field drawings (from Abisko)
paper, pencil, charcoal, resin print
The collection of drawings in this installation are made as a field research during the course of a week in Abisko, northern Sweden. The area is part of the Sapmi land that expands from northern Norway to northern Finland and was home to Sámi reindeer herders. With the construction of the railway between Narvik, Norway and Lulea, Sweden in the early 1900's for the transportation of the iron ore mined in Kiruna and Malmberget the area became accessible by land. Today it's still part of this industrial route in addition to being an important research site for monitoring the arctic climate and a popular tourist attraction due to Abisko National Park.
As a complete foreigner to this land, I was troubled by a lack of connection and knowledge about my surroundings. Neither the imposing scene of wagons passing every hour from the village filled to the brim with iron nor the complicated but very important climate data we were presented at the research center was making it easier. So, I took inspiration from the methods of botanists, wary of its colonial history and often invasive methods. I had to accept that my engagement was superficial and that I wouldn't be able to attain the level of involvement that the indigenous people in these lands gathered during thousands of years. My attempt was not objectivity or a sort of framing, rather I felt the way to understand this land with my own tools was through observational drawing that forces one to spend longer durations in the same location with what they draw, becoming more intimate and exposed with each minute passing.
photo credit: Andreas Thomsen