Explore Beyond the new normal

vor 4 years

With a new book out, Nudas Beyond issue takes you on a transcendent trip through art, photography, design and thought.

While we are living in times of uncertainty and are questioning how or when we will return back normality again Nuda Paper, the Swedish bi-annual lovechild of Stockholm-based photographer Frida Vega Salomonsson and Berlin/Stockholm writer curator Nora Hagdahl, has released a brand new book which explores the light beyond the dark. Marina Abramović, Hilma af Klint, Jeremy Shaw and Jemima Kirke are to name a few of the talents which are featured in the 236-page book and who give their own perspective through their practice on where are our minds when we dream? What is the world outside the atmosphere and what is that, which is beyond? The book is a collection of different perspectives that go past ones reality and the here and now.

Fräulein Digital spoke with Frida and Nora about the new book, their thoughts on what spirituality and the supernatural mean in our current climate and question whether or not they think print is dead?

Tell us about yourselves!

N: Me and Frida are the editors in chief at Nuda, a biannual hardcover print exploring a theme through visual culture, science and philosophy. I’m a writer and curator based in between Berlin and Stockholm, and Frida is a photographer based in Stockholm, where our space also is. We make Nuda together with our Art Director Gregor Schreiter and Editors Astrid Birnbaum, Rasmus Rosquist and Caitlyn Lee.

F:  Plus a bunch of dreamy contributors! We make basically everything together when it comes to the magazine. From ideas to execution in all forms. Nora is slightly more interested in text than I am, and I’m a bit more interested in how everything looks. I could imagine doing one issue with only lorem ipsum texts throughout, Nora wouldn’t love that.

N: I wouldn’t love that.

F: I think we both like the idea of researching at something we’re interested in from different angles. Not just through your usual suspects.

N: We just started explaining our magazine as “an eclectic dinner party you would like to go to”. At Nuda’s dinner table one topic is discussed by Marina Abramovic (the artist), Uri Geller (the magician), Martin Hägglund (the philosopher) and Jemima Kirke (the actor) – all contributors for our new issue, Nuda: Beyond.


The word Beyond is associated with being past the point of reality and the supernatural afterlife. How far does the new Nuda book explore reality and the supernatural?

N: We wanted to explore the world beyond from many different angles and in many different ways. Sometimes is just though asking somebody what they believe in – like then Jonny Johansson tells us that God, for all he knows could be a rabbit, and sometimes it’s though form – like doing an interview with Hilma af Klint through a seance by the artist Cecilia Edefalk. Sometimes it’s through talking with the magician Uri Geller, or with the help of the astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, trying to make sense of what we should do out in space. We try to balance the humor and seriousness with this topic, so sometimes we go really far, as in the discussion with the artist Jeremy Shaw, that spent half of his artistry exploring the question of transcendence from different angles, and sometimes we just scratch on the surface. 


What were the ideas/the thoughts/the observations that got you started to develop the concept for Beyond?

F: We observed that all kinds of spirituality had an upswing around us, from the most unexpected people starting to show an interest in psychedelics to public people coming out as religious in what is suppose to be one of the most secular countries in the world, Sweden.

N: Something interested us with this seemingly growing search for something more, aside from our daily life and the here and now. Is it that reality has become so disappointing and depressing that people need reasons to look in other directions? Or is it just an inherent human trait to look for transcendence? In a world when reality has become harsher and harder to deal with, I think people rather look inwards or far away for the answers or fulfillment. 


What does Beyond mean to you?

N: Beyond is the spiritual, the supernatural, the subjective, the shadowy, the spectral, space. Beyond is what we can’t touch but nonetheless sense. I think it’s all of that, that is vague and unexplainable, but part of your life and existence. Love is beyond, death is beyond – so in many cases, what’s most important to us lies in the world beyond.

F: Like, where are our minds when we dream? What is the world outside the atmosphere? We weren’t sure, that’s why we made the book.

What do you associate with the idea of spirituality and the supernatural?

