Luleå Biennial 2020:
Time on Earth
21.11.2020~14.2.2020

Information regarding Covid-19

The Luleå Biennial 2020 closely follows the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations and the development around Covid-19. We want you to feel safe during your visit and therefore urge all our visitors to keep a safe distance from others, maintain good hand hygiene and to stay at home if you feel the least bit sick. There is hand disinfectant available in the exhibitions. We disinfect surfaces and the exhibition spaces are thoroughly cleaned continuously. The Biennial continues until 14 February 2020. Subject to change of the current restrictions we will return with updated information.

To plan your visit in advance, please book a time slot for each exhibition at Billetto. Drop in is only possible as far as space allows.

Thank you for your understanding and stay safe!

Tidal Ground
Emily Fahlén, Asrin Haidari & Thomas Hämén
Vishal Kumar Dar, Dirghtamas, 2018, a public light installation in Luleå harbour, part of The Luleå Biennial: Tidal Ground

Never did they know
what the conditions afford
in the darkness of winter
*

In the darkest months of the year, November through February, Sweden’s northern-most territory, Norrbotten, sees only six hours of daylight. The Luleå Biennial 2018 coincides with this period, and therefore we have taken the darkness of the region as both a necessary and generative premise for our work and thinking.

The title of the biennial, Tidal Ground, refers to the gravitational force of the sun and moon—also known as body tide—that causes the earth’s solid surface to stir in a movement parallel to that of the oceans. Light and darkness take the place of one another in rhythmic unison with the surrounding landscape.

The geographical position of Norrbotten, with its proximity to Finland and Russia, has historically made the area an active military zone. A loaded and strategic frontier from which a whole town, surrounded by five fortresses, emerged from the land to defend it against intruders. This area is rich in water, iron ore, and wood. The extraction of these resources has left deep wounds: silent rapids, gaping pits, a city collapsing into the ground. What role does darkness play in such stories?

The concept of darkness has predominantly negative connotations of fear and destruction. The biennial asks questions about what ‘dark times’ may be said to entail: that social and political forces are also going through a period of tidal movement? Or that darkness is an ever- present condition for us to navigate? Can it, in that case, be understood as a projected space? A space that becomes one with time, where the senses are heightened and new contours may slowly become visible?

With Norrbotten’s landscape as our point of departure, and greatly inspired by its contemporary poets, a series of related exhibitions will open in Luleå, Boden, Jokkmokk, Kiruna, and Korpilombolo. Works about muted waterfalls, a fictional wilderness, and waiting for a war that fails to commence, draw parallels to similar stories in other mountains, at other riverbanks and seas. There are works that arise from particular geographies, and others that tie themselves to dreams and let go of the ground. The landscape is a stage where power and abuse play out, but also a place in which we might discover something new about ourselves. What else might we learn from the landscape, its rhythms and its tides? Can we find resistance there?

Eight new artworks was produced for the Luleå Biennial 2018: Tidal Ground, this issue of the Lulu Journal gathers conversations with the artists who made them.

Emily Fahlén, Asrin Haidari & Thomas Hämén, artistic directors of the Luleå Biennial 2018

*from Linnea Axelsson’s epic poem Aednan (2018)

Radio 65.22 is an auditory cross section of the biennial’s theme and contents, which amplifies and makes accessible written texts, framed situations and artistic voices. Radio 65.22 also enables an encounter with chosen parts of the Luleå Biennial’s activities for those who cannot experience the biennial in situ.

With Radio 65.22, we want to inscribe ourselves into an experimental and exploratory radio tradition, where the media itself becomes a platform for our ideas on radio and its capacity to depict and mirror the world around us. The task of Radio 65.22 is to tell of reality, in further ways that may not be possible through the image or the text.

Under Fragments: Time on Earth you will find radio programmes and sound pieces in different genres and forms that reflect this year’s biennial in various ways. Spirit of Place is a touring series of literary conversations on language and place. The culture journalist Kerstin Wixe takes us along to places that have played a significant part in an author’s stories, or carries the story’s history. Woven Songs is a deepening series of radio programmes that accentuate singing, the voice and the role of storytelling in the creation of new world views and orders.

Listen, reflect, enjoy!