Thinking about the forest as an archive, artist Gerd Aurell investigates the relationship between people and the forest in northern Sweden. The Small Visionary Project research started by examining the evidence of historical and contemporary arenas of conflict over the use of northern forests and how they can be interpreted and visualized artistically. The old-growth northern forest can be read as an archive where layer is written on layer and traces in living and dead trees bear witness of unique events, both recent and far back in time. In deep collaboration with scientists in forest history and ecology, Aurell has investigated places in the forest charged with human presence to produce a new short film with Micael Norberg, Tankar i Hatten / Thoughts in the Hat, and a performative drawing Forest Portal, 2023, executed in the UmArts Studio.

Tankar i Hatten / Thoughts in the Hat was shortlisted for the Umeå Film Festival Storporven Prize 2023, and will be screened as part of the Eight Degrees Contemporary Art on the Forest exhibition at Bildmuseet 15 March 2024 – 12 January 2025.

Tankar i hatten (Thoughts in the Hat) 29 minutes.

A film by Gerd Aurell and Micael Norberg.

The film circles around the relationship between a man and the northern forest. We meet Magnus Sjögren, archeologist, musician and activist who walks with us on winding gravel roads and tells us a love story from the past. When Magnus was in his twenties he was searching for a place to stay and he was told about an empty cabin outside Vuollerim. He drives there full of anticipation but when he arrives the curtain moves and someone peeks out. ‘Thoughts in the Hat’ is a film about love, between two human beings, but also between a man and the forest. In Magnus´search for the rare northern orchid Nornan, these two tracks intertwine.

Supported by an UmArts Small Visionary Project Award.

Nominated for the Umeå Film Festival Storspoven Prize 2023.

Directors: Gerd Aurell and Micael Norberg

Producer: Gerd Aurell

Camera: Micael Norberg

Editing: Micael Norberg

Sound: Daniel Westman

Music: Magnus Sjögren and Norrlåtar