Introduction | Worklog | Methods | References


This research combines knowledge and approaches from the different art fields described below:


Art de-colonizing nature

This research joins contemporary movements of de-colonizing nature and the art of the last ten years of critical image making that questions our way of seeing nature and of reinventing our perception and approach to ecology. Influential exhibitions like dOCUMENTA (13), have been dedicated to this idea in recent years. This year Sweden’s three largest cultural journals dedicated entire issues on the topic. In film, genres like eco-horror and cli-fi portrays nature as a revenging agent. In my research project Tung Ting[1] I mapped the field of animated film and its history of portraying nature as living and full of agency, as opposed to passive backgrounds to human drama and explored my practices of teaching and animation with other-than-human audiences in mind. The point of departure of the de-colonizing-nature-movements is the apprehension that our current anthropogenic climate situation stems from a human-centric worldview, reducing nature to a mere resource for the purpose of humans. In this movement, some art focus on exploring new modes of thinking and representing the environment while others seek more direct actions with instant effects. Art collectives like Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination focus on direct action, they may be most famous for initiating the Climate-Games[2] in connection to COP 21 Paris. The games coordinated performances, interventions and connected people from all over the world. The collective Not an Alternative runs a Natural History Museum[3] as an art project. This way they can transform the museum sector from within via their critical approach to the way museums often leave out human being’s impact on nature in the history narratives they create. In the film industry, environmental themes are commonplace but in the rare cases where the production process is considered there is a tendency to purchase carbon offsets to make projects carbon-neutral rather than changing or challenging existing procedures and protocols[4].. Although the studio Bavaria Film GmbH[5] is one example of a Company actually trying to create a sustainable production environment. And at Calmers a recent master thesis carried out a Life cycle analysis of a performance at the Gothenburg opera[6]. In the video essay Being Animated[7] I discuss how images can sometimes fail to help us accept our new environment paradigm but that animation is perfectly placed to offer alternative understandings in imaginative ways. In the article, the Desert Planet[8] I tell about my work fanmo jimte and how human storytelling and environments transform each other in mutual processes.


Rule-based generative art

for the nessecary limations in my project I gather experience and knowledge from early fluxus-scores of the 60ies and art after the 70’s “legal turn”[9]. Tehching Hsieh’s contracts that he signs for his yearlong performances, binding him to fulfil the performances conditions, The Dogme 95 film manifesto with the purpose of introducing limitations in order to have more creative freedom in filmproduction and Kajsa Dahlberg’s Femø Women's Camp 2008: Film and Agreement are works I learn from and Dahlberg´s current research project Chronic Features at RIA, also offer valuable perspectives for my project. Also, the Bechdel test is a relevant reference. The test asks a series of questions designed to spot inequalities of gender representation in film. If a film passes the test it can be marked with an approval certificate. Certifications like this can make visible invisible hierarchies and tacit power structures and in doing so can spark change & action.


Worldbuilding art

2015 I participated in a workshop with Alex McDowell from USC school of cinematic arts and Worldbuilding institute. Building environments and worlds has been part of my practice for a long time, but the workshop gave me new tools and perspectives, especially when it comes to working together, roleplaying, in teams and groups. Examples such as The World Building Media Lab (WbML), Alan Moore’s Short Pieces, Sten Eklund’s Kullahusets Hemlighet, Aby Warburg’s Atlas, Walid Raad’s Atlas Group and the Fifth World[10] (a fictional universe for roleplaying with a climate theme) are important references to me when it comes to worldbuilding. My past research project Return of the Silurians[11], is an animated worldbuilding project rethinking and updating the science fiction genre of “the revenging earth” and identifying current limitations in human image making.


