Silver Carlsson

A Complete Refurbishment of these Rooms

Archival installation, 2015. 

The coal in the ground of Southern Sweden is an ancient natural resource. Its combustible composition derives from tropical forests that grew 170-200 million years ago. When the mining company Höganäs AB began mining for it in the region on a industrial scale, around the city of Höganäs, they soon began to send fossils of extinct plants and animals to the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. The fossils formed the basis of an evolutionary organized exhibition on the evolution of life, and from the late 1800s researchers at the museum hired artists to depict the lost world in water colour paintings.

In the site specific installation A Complete Renovation of These Rooms photos from the Museum of Natural History archives, Malmö Museum’s and Höganäs AB’s archives was linked together in a panoramic installation at the Technology & Maritime Museum in Malmö. An essay (which was also published in a folder in connection to the installation), contextualized the piece around a number of “view point metaphors”, where scientists from Linnaeus to geologists employed at the Natural History museum imagined the landscape of Southern Sweden in its historical guise. This willingness to over view was in the essay put in relation to the creation of the 18th and 19th century European panoramas. A technique for visualization of the environment that first occurred at about the same time as historical, and natural history, museums in the spirit of European nationalism.