|Birth name||Alexander Bengt Magnus Bard|
17 March 1961 |
|Occupations||Musician, Philosopher, Writer, Lecturer|
|Associated acts||Baard, Barbie, Army of Lovers, Alcazar (band), Vacuum, Bodies Without Organs, Gravitonas|
Alexander Bengt Magnus Bard (born 17 March 1961) is a Swedish philosopher, political activist, lecturer, songwriter and record producer.
Background and education
Bard was born Alexander Bengt Magnus Bard in Medevi, Motala Municipality, Sweden. After he had completed his upper secondary education, Bard studied in the United States and in Amsterdam, Netherlands. While living in Amsterdam, he earned part of his living as a sex worker. Bard returned to Sweden to study at the Stockholm School of Economics from 1984 to 1988. In addition to his studies in Economics, he took a strong interest in Philosophy and Social Theory with the explicit aim of becoming a writer and lecturer. Bard is also a judge on Swedish Idol, a spin off of American Idol
Literature and lecturing
Bard has written three books on the internet revolution, collectively known as The Futurica Trilogy, together with media theorist Jan Söderqvist. Their first collaboration The Netocrats was originally released in Swedish in 2000, became available in English in 2003, and has since been translated to a further 16 languages with total worldwide sales exceeding 340,000 copies. The second book The Global Empire was originally released in Swedish in 2003, while the third installment of the trilogy The Body Machines was originally published in Swedish in 2009. These latter two works were released in English in 2012, completing The Futurica Trilogy, in which the authors present their philosophical vision for a global and increasingly virtual society, as a consequence of the interactive revolution.
Bard has given public lectures since 1996, often with a focus on the social implications of the internet revolution, and has become one of the leading speakers on the international management theory lecturing circuit.
Bard began his musical career in 1982 with the single Life in a Goldfish Bowl released under the name Baard, a synth-punk fusion project he had formed together with two female striptease dancers. He later had some minor success as Barbie, which saw Bard performing ironic bubblegum pop songs crossdressed.
After abandoning work on a second Barbie album, Bard formed Army of Lovers with two of Barbie's entourage, Jean-Pierre Barda and La Camilla. Army of Lovers had over 20 pan-European hits, the biggest being Crucified, Obsession, and Sexual Revolution, while their presence in the US and the UK was limited to repeated club chart successes. They released five studio albums, made over 20 music videos, and became phenomenally successful across Eastern Europe, before Bard disbanded the group in 1996. Army of Lovers have later earned a widespread iconic status in the gay culture, often referred to as a perfect example of the postmodern take on the ideals of camp. Alexander Bard also worked on the production & composition of Swedish girlgroup Midi, Maxi & Efti.
Following the demise of Army of Lovers, Bard founded Vacuum, a symphonic synthpop project featuring Bard, Marina Schiptjenko (formerly of synthpop group Page), and newcomer Mattias Lindblom. Their debut single I Breathe was one of the fastest selling singles in Sweden in 1997 and also topped the singles chart in Italy. Further releases did not do as well, except in Russia and Ukraine, and Bard left after only two albums. He reformed Army of Lovers briefly in 2000 for a handful of new tracks and a greatest hits collection, and later co-wrote and co-produced the first two Alcazar albums.
In 2005, Bard launched a new music project called BWO (short for Bodies Without Organs), together with Marina Schiptjenko and new vocalist Martin Rolinski. Their debut album Prototype generated seven top 20 hit singles in Scandinavia and across Eastern Europe and reached platinum status. A second album Halcyon Days, was released in April 2006, which shipped gold and generated four additional hit singles. 2007 saw the release of a third album, Fabricator, followed by a 2008 compilation album and the 2009 release of a fourth studio album, Big Science.
