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This Guy Wants You to Help Him Make Sweden's Most 'Provocative' Magazine

In the next issue of Mums, Petter Wallenberg will explore death.

Petter Wallenberg a.k.a. House of Wallenberg is one of Perez Hilton's favourite Swedish artists. He's also the author behind the biography of unconventional pop star Leila K. He runs a performance art nightclub called Klubb Mums Mums in Stockholm, AND he's the editor-in-chief and creative director of annual magazine Mums [Swedish for yummy], which he founded in 2009.

In the past, Mums has featured stuff such as Christian music reviews written by infamous Christian cult leader Kristi Brud (who was brought into the limelight when she ended up in the centre of the Knutby murder scandal), and a fashion editorial featuring under-ten-year-olds dressed up as club kids in the 90s. For the next issue of Mums – which currently is in the making – he's crowdsourcing content via creative platform Grolsch Studios on the theme death. I called him and chatted about death, raw chickens in fashion, and 12-year-old food critics. VICE: Mums is turning five this year. Tell me abut the sickest or most valuable thing that has happened to you during these years thanks to your zine.
Petter Wallenberg: Oh, plenty of things have been both sick and fantastic at the same time! For example, when Kristi Brud travelled to Stockholm from Knutby and sang Stevie Wonder covers at the release party of the first issue. Dagens Nyheter called it one of the biggest events of the 00s. You have so many titles these days: publisher, artist, writer, author, and club organiser… What title do you want people to use when they refer to you?
Call me what you want as long as you call me. Media sometimes refer to Mums as "provocative." Do you agree?
Nah. We're just doing our thing. But then again, I think going against the grain is very rare in the Swedish media landscape, which can be stiflingly conformist. We ruffled a few feathers when we gave artists free hands to interpret the assassination of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Especially "The Assassination Of Palme – The Fashion Story" which made Stig Malm amongst others, see red in the tabloids. It was interesting because I think so much of it had to do with the fact that we chose to call it a "fashion story." Mums isn't really a fashion magazine, but we have always played around with the idea of fashion as art – like styling raw chickens and stuff. If you called the photo series about the murder of Palme "art," nobody would bat an eyelid. Which is why it's more interesting to call it fashion. Fashion is looked down upon. I think it's exciting to challenge that. Most of all, I like to challenge my own creativity. So is that why you think magazines such as Mums are needed in today's society?
Mums is a free and non-profit magazine. It's something we do for the love of it. Mums is rooted in camp culture. It's an aesthetic with origins from old gay culture – but it's not necessarily gay, more outsider art. It's always important to challenge the commercial establishment. Camp's biggest strength is that it's serious about the ridiculous, and that it ridicules the serious. Like in the old days when you had court jesters who once a year were allowed to make fun of the king.


Speaking of once a year, Mums is released once a year, and this year's theme is death. Why?
Death is that huge pink elephant in the middle of the room that we're all too scared to talk about. We're so used to associating death with sadness and horror so I wanted to put it in a different context. There are as many ways to look upon death as there are people. Death is really the one thing we all have in common. We are all going to die! In previous issues of Mums, you've worked with a wide range of personalities and creatives. How do you choose who you want to co-work with?
Mums always features a motley crew of talents. We've worked with everything from cult leaders to criminals, alongside many of Sweden's biggest writers and photographers. In the beginning we had a 12-year-old food critic – that was amazing. I like when there's a playfulness, a sincerity to it. Camp fun content sitting right next to the dark stuff. Very much like a school paper – but for a pretty fucked up school! Why did you choose to crowdsource content for this issue?
Lately, there's been a lot of talk about the death of printed media. You know, that printed magazines are going extinct. That's why it felt like a fun theme to go with and make something new. We've teamed up with Grolsch Studios to invite the public onboard to help create Mums issue five. If it even ends up as a magazine issue. We'll let the public decide that too. The end product might turn out to be something completely different. Maybe a printed coffin? So what are your expectations on welcoming of the fifth issue?
Whatever happens – it will be to die for.

Visit Petter Wallenberg's website for more of his work. Contribute to Mums [in Swedish] here.

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