Banish the Incoherence – a project from Gothenburg, Sweden

day of archaeology

The exhibition and project Banish the Incoherence takes its starting point in the city. There are no city plans, no models, and no discussions about what should be built or developed in this project. Instead we want to focus on the human need for context and the search for a common ground to build on.

On my day of archaeology I am meeting up with some students early in the morning. Wheelbarrows, shuffles, buckets and all the usual archaeological stuff is paced for a short walk to our venue of our two days of archaeological dig. The dig is situated in the hearth of Gothenburg at the absolute center of the city called Götaplatsen. We are part of the project “Banish the Incoherence” which is the name of the art exhibition at Konsthallen (the main arena for contemporary art in Gothenburg). The archaeological project is also a part of the EU project NEARCH.

We start our dig after a while having to remove some seagull babies from the space we will investigate. The space is today a parking lot with some green spots. But in 1923 it looked quite different. Gothenburg then celebrated it´s 300 anniversary with huge exhibition that should come to have a big impact of the future design of Gothenburg. The art museum as well as Konsthallen was built for the exhibition. At our digging site there stood several buildings also the used for art exhibitions. After the exhibition ended one of the buildings was being used as an art school for several years to come. Here some of the most famous artists, which works you today can see in the art museum beside, learned their skill. We will excavate this former art school building.

The three archeological students meet up with four students of fine art that also will take part in the dig. We start out discussing where to set the shuffles. The dig is open to the public, so we are expecting both children and adults to participate during the day.

The artists and archaeology students are working side by side opening up pits and the findings start coming: bricks, glass, plastic, unknown objects of all kinds. We have visitors participating during the day and some like to just enter some of our quite deep pit which is both square and round. A lot of questions about the former buildings at the site is discussed and the findings of a color tube and some charcoal pencils put some light and feeling of the previous activities at the site.

The students of fine art will take the objects to their studios and make use of it in a forthcoming exhibition at the site in August. My aim with this project is to create a meeting place between archaeology and art with the dig as the venue of this meeting. Since this is a contemporary archaeology project the findings can be used in whatever way we like. A wonderful day of archaeology has come to its end which gave many new insights, ideas, thoughts and laughter.

A small film done by Archaeosoup Productions is to be found here: