Luleå Biennial 2020:
Time on Earth

Information regarding Covid-19

Last chance The Luleå Biennial 2020: Time on Earth

Wednesday February 10, 16~20 and Saturday February 13–Sunday February 14, 12~16
Galleri Syster is open. Group show with Augusta Strömberg, Susanna Jablonski and Ana Vaz.

Thursday February 11–Sunday February 14, 12~16
Havremagasinet länskonsthall in Bodenis open. Group show with Beatrice Gibson, Susanna Jablonski, Birgitta Linhart, Fathia Mohidin, Charlotte Posenenske, Tommy Tommie and Danae Valenza.

Saturday February 13–Sunday February 14, 14~18
The former prison Vita Duvan is open with an electro acoustic installation by Maria W Horn.

Saturday February 13, 15~19
The artist Markus Öhrn and the poet David Väyrynens sound installation "Bikt" is exhibited on the ice by Residensgatan in Luleå. Listen to older generations of Tornedal women and their testimonies.

Book your visit via Billetto. Drop in is possible as far as space allows.

For those of you who do not have the opportunity to physically visit the Luleå Biennale on site, a radio show including artist talks, sound works and specially written essays will be on stream on Saturday February 13–Sunday February 14. Visit our radio page here.

The exhibitions at Norrbotten's Museum, Luleå konsthall, Välkommaskolan in Malmberget and the Silver Museum are unfortunatly closed.

Lulu Letter
Ulla Rhedin

I’ve been on an exciting journey with Brecht, which has taken me in many directions. I’d like to tell you some of my thoughts. It’s an unusual approach for me, to leave the comfort of my ordinary concepts and be more free. Indeed, truly difficult, for someone who lost her language decades ago doing thesis work, trying in vain to write legible prose for an interested audience.

I’ve decided to remain within the field where I’ve been active for years, as a critic and a researcher of picturebooks, and a former drama and film teacher. Where I currently work, as a teacher at an art school, we’ve been offering postgraduate courses for professional illustrators and graphic designers for ten years, teaching picturebook storytelling (where I participate) and the art of creating comics and graphic novels (where I show up as a guest sometimes, simply because I feel like it). In the former courses, one thing we’ve been trying to do is to make the participants break from their existing styles and mannerisms, through a number of techniques: by convincing them to be playful, free, and wild, by allowing them to quote freely from the artworld or choose among different models and techniques, that they can then paraphrase, steal from, refer to, or allude to in tributes or intertextual references. In a following project they have then been asked to pick a predecessor from among different more or less forgotten picturebook classics, and then renew it, giving it a new actuality and a new artistic height through remediation (with the purpose of “healing”). It’s been very fun and rewarding to follow this development!

My idea about Brecht and How Much Is Your Iron? is that we would plan another phase, a “transmediation”. This would make it possible to put all of our talk to the test, to challenge our ideas about the picture book as a performative artform related to theater; now the students will be assigned the task of investigating that talk by making a picturebook out of a one-act play by Brecht! How can one medium be understood by another medium? What is won in the transformation? How can the acoustic qualities be replaced in perception? What artistic challenges would such a transformation entail? What pedagogical challenges, if we were to try and honor Brecht’s didactic ambitions and critical/political aims? And how do the challenges look depending on who the implied readers are?

If the students want to make a somewhat literal transmediation of the play, then perhaps one version of the book should be directed to young readers, at the cognitive level of early abstract thinking, and another to a reading adult audience. Then they can experiment with scenes/images for a traditional 32 page picturebook format, or make a storyboard for a graphic novel.

If you’d want a greater challenge you could address younger readers: tweens (10~13), school age (7~9), preschool all the way down to toy books and image-stories (with a lot of subtext for adults reading out loud).

The younger the age of the implied readers, the more Brecht’s humoristic and comical sides must be emphasized, playing with his naivety from different kinds of children’s perspectives. Here there are exciting role models in Barbro Lindgren, Gunna Grähs, Anna Höglund, Eva Lindström, Anna Bengtsson, Thomas and Anna-Clara Tidholm, etc. And even folk stories and fairy tales may have qualities that could be borrowed or quoted (The Master Tailor, Grimms’ Clever Elsie, H.C. Andersen’s Tordyveln…).

We’re here confronted with interesting questions regarding Verfremdung effects in text and image, and how they may serve the story. How does the anthropomorphization of animals and toys function as a technique of distanciation? Looking into the camera, playing to and addressing the audience/reader? Different comic techniques, for example according to Arthur Koestler’s theory of humor? About this I’ve written in earlier contexts, for example in the anthology Först och sist Lennart Hellsing (1989), where I studied how his illustrators interpreted his often wild witticisms using images, in the article “Hellsings bildvärldar”.

Finally, the students must also decide how they should approach the thematic and moral issues. Brecht wrote his one-act play in an urgent contemporary political situation, during the run-up to what became World War II (so: to awaken and render aware naively sleeping Swedes). Does that content serve the same, intended effect today? Or should we ask ourselves what Brecht might have seen as the urgent issues of today? Unfortunately there is a lot to choose from. And how might this engage younger children, by playing into situations of unfairness and wrong among playmates and siblings?

This is where all of the important aesthetic decisions will then enter: artistic techniques and modes of expression, and possible references to the scenic origin in Brecht, with his stylized characters and his “directing note” that the roles should be played in a “slapstick style”. It will be interesting to see how this will be translated into todays aesthetic, for children and teens.

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, produced in collaboration with Public Art Agency Sweden.

Listen, reflect, enjoy!