N: I mean, at first glance you might think of religion, ghosts, magic and those kinds of things. But for me, it has more to do with the unexplainable – our feelings. Maybe that sensation of feeling connected with others is one that goes with spirituality and is one of the more foundational levels of spirituality. Also the search for meaning, and how one goes about looking for that in many different ways. But I have to say, I’ve always been a fan of the mystical when I absolutely loved fantasy. 

F: The first things that used to come to mind were pseudoscience, anti-vaxxers and religion. But there is more to it, even for a skeptic like me. 


We are living in a time where the political climate is very tense and uncertain, a lot of us want to disappear to another plant or another world. Do you think the escapism that fantasy and spirituality enable is more important now than ever before?

N: I mean totally. Or at least that world seems more intriguing than the world outside of us. The world of our minds are limitless, we can be and do whatever we want, far from the conditions we have in our day to day reality that is marked by predictability, limits and fucked up conditions. I’d rather live in my mind than outside of it at this time. 


You founded Nuda in 2018, and have since then developed a space for creatives to showcase and exhibit. What was your mission/goal when launching Nuda?

F: To be absolutely honest, Nuda wasn’t on some noble mission from day 1. I just wanted space to create where no-one says no to me. Where I wouldn’t have to convince anyone to give my ideas space. I hate making mood boards and explain unfinished projects to others. Mainly because I have no idea what I’m doing until it’s 95% finished. But with time Nuda has grown into a project where we with each publication aim to investigate a theme.

N: We produce two hardcover publications a year, each exploring a theme through visual culture and science. We wanted to make a publication where a subject could be looked at through art, science and from all sorts of angles. The publication is pretty, without expecting too little from the reader. Nuda is like a very sexy girl, who also happens to go to Harvard Law School.

F: Nuda basically has the same plot as the critically acclaimed film Legally Blonde.

N: Today, we also additionally have a space in Stockholm where we run some sort of program. Later this year we will come up with a series of exhibitions that me and Annie Jensen curated. 


You have an immense catalog of artists and talent in this issue ranging from artists like Marina Abramović to Jeremy Shaw. How do all their works relate to the theme?

N: I mean, for Jeremy and Marina it’s pretty obvious. Jeremy basically spent his whole career investigating altered states. And Marina – yeh we all know about her love for ritual, meditation and spirituality in different ways. her whole practice is very influenced by her catholic upbringing. 

F: Marina Abramović tells us about her belief in parallel realities and Michael Pollan argues for the benefits of psychedelics. The astronaut Christer Fuglesang speaks about whether or not we should have artists in space and Jemima Kirke says the only spirituality there is, is love. Roy Andersson doesn’t believe in a life after this and the famous spoon bender Uri Geller speaks about his encounters with extraterrestrials. Just to name a few.

‘Print is Dead’ that has been the ongoing topic for years now. As an independent publication and considering the current state of the world right now, how does the future of publishing look like to you?

N: Print is dead when it comes to reporting about news and current events, digital platforms are way better suited for that. It’s quick, accessible and cheap.

F: Like most things declared dead, like the record labels, radio or print. It didn’t die, but it had to adapt. Adapt in 2020 often means going digital, like for streaming music, podcasts or blogging. For us, that adaptation is about the content and not the platform itself. As Nora said, print about very up to date events, or just the latest happenings or trends has become obsolete with the internet. But the tactile sensation of holding a book in your hands, and a well-made object to keep in your home, that isn’t dead. So we make publications that are relatively timeless in its content, and pretty to include in your home. I think when people want to read more in-depth, they want to buy a book to have in their hands. 

N: Of course the book’s topic mirrors our time, but we hope that the ideas in it will still be fun to revisit in a year from now. 


Now the book is out, is there anything happening next in Berlin/Stockholm with Nuda?

F: In a dream world without COVID19, we would have thrown a bunch of parties and dinners, the kind where you go to get drunk and embarrass yourself. 

N: But as we are stuck in reality we will just keep working on the next issue. 


Finally, who would your 3 celebrity dinner guests be?

Carol Baskin, Michel Foucault and Britney Spears – eclectic and mad mix. 


You can order your own copy of the new book here.

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