There is more than one narrative about a location

An archaeological excavation, meetings at different levels and parallel narratives. Artists Anna Högberg and Johan Tirén are on site in Gamlegården in Kristianstad, one of the locations in the government initiative Art is Happening. In October 2016 the preliminary study was completed and now the project will proceed to perform full-scale tests of different ideas.

“It’s a cool, traffic-free place that can be used for numerous purposes,” says artist Anna Högberg.

We are on a paved, desolate road just north of the Gamlegården residential area in Kristianstad where the nature of the rambling area Näsby fält begins. In the summers cows are put out to pasture here. Dog owners take advantage of the large open fields outside the enclosed pasture to play with their dogs – at the correct distance from the animals. Several roads lead here. But they don’t really.

“There is a walkway running from the centre of Gamlegården straight towards the field and parallel to Bataljonsvägen that adjoins the Näsby housing development. The areas are linked by roads that are also barriers,” says artist Johan Tirén.


Full-scale tests in situ

Anna Högberg and Johan Tirén’s project in Gamlegården is part of the government initiative Art is Happening. The starting point of the project was a silent walk with closed eyes in the residential area, a temporary performance by artist and choreographer Myriam Lefkowitz. A few months later, Högberg and Tirén’s preliminary studies were completed based on the residents’ experiences of the performance. Now it’s time to try out different ideas in full scale. Among other things, they want to extend a walkway all the way to Näsby fält. Now it ends abruptly, forcing people to either take a detour or step over a ditch in order to reach the field.

“We are about to send out invitations for a first test on the road adjacent to the field. In the summer there will be activities providing opportunities to meet the residents and obtain feedback on how they feel about the housing environment and learn more about current issues,” Johan Tirén explains.

Experiences are incorporated in the sketch process

The artists have already carried out an artistic excavation, a test in a scale of 1:1, in the park area between the multi-dwelling units. They marked out a grass area of 1×1 metres and then carefully worked their way down, layer by layer, into the ground. The excavation became a natural meeting place, people dropped by and stayed for a while – others remained for several days and helped out.

“We made various finds and there were meetings at different levels. There is more than one narrative about a location and it’s important to allow for several parallel narratives. History is rewritten all the time; it’s not complete,” Anna Högberg explains.

In the autumn the artists will present a final sketch proposal for a permanent artwork at Gamlegården. On our visit in early February 2017 they were still in the middle of the process.

“What do we see and what don’t we see? How are power relations between areas created? We have begun following up questions that interest us,” says Johan Tirén.

Back to Gamlegården