Creating Connection

The power of stories

HALDE

DAS WOANDERS HIN: Power of STORYTELLING

 Among the earliest requests of a child is ‚tell me a story‘. 

Since our first days, stories have been at the heart of who we are. In the 21st century, changes of mythical dimensions are beginning to impact all life on earth. Beholding a planet we leave behind irreversibly changed, we are becoming speechless. Apathetic we stand in the white noise of disturbing images and alarming numbers. So far, we are lacking a language to integrate what we witness around us into a new narrative of who we are and who we have been. 

 

They define our look at the world and our place within it. As such, they are powerful stuff, informing how we feel about ourselves as well as the things and beings around us.  

 

We believe in a public mission. media formats. Different project unusual – responding to the needs of our time.

 

 

 Stories make us care. We believe that they have never lost their primal power. 

Going back and forth between the present and the past, we explore these ways in a mission to inspire – to look at worlds at our doorsteps with different eyes, to feel our place within them, and to write new narratives of good neighbourhood among all life on earth.

On a planet careening towards degradation, they open up ways to reconnect with a world we changed. 


Left: Historic illustration from Rudbeck, Atlantica, vol. of plates. Right: The 'Stone in the Green Valley' (photograph by Bernhard Schirg, autumn 2020).

"I call the land itself the foundation of my work – its lakes, its mountains, rivers, and all the other things of this kind that point to our home and that the most ancient writers have surveyed, or rather: that will remain unchangeable and immoveable until that stone from the book of Daniel [DAN 2:34–35], by which everything has been brought forth, shatters and destroys them."

Olof Rudbeck, Atlantica, vol. 1 (1679), p. 887.

The Project

Frozen Atlantis is an academic project in the field of Public History.

In the 21st century, changes of mythical dimensions are beginning to impact all life on earth. Beholding a planet we leave behind irreversibly changed, we are becoming speechless. Apathetic we stand in the white noise of disturbing images and alarming numbers. 

So far, we are lacking a language and narrative to integrate what we witness around us into the story of who we are and who we have been. As a research project, we are passionate about the narratives by which people connected with the objects and landscapes around them. Stories of where we come from and where we are going, of promised lands as well as infernal places, springing from our deepest needs and inner turmoils.

 

And still, stories can make us care. We believe that they have never lost their primal power. On a planet careening towards degradation, they open up ways to reconnect with a world we changed. 

Going back and forth between the present and the past, we explore these ways in a mission to inspire – to look at worlds at our doorsteps with different eyes, to feel our place within them, and to write new narratives of good neighbourhood among all life on earth.

 

HALDE 

 

We focus on media formats and narrative forms that open up bridges.

We are passionate  Among the earliest requests of a child is ‚tell me a story‘. 

Since our first days, stories have been at the heart of who we are as human beings. They define our look at the world and our place within it. As such, they are powerful stuff, informing how we feel about ourselves as well as the things and beings around us.  

As

 

The magnificent mr Rudbeck

Atlantis at your fingertips

More than 350 years ago, a professor of anatomy at Uppsala embarked on an enterprise that changed his vision of home. 

In 1679, Olof Rudbeck published the Atlantica, a monumental work that presented Scandinavia as the land the Greek philosopher Plato had described as Atlantis. It was the first of four volumes (1679–1702) – and Atlantis just the tip of an iceberg.

Over three decades, Rudbeck would skim the entire body of ancient mythology – the oldest stories told by Egyptians, Greek, Norse or Romans –, always revealing the north, its traditions and nature at their core. 

Among the keys unlocking that true meaning in mythology, Rudbeck referenced known antiquities or had new ones dug out from grave mounds, mapped the nation’s oldest buildings or sent out expeditions to the lesser known parts of the kingdom, with the task to draw and measure the highest peaks of Sweden. 

All this material became pieces in a gigantic puzzle Rudbeck assembled over thousands of pages. In more than 500 woodcuts and engravings, the Atlantica presented mountain panoramas, maps, antiquities, plants, and many other objects, carefully woven into a dizzying line of argument.

 

Frontispiece (opening engraving) of the volume of plates that accompanied the first volume of Rudbeck's Atlantica (1679).

In his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, the Greek philosopher Plato introduces the legendary civilisation of Atlantis, a naval superpower once located beyond the Pillars of Hercules.

 

Was Atlantis simply an invention – an idealised civilisation Plato used as a backdrop to reflect on democracy in Athens? Or was it inspired by a real place?

 

For millennia, Plato's dialogues kept humanists on the watch, always eager to revisit the ancient texts about Atlantis as our knowledge about our world increased.

The ancient man identified by the winged hourglass and the scythe (clipped in this image) is Saturn or Chronos, the god of time.

 

He stands for time that eventually reveals all truth.

