Birds don’t take the train, but we do


Online archive

At the invitation of Xenia Klein (SE) a group of six artists traveled to Blekinge – a small archipelago region in the south of Sweden – to create a residency relevant to their surroundings. Together they explored bird migrations, eel fishing, stone carvings, personal childhood memories, and distinct food customs within the context of Blekinge’s archipelago culture.
The project “Birds don’t take the train, but we do” shape-shifted into an archival exercise and an artistic display of the everyday, made accessible through an online living archive and a portable exhibition-in-a-box: a treasury of found stories, texts, illustrations, postcards, paper sculptures, a recipe book, and audiovisual records of the experience.
Alongside the archive, the project has unfolded in different public and private, online and offline encounters, becoming an experimental space for the participant artists and their guests to share their practices, energies, and temporalities in a common learning experience.

Imaginary scene : Eel fishing, 2022 - iPad drawing by Haevan Lee/ Petroglyphs from the Bronze Age, Hästhallen, Möckleryd, Blekinge, Sweden 

Research note

청동기 시대에 새겨진 이 암각화는 바다에서의 전쟁, 신, 하늘을 가로질러 태양을 옮기는 벌레로 묘사된다. 지역 뮤지엄에서의 방대한 소장품들을 본 후, 이 지역 특성과 함께 그 암각화는 장어잡이, 장어에 관한 묘사일 가능성을 발견했다. 나의 어린시절, 아버지와의 낚시, 수없이 즐겨 온 장어구이의 경험이 떠올랐다. 동시에 암각화의 빨간 선들은 스토리보드가 되었고, 영화처럼 과거의 그들의 모습들이 머릿속에 펼쳐졌다. 
I visited the Blekinge Museum’s storage with colleagues through a project ‘Artist in retreat @artistinretreat -Birds don’t take the train, but we do’. This site has archived local culture as a single project by collecting everything from household items to furniture, textiles, paintings, and ships. It is said that the list of collections varies slightly depending on the person in charge of the collection. Numerous boats and hunting tools were one of them. Considering the many tools used for eel fishing, we can see that eel fishing was important to inhabitants of the area. The day before, we went to Hästhallen to see petroglyphs from the Bronze Age (3300-1200 BC). If you walk along the road in the dense forest without people, you will find wide, flat rocks. According to the descriptions this is a place of rites, representing the belief in God and the conflict between the seas. However, we considered the possibility that the drawings depicted would be different from that which is officially recorded. Similar in shape to various tools for catching eels, the depiction shows an eel rather than what is recorded to be a spiritual creature (a worm that carries the sun across the sky). This place may have been used as an eel market or teaching place. We raised the possibility by comparing the photos on the bus on the way home. We imagined the past situation, talked together, and said that some of the related records would have to be changed.

