LB°24 About

Curatorial statement

Luleåbiennalen 2024 – On the threshold of 1:1 – gathers artistic and architectural positions evoking and inciting forms of resilience, reinvention, and insurrection within liminal spaces and times of transition and transformation. This approach responds to the drastic socio-spatial changes occurring in the built and natural environments of Norrbotten, the northernmost region of Sweden, bearing both urgent local consequences and broader entanglements with other regions and communities worldwide.

In a time when the ‘yet-to-come’ already exerts tangible effects on the ‘here-and-now’, societies across the globe are thrust into the threshold of unprecedented change and uncertainty. Norrbotten, a part of Sápmi, the ancestral land of the indigenous Sami people, has long been at the vanguard of such transformative shifts caused by the convergence of processes such as resource extraction, urban development, environmental degradation, green transition, socio-spatial segregation, and others. These developments, rooted in a century-old history of extraction and entangled with national and geo-political dynamics, draw ideological legitimacy from the pursuit of the greater 'good of society', 'progress', and more recently, the imperative of 'sustainable development'. Yet, they also profoundly shape and scar the landscape, as well as the livelihoods and worldviews of those who inhabit it.

Processes that are often imperceptible and appear inescapable to many, take concrete forms in Norrbotten, materializing in transient grounds, fleeting cities evading their imminent sinking, disposable settlements, and displaced communities, among others. Conversely, these changes are not remote or without repercussions in other geographies and communities across the globe, many of which share analogous social and spatial processes. These occurrences are undeniably palpable and immediate, yet simultaneously not entirely resolved or comprehensible, as if existing in an incipient state, suspended at the scale of 1:1.

1:1 is the threshold between representation and reality, since it is the scale in which both parts have the same dimension, bringing closer the abstraction of plans to their concrete presence in a real context. The expression “one to one” means dialogue and face to face exchange between two or more parts. In architecture, the term “threshold” designates a place of transition, of mediation between two spaces. Colloquially, the expression “on the threshold of” means being close to a new and important development.

Which emancipatory alternatives emerge from the threshold of 1:1 ?

Through exhibitions, interventions in public spaces, and events spanning the cities of Luleå, Boden, Kiruna and Messaure, the Luleå Biennial 2024 transcends a thematic approach to establish frameworks that prefigure counter-models of socio-political imagination and agency. Striving for a 1:1 entanglement with these localities, the showcased projects explore their agency within and beyond the realm of art, forging connections between public and private domains, and intertwining local, national, and global histories. Spanning the period of the North Bothnian landscape's transition from ice-clad to bare ground, the biennial invites the dwelling of a reflective threshold beyond simplistic dichotomies, with the potential of generating fruitful paths and connections enduring past the event.

Aude Christel Mgba and Bruno Alves de Almeida