In Conclusion

This exposition has discussed the work involved in my art project “50 Billion Micrograms.” Through a reflection on how I worked with the cyanotypes and the sound footage in this work, my aim has been to show how remembering and working with the past might evolve through an artistic process. In this process, what I call fluctuating thinking has played a crucial part. This is a way of thinking in which practice, esthetics, and random ideas come into motion. The mix of ideas and sensations clearly has to be scrutinized with an eye to whether it is relevant for the work, but I have argued that this method is often essential to artistic research. Another aspect discussed in this exposition was the relationship between fiction, memory, and the actual. Unlike a historian who attempts to attain clarity and order in a chaotic and inconclusive material, I have tried to dwell on the uncertainty and inconclusiveness in the story. In conclusion, the artistic approach - in which uncertainty plays an important role - could function as a reminder for the historian. That is, a reminder that the foundation that the historical account rests on is often blurry and unstable. This applies to our ordinary lives as well, and to how we recollect the past and the events within it. This uncertainty is clearly spelled out in Gaston Bachelard’s words: “We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”[1]


Artists might not be real historians, but we can give valuable perspectives on the past that engage with the physical senses, the sense of wonder, and our poetic selves.[2]

[1] Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space(London: Penguin Classics, 2015), p.6.

[2] I would like to thank the peer reviewers and Cato Wittusen for their suggestions and constructive critique of this exposition. I would also like to mention that an early version of this exposition was presented at the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study’s annual conference, “Frontier, Past, Present and Future,” at UCLA, Los Angeles, in May 2018.