Storytelling the temporal in film

Many films and artworks have inspired me to a more complex view on time and space. As a timebased medium film is perfect for exploring the temporal conditions, Chris Markers La Jetee, (1962), is a great example of a time travel fiction that unravels through a conceptual use of still and moving images. Other works that has inspired how I think about time in my work is; The Otholit Group, The Radiant (2012), Sun Ra, Space is the Place (1974), Tom McCarthy, Greenwich Degree Zero (2006), Julieta Aranda, camera obscura, 2009, Daar, Return to Jaffa (2012), Matthew Buckingham, Muhheakantuck (2003) Christopher Nolan, Inception (2010). Le peuple qui manque, a debt of time (2018). In my work Molten Glass Movement[12] I explore the relationship between spatial and temporal understandings of labour, using animation theory of timing and spacing. It was my deep interest in the way film, as a medium, has affected society and how the motions of labour became subordinate to mechanized temporal units, that led up to this experiment, performed at Rejmyre Art Lab 2016.

[1] Lina Persson, Researchproject; Tunga Ting, Stockholm Uniarts. 2016.

[2] See Climate Games, accessed december 6, 2017,

[3] See Natural History Museum, accessed december 6, 2017,

[4] Charles J. Corbett. Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry. UCLA Institute of the Environment 2006

[6] Francisco Izurieta, Johan Tengström, LCA of stage performances, Calmers University of Technology, 2010

[7] Lina Persson. Being Animated, Videoessay. 2016. See

[8] Lina Persson. The Desert Planet. Geografier nummer 2, 2016. 20.

[9] Daniel McClean. The Artist’s Contract / from the Contract of Aesthetics to the Aesthetics of the Contract, Mousse 25,2010. 195.

[10] See The Fifth World, accessed January 2018.

[11] Lina Persson, Researchproject; Return of the Silurians, Stockholm Uniarts. 2018.  

[12] Lina Persson. Glass Movements. 2016. See &


 In this research I rely on the following theoretical framework:


Decolonizing Nature & legal theory

I frame this research as taking place in a new phase of political theories of decolonialization. Colonial exploitation goes back to the origins of Western civilization and accelerated during post-Enlightenment modernity[1]. It’s been carried out in the name of the ideal human, identified as opposed to primitive nature, where elite white males of European descent were considered more human[2] while for example women or indigenous people where considered less human and closer to nature. These oppressed groups have fought hard and won some rights in a process of decolonization. But today we face the particular challenge of overcoming the old hierarchy and divide between human and nature that reduces nature to a resource for humans.

During recent years the human-centric world-view has been increasingly questioned with alternatives being explored from various post-human perspectives. With concepts like more-than –human, natureculture, new materialism, objectoriented ontology, ecofeminism, speculative realism, quantum-animism, the living world beyond humans is acknowledged in a multiverse of ways. In my past research project Tunga Ting I investigated some of these approaches in relation to my animation practices[3].

This movement also has its counterpart in legal developments through Earth’s jurisprudence, with earth-entered rather than human-centred perspectives on law where nature has legal rights. Legal theory is also important in developing limitating frameworks in my practice. Though global climate negotiations have shown that legal sanctions have limitations when it comes to enabling change, the recent Paris agreement[4] initiated a motivating self-regulation based on voluntary actions. In my research, artistic approaches will both compliment and contradict the legal frameworks.

Decolonising futures and concepts of sustainability

Striving for justice is sometimes concidered naive and assessing climate-justice may be impossible but it may also be the only way to reach global agreements and there are available tools for at least working towards climate-justice[5]. In my research, I also want to explore the idea of our present state as a colonialization of the future. Too often it’s not taken into account that natural resources are limited. Only if they are used in balance with what the earth can regenerate, will there be anything left for future generations. As I see it, our current overdraw results in a growing climate debt. This reasoning relies on concepts which describe earth’s capacity to regenerate resources in relation to how fast humanity uses it. For example, Ecological Overshoot[6] occurs when humanity’s demand on nature exceeds the biosphere’s supply, or it’s regenerative capacity.  The Ecological Footprint represents the human demand on the planet’s ability to provide renewable resources and ecological services. Humanity currently needs the regenerative capacity of 1.6 Earths to provide the goods and services we use each year. I will address the questions of decolonization of the future by submitting to different limitations in my artistic process. The future is not remote, but immanent in what is done now, in order to bring about change[7]

