FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] – back to the future between physical and digital realities

If you discover QR codes in the city of Stockholm these days that are not connected to advertisements, try and scan them with your smart phone! You’d be surprised by the result and the world that suddenly opens up on your display.


FUTURE SCENARIOS Stockholm - QR code on the street


Reading the information condensed in a patterned quadrate with a QR app leads me to a website called Parallel Production. It shows me a photograph of the exact same spot I find myself at and where I discovered the code. Underneath the black-and-white image that is titled Stockholm #83, I find the question “why are you here?” I wonder what this vastly philosophical seeming question is supposed to mean.

Alex Bäckström - Stockholm #83 (2011)


Scrolling further down leads to a comments section in the style of social media, with all sorts of possibilities of sharing information on various networks. People have left comments, such as “To think about all the forgotten places and meet my friends“ or “out of curiosity”.


The website is connected to an exhibition in a small second hand record, film and book store in the South of Stockholm called Larry’s Corner. In the room next to the shop, a tiny exhibition space opened a couple of months ago. The show on view until Saturday, 26th November 2011, is called FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm]. One wall is covered with photographs of dark and dodgy seeming places from urban Stockholm. There are graffiti covered walls and concrete blocks, abandoned staircases, tunnels, backyards, shop shutters, and other places one does not expect to exist in such big quantity in Sweden’s capital. All photographs are held in black and white colours, most taken during daytime but conveying a sentiment of grey and empty streets at night. Beautifully melancholic and deserted places suggest a different reality of Stockholm that I have not been able to discover myself yet.




On the opposite wall, there are two maps, one of Sweden with Stockholm marked by a pin, from which a line of red yarn leads to another QR code, and one map of the capital itself. On the second one, several locations are highlighted in the same manner and the threads lead to even more codes. Scanning them in on a mobile phone leads to the same website with digital versions of the photographs printed out and exhibited at Larry’s Corner. The exhibition thus connects the analogue world and urban spaces with the virtual realm. Whereas one may find oneself at a certain physical location, by connecting to the website and a photograph of the same spot, one obtains the possibility of looking at the place with the eyes of another. Reminiscent of Street View, the project FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] links our physical with our virtual position. The difference to Google’s global mapping project is the focus on a personalised account of a city. The emphasis on off-places, where few people pass and where there are no shops or places of interest for commercial use that Street View is aimed towards, poses questions about a metropolis and its citizens’ attitude towards it. The project asks about the responsibility of inhabitants towards their city and how its development is influenced by its population. In that sense, FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] is a small and precise project with the large aim to think about visions for our urban reality.



Behind the initiative are Alex Bäckström, who took the photographs and wrote the texts, and Sally Müller, who acted as curator and project manager of the exhibition. The project is produced by Parallel Production. As the emphasis of Stockholm in the title leads to assume, the project will take place in different cities in the future, for example Los Angeles, where Alex Bäckström is going to live next year.


- text by Stefanie Hessler


Exhibition: 16th – 26th November 2011
Location: Larry’s Corner, Grindsgatan 35, Stockholm


For further information please contact info@parallel-production.com
Selected prints can be purchased at http://society6.com/parallelproduction

  • One Response to “FUTURE SCENARIOS [Stockholm] – back to the future between physical and digital realities”
  1. really nice article
    we sell some used cds…but to call us a second hand store is like calling a restaraunt that happens to sell hamburgers macdonalds.
    but i am a forgiving person so welcome back any time….larry the NOT a second hand selller

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