Daily life and culture 
우리는 Blekinge Museum’s storage 에 방문하였다. 이곳은 여러 생활용품 가구, 직물, 그림, 배 등 모든 것을 수집하여 하나의 프로젝트로 지역 문화를 아카이브해나갔다. 컬렉션 담당자에 따라 수집 품목이 조금씩 달라진다고 한다. 수 많은 보트들과 사냥 도구들은 이중에 하나였다. 장어를 낚시하는 많은 도구들로 이 지역에서 이들에게 장어 낚시가 중요하다는 사실을 알 수있다. 하루 전날, 우리는 Hästhallen, 청동기 시대(BC3300-BC1200)에 그려진 암각화를 보러 갔었다. 인적이 없는 울창한 숲속길을 따라 걸어가면 넓고 평평하게 펼쳐진 바위들이 나온다. 설명된 글들을 읽어보면 이곳은 제의장소로 신의 대한 믿음과 바다에서의 갈등을 묘사한다. 하지만 묘사된 드로잉들이 역사에 기록된 것과 다를 것이라는 가능성을 발견하였다. 장어를 잡는 여러 도구들과 모양이 유사하며 영적인 생물체(하늘을 가로질러 태양을 옮기는 벌레 형상)이 아닌 장어를 묘사해 이 장소는 장어 마켓이나 가르치는 장소로 이용되었을 수 있다는 점이다. 집으로 이동중인 버스 안에서 Elisa는 사진들을 비교하며 그 가능성을 제기하였고, 우리는 함께 이야기 하며, 이와 관련한 기록들이 일부 바뀌어야 함을 이야기 하였다. 역사, 문화는 신성한 것, 유일한 것으로 남겨지기를 원한다. 그리고 상상한다. 그리고 과거의 일상들은 영적인 상징으로 남아 미래의 사람들을 이 곳으로 발걸음을 하게한다. 
미술을 하면 많은 생략과 편집, 재창조의 과정을 거친다. 그러다 먼 곳으로 떠나 단순한 일상을 만들고, 숲 속의 냄새를 맡고, 가을바람에 흔들리는, 떨어지는 나뭇잎들을 보고, 새소리를 듣다 생각한다. 우리는 일상에 발을 딛고 영위하고 있음을, 이는 시간과 함께 많은 것이 생략되거나 왜곡된것이 아닌지 다시 질문해본다. 
*뮤지엄 관계자 Christopher는 콜렉션들을 소개하며 8000년 전에 묻힌 잘 보존된 개의 유골을 보여주었다. 집 입구 옆에 묻혀져 있었으며, 깃털 침대 위에 누워, 작은 선물들이 함께 놓여있었다고 한다. 3년전 땅 속에 묻힌 나의 강아지가 생각났다. 가족이 다같이 한집에 있는 시간이 흔치 않았지만, 어쩐지 모든 가족들이 집에 모여 있는 날 이었다. 나의 강아지는 한동안 몸을 제대로 못가누는 상태였다. 갑자기 강아지의 숨이 고르지 않았고 눈에 초점이 사라지는 것을 발견하였다. 모든 가족이 강아지 옆에서 모두 눈물을 흘리며 해주고 싶은 말들을 해주었다. 고맙고 사랑한다고. 그러다 그녀의 숨이 멈췄을 때 나는 크게 그녀의 이름을 불렀고, 그 때 그녀는 마지막 숨을 크게 내쉬었다. 나의 목소리를 따라온 그녀의 마지막 긴 한 숨을 기억한다. 가족들과 다같이 강아지의 마지막 숨을, 마지막 대답을 듣고는 그녀를 정성스레 감싸고 그가 좋아했던 물건들과 함께 묻어주었다. 
오랜 시간을 뛰어 넘어, 인간은 일상의 삶을 살고, 사랑을 한다.
Daily life and culture 
We visited the Blekinge Museum’s storage. The museum has archived local culture as a project by collecting all kinds of household items, furniture, textiles, paintings, ships, etc. Christopher, of the Blekinge Museum, said that the collections vary slightly depending on the person in charge of the collection. Numerous boats and hunting tools were part of the collection. The many tools for fishing eels show that eel fishing is important for them in this region. The day before, we went to Hästhallen, a petroglyph from the Bronze Age (3300 BC-1200 BC). If you walk along the lush forest road, you will find wide, flat rocks. In the written texts on the information board, it says that this is a place of ceremonies, and it describes their beliefs in magnificent gods and their conflicts in the ocean. However, we found the possibility that the drawings depicted would be different from this interpretation. The point is that the site could have been used as an eel market or as a teaching place, as the figures resemble the different tools for catching eels, and seem to depict an eel themself rather than a spiritual creature (a sort of worm that carries the sun across the sky). On the bus going back to our basement, Elisa raised the possibility by comparing pictures, and we talked together and said that some of the history related to this may have to be changed.
History and culture often remain sacred and unique. But the daily life of the past might also remain as a spiritual symbol. And then we imagine. It might make the people of the future come here.
When you do art, you go through a lot of omissions, editing, and re-creation. Then if you travel to a distant place to create a simple daily life, smell the forest, see the leaves swaying in the autumn wind, sense the falling leaves, and listen to the birds songs, you might think and ask yourself whether many things are omitted or distorted while you are standing on the time that passes through your daily life.
* Also, Christopher showed us the well-preserved skeleton of a dog buried about 8,000 years ago. It was buried next to the entrance of the house. It was laying on a bed of feathers and had small gifts laying on top of its body.It reminded me of my dog ​​that was buried in the ground three years ago. The day was special, because all the family members were at home at the same time. My dog ​​had not been able to move herself. Suddenly, I noticed that she was breathing unsteadily and losing focus in her eyes. We were next to her, crying and saying the things we wanted to say: 'Thank you' and 'I love you'. Then when she stopped breathing for a few seconds, I shouted her name, and then she exhaled her last breath. I remember her last long breath following my voice. After hearing her last breath and her last answer, we wrapped her up with care and buried her with the toys she loved.
Beyond a long time, human beings live their daily life, and we love.

Artist-run residency led by Xenia Klein (SE) and co-curated with Elisa Cuesta (ES), Rosa van Walbeek (NL), Victoria de la Torre (ES), Haevan Lee (KR) and Serene Hui (HK).
Region Blekinge, Konst i Blekinge and Karlskrona Kommun
@Samtidskonstdagarna 2021 (online)
@‘A Scenic Route to Self’, NEST Den Haag (collective exhibition)
@BMAV 2022. Bienal de Mujeres en las Artes Visuales (guest proposal, online)
@Page Not Found, Den Haag (open launch of publication, online-offline)
@Blekinge Museum, Öppet hus i Magasinet Rosenholm
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