Mapping temporal territories & quantum physics

I will also address the idea of ‘colonialization of the future’ by developing a fiction, a storyworld. In this fiction future generations will be able to confront our present thanks to a new time-technology. For this, theories of time will be important, from the temporalities of theoretical physics and quantum physics to the perception of time in indigenous communities. In 2011, I read the book Time Traveller: A Scientist's Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality. The book is about Ron Mallet, his life, and how he developed a working theory for a time machine (recently Spike Lee bought the film rights for the book). I became interested in how this technology would work. I got a grant to go to the university of Connecticut and work with him for a month. He involved me in his research & in his models of the machine. Ron also staged a few speculative scenarios together with me, resulting in sound recordings of conversations[8]. When I started to really understand how this technology would actually work I realized that it was something very different from conventional sci-fi time travels. This time machine would not allow me to explore spectacular futures. This time machine would open a one-way portal giving the future access to my time. We would open a door to the unknown that we would not be able to enter, without knowing what we would let in.

When I studied imperialism & colonialism at Gothenburg University I became intrigued by the concept of Terra Nullius. When the European colonial powers begun to take territories in the 16th century they called it Terra Nullius, no-mans-land. There were no owners-contracts for that land, therefore it was considered legitimate to appropriate it. The fact that indigenous people lived there without exploiting the natural resources was considered primitive, irresponsible and wasteful. This viewpoint still dominates our relationship with the environment. But as I see it it’s also time that is being colonized. Too often it’s not taken into account that natural resources are limited. Only if they are used in balance with what the earth can regenerate, will there be anything left for future generations. I’ve chosen to call the future Tempus Nullius, a no-mans-time, who’s resources are up for grabs for those who can take as much as possible as quickly as possible. Inhabitants in future eras have no means with which to claim their rights. But Prof. Mallet’s theory of a time machine made me see the power relationship between the present and the future in a new way.  That machine would never give “us” the access to the future, but rather allow the future access to “us”. In this way, it becomes a potential platform for discourse in relation to rights claims of those currently voiceless inhabitants of the future. When Mallets time machine is turned on for the first time a time-tunnel will start to grow. As time passes this tunnel grows. In any point in time it would be possible to send information/subatomic particles, back in time as to the moment when the machine was first turned on.  But it would never be possible to go to the future simply because the tunnel would not be there yet. This makes the moment of turning on the machine a moment of truth, of facing the future on equal terms making totally new kind of legal claims possible.


Time-based medium and biopolitics

Animation practice and theory tend to trigger in me, an awareness of my existence in temporal and spatial dimensions and it will inspire the rendering of a tempus nullius in in the fiction storyworld. Animation is part of a tradition of analysing and mapping movements, time and space, starting with Étienne-Jules Marey’s chronophotographic studies continuing with motion capture techniques and leading up to present biometric surveillance. Film theorist Trond Lundemo writes about this and the film mediums biopolitical implications[9] and show how time-technologies affect reality and bodies. This important knowledge was the startingpoint for the course Techno-Fantasy and Sci-Fi Images[10] at the photography department at Valand, Gothenburg and will be vital for speculating on the consequences the time machine would have on our world.

[1] TJ Demos. Rights of Nature: The Art and Politics of Earth Jurisprudence. University of California. USA. 2015. 3.

[2] Edward Said. Orientalism. London: Penguin. 1977.  207.

[3] See, Tunga Ting:

[4] See, The Paris Agreement. United Nations. accessed February 10, 2019:

[5] Jeremy Baskin. The Impossible Necessity of Climate Justice? 10(2) Melbourne Journal of International Law. 2019. 424–438.

[6] Living Planet Report, Risk and resilience in a new era. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland. 2016. 124.

[7] Dave Beech. Introduction, Speculation, PARSE journal, 7, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 2017. 8.

[8] Lina Persson. Subatomic Particles/ Interview from hypothetical situation. Connecticut. 2012.

[9] Trond Lundemo. Charting the gestures, Glänta, nr 1. 2011. 80

[10] Lina Persson. Techno-Fantasy and Sci-Fi Images. Course.