The Swedish Timber Empire

Toms Kokins

Toms Kokins, 2021, Traditional geography of discourse around forestry in Sweden. Drawing.

This research project aims to develop social and creative processes to critically map the extent of the new Swedish timber empire. The research will highlight some of the hidden power structures and narratives underlying the global race for resources that often neglects biodiversity and cultural identities in affected territories. Since the early 1990s there has been an increased procurement of forest lands in neighbouring countries such as Russia, Estonia, Latvia by the Swedish state and private companies. In some cases, this has radically changed the land ownership maps of local municipalities.

Toms Kokins will investigate the extent of Swedish-owned forest land beyond its borders and its relationship to architecture. Using diverse mapping methods, Kokins aims to create an holistic quantitative and qualitative map of the new Swedish timber empire, researching who and what should be included and how it can be communicated? The project will also investigate how the phenomenon is changing local cultural, social and economic landscapes.

Toms Kokins has been awarded a Future Forests research grant to develop his research in 2023. He will participate in the UmArts Planetary Entanglements panel at the Vetenskapsrådet artistic research conference Transformations ‘22: artistic research in times of change, Luleå, November 2022.

Toms Kokins, 2021. Speculative geography including forest lands owned by the Swedish state and private companies. Drawing.

The project will be presented as part of the Eight Degrees Contemporary Art on the Forest exhibition at Bildmuseet 15 March 2024 – 12 January 2025.