In April 2010, Bard announced that he was working with co-producer Henrik Wikström on a new project called Gravitonas, signed to Universal Music worldwide. The project, described as electro-rock, and fronted by Bard himself and vocalist Andreas Öhrn, released a first digital EP in May 2010 and had its first charts hits in Sweden and Russia in the autumn of 2010. Since they refuse to release physical records tied to traditional promotional media campaigns and instead strictly release their music through streaming and downloads and in EP rather than album format, Gravitonas have been dubbed "The World's First Spotify Band" by bloggers and the music press. Bard's public friendship with Spotify founder Daniel Ek has played into this narrative. In addition to several #1 hit records across the European continent, Gravitonas have also achieved a considerable following as dance act in the U.S., with three hit records to date in the Billboard Top 50 Club Play Chart.
Besides the groups mentioned above, Alexander Bard has also worked as a songwriter and producer for several Swedish artists, in the 1980s mainly with Ola Håkansson and Tim Norell, in the early 1990s with Anders Wollbeck and Per Adebratt—especially on the early 1990s Columbia Records—signed African cult act Midi Maxi & Efti—and more recently mainly with Anders Hansson and Henrik Wikström.
Bard was a co-founder of Stockholm Records and runs several internet and music-related businesses. In August 2011, Bard joined the jury of the Swedish version of the Idol TV show, sharing the stage with Celine Dion's record producer Anders Bagge, quickly being referred to as The Scandinavian Simon Cowell due to his famously and characteristically harsh and straightforward commenting of the contestants.
Bard began to study Zoroastrianism in 1983, and was inducted to the faith in Gothenburg in 1997 where he had his navjote performed by a priest (mobed) named Kamran Jamshidi. In 2012, Bard was announced as one of the co-founders of an international initiative called the The Syntheist Movement. While originally an idea authored by the French surrealist philosopher Georges Bataille in the 1950s, the 2012 church launch was inspired by the simultaneous release of the book Religion for Atheists by Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton. Bard has declared his involvement in the new religious movement as a logical consequence of the fact that he regards Zarathushtra, the founder of the Zoroastrian faith, as the original syntheist, thereby categorizing The Syntheist Movement as an attempt to package Zarathushtra's ideas for a contemporary, global audience.
On several occasions, Bard has caused much controversy by appearing on Swedish national TV and radio, and writing articles, promoting the use of narcotic substances and a liberalisation of the stringent Swedish drug laws. He has also been a political activist for the rights of sex workers and sexual minorities. A self-proclaimed bisexual libertine, Bard lived in a much-publicized relationship in the 1990s with Swedish anthropologist and writer Petra Östergren. He returned to politics in June 2008 as one of the founders of the cyberliberal network Liberati, initially organised as a support group for Swedish Member of Parliament Camilla Lindberg, a close friend of Bard's. Liberati disbanded after the 2010 election, as they saw the election result as a defeat for liberalism. Bard consequently left the People's Party to join the competing Center Party, where he co-founded the party's online branch, Cybercentern, with Swedish parliamentarian Fredrick Federley in September 2011.
- Strage, Fredrik (2006-03-03). "Åsiktsmaskinen Alexander Bard" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Archived from the original on 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- "The Futurica Trilogy". Stockholm Text. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- Bard, Alexander; Söderqvist, Jan (2002). Det globala imperiet: informationsålderns politiska filosofi [The Global Empire] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier Fakta. ISBN 91-85015-03-2.; reviewed in Ingdahl, Waldemar (2003). "Informationsålderns politiska filosofi" [Political Philosophy of the Information Age]. Svensk Tidskrift (in Swedish) (Stockholm: Nordstedts Tryckeri) (2). ISSN 0039-677X. OCLC 1586291. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010. (This is a book review of Bard & Söderqvist, Det globala imperiet, 2002, ISBN 91-85015-03-2); bibliographic entries at LIBRIS No. 8814548 (WebCite 12 January 2010) and librarything.com (WebCite 12 January 2010)
- "Speakersnet - exclusive speakers - Speakersnet". Speakersnet.se. Retrieved 2012-11-06.