In her film READING GLASS, Malin Pettersson Öberg explores glass as a cultural product, invention, concept and association surface, with a point of departure in an archive for Swedish glass production. Through glimpses from one slow camera movement along the shelves of the archive, kept under the glass furnace in Boda where one of Scandinavia's largest glass collections are stored, we are met by tableware and art glass from the previous decade. To the camera’s concrete reading of the objects on the shelves, a second reading of glass through history and literature is added, in the film's soundtrack. Here, a fragmented narrative is constructed out of quotes and references to a number of sources and reflections.
Experimental montage and appropriation emerge as conscious approaches in the film, aiming to render visible the constant exchange of ideas and thoughts, interdependencies between people, artists, art works and eras, that form the basis of artistic creation. At regular intervals, the visual flow is interrupted by black gaps, as if to remind us of the eye blinks or the camera we look through. The camera, which in similarity to the microscopes, telescopes and spectacles that appear in the film, has helped us see further and beyond the eye - even back in time. The visual flow is accompanied by a musical interpretation of glass as material, composed by Samuel Nicolas.
In what ways have glass, as an industry and handicraft, shaped Swedish culture and identity? What has been the significance of glass as a scientific invention for the emergence of a ”Modern” society, and for how we understand ourselves and the surrounding world? Through the film, connections are evoked between glass, optics, vision, science and modernity, but also movement and continuity, rupture and change. Not least through the camera movement and the mirroring of glass in the camera and glass on the shelves, and the vocal references to how glass may materialise through lightning and vitrification of sand, how glass manufacture is described by terms of control, segregation and homogeneity, and how glass melt is composed of atoms bound to each other. Formulations which function associatively, in a multilayered balancing act which tries to approach what it means to be a human today, through the ”lens” of the Swedish glass industry.
READING GLASS has been filmed in the archive of The Glass Factory in Boda, 2015, and features glass designed in the glassworks of Kosta, Boda and Åfors by the following artists: Elis Bergh, Oscar Dahl, R.A. Hickman, Paul Hoff, Anna Ehrner, Klas Göran Tinbäck, Ann Wåhlström, Hertha Hillfon, Monica Backström, Erik Höglund, Gun Lindblad, Bengt Edenfalk, Signe Persson-Melin, Rolf Sinnemark, Fritz Kallenberg, Gabriel Burmeister, Kjell Engman, Ann Wärff, Göran Wärff, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Bertil Vallien, Gösta Linderholm, Åsa Jungnelius and Ludvig Löfgren.
P R O D U C T I O N
Direction, script and editing: Malin Pettersson Öberg
Music: Reversed Bloom, composed by Samuel Nicolas 2015
Voice: Malin Pettersson Öberg
Voice recording: Samuel Nicolas, Conservatoire Maurice Ravel de Villemomble
Camera and light: Axel Diedrichs, Kalmar
Post production: Nils Fridén, Velourfilm
Translation: William Jewson and Malin Pettersson Öberg
Distribution: Filmform - The Art Film & Video Archive
Produced with support from: The Swedish Arts Council, The Swedish Arts Grants’ Committee,
Kalmar konstmuseum, The Glass Factory, Nybro Municipality
as part of the project and exhibition Massa i rörelse (Moving Mass)
T H A N K Y O U
Emma Karlsson, collections and documentation, The Glass Factory, Boda
Agneta Gustavsson, journalist, author and filmmaker, active in the Kingdom of Crystal,
Monica Backström, glass designer and artist, Monica Backström Design, Kalmar, Gunnel Holmér, glass antiquarian,
Kulturparken Småland / Sveriges glasmuseum, Växjö, Åke Bergkvist, artist and former glass engraver
at Strömbergshyttans glasbruk, based in Växjö, Maja Heuer, museum director, The Glass Factory, Boda
Kira Carpelan, MinMamma Produktion
My Lindh, Slakthusateljéerna
Timo Menke, Filmform, Cecilia Björk
The artists behind Massa i rörelse