Välfärdsstatens gränssnitt - The Continuous Surface of the Welfare State


Zimm Hall presenterar:

Secretary (Karin Matz, Rutger Sjögrim, Helen Runting)

Konstnärer: Klas Eriksson, Kanslibyrån, Mattias Bäcklin och NUG


Tid: 12-22 januari 2017 , vernissage 12 jan 17-22 öppettider tisd-fre 17-20 och lö,sö 12-17


Plats: Zimm Hall på Allkonstrummet, c/o Studio Mossutställningar 3rd Floor.

Hamburgsvägen 9, Värtahamnen (T-bana Gärdet)


Välfärdsstatens gränssnitt söker upp försvinnande rum och gemensamma platser för att dokumentera välfärdssamhällets torra magi och undersöka det fysiska rummets roll för det långa samhällskontraktet. Utställningen är en arkitektonisk undersökning av demokratin och välfärdsstaten - platser och ytor som utgör ett fysiskt gränssnitt mellan staten och medborgarna. Dessa gränssnitt avvecklas, förs över till digitala miljöer, och återkommer inte i annan fysisk form. Välfärdsstatens gränssnitt belyser ett samtida händelseförlopp där rum som inneburit en slags direktkontakt med välfärdsstaten har försvunnit, och där trycket på de rum som fortfarande finns kvar är större än på mycket länge. I samband med utställningen bjuder vi in till ett publikt program som fördjupar temat med de samfinansierade och samhällsgrundande gemensamma rummen: samtal i utställningslokalen äger rum den 14, 21 och 22 januari.

The Continuous Surface of the Welfare State

A Survey on the Architectures of Democracy


Between people and government, there is a “state of things”, physical spaces and surfaces. The citizens encounter these as a material interface: slick and sticky, permeable and durable; slow, monumental, and quotidian; and always deeply material. The state in this sense finds an armature in architecture, the discipline through which it literally takes form, as spaces in which we inhabit and occupy democracy.


Bored, lonely, nervous, jubilant, we meet the state in waiting rooms, over reception desks, in the approach to counters, in hallways, in online forms, through small machines that ask us to “rate our experience.” In this exhibition, we wish to focus on the architectural surfaces of the democratic state. The welfare state is still present. It’s not yet lost and thus not legitimately subject to either nostalgia or dismissal. The welfare state is an incredible achievement but it is also fragile. It is a project requiring constant care and maintenance, particularly in the face of recent concerns on representative democracy following the apparent “failures” of Brexit/Trump elections. The physical contact with the state is steadily diminishing, the physical interfaces are replaced by digital services, over-the-counter contact is replaced by self-administration, and to this we add the current frustration and discontent with governance and the disassociation with common assets.


Exhibition 12-22 January 2017


When did we lose contact with the state? When was the last time you met a civil servant, in an environment dedicated to meeting the needs of people? Do we need to restore the surfaces to mind, if not to physical space? In proposing to explore the polemic “Reclaim the State,” we are interested first and foremost in interrogating the affective surface of democracy. To reclaim the state suggests a re-evaluation and reaffirmation of its architectures and the support they provide.

This exhibition performs an architectural and archeological survey of democracy by focusing on its very spaces and surfaces. We explore the remnant surfaces of the state and the ever diminishing physical interfaces of democracy as we knew and recognised it. A public program will take place in the exhibition 12-22 January 2017.



PROGRAMME 14+21+22 January 2017


During the exhibition, a series of inquiries take place.


Firstly, we look at the work done by architecture in designing and maintaining the surfaces of the Welfare State. What are the “matters of concern” that dominate this kind of project? What are the joys and frustrations inherent in practicing this specialized type of architectural labour? What motivates design choices and why do such striking consistencies emerge? How does one deal with the “universal user” implied by such projects?


The second inquiry looks at the work done by the state in imagining and commissioning the surfaces of the Welfare State. It goes deep into the political and ideological project of the Welfare State, in order to ask: what does (and has, historically) the State expected of architects and architecture? How did the specific politics of the Swedish Welfare State translate into such specific aesthetic and formal outcomes? What is the role of regulation? Can we place the architecture of the Welfare State in relation to that of the market?


The last inquiry brings the surfaces of the Welfare State have become increasingly immaterial, as the “interface” between citizens and democracy becomes digitized. What are the implications of this shift for architecture? What kind of new “architectures” might emerge in response? Can these technologies be democratized? Do they have an aesthetic, an affect, and if so to what extent does design matter?





Leif Elggren Joakim Forsgren Jan Håfström




Leif Elggren Joakim Forsgren Jan Håfström


Leif Elggren Joakim Forsgren Jan Håfström