Installation with paper, soil, fabric, silver. 2015
A laboratory exhibition as a way to approach fieldwork as an artistic method. The ten artists had the opportunity to work closely with the archaeological excavation site of Nya Lödöse in Göteborg, Sweden. What happens when art draws close to science?
Big amounts of the soil at the archaeological excavation of Nya Lödöse was poisonous. Mainly due to modern industry, part of the contaminated soil contained heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and petroleum products. Like in many other contaminated locations in Sweden the earth has to be taken away or cleansed. Everything of value from the arcaheological excavation was removed, gently cleaned from soil and preserved. And yet, we do not speak of the value of earth itself.
Through a minimalistic and symbolic language I wanted to express the tracing of materials and information in the process of approaching the matter.
I looked att the landscape in small details, in the plants, the herbs, the chemical reactions, taking on the role of a researcher. My research became a rabbit running in multiple directions, and me chasing it down holes of alternative medicine, enviromental concerns, chemistry. Knowledge used as a material, briefly touched before the hunt goes on and facts are turned into symbols.
The key element to the installation was the amount of packages with soil wrapped as gifts and decorated with heather in the middle of the room. The landscape was inherited and will be passed on. A gift comes with obligations, with expectations. Gift being a false cognate meaning poison in Swedish. Heather, due to Swedish superstitions being a bad sign of sickness or death if ever brought indoors, but at the same time used in old times as a tea curing insomnia. The search of connections span over time and fields. When looking closer at the chemiclas in the herbs used for medical treatment and the posionous chemicals I realised that only the amount decides what is good and what is dangerous to the human body. Twelve silverspoons balancing on the edge of a mantlepiece, pointing to the room. They are filled with a mountfull of the soil. Take your medicin, ask no questions. I found most issues of health and enviroment coming down to economy. Leading back to the question of value.
The project was exhibited at Vasagatan 33, Göteborg Sweden. CAN YOU DIG IT? was developed within the framework of the EU-project NEARCH – (New Scenarios for a Community-involved Archaeology) of which Academin Valand at Gothenburg University is a partner. Read more about it here: