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Jens Haraldsson 1980, Sweden

Jens Haraldsson’s Unnecessary Machine is anything but what the title suggests, although it is true that its function is a bit unclear… What is clear is what it says about art, however: that it offers a crossroads of possible realities that forces us to look at our current position and the course ahead – where are we going and why? Haraldsson’s machine also interacts with its surroundings. Turn it on and it will breathe on you like some sort of life support device.

After high school, Haraldsson backpacked around Asia for a long time before finally finding his way home to Örebro. One art degree later, he had also found his artistic voice. He would give new life to leftovers – those tossed, abandoned and scrapped objects that were just screaming out for new meaning. And this is just what he gives them – continuously and innovatively. His work is ultimately about us and our civilization’s path through history. Where are we headed?

The process itself is important to Haraldsson. It is in this process that the objects in the scenario are fused into a sculpture. Often, the result is a sort of machine.

The artist has a clear nostalgia for technology. Older technologies gain completely new and ingenious functions in his machine constructions – an optical device becomes audial, a part from a telephone becomes a moving machine component. In the process, the original idea is transformed in a ‘conversation’ with the planned constituent parts. It is a creative dialogue and an intuitive search that suddenly gains a clear creative focal point and turns our conventions upside down.

The result is often humorous, and we can almost imagine the artist peeking out over the machine with a sly grin as we marvel at his ingenuity. His objects have a wonderful charisma. They exude charm and an underlying message of criticism toward civilization. Something that is needed in our time as we face numerous global decisions that will affect the future of humankind.

Jens Haraldsson’s sculptural objects also fit into a long modernist tradition that begins somewhere with Duchamp, Dadaism and a futuristic machine worship that in his case is often expressed as a sort of love/hate relationship with humankind’s manic need to build strange prostheses for its thinking. In other words, machines!