Substitutet exists to make life magical, without magic.
We believe that through real community and examined living we can find meaning and joy without compromising truth and reason. Our goal is to create a cultural beacon – a place that feels like a house of worship but rather than God we revere life, art, music, nature and love. We’ve set out to create an alternative for the meaningful religious practices, rituals, and most of all community. We call it: Substitutet.
Substitutet a place where people can socialise, bond, create and learn from each other. This is a place for neither boundless hedonism nor righteous self restraint. We pursue deep reflection, rational thought, emotional resonance and non-deluded spirituality, through community, contemplation, and ritual.
Our prehistoric ancestors cohabited in small communities. The fairly recent neolithic revolution (agricultural era) brought about societal and technological progress introducing more dividing factors to these communities, and thus we had to adapt to living in a world where we spend most of our time only with our immediate family and possibly a handful of friends.
Until recently the institution of religion provided the means for a more meaningful life through its community's bonding and sharing; the sense of belonging to something greater and the comfort of togetherness. Today in modern western society religion is taken aback in face of scientific prowess and visits to houses of prayer are declining steadily. Regrettably, while science and technology are giving us answers to many of the intricate questions about the inner workings of the world and universe(s), the growing distance from religious rite leaves us with a void where once we had spirituality and the a sense of belonging to a community. Instead of church we go to restaurants and bars, museums and cinemas. Some find community in participating in team sports or even just supporting a team from the sidelines.
The age of the internet has taken this trend to it’s peak. Not long ago, perhaps only before a decade or two we had only a few newspapers and a couple of TV channels to watch. If you met someone in the line at the post office or by the water cooler at work, chances are they had watched the same show as you did last night, and read the same news. As compatriots we had a mutual cultural backbone that tied to our national identity and allowed us to better understand each other.
The advent of the internet brought with it endless channels of individually curated entertainment and news, which results in the loss of common culture. Movies that used to define Swedish culture are not very relevant to what life in Sweden is like anymore. Many of us have more in common with like minded people of our generation living in New York, Singapore, Moscow and Nairobi than we are likely to have with our next door neighbours. Less and less binds us together as cultural canon. This is fantastic in many ways, but it often leaves us feeling socially isolated.
Pixels can only provide so much. In fact, we are so depraved of community that we follow the lives of celebrities to fill our need for a sense of being a part of and caring for other peoples lives. We are in dire need of real community, real bonding, real long lasting relationships. We need a place to go to for celebrations of joyous moments, and also for mourning and grief. A place to talk about the meaning of it all. A space to connect, to cry, and to live.
Substitutet first opened its doors for the public on 27th of September 2015 in the former stable house of Sturehov Slott in Botkyrka. We have hosted art exhibitions by Johannes Bergstrom, Eskil Loftsson, Michael Rupini and others, and we have a permanent collection of art we’ve received through donations from various artists. We are continuously collaborating with art collectives (Dromedar, Ovan Jord, Den Magiska Fyra, Secret Sangha, Hägring and many more) providing a venue and stage for live performances, art installations, happenings, workshops, retreats and experimental projects. We have provided a stage for many whom would in many cases not had a chance to reach an audience. A few examples of creative events we have proudly welcomed: building a room within a room, various dance performances, various tech-art installations (e.g. robo-laser-dogs, controlled led-clouds,), storytelling at the castle, spiritual therapy sessions, a Virtual Reality art installation, a Sufi dance experience, and many more. We have also hosted Wim Hof method weekend seminars and a “teal” workshop weekend for the board of the Borderland Festival community.
At this time Substitutet is not a self sustaining operation. Operating costs are covered by the founding team, donations from our community and minor revenues from events. We are lucky to have top professionals working with us for free or on a mutually beneficial basis. We don’t see monetary success as a goal and we are not looking to profit, but to keep growing and improving we need to have a stronger financial standing. We invest in Substitutet because we know that our collective provides meaning for many and improves the lives of people all around us. We are working continuously to make Substitutet self sustaining, and hope to rely less on the generosity of our members, and have the association be largely self sustaining. We wish to be able to invest more to improve our basic infrastructure and increase our possibility to continue providing a stage for more experimental and innovative endeavours.
In terms of infrastructure we have a strong need for better tech equipment, electricity and heating system, fire hazard security, making the building more comfortable and accessible and to have a budget for repairs and other maintenance expenses.
Substitutet core group is 30 people, up to 60 work with us regularly and the total number of members of Substitutet is 411 people to date.
Members of our community are not only native Swedes. Many of us come from other countries in the Nordic region and beyond. Most are based in Stockholm, some live in other parts of Sweden and all over the world. We welcome everyone no matter the country of origin and cultural or social background. We don’t judge people on their choice of lifestyle. What we care about is open and honest people who seek to share themselves and take an active part in our community.
Our community is self-dependent and is run by people who want to run it. Our goal has always been to continuously improve and with each project we have been successful. We are a diverse group - we work in art, entertainment, music, photography, business, education, tech and other fields. We learn, teach, make music, write, film, paint, build - we create and produce. But above all, we believe that life goes beyond what we do or who we are. We want every person involved and participating in any of our projects to feel that they have found a place where they belong. Where they have complete freedom of expression and have a home that supports their creative endeavours, any time of night and day, in any way they feel like it.
All talents and skills are appreciated, all ideas and thoughts are heard.
We aim to pioneer a new direction in creating a new form of local-global community. We see art as not just something to observe but something to take active part in. We are not looking to become yet another museum or an exhibition hall. We don’t want to show art, we want to invite people to be art, live art. We are looking to expand our cooperations with artist, have weekly open days where people are allowed to come and create freely in our space, have more workshops and events in line with our philosophy as a rational spiritual community.
For us who embrace the shortness of life — and find solace in death.
Us who accept the certainty of being some of the body
None of the divinity
All of the consciousness
Let go of the false
Mind your mind
Recall truth as our mother tongue
Embrace the neutrality of pain –
and treasure the absence of suffering
See, Listen, Learn, Create
Find your comfort in shared space
Be a friend and befriend
Enjoy the ride
Observe mass delusions through objective solitude
Be pulled under
Lock eyes with the abyss
Exit the womb and enter the tomb
Rest under soft ground
Leave the desolate shores of your ego
for the common ground
Rise from the living
Die a thousand births