Deeply concerned about the on-going exodus that led circa one-fifth of swedes to leave for (primarily) North America, in 1907 the Swedish government established The “Emigrationsutredning” or Emigration Investigation Commission resulting in 21 volumes of findings. In addition to research reports, the commission agents inter viewed emigrants on their sea-journey to America as well as solicited letters from past emigrants. The main question being: What led you to leave Sweden? These “Letters from Swedes in America” are compiled into a 263-page document of emigrant testimony, from heartfelt texts of longing for home, to angry rejection letters of their former homeland, and even poems and songs. Though the places, dates and circumstance differ, I recognize myself in their words. I have sliced the following fragments from a copy of the original and keep them as my own.
168 hand cut paper text fragments in cardboard box, 22 x 26 X 2 cm, 2018 and audio installation (Swedish & English, ca 7 minutes).