Installation, mixed media (2012-2015)
Photos from the group exhibition Society Machine at Malmö Konstmuseum 2016.
Schematisk bild av Ångermanälven
Artistic research project, 2012-2015
When as a child I visited my grandparents in Sollefteå in the northern part of Sweden, I always slept on a sofa bed in the basement. Right in front of me, as I lay there in bed, were a ”map”, Schematisk bild av Ångermanälven. I knew it had something to do with hydro electric power, I knew that my grandfather had worked in power plant construction when he was younger, but for me, when I was lying there just about to fall asleep it was a dream landscape, a map of a strange system of waterways, volumes and hidden waterfalls.
In the summer of 2012, I traveled along this ”map”. For three weeks, I visited and photographed around all the places on the map, all the power stations, the lakes, ponds, reservoirs, switchgear and rapids.
Both my grandparents grew up under simple conditions on small farms in the inland of the Swedish north. My grandfather started as a “pin boy” at the local water power plant construction site, and then continued to work his way up within the company. He followed the company from one construction site to the other. Grandma was a school teacher and she to followed the company and worked in the schools in the temporary villages that were set up around for the workers and their families to live in. Grandpa earned well from working in the water power industry and the family quickly got a high living standard. Early in the 1960s they began to travel the world – Greece, Spain, Bulgaria and America. In photographs and super 8 films from their travels, I see their pride, standing facing the camera in front of newly built hotels, tourist attractions and scenic landscapes. They must have felt as part of the world, as part of the new modern society. This is the way modernity functions, nature is exploited by the companies, the formerly free flowing rivers is tamed and regulated and the new modern, globalized, world opens up.
By placing the development of hydroelectric power in Sweden in the 1950s and 60s next to my grandparents private history, I try to access something that to me seems to be in the very core of the modernistic project, the conflict between the private and the public, and the increased distance between nature and society.
Parts of my work Schematisk bild av Ångermanälven has been shown in a small exhibition in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts research week in the autumn of 2013. In connection to that, I held a public conversation with Swedish writer and journalist Po Tidholm that revolved around Sweden’s relation to its northern parts and the natural resources that exists there.
In the spring of 2015, I completed a book with the pictures from the trip. The book were shown in the Swedish Royal Art Academy’s library in June 2015 together with an installation made up from maps and rocks the I have collected from the sites of the power plants.
In 2016 the work was shown as an installation in the exhibition The Society Machine, curated by Lisa Rosendahl, at Malmö Konstmuseum.