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.

Interview with Ove Haarala, from the book “The Art of the Strike”
Ingela Johansson

Excerpt from the book The Art of the Strike: Voices on political and cultural labour during and after the miners’ strike, 1969–70 by Ingela Johansson, Glänta Förlag, Gothenburg, 2013.

Ove Haarala, former miner and member of the strike committee, in conversation with Ingela Johansson.

Malmberget, 2010.

IJ: Can you tell me about your upbringing and your career as a miner?

OH: I was an errand boy at LKAB here in Malmberget. Then I went to the mining school, a good school, the first educational programme that LKAB had. In my family, where I grew up, my brother got to go to school, and I had to work – that was just how things were. My little sister was a latecomer. My father never worked in a mine, he was a builder. And since became the Ombudsman for The Swedish Building Workers' Union in 1956 or 1957, my interest in the trade came second. My political interest, I suppose, was there to an extent. But in 1957 I went to a festival in Moscow with young people from all over the world. That really stirred my interest, and made me among the first to try to break with the old communist party. I encountered an incredible amount of opposition in my Youth Federation. I was a member of DU, Democratic Youth. There were a lot of conflicts there. That's why I calmed down politically and started working with the unions instead. I was a secretary in the mining board for many years.

I started working as a miner after the recruit in Kiruna. That was in 1960 – from then on, I was underground for 39 years. The best workplace in the world. Absolutely wonderful. You longed to go to work - vacation was the worst thing I knew. To be digging in the sand somewhere abroad would drive me mad. It was the job, the mining maps and the camaraderie that made me like it. I only worked four months above ground, they were the most terrible months of my life. I didn’t think the jargon and the conversation was the same as what I had experienced underground. I've been a part of such a fantastic development underground, from using hand-held carbide lamps to battery-powered lighting attached to the mining helmet.

IJ: There’s a strong political engagement up here in the ore field at Malmberget. Why its that?

OH: Historically, I think it has to do with the feudal system. I grew up in Koskullskulle. That mine was owned by Germans. Germans, Austrians and Czechoslovakians scattered all over the place after the First World War and passed power back and forth between them. I think it is a remnant of the feudal system that we all had to be united against the employer regardless of political opinion. Koskullskulle was a particularly strong communist stronghold with a strong union. I was not a member of it, since it disappeared before I started working. The mining chief was very strong - even though social democrats and communists always argued and fought. In the past, when crisis really erupted, we would only have one opponent, the one who fucked us over all the time... That kind of solidarity was especially present underground. There, you have to protect each other, even if you mostly worked on a contract. It did not matter - you have to help each other all the time, otherwise you’d get yourself killed. That made for a nice community.

IJ: The community that you describe can be experienced today through documentation. I’ve seen Lars Westman and Lena Ewert’s documentary Comrades, the opponent is well-organised…

OH: I had a lot of luck with Lasse Westman and Lena Ewert. Perhaps it was because Lasse and I got along well, and Lena and I, too. I borrowed Lasse’s Pentax camera, and photographed a little where Lasse didn’t have access, he was not allowed in everywhere. I was lucky enough to end up in the small negotiation delegation, the one that met LKAB first, together with Kurt Nordgren, the second chairman of The Swedish Trade Union Confederation. I was one of the few underground workers in the Strike Committee. There weren’t really so many underground workers in the Strike Committee. Actually, it was not miners who were in the majority in the Strike Committee, neither in Kiruna nor in Malmberget.

IJ: What do you mean, the miners were not the majority in the committee?

OH: Most of them worked above ground.

IJ: Was that a significant division?

OH: Yes, it was, even if the industrial principle from 1963 meant that we all went under the same professional title. Previously, the Electricians’ Federation and the Transport Association were involved in LKAB. We became miners in 1963~1964 and had the trade union in Grängesberg. I have to say, I enjoyed my time at LKAB, except when I was above ground.

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!