Sweden: Negotiating land use in between birds and human

The Swedish Nest is working with the theme of territory/space and the negotiation of land use between birds and humans, with a focus on the city in Göteborg/Frihamnen and on the rural/coastal perspective in Koster islands and Österlen. The Nest began with guided walks, helping to orient artists, scientists and local practitioners invited to Göteborg and Koster island in summer 2021.

In Göteborg the project has focused on Frihamnen, a part of the former industrial harbour that has transformed from former bird-rich reeds and wetlands, to industrial environments and potential resi­dential areas. How can we talk about, and with, birds to discover their needs in the city? How can we create an understanding that encourages humans to make habitats that also benefit other species? Ulrika Jansson has created a framework for a participant-based context reading with Christoph Matt, eco-social designer and Pernilla Ljungkvist, performance artist, together with other invited artists, designers, specialists and the public about what coexistence between species in the city can mean. This work has ma­terialised in public events and seminars from 2021-2023. The purpose of the events has been to develop artistic methods and experiences to create opportunities for the public to have deeper contact with the place, birds and themselves. The public events have also functioned as a prototype and an artist in residence period for creating the installation and sound work Varelse / Værelse by Ulrika Jansson, with a point of departure in the teeming birdlife in the historical city reeds.

In Koster Islands the artist collective Gylleboverket, aka Etta Säfve and Jona Elfdahl, examined a co-existence with place and land and, by trying to sync up with birds as beings, the possibilities of how to approach an extended ecological self that goes beyond time and space. Can birds, which with a few beats of its wings, seamlessly move across national borders, provide a key to a different relationship to belonging, place, land and earth? The work in The Conference of the Birds is both a series of cinematic rituals, a rite of transformation and a social sculpture where they work with the local population in Koster islands on the Swedish west coast and Österlen in the south east where they live – the two locations for the work.

The artists working in the Swedish Nest are Gylleboverket aka Etta Säfve and Jona Elfdahl at Koster islands, Pernilla Ljungkvist, Christoph Matt and Ulrika Jansson in Göteborg.

The Nest is curated by Ulrika Jansson.

Participants in the Swedish Nest

Ulrika Jansson (SE)


Ulrika Jansson’s artistic practice is based on the meeting between place, human and ecology. The artworks are multi-part in different media presented in audiovisual installations, often both indoors and outdoors.  They are expressed as sculpture and stop-motion film, where plant material and natural phenomena are brought to life, into sound works with mind-expanding techniques that enable contact with more-than-human forms of consciousness. Jansson initiates and participates in interdisciplinary projects with the aim of using artistic approaches to make global ecological problems more tangible in a local context together with other disciplines.


Pernilla Ljungkvist (SE)


Pernilla Ljungkvist’s work is conceptual with performance, text, sound and participatory processes as the main material, along with influences from various mind-expanding practices butoh, meditation and yoga. Her artistic practice moves in the borderland between social experiments, pseudo science and often examines existential issues based on personal stories.


Christoph Matt (AU)


Christoph Matt is an Austrian eco-social designer and founder of the internationally awarded Studio Matt. A nomadic studio for sustainable design with a focus on the living environment and social issues, currently based in Vienna. The projects and works are always dedicated to the interplay of planet earth, the human and more-than-human.


Gylleboverket: Etta Säfve & Jona Elfdahl (SE)

Performance, video & installation artists

Gylleboverket’s investigations take shape as ritual being, performance, text, sound & Gylleboverket is an artist group that works with site-specific installations, performance, sound, video and ritual investigations. They work with built-up worlds, often of natural materials, myths, rites and stage installations. They also run the platform Gylleboverket – a platform for contemporary art, film and permaculture, where they explore artistic strategies and permaculture as a tool to understand what it is to be human and work in the world with care for the earth, the more-than-human and each other.