Blog » by Nate

Hyper Island Videographic

This clever piece by Claudio Salas, Robin Günther, and Madeleine Fia Matsson paints a nice picture. As you may know, I’m part of Hyper Island’s Interactive Art Director program (art director huh?) —  fifty students of varying backgrounds, from twenty countries. We grappled and grew together over the past nine months in Stockholm, where we worked collaboratively on real creative briefs, encouraged by industry experts who came from all over to hold workshops and lectures – the nearest thing we had to teachers. Now, we’re on internships around the world. I’m at Ogilvy Paris working under creative director Simon Mogren, who also went to Hyper Island, and whose Fun Theory campaign you may know. Chesley and I think it’s pretty OK to be in Paris in the springtime.

Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s droll irony crafts one of the better pitches I’ve seen.

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Advertising, Immigration, and Swedish Elections

Stockholm was subject last month to a political ad blitz, where more more than seven parties competed for and virtually roadblocked the TunnelBana ad space

Advertisement for the Social Democratic Labour Party of Sweden

"We Can Not Wait," says an ad for Sweden's oldest political party, the mainstream-left Social Democrats. This campaign targets students and recent graduates, calling for an elimination of the employment tax.

Ad for the Moderates

"The Moderates" are Sweden's center-right party. "Only a worker's party can fix jobs" read one ad. I repeat, this is Sweden's center-right party.

Ad for the Green Party

The Green Party's typographic ads focused on social issues like equal rights for gays and more substantial investments in renewable energy. The difference between the US and Swedish green parties is that the Swedish one has 25 seats in parliament.

Sweden’s swift Autumn has come and gone since my last post, so have the Swedish elections. You could say that my excuse for not posting, and Swedish election’s upset, are related.

You’ve probably heard about the Swedish Democrats. They’re conservative nationalists who swept into 20 of 349 Swedish parliamentary seats a few weeks ago. While the name “Swedish Democrats” sounds left, the party is actually far-right — comparible to America’s “Tea Party” — and their platform centers on limiting immigration. Founding members of the party, now regarded for their anti-Muslim rhetoric, publicly brandished Nazi uniforms just twenty years ago.

Most of Sweden was shocked that the SD’s actually got parliamentary seats and a voting influence on policy. Sure, my friends here in Sweden (even the immigrants) acknowledge that immigration poses real and complex choices for Scandinavia, and they’re familiar with their grandparents’ rants. Still they’re still shocked that the bigoted wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing earned parliamentary seats. They’re also thankful, that the other parliamentary parties — the Social Democrats, Center Party, Christian Democrats, etc. — have agreed to lose a few seats to each other, to effectively nullify the Swedish Democrats’ votes. The anti-immigration debate here, like anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US, is emerging from the shadows. On the other hand, maybe Sweden won’t have it in the long run. There’s a feeling that apathy and complacency let this happen, and now daily protests against the party signal vociferous opposition in next election.

I suppose I should tell you then about my little immigration drama, even if by now it bores Chesley and me and some people around us to tears. Of course, we’re not victims of ethnic or religious bigotry (even the American embassy mistook me for Swedish.) We’re victims of terribly bureaucratic, inflexible immigration policy. Immigration policy that Swedish Democrats, like those lost souls who patrol the US-Mexico border, would like to see become more stringent, and less flexible.

Last May, Chesley and I applied to Sweden, in accordance with the Migration Board’s laundry list of requirements. At first we were told we were approved, and then told we were denied, because I hadn’t proved payment of my school tuition — never mind that I hadn’t even been invoiced yet from my school, or that it’s not a written Migration Board requirement. We came anyway on tourist visas because I had to start school. From Sweden we submitted an appeal to our rejection which was arbitrated by the Swedish Court. They sent the case back to the Migration Board, saying that the Migration Board should have kicked us out of the country because we came to Sweden with an open visa application. Lots of paperwork ensued. Lots of pleading. Lots of me saying, “what can I do to be allowed to spend my money here for a few more months?” I’ll spare you the boring details, but two days ago when Chesley and I squeezed onto a RyanAir jet for London, we didn’t know if we would be coming back. Finally, yesterday, after corresponding with one of the first human beings we’ve encountered at the Migration Board, Chesley and I were granted our visas.

I’ll say this: I love London. We’re eating really well. I also love Stockholm, not for this experience, but for everything else. We’ll be 100% legal and returning next week. Sometime soon I’ll tell you about this educational utopia called Hyper Island.

O’ Pioneers

Wieden + Kennedy’s “Go Forth” campaign for Levi’s is an ethnography of America’s unyielding, evergreen optimism, or, a youthful charge declared in the words of Walt Whitman. (Only this year have I truly read Whitman, thanks to a proseful 15-hour documentary about New York. He brandished a big beard and grew up in the woods of Brooklyn, which might explain today’s hipster.)

“America” incorporates the only known recorded sound by Walt Whitman. What splendor! All this energy could have been spent on something more meaningful than jeans. Nonetheless, art is art, is art.

Marc Johns’ Bearded Fish

Beard Fish by Marc Johns

Marc Johns illustrates the absurd.

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Everything Must Go!

In the spirit of re-purposing and shamelessly fund-raising for next year: We’re having a moving sale. It’s like a stoop sale, or a pop-up-shop, but you know, on the internet. Contents include a wok and a Honda Civic. Maybe you’ll find something useful.

We had a moving sale and sold almost everything. We were happy to see these things get a new lease on life.

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We’re Moving to Sweden

Södermalm cafe scene. Source: Monacle Magazine

Södermalm cafe scene. Source: Monacle Magazine


  • Stockholm’s Hyper Island beckons as one of the best (and only) schools in the world for Interactive Art Direction;
  • The Swedish state remains among the World’s Best Governments, conditioning a mostly fair, high quality of life, a strong economy and responsible safety net;
  • Despite popular belief and the dark existentialism of August Strindberg, the New Economics Foundation reports that Sweden is one of the Happiest Places in The World;
  • Particularly, Monacle ranks Södermalm, Stockholm as one of the most livable places in the world (June note – we’re looking for an apartment in Södermalm, we’d sure love ANY help);
  • Sweden’s cultural exports include IKEA, lox salmon, Komeda and Lykke Li;

The Parties Chesley Andrews and Nathaniel Kerksick resolve

  • To move on – if momentarily – from a good thing in Brooklyn, to try on Stockholm for a year.