metaphors used by the various protagonists, organizing and structuring them to reveal the contrastive stances.

Similar, critique regarding this program is only to be expected by someone who has organised his website according to a water metaphor: From the drainpipe, Half-filtered and Pure Water. Here David Allan Barker provides six elaborate arguments for why he thinks the program is the lamest idea he’s ever heard.

A more neutral approach is held by Wired blogger Lena Groeger. She manages to squeeze in three metaphors in her first paragraph and continues throughout the text. One of her links takes you to research regarding how metaphors impact how we think about crime and more importantly, how we act.

Yesterday, David Allan Barker posted a piece in his Pure Water section on how mental illness stereotypes used by media affect how we think about people like Anders Behring Breivik. This is not the first time Barker used queer theory to expand the thinking regarding mental health issues. I wonder if they take this into account in the Metaphor Program?


Is it a Jungle In Here?

Are you measuring an organisation's character by looking at the number and kind of Dilbert strips posted on the walls? Well, here's a new version on that theme. Kenneth and Julie Kendall checked out what kinds of basic metaphors were used by employees to describe the way they were governed in order to find out what kind of IT system that went well with what kind of organisation.

According to the Kendalls, government can be described as a machine, war, a journey, a society, a game, an organism, a family, a jungle or a zoo. Turns out that traditional  management information systems and expert systems go well with autocracy (machine) while computer-supported collaborative work and group decision-support systems fit better for enlightened absolutism (journey). Whach out for trying to deploy any kind of system in organisations characterised by panarchism (jungle) or anarchy (zoo), while almost any kind of systems fits a meritocracy (organism). 

What the article don't say is how you should communicate these facts to a potential customer…


And the Winner Is....

This year, the winner of the Photo Competition 2011 was my former work mate Jeanette. Congratulations! She received a boquet from Interflora in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières.

The picture that attracted most votes was number 7, taken outside Lyse in Bohuslän.
From Photo Competition 2010

I hope for a really nice summer this year since I’ve bought a new camera and several books by Scott Kelby and John Freeman. And of course, Dewitt Jones is also an inspiration! Thank you David, for introducing me to his video "Celebrate What's Right With the World"!


City Voices

In Swedish, the same word is used for vote and voice: "röst". Something to keep in mind when looking at what's being said about my hometown Göteborg. Of course, there's the official websites www.goteborg.com for tourists and www.goteborg.se for citizens. And our best promotion person Håkan Hellström has been very popular with the press lately and he's still famous for his "Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg" (Don't be sorry for me, Göteborg).

During the past months, Göteborg has also been frequently mentioned in the national press, but not for positive reasons. Several scandals regarding misuse of public funding and bribes have shaken the decision-makers into looking deeper into the fabric of the so called Göteborg spirit of collaboration.

One of the organisations figuring in the media is Göteborg Energi. They have now launched a campaign in order to shift the public opinion, contracting the artist Timo Räisänen to do the song for their commercial video.

Another interesting story-telling project has also been presented lately, but by totally different people and for quite another reason: The Gothenburg Shout initiative. Here people for different parts of the city present their story with photos, voices, sound and music guided by students from Kulturverkstaden. An article about the initiative states that they got inspiration from city of Berkeley. Since this is the hometown of the non-profit Center for Digital Storytelling, this makes sense.


Photo Competition 2010

At our Christmas family dinner last week, my sister Maria asked me if I were going to do a Summer Photo Competition this year. I thought back on the summer of 2010 and came to the conclusion that I didn’t have that many great summer pictures. Partly because I didn’t have that much vacation since I worked on planning a new project. So I decided to use photos from the whole year instead.

Please, look at the pictures and vote for the best one by adding a comment to my blog entry no later than January 31 2011. Add your name and you will participate in a lottery where the first and only price is a flower bouquet!

February 1 2011 I will leave my present job at Innovationsbron and start working as an Innovation Advisor at Innovation Office West. My new email address will probably be lena.holmberg @ chalmers.se. You can always reach me at my private address lmholmberg @ gmail.com.

Happy 2011!


1. Bangkok in March: Together with my ITP friends, I explored the Grand Palace in search of new ideas regarding innovation system development. More…

2. Tel Aviv in March: Got a quick look at Jaffa before my colleagues from Innovationsbron landed on our international benchmarking tour in order to find inspiration to the new incubation programme. More…

3. Cambridge in April: The benchmarking tour continued with a trip to the new science park in Cambridge, a nice combination of old and new buildings and ideas.

4. Madeira in April: Looking back, I can hardly believe we actually climbed all these steps to get to the end of the cape and back again, but my Mother looks unconcerned. Much more…

5. Boston in April: During a free afternoon on our learning journey I passed the Old North Church and the Dog Tag Memorial for the fallen American soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. More…

6. Leksand in June: During one of the breaks during the Tällberg conference, I went out and took some pictures of Hildasholm because it had such a tranquil air. More…

7. Båstad in June: On our way to pick up my aunt at Kastrup, we stopped for lunch at Norrviken’s Gardens where the garden design students demonstrated their creativity. More…

8. Lyse in June: We celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and it became a time for reflection in many ways. More…

9. Gunnebo in October: No matter time of the year, this castle with its wonderful park always makes me feel good. More…

10. Jordan in November: On our way back to Aqaba from Petra, this stunning sunset over the Jordan Rift Valley provided a great finale to a wonderful day. More…and more...

11. Mölnlycke – December: First Sunday in Advent I always decorate my home with all the Christmas stuff I have, and I have a lot...

12. Upplid in December: Family gathering at my parents’ home and I failed miserably at the Harry Potter game, but my sister managed to avoid the green ghost. More…