Songlines for a New Atlas Kalmar konstmuseum

18 June - 18 September 2016

Bani Abidi (PK/DE) 

Bita Razavi (IR/FI/EE) 

Nadia Kaabi-Linke (TN/DE)

Meira Ahmemulic (SE)

Karel Koplimets (EE)

Malene Mathiasson (DK)

Dzamil Kamanger/Kalle Hamm (IR/FI)

Linda Persson (SE/GB)

I speak to maps. And sometimes they say something back to me. This is not as strange as it sounds, nor is it an unheard of thing. Before maps the world was limitless. It was maps that gave it shape and made it seem like territory, like something that could be possessed, not just laid waste and plundered. Maps made places on the edges of the imagination seem graspable and placable.”
(Abdulrazak Gurnah, By the Sea)

The summer exhibition at Kalmar konstmuseum takes borders and boundaries as its starting point, as well as the new and other types of maps, networks, context, and identities that can arise in a society in our times of migration and refugeeship. Artists have always challenged the ideas about ​​identity and belonging, and can give us new perspectives on issues of place and mobility.
Borders and border controls are part of everyday life in Europe today. Not long ago one border used to be the Baltic Sea. Today the Mediterranean Sea is where the new EU strengthens its external border controls, and the internal European borders are being monitored again. The freedom to move across the world applies to some, but not to others. Wanderers and migrants have crossed territories since ancient times and people travelled long distances already during the Bronze Age.
War has also meant large population movements. It is only a hundred years ago since Europe experienced very hard battles on the Western Front and the World Wars redrew the maps. Maps have been used in warfare, as aids to the combatants, and to tell about your conquests. When we look back in history we see that borders have moved and the births and disappearances of nations. Both the Kalmar Union and the European Union projects demonstrates a desire for peaceful relations between countries in partnerships, but also on the drivers for a strong defence outward towards the other.
We live in a world of visible and invisible borders that are in constant motion. Migration is a global condition, while human rights are being eliminated in many places. In the worlds of art you can relocate as you want without any passport or visa.
Professor of Sociology Saskia Sassen describes how the idea of the migrant has changed. If it used to be about a wilful person who consciously sought a better life and leaving a home behind, but always had a home to return to, today's migrants often have no place to go back to. Sassen calls it a massive loss of habitat. The migrants have no choice and they are just searching for the bare essentials of life.
The artists in the exhibition can symbolically be said to describe the geography in the same way like the indigenous peoples of Australia did. They sang the names of all who crossed their path and thus the world came into being. The exhibition does not work with territories or conventional maps as a representation of the world, but with personal wanderings for a new atlas.

Curator Torun Ekstrand

Katalog Songlines - på svenska

Katalog Songlines Final.pdf

Catalogue Songlines - in English

Katalog Songlines English.pdf

The Distance from Here, videostills, Bani Abidi

Meira Ahmemulic. Detail from the installation Walking, a series of drwaings 2004 and ongoing. Above
nstallation view from No One Harms Me Unpunished, and below the photographic series Faces. Nadia Kaa

Bita Razavi, Same Song, New Songline , 2016. Photo by Jaakko Karhunen
Installation view and detail from the Sound installation Same Song, New Songline, Bita Razavi
Installation view, and a detail from one work. The series Self-organization by Malene Mathiasson

A still from the video Working in public space, Izmir, by Dzamil Kamanger & Kalle Hamm and Alien's p

Case No 11 Talsinki, installation in the staircase and a still from the video in the installation on

The photographic series Borderlands, Linda Persson

The interactive installation id:entity by Cecilia Barry and Anna Tunek, students at Blekinge Institu

The Opening Day

The opening of the exhbition June 18th. Presentation of the exhibition by the curator and the artists.

Kalmar konstmuseum

Kunstkritikk om Songlines

Konstsommaren Sverige.
Läs Frans Josef Peterssons text i Kunstkritikk

A new atlas for the world
The exhibition in the news of Ars Baltica

Lästips/Further reading

Tips på läsning
Suggestions for further reading
På svenska - and in English

Bilal. På slavrutten till Europa. Fabrizio Gatti, Celanders förlag 2007

Gränsbrytarna. Den globala emigrationen och nationalismens murar. Norstedts 2014

By the Sea, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Bloomsbury 2001

Nyttiga människor. En reportagebok om migranter, gränser och människosyn. David Qviström, Natur & Kultur, 2014

Resa in i tomheten. En berättelse från Syrien, Samar Yazbek, Ordfront 2015

Wanderlust. A History of Walking. Rebecca Solnit, Granta Books 2014

You are Here. Personal Geographies and other Maps of the Imagination, Katharine Harmon Tributary books 2004

Borderities and the Politics of Contemporary Mobile Borders, authors and ed., Amilhat-Szary, A., Giraut, F. , Palgrace Macmillan UK, 2015

Walking Sculpture 1967-2015. Lexi Lee Sullivan, contrib. Cole Swenson and Helen Mirra, Yale University Press, 2015.

Jakten på svenskheten, Qaisar Mahmood, Natur & Kultur, 2012.