Text: Mathilda Frykberg
“I didn’t take the time to think about what I really wanted to do. I just went along with the flow. I was running after an ideal happiness that wasn’t my own.” – Tim Bergling
DJ and EDM producer Avicii, Tim Bergling, passed away, 28 years old, on the 20th of april 2018 in Muskat, Oman. He left a successful career behind, having toured all over the world with sold out concerts. He was a multi-millionaire and owner of several luxury villas. The documentary ”Avicii – True Stories” (2017, by Levan Tsikurishvili) tells the personal story of Tim Bergling and his struggle inside the huge and brutal industry of EDM. I started watching the documentary by coincidence some months before his death and the whole story made me so surprisingly emotional. I was touched although not entirely clear on why. I never saw myself as someone that liked or even cared for the music of Avicii, but through the movie I realized that I could actually identify very much with the person Tim. In one sequence of the film he talks, with great passion, about the concepts of Carl Jungs personality types – about relying on intuition instead of sensation and of being an introvert in an extremely extroverted and challenging world. This scene made a great impact on me.
When Tim Bergling, some months later passed away, I was totally devastated. It felt like someone close to me had died, my best friend or a family member. After a week I realized I was not the only one feeling deep personal loss in relation to the death of Avicii. On Flashback I found never ending threads where people from all over the world manifested their collective sorrow. People were crying, mourning, needed to stay home from work, sought help from therapists – and just like me, they’d never really listened to his music, they were no fans at all. At the same time, people around me started to share the same kind of stories. It was all to me a great mystery. Why are we mourning Avicii?
I think perhaps Avicii became a symbol for something greater than himself… And I imagine this symbolic message being both abstract and important. He became a victim inside of a massive and brutal economic industry. The documentary tells the story of a person who wanted to do something good in the world, who cared for others, and simply because of that also fell so hard inside the system.
I imagine the symbolic value of Avicii’s death being an abstract realization of a lot of restrained frustration for individuals who, just like him, are introverted, have deep intuition and wants to believe in the good in this world. For people who, in the same way, feel trapped inside systems that makes them both mentally and physically ill. The story of Avicii could easily be compared to bigger ideological structures of human life, the idea of capitalism, production, economical growth and all victims inside that system. Avicii made music that made millions of people dance and forget their sorrows. He affected masses of human beings in its purest form – creating happiness, solace and a place to both escape and vitalize reality. The effect of this kind of mainstream music should not be underrated. At the same time, his story becomes a painful reminder of the fact that life always ends. It is like all of his tracks are telling the listener to live now – in the afterglow of his short life: remember to dance and party because soon you will be gone from this world.
(This text is a part of the project God is the source of light in all luminous objects.)