In the classical tradition, Orpheus was the bard on board the Argo, the ship on which the Argonauts set out on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

An epos attributed to Orpheus tells of their adventures – a journey whose route Rudbeck traced up to the Baltic Sea and around the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Medicine was Olof Rudbeck's (1630–1702) first profession.

Having risen to be the leading anatomist of his country (and discovered the lymphatic cycle), he dedicated the last three decades of his life to the quest of declaring Sweden the site from which all mythology originated.

Scalpel in hand, Rudbeck the anatomist dissects the northern hemisphere. 

 

Slicing through Sweden (lat. Svecia), he reveals the layers of earlier traditions beneath that pointed to Scandinavia as insula deorum – the Island of Gods.

What Rudbeck created in decades of work was not only that deep and flattering history for which the Swedish Empire was yearning (and paid). His work opened up a gaze of deep appreciation on the place in which he lived. 

So far, the rest of the continent had ridiculed the newcomer among European powers as an uncivilised chunk of ice. The Atlantica now turned Scandinavia into the utopian lands to which ancient texts had pointed under many names. 

The vision Rudbeck unfolded over thousands of pages and hundreds of illustrations made the past and the present connect. Sweden’s rivers and mountains, the snowflakes falling on their slopes, the sun-lit nights of midsummer and the vortices on the coast became eloquent witnesses to a truth that was inscribed into the nature of the north, firmly and unchanging: 

We are living in a world filled with profound meaning if not divine harmony – a promised land that is real and at our fingertips.

The stories behind

Creating worlds of wonder

In ancient mythology, Mount Helicon was the site where the Muses dwelled, the inspiring forces behind all art and literature.

 

For Rudbeck, this throne had always had its true place in Sweden, at Mount Helags ('H H H') – here depicted as the three peaks antiquity had mentioned.

 

At Helags lies Sweden's southernmost glacier, almost gone today. 

 

Together with glaciologists and artists we will set out to this site in different seasons. With the help of 3D-models, we open up formats to reconnect this place with the stories behind. Through artistic perfomances we increase public awareness for what is being lost as the landscapes of ancient myth change irreversibly.

A journey to the stories of earliest origins!

 

In a winter expedition we plan in cooperation with Lars Larsson and National Geographic (application under review), we will set out into the southern part of Rudbeck's Jämtland panorama.

 

Entering through the area of Drommen (T), we pass the region Rudbeck linked to 'Trymheimr' as described in the Edda – the place where the giant Tiasse abducted Iduna, keeper of the golden apples, the symbol of eternal youth.

For him, the mythical apples were a symbol for letters of the first alphabet (the runes) – the only true source of immortality. And it was in the structure of snow flakes, revealing their basic letters under the microscope, where he found proof for the origin of letters in the high north.

 

The journey ends at Helags ('H H H'), the place that Rudbeck saw as throne of the Muses.

Åreskutan (1420m) is one of the most prominent peaks in the Jämtland area – and Sweden's most prominent skiing resort.

In his Atlantica, Rudbeck flirts with the idea that it was in this area where land first emerged after the biblical deluge and from where Europe was settled anew.

 

 

 

At a time that the oceans are rising again, we plan artistic performances performances in the Jämtland mountains to raise awareness for local changes such as the loss of seasons and the nature of snow and their global implications.

In autumn 2021, Lars and Bernhard of our team ventured into the margins of Rudbeck's Jämtland panorama.

 

Beginning our journey on the traces of his 1675 expedition, we climbed exposed mountain peaks to produce 360° photographs.

 

Encountering the original landscapes and using modern technology, we began to understand how the historic panorama brings together perspectives from different view points – a view impossible to behold with the natural eye.

 

Stay tuned as we explain how these single perspectives became part of a universal view into the Jämtland mountains!

In 1675, Olof Rudbeck sent out an expedition to the northern regions of Jämtland, Dalarna and Härjedalen to draw and measure their top peaks. From Rudbeck, Atlantica, volume of plates.

The illustrated book was the best medium at hand when Olof Rudbeck presented this vision 350 years ago.

What if we applied the medial possibilities of our times to make the stories behind landscapes and objects, hidden among thousands of pages in Latin and ancient Swedish, accessible to a 21st-century audience?

Imagine a virtual museum that allows you to explore Rudbeck’s illustrations and the meanings behind them (check!). 

Imagine a platform for illustrated stories, telling of our encounters with the world Rudbeck created as we travel on the traces of his quest for Atlantis (check!).

Imagine a surrounding to freely navigate episodes from this world on a 3D-map of Scandinavia, told in film or animations. 

Imagine theatre plays for children, artistic performances, public excursions and further events, all reaching out to draw you closer into the worlds we make accessible with all senses. 

This is what we are creating.