Four Sites. Four Seasons.

Our Expeditions

Where myth meets present

Over four seasons, ‚Frozen Atlantis‘ ventures out to places that in Rudbeck’s vision inspired ancient myth. 

In the ancient Norse tradition, there was a realm called Niphelheim. Where this world of ice bordered on the realm of Múspellheim in the south with its glowing heat, an abyss was yawning, a contact zone where ice turned to water – the site where life was created in its melting.

In the present, we are shifting the life-sustaining balance between water and ice. Revisiting sites of ancient myth tied to these elements, our team or researchers and videographers encounters landscapes, people and the stories behind. 

With professional support, we will produce highly visual material that forms the basis of our multi-faceted public outreach campaign.

Through Social Media, we will allow a wide audience to follow our footsteps as we venture out. 

At the same time, we will run a call for applications through which we will select non-academic participants to accompany us in the field and become part of our story.

 

'STREAM OF LIGHT'

From the snow-topped mountains on the Swedish-Norwegian border, we follow the Ljusnan (swe. ‚ljus’=light) down its course to the Baltic Sea.

For Rudbeck, the lush banks of this river and the nights of midsummer had inspired antiquity’s vision of the sun-lit Elysian Fields, the paradisiac home to deceased heroes.

Bringing together ancient myth and 21st-century realities, we follow the Ljusnan, connecting the stories along its course – stories of paradises lost and found, of dammed waterfalls, sunken villages, and last pockets where the river still flows untamed.

Town sign of Valmåsen, a village that disappeared in the Lossen dam in the early 1960s. Photograph from E. Salomonsson, Valmåsen. Hållnäs 2014.

One of the free-flowing sections of the Ljusnan river in early autumn.

For centuries, the waterfall of Laforsen had been the venue where thousands gathered in May and the subject to music written for this special occasion in spring. Seven decades ago, this cultural site disappeared when the Ljusnan was dammed.

Visit to Helags Glacier in wintertime.

'THE THRONE DESERTED'

With glaciologists joining our team, we set out to Helags (1797m), Sweden’s southernmost glacier.

For Rudbeck, this peak identified as Mount Helicon – the sharp-edged peak antiquity described as home of the Muses, the inspiring forces behind all literature and poetry.

Encounters on site include climate activists fighting with canvas sheets against the melting, members of the Sámi community whose reindeer fail to find sustenance in winter, or natural scientists who all bear witness to the history of this place and an environment in rapid change.

On site, we create material for our media production (video, drone scans for a 3D-model of the glacier) that allow us to connect the place with the stories behind.

Working together with artists and composers, we are planning a performance that will be a requiem for a disappearing glacier.

Reindeer are the animals that the Sámi have been driving over the mountainous areas of Jämtland for centuries. Due to more rain in winter and ice crusts forming, they have increasingly problems to find food below the snow.

'The ABYSS'

A journey to the Lofoten Islands in the North Atlantic (68°N).

For Rudbeck, the legendary vortex raging between this island chain on the Norwegian coast was the site where Ulysses’s raft was sucked in on his journey home.

In his view, the marine phenomenon and the winter nights up north inspired antiquity’s vision of the gateway down to the underworld, to a sun-less world that awaits the punished souls.

During the dark seasons, our team sets out to the dismal shores above the Polar Circle.

Embracing their waves on sea-kayaks, we tap hands-on into the eerie stories they veil, into the ancient visions of humankind’s darkest places as well as disturbing insights about an environment in danger – from mining debris dumped in the fjords up to the slowing down of the Gulf Stream that made life on the Lofoten possible.

Kayaking the Atlantic on the Lofoten coast.

The legendary vortex between the Lofoten chain as depicted on Rudbeck's map of Sweden. The vortex continued to appear on naval charts until the early 19th century. From Rudbeck, Atlantica, vol. of plates (fig. VI.14).

Winter scene from Reine, Lofoten Islands (near the legendary Maelstroem vortex).

View from the Drommen area (autumn 2021).

'Atlantis Melting'

A 7+days-expedition into the Atlantica’s Jämtland panorama. 

On back country skis, our team enters into the lands that Rudbeck’s expedition from 1675 first made visible. 

The drawings and measurements his men produced in Jämtland served the polymath in Uppsala to anchor episodes from ancient mythology in Swedish nature. 

We set out into the winterland that for Rudbeck stood at the beginning of everything, with its ice whose melting brought forth the first human according to the Edda, and the snowflakes whose crystals revealed the basic letters of the runic alphabet under the microscope. 

The expedition ends at Helags (‚H H H‘ in the panorama) – Sweden’s southernmost glacier which we revisit for an artistic performance and the production of a 3D-model.

Encountering a world once meaningful and harmonic, we bear witness to an environment changed by human influence – a world that will cease to support the myths of our earliest origins and the people who have been living off it for generations.

Drommen and Oviksfjällen, peaks in the beginning Swedish-Norwegian mountain chain that Rudbeck integrated into the historic panorama (ca. 'M' and 'T'). View from Frösön (early 2022).

Rudbeck's Jämtland panorama (printed 1679).

The TEam

The expedition team brings together characters that rarely mix:

  • The researchers, art directors and assistants who make the core of Team ‚Frozen Atlantis‘
  • Martin Olson, an outdoor videographer specialising for winter conditions in the Swedish Fjäll.
  • Lars Larsson, an experienced mountain guide and outdoor journalist. 

Equipment

The expeditions will partly be carried out under extreme conditions. Cameras, computers and drones must withstand polar temperatures.

For outdoor equipment – e.g. mountain skis, clothing, pulkas, etc. – we aim for additional support through sponsorship by leading companies in the field.

Coverage

All of our major expeditions will be covered live and extensively on our Social Media Channel.

This way, we make the public engage in the activities necessary to bring them the final stories.