On the 8th of September 2011 at 5,00 pm 800 of Kiruna residents will gather to form one long red rope! The rope marks the cracking caused by the iron mine and which are marked on the city planners maps, from the Railway station to Ullspiran. Everyone brings along red pieces of clothes or fabrics that can be tied together into a rope! The rope will be used for the game “Tug of War” and is an invitation to the people to reclaim their role in the political and economical pushing and pulling that will decide the future of their town.
Motivation and Context
The idea started after speaking to a number of people in Kiruna and realizing that they speak about the crack(s) that the mine will create through the city as something abstract: something far away from where they are or will be when it happens. They are numb and tired regarding the different narratives how the moving of their city. On the other hand, the city planners and LKAB have a very concrete red line tracing this area in all their reports and are aware that it will happen very close to many people.
So I asked myself: How would it be to physically confront the crack? To physically experience its scale and the territory it covers and transforms?
How would it be to take a moment alone and collectively to stand at the separating line between the old city and the new one- to take a moment to consciously realize that space and reflect on what it means- the space it occupies in the memory and in the future of the city and the inhabitant’s life?
What does the crack symbolize? Will it be the cause of a crack in the memory and history of the town? Will it divide people? Will it empower some and marginalize or exclude others?
Like the body of the rope between the two teams playing Tug of War, the people of Kiruna are tossed back and forth between the agenda of the political parties and the city hall, and that of the mining company LKAB.
The Happening wants to contextualize itself within those complex tensions, and uses a simple form- a game that the people can easily take part in and make their own. This allows the different layers at play to unfold, and to position the people playfully on an active conscious ‘lack of distance’ from their reality. It would open a possibility to negotiate different forces, bodies, and forms of work in a ‘workers town’ and question all the multiple narratives and interest.
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