EXHIBITION / THE NORDIC FOREST FARMERS
It is said that the Nordic Forest Farmers descended from the ‘remote forest’ [ärjemark] culture, spreading from various points across Scandinavia down through – what the gentry calls – ‘Denmark’ and further south, west, and east. In this way taking advantage of the historical inflection point opened up by the retreat of Roman-catholic power and what is known as the Great Northern-European Intra-Gentry Strife. Now five hundred years back, this strife involved fractions of the landed gentry fighting for control of the region’s ample forest resources for weaponry and other industrial production, territorializing their borders violently across Sealand and beyond. In response, the partly nomadic forest farmers receded further into the lush, hilly, and semi-open forest-like landscapes produced by the last ice age. Here, they uphold their livelihood through a combination of vegetable farming, hunting of game, gathering of herbs, and long-distance trade among their own kind. The stinging nettle [brännässla], in particular, seems crucial for their livelihood, leading to extensive speculations among members of the gentry and contemporary researchers about the mythological and spiritual meaning ascribed to the nettle, as well as the functional and material properties it serves the forest farmers.
For navigational purposes, they are said to have developed a range of advanced instruments, clearly on par with the technological proves on display in the gentry-controlled city-states and their peripheral open lands. Meanwhile, the forest farmers maintain only fraught zones of contact with the gentry, in particular, and with the open-land smallholder peasants, for whom they serve as partly trusted, partly mischievous medical advisors. For the gentry, cycles of relative appeasement and cooperation with the forest farmers have been interspersed in recent years with periods of guerilla-like war fare. Knowledge of the forest farmers is quite sparse, but artefacts occasionally found at the fringes of otherwise-avoided deep-forest sites allow some access to their worldview and afford favorite sources of gentry artistic displays. The Copenhagen Fragment of Speculative Timelines have gathered a collection of such artefacts with the assistance of various contributors. We seek to offer them up for inspection at this crucial point in history, in which the fate of the Nordic Forest Farmers – along with the forests they inhabit, utilize, struggle with, and care for in all its diversity – is yet again at stake.
The Copenhagen Fragment of Speculative Timelines
Line Marie Thorsen
Katrine Andrea Vintov
Freja Marie Hegelund
Emil Bøgh Løkkegaard
Betty Lydolph Laursen
And a special thanks to