One Million Years is an exhibition project and a website. The Greenhouse is located in what was previously a bus stop and a space in which the bus drivers who drove the buses to and from Arlanda could rest and have a coffee.
In the project One Million Years, the Greenhouse has been transformed into an experimental sculpture of moving images, which is lit at dusk and turned off at dawn. One Million Years is a collective montage of the Royal Institute of Arts students’ different films, which are projected onto the big windows. The exhibition is experienced from the outside. There is interplay between outside and inside, transparency and reflection, time, light and movement.
Abstraction and narration are woven together and unravelled by temporal shifts during the course of the exhibition. The filmic sculpture is also a mirror of its surroundings, both an image and a gaze, and a brain whose becoming and past are to a large extent still located in the future. In the collective montage, an all-encompassing story is not possible.
The website is a work in itself, a brain configured by a 360° scan of the Greenhouse interior. Here one can take part of both the films and other material. It is a brain in which different ideas and logics coexist, are crossed and contradict each other. One Million Years is an experiment and an examination of the place and its surroundings. Within a radius of one kilometre lies Hagaparken with the Copper Tents, the Chinese Pavilion and Haga castle ruin, founded by Gustav III. Here are the ideals of the Enlightenment, the spirit of Rousseau and living close to nature. Next to the Greenhouse there is also the Hagströmer Library, with a historical archive of books, journals and copper plates in the fields of medicine, anatomy, pharmacy, natural history and biology. On the other side of the E4 lies the economical and political disaster Karolinska Institutet, Sweden’s largest university hospital that with the help of Boston Consulting Group, despite the protests from the hospital employees, introduced the care concept “worth-based care”, which has created enormous holes in the budget, a mass flight of employees and caused patients to die in growing operation queues. Opposite Karolinska lies Norra begravningsplatsen with 33 000 graves. Here rests, amongst others, Per Albin Hansson, August Strindberg and Nelly Sachs.
One Million Years is, thus, in many ways an exercise, both for the individual student and for the students as a group, in finding new material, textual, political and poetic strategies – to work with film in a place specific way without abstaining from their own form of expression.
We want to show that we all have a responsibility for new readings, interpretations and ways of looking at the place and the films and the collecting and the histories, for re-readings, re-interpretations, shifts of perspective and new and yet again new filmic montages.
One Million Years has been physical work, a collaboration where everyone has had to help and look beyond their own limited perspectives and interests. To leave the idea of the own artwork’s absolute privilege.
The project title is borrowed from the text work One Million Years by the Japanese artist On Kawara, published in 1999, which describes two million years through only dates – one million years back in time and one million years into the future. Human life takes up less than a fifth of a page of the work’s 4024 pages. The historical period of the world as we know it takes up only ten pages. The existence of Homo sapiens, which appeared on Earth 200 000 years ago represent a small part of Earth’s existence, which is 4500 million years.
Initiator and project leader: Lina Selander, guest professor at the Royal Institute of Arts
Thank you to Martin Grennberger.