October 31, 2017 - Public Art Agency Sweden - Extracts from a Future History
October 31, 2017

Public Art Agency Sweden

Lisa Tan, My Pictures of You (still), 2017. Image of Mars courtesy of NASA:JPL-Caltech. Courtesy of the artist and Public Art Agency Sweden.

Extracts from a Future History
Yuri Pattison, Raqs Media Collective, Eva Stina Sandling, Lisa Tan and Anja Örn/Tomas Örn/Fanny Carinasdotter
November 16–December 3, 2017

Opening & inaugural speech: November 15, 5:30–8pm
Public talk: November 16, 12–2pm


The exhibition Extracts from a Future History takes extraction as its main theme, presenting new commissions by Raqs Media Collective, Lisa Tan, and Anja Örn/Tomas Örn/Fanny Carinasdotter, as well as existing works by Yuri Pattison and Eva Stina Sandling

The phenomenon of extraction is commonly associated with the exploitation of natural resources. But in the digital age, the extractive paradigm has expanded to also include processes such as large-scale data analysis and the mining of digital currencies, as well as the commodification of human relations through online social media. 

The context-specific exhibition Extracts from a Future History takes the history of extractivism in the region of Norrbotten as its starting point, exhibiting newly commissioned artworks in public sites across the city of Luleå. 

From the 1600s onward, the ore fields of Norrbotten have provided the world with metals that have played a decisive role in the world economy. Many colonial relationships have been built on iron ore from the North: between the Swedish State and the Sami people, as well as between the great powers of Europe and their conquered territories in other parts of the world. Today, the iron and copper mines of Norrbotten have been joined by the global data industry, attracted to the region by the cold climate and availability of cheap hydraulic power—Facebook have placed their European servers in Luleå, and the nearby town of Boden is home to one of Europe’s largest Bitcoin mines. 

The exhibition seeks to raise questions concerning contemporary forms of transformation of common resources into capital, which today take place not only on oil and ore fields, but also at home in front of the computer: for companies like Facebook and Google, the personal data that their many billion daily visitors leave behind on their digital platforms are just as valuable as the 75,000 tons of iron ore extracted from Kiirunavaara mountain every day is for the mining industry. Furthermore, as our own planet is fast becoming depleted of natural resources, the search for water and valuable metals on other celestial bodies intensifies. How far will the extractive paradigm go? 

The development in Norrbotten from mining to data-mining serves as the foundational premise of the exhibition, which the artworks complicate and expand upon in different ways, tracing the paths of iron ore and data traffic through the depths of the earth and the arteries of warm-blooded mammals, as well as further out into the darkness of the universe. By installing the artworks in some of Luleå’s most iconic 1950s buildings, different layers of material history and societal change are made visible and juxtaposed. 

Curator: Lisa Rosendahl

Exhibition venues in Luleå:
Vetenskapens Hus, Storgatan 53
Temporary exhibition containers at the intersection Storgatan / Smedjegatan
Pontusbadet, Bastugatan 6
The former underground defense facility at Mjölkuddsberget, Torpslingan 36

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Norrbotten County Council and Luleå Municipality. 

Public Art Agency Sweden explores and develops the interaction between contemporary art and public spaces. Through site-specific art, temporary interventions, urban development projects as well as discussions and publications, we strive to contribute to the development of both contemporary art and public spaces. 

Public Art Agency Sweden
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