b. 1966, Helsingborg, Sweden; lives on the island of Ven, Sweden
Artist Åsa Sonjasdotter divides her time between Berlin and the island of Ven in Sweden. She is a PhD candidate at Valand Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, and a founding member of The Neighbourhood Academy, a bottom- up learning site and branch of Prinzessinnengarten, an urban garden in Berlin.
Cultivating Stories, 2019
Installation, poster prints of historical photographs, HD video, cultivation of grain
Co-produced by Bergen Assembly 2019
Cultivating Stories, an installation in three parts, continues Åsa Sonjasdotter’s longstanding research into the history of plants and their cultivation. It was made in collaboration with Spesialkorn, the Norwegian Heritage Grain Association, and the Swedish plant breeder and agronomist Hans Larsson. The work consists of posters with photographic documentation of historical plant breeding in Sweden; a new film made in collaboration with Larsson, which documents the propagation and breeding of genetically and morphologically diverse heritage grains, depicting the recurrence and rhythm of plants through cultivation; and an installation of seedbeds with heritage grains provided by Spesialkorn’s seed bank.
The three parts contribute to the project with different perspectives on method, place and time. Together they open up a conversation on ways of understanding and narrating the multispecies material practice of ‘cultivation’, where the dimensions of time and rhythm in living matter are crucial and complex factors. The project is locally grounded, through the collaboration with Spesialkorn and drawing upon its unique seed bank, located in the county of Buskerud in Norway. The varieties in Spesialkorn’s seed bank have all been restored, dissipated and returned to cultivation proper by Hans Larsson. The contribution of historic photographic material to the project brings a deeper understanding of how the activities of Spesialkorn relate to political matters of (our) time.