In 2001 Swedish-American conceptual artist Michele Pred worked as a limo driver in San Francisco. After 9/11 she noticed a change in the conversations of her customers. As a culture of fear arose in the U.S., an idea awoke in Pred’s mind. She wanted to create art with items once considered souvenirs, but after 9/11 were considered weapons.

Since September 11, 2002, Michele Pred has had many exhibitions on the subject of fear culture. Her art pieces, made of confiscated items, are very popular among art dealers and collectors.
As a conceptual artist, Michele Pred’s ideas and thoughts are the starting point of every project. She also has a political or cultural message she wants to pass on to the viewer.
Having observed one of her cultural fear art pieces, it hit me how the perception of travelling has changed since 9/11. The fear of being considered guilty in any way is something many who travel have felt just by carrying something that can be thought of as a weapon.
Pred and her attorney even had to prepare a contract with the airport in order to receive confiscated items. They feared she would sue them if she hurt herself touching the objects.

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Happening in 2012
2012 is a happening year for Michele Pred, which isn’t unusual for this busy artist. As of April 27 she’s in the Decorator Showcase at 2020 Jackson Street in San Francisco where she has decorated a bathroom in a Fear Culture theme. She will also take part in the San Francisco Art Market on May 17 to 20.
As a native San Franciscan it’s no wonder she has many exhibitions here. She was also one of the artists elected to “leave her heart in San Francisco” by creating one of the many hearts seen all over the city.
But Pred is not an all-American artist. Her American father was a professor of cultural geography at Berkeley University, and he met Michele’s mother, a Swedish girl, in San Francisco. The family spent every summer in Sweden as well as some years when her dad worked at Uppsala and Lund universities. They even learned Swedish and spoke the language fluently, making it easy to think Pred is 100 percent Swedish with her pure “Stockholms” accent.
So, there’s no surprise Pred will also take part in STOFF (Stockholm Fringe Fest) this summer. Her work “You Are What You Buy” is about excessive consumption and she uses IKEA as an example of people’s buying habits. Her work will be on display at the House of Culture (Kulturhuset) in Stockholm, and I’m confident it will raise questions and thoughts in people’s minds. The art she uses as a wake-up call for today's consumption is a barcode that can be scanned via smartphone.
The barcode was also the main character in a guerilla marketing campaign. Pred used IKEA in San Francisco as the setting of the campaign to send out her message. You can read (and see) more about it at: www.michelepred.com.

Aside from the two San Francisco exhibitions, Michele Pred will also be a part of the "Woman, By, Of, About" exhibition in New York at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Pred is going to awaken the question of Reproductive Rights in the U.S.
Don’t miss out on this if you are in New York in June through August!

By Emma Lööf Björnram

Contributed courtesy SACC San Francisco / Silicon Valley
Read more about the artist at http://michelepred.com