The Archive - work in progress

Part 1 - untitled, (Compost Mounds at Norra Begravningsplatsen Cemetery), 2019

C-Print - variable measurements


The Archive - Part 2 (text)


My studio is located in a an industrial area on the northern edge of Stockholm in Solna. I sometimes take walks after lunch, I usually just walk randomly and I most often end up wallking in through a hole in the fence of the cemetery (norra begravningsplatsen). The hole is a pathway for people wanting to shortcut through the cemetery, It is used by dozens of people daily, even people on bicycles. It has become an informal part of the city planning, a path like animal paths in the forest. it´s a very large cemetery that feels more like a park in size, there are lots of trees and animals living there. It has been in use since the 1815 and it has grown into quite a  large area that contains 33000 graves. It is on one of these walks that I came upon the large mounds of compost that are situated on one end of the cemetery, in a working area where all the machines and tools are kept. Beside the compost, there is a pile of old gravestones lying there, perhaps waiting to be recycled. I imagine that they have been pulled out of the cemetery because there was no one left to pay the dues. On some occasions I was lucky to meet the people working there, with the park, making sure that nature is present within a certain order. That the walkways are walkable and the bushes are trimmed, that visitors feel welcome. The order, create a sense of peace. Without caretakers, nature would have its ways and soon wilderness would take over again, the signs of civilisation would slowly vanish and make way for a new forest with all its inhabitants. There are several mounds of compost, all in all many tons of it. It all comes from the trees, the grass, branches, leaves, everything that grows around the graves and forms the park. At first the material is just dropped there in a pile and it takes between one or two years to become soil again. During the summer weeds grow on the mounds until they are covered with vegetation. The gardeners sometimes use an excavating machine to move it around and bury the weeds back into the compost. Letting them grow would drain its precious nutrients.

      I wonder how  many cycles it has gone, from organic material to becoming nourishment for trees or bushes and then back to the compost again. The cemetery has been there since the begining of the 1800s, what was there before? What does the soil contain? How many cycles has it seen? An archive is an accumulation of historical records, in this case it is in the form of organic matter. 

"The Archive" in the exhibition - Ojord curated by Zimhall