Project Description

Artwork 811 with “The Buddha”

Baggböle power plant was built in 1916 by Holmsunds AB and supplied electricity to the Obbola factory via a 22-kilometre-long cable of 40,000 volts.

In 1947, the City of Umeå bought the land and the power plant. The power plant was torn down when Stornorrfors power plant became operational in 1958. All that remains of the plant is a concrete foundation and backwaters. Two large holes inside the plant show where the turbines once were.

In an abandoned turbine sump, where electricity was produced long ago, a meditating artist is now reflected in the black surface of the water. A spotlight is reflected in gentle ripples that become waves towards the hall’s lacerated walls behind the glowing orange figure. Fixed becomes fluid, the base seems to disappear and certainty becomes doubtful. Outside, the sound of leftover water from the power plant a bit upstream can be heard passing by on its way to the sea.

“The remote control was broken, and I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, jumping between channels. I fell into a kind of melancholy coma of sadness over the power of the noise of media. But I sat there nevertheless, closed my eyes, and let the glow of the box stream over me. I didn’t care! Then I had an idea for an installation. I would cast myself in the same position in which I was sitting, but in foam rubber! Then I would tape a video camera to a polystyrene raft. Set to record, it would float freely downriver for a few kilometres. I would project the results on the foam rubber guy! Done and done! The projector was a few metres from the fellow, who was a few metres from the wall. As the spongy guy absorbed the beams from the video river, it would cast a shadow in the projection on the wall behind it. The shadow would appear to be making the journey that the video camera had made. The strength of the piece was in the contrast between the wild, uncontrolled video water stream and the completely indifferent foam rubber guy.

I’ve used the same ‘guy’ in Baggböle. But here, the projection is of real water reflections, rather than filmed water. In The Light of 811, it sits undisturbed and makes the difference between wildness and control clear!”

(The name of the installation is based on a misunderstanding at the outset of the project. The words älv (river) and elva (eleven) sound similar, and thus Sju Älvar (Seven Rivers) became 711. Hence: 811)”

Read more about the Seven Rivers Art Road