Big Science, Small Country, 2020

digitalized 8mm film, stereo sound.
Steel, concrete, granite, quartz, slate, till, polyester, pigment, taxidermied snowy owl

Sound: Robin Rådenman
8mm film: Karl-Erik Thörnqvist



In the installation Big Science, Small Country, Thörnqvist revisits the evacuation route his grandfather helped construct as part of the Esrange Space Center in the 1960s. North of Övre Soppero, o the E45 motorway, this gravel road extends even further into remoteness towards “Crash-zone B”, the area where possible space debris was intended to crash, disregarding the Sami villages located there for the winter.

Through his grandfather’s gaze, Thörnqvist portrays an infrastructural project implicated both in the arms race of the Cold War, and in the wider project of earthly as well as planetary expansion. The work asks questions about the existential consequences that follow in the wake of technological progress.

In 1970, the first Chinese satellite Dong Fang Hong I passed over Norrbotten. One of its tasks was to broadcast the national anthem with the same name (The East is Red). For the work Big science small country, Robin Rådenman has produced and fed a software system with the satellite transmission and based on the results composed a new piece of music. The original notes remain but are fragmented and out of line, randomly falling into a kind of artificial improvisation.

The work is produced in collaboration with the Resource Centre for Art and Swedish Lapland AiR.

Photo: Thomas Hämén

Thank you:

Björn Elgerd
Karl-Erik Thörnqvist
My family

Olle Arbman
Karin Bähler Lavér
Emily Fahlén
Asrin Haidari
Malin Hüber
Kalle Nordström
Tal Gilad
Vera Kavaleuskaya

Robin Rådenman
Sophie Vukovic
Tove Möller
Mari Mattson
Philip Dufva
Karon Nilzén
Lina Selander
Britta Marakatt-Labba
Sven Grahn

Norrbottens Museum
Norrbottensteatern
Region Norrbottten
Resurscentrum för konst
KKV Luleå
Swedish Lapland A.I.R.