We’ve been quiet for a while, but decided to release a new song. It’s in Swedish, called “Sheriffen” (the Sherif). You’ll find it on all streaming sites. Here are the links to Spotify, Apple music, and YouTube. Hope you dig it!
Did you know, it’s not all about mining? It’s also about mushrooms, gardening and art.
* Since the 1980s, in an abandoned part of the mine on level 540, the mushroom shiitake is cultivated. The temperature is very even, no insects, basically a sterlie environment, which make the conditions perfect for the mushrooms.
* There used to be a garden inside the gates where “they grew tomatoes, grapes, melons and other fruits and vegetables that were exotic for the climate. Gardener Einar Eng worked in the garden for 49 years.” (The Book of LKAB, 2015: 155)
* LKAB has Sweden’s largest corporate art collection.
“You are meters, you are tonnes”, sings Johan Airijoki, singer-songwriter from Gällivare, Malmfälten (in Swedish). Among the key performance indicators that miners speaks to us about, we find that those two are rather salient: how many meters advanced as new tunnels are made (drifting) and how many tonnes of ore are loaded on your shift. In short: “You are meters, you are tonnes”.
Kiruna is part of the region called Malmfälten (in direct translation “the fields of ore”), so it is not really a secret what is commonly seen as fueling the region: mining. Another answer, however, might be: art. Whether it is the mining industry, the harshness and striking beauty of the landscape, the long Winters, the heat in the sauna, the never ending nights (and mosquitos) during Summers, the people, or all of the above, this region has over time produced great art and this also drives the region.
Just recently, Kiruna became the place for the new county art hall, previously in Luleå. In Kiruna, the town hall has always also been an impressive exhibition of art for all visitors to see, apparent now as it is being dismantled along with the art collection (which will travel to the new town hall). Previously, we have told about our collaboration with local Kiruna artist Magnus Fredriksson (see our posts from our art exhibitions, of which Magnus has played a key part, click here for his webpage) and how his art (mainly animations) make use of the local culture and landscape. In our project he took some of the metaphors of the mine and the company and translated them into paintings that not only captured the particular metaphor, but also triggered the imagination further. You are meters, you are tonnes, sometimes the workers underground are spoken of as being at ‘the front’. Magnus took the metaphor to a trench in one of the great wars, with warplanes flying above miners drinking coffee. Of course, the great wars are not an unsensitive issue for the company and for Malmfälten. Iron ore was in high demand. In another painting, the metaphor of the company as a Mother was illustrated, with a naked white woman with three pairs of bare breasts, rolling in on a hamburger-bed, breastfeeding a whole choir of people through an arrangement reminding of gear used when milking cows. In a third painting, of the metaphor of the Dream factory, the factory turns zoo-animals into rainbowcolored mince…
It’s like: you had me at ‘Hello’. We cannot stop looking, and thinking.
We are continuously getting to know other local artists. Unsurprisingly, they not only give us a better feel for the place and the people, but they also many times seem more effective then us in ‘capturing’ labour and power-related issues that we see, hear and feel, and tear the few hairs on our heads to digest, understand and express.
All good things come to an end, but then again, although we closed our exhibition in Luleå this weekend, it is ready to go to another place, in another time:-)
We’re grateful to the city library in Luleå for making this possible and to all the visitors, some of who left very kind words in our guestbook!
Yesterday we opened the exhibition of the project at the city library in Luleå. Colleagues, friends and strangers made it through our photos, videos, sounds, music and texts, as well as Magnus Fredriksson’s artwork. We’re very happy to be able to have this interaction with people and hope many more find their way to the library during the remained of September (we close the exhibition on Sep 30).
A friend and colleague to us, professor Rickard Garvare, took some wonderful photos, which he has allowed us to share on our site:
It’s Summertime and as Swedes, we’re hell bent for vacation. But, we have happy news and want to share them with you.
On September 9, the town of Luleå celebrates “The night of culture” (Kulturnatta, in Swedish) and we have been invited by the city library, located down town in the House of Culture, to set up the art exhibition of Organizing rocks. This, we believe, is a very good reason to visit Luleå! The exhibition will be open all through September and you’ll find the exhibition as soon as you enter the library.
Now, continue having a nice Summer:-)
Between March 11-25, an art exhibit of Organizing rocks will be on display in the city hall in Kiruna. It is organised by the local art association, Kiruna Konstgille. The exhibition also includes illustrations of our project by the local artist Magnus Fredriksson (one of his illustration serves as the picture for this blogpost).
In the exhibition we intend to evoke the question of how we can understand the organising of a mine. Contrasting our two cases – the Kiruna mine and the McArthur River mine – with each other, we particularly hope to raise questions and trigger thoughts about where a labor process begins and ends, and how this might be relevant for where Kiruna is heading.
To be given the opportunity to exhibit our project in Kiruna, and in Sweden’s most beautiful city hall, is beyond any of our expectations. We are very grateful to the art association for this chance.
Click here for the invitation in Swedish. Please spread the word!
Please welcome another guest blogger, management professor Monika Kostera. Monika uses poetry to capture our project:
Hear the underground humming,
hear the rumble of darkness,
the dungeons abuzz
Growl the chorus,
dance the machines
It’s all right,
we know where you’ve been
This is ethnography of the heart and bone,
it resonates with the ribcage,
makes you stomp
We are all miners,
we will not cave in
This is a song
made of the same
fabric as we:
On the second floor of Kiruna’s city hall, there’s an exhibition by Kiruna’s association for art (Kiruna Konstgille). The exhibition consists of 100 t-shirts, designed by a variety of local artists (see the video further down, not by us!). The shirts predominantly address the changes that Kiruna is going through and some are relevant to the Kiruna mine and the labour process, or at least we think so. The second shirt below, for example, ranks different groups of people from one to eleven. First place: people who work for LKAB. Sixth place: girls [not women; it would’ve read “kvinnor” and not “tjejer”] who work for LKAB. Although we like to think that we can ‘encode’ some of these shirts, many of them also puzzle us. Isn’t art wonderful! One thing is clear, however: the art association is one part of the labour process periphery that we have to close in on.