Långbyn | Örebro County


As an artist, I’m invited by the culture department of Region Örebro län to make a body of work during an artist residence of a total of 7 weeks. I´m a landscape researcher and try to understand the daily reality of the processed landscape and explore experiences and memories. The traces of cultivation in the surface of land talk about the relationship between nature and inhabitants. The stories of the land I depict in hiking maps and feltscapes.


Concerning dropsy possession around Lake Lången.Vattensjuka literally translates as dropsy, but I think the swamp is meant here when consulting the synonym list.

In the feltscape ‘Vattensjuka’ I depicted the wet and low-lying part of Långbyn with a mix of wool fibers and fibers from the bulrush (Typha latifolia). This bulrush grows at the water’s edge of Lake Lången and flourishes in nutrient-rich, stagnant to weak-flowing, shallow water. One of the positive properties of the bulrush is that it purifies water by breaking down nitrates and phosphates. The fibers of the bulrush have different properties than the wool fibers, causing relief in the map.

The reason for using the historical map from 1912, which forms the basis of the feltscape Vattensjuka, is the visualization of the allocation of drained land to neighbouring landowners. The drying up of land results from a drop in water levels and indicates a reduction in the water supply. Land reclamation may still result from post-glacial uplift of the land – about 45 cm per century in this environment – but also from climate change. The fall in the water level is probably the result of both. Furthermore, both images show that the water edge of Långbyn is also more landlocked than the other side of Lake Lången.

The swampy parts are surrounded by a green-blue line, and the water edge is blue. Due to the fall in the water level, the swampy water edge will become larger and drier, making the land interesting for agricultural use. Adjacent parts of the swampy parts are outlined in yellow and are added to the agricultural land use of landowners A to E.         
Map: Öfver Vattensjuka äger omkring sjön Lången, 1912 (Lantmateriet).
A comparison between the map from 1912 and the aerial photo from 2017 shows a clear difference in the lake's size. Lake Lången grows dense with vegetation such as reeds and cattails and becomes landlocked. A negative point of the drop in the water level is that the water quality decreases. Aerial photo Google Earth 2017.

A conversation with an expert in the field of water quality in the Örebro län region shows that a lot of work is being done to improve the quality of the water in the many lakes of this region, but that it is very difficult to reduce the phosphate and reduce nitrogen content. Possible solutions are removing fish (as a way of removing nutrition), a ban on manure along the edges of the lakes and raising the water level. The cooperation of landowners is required for a solution. At information evenings, authorities try to convince landowners of the importance of raising the water level. Landowners will have to turn agricultural land into water and that is very difficult for Swedish farmers, who are very attached to their acquired property, to accept. Farmers are also given the opportunity, supported by the government, to allow straightened streams to meander again. The water storage capacity of the streams is increased by such an intervention. With heavy rainfall resulting from climate change, more water can be retained, which means that the water level can be replenished in times of drought.


The location of my residency is on one of the farms in Långbyn, a small hamlet north of one of the largest cities in Sweden, Örebro. This city is part of Närke, landskap (province) lying mostly in the administrative län (county) of Örebro, south-central Sweden. An important feature of the landscape in central and South Sweden is the geomorphological landscape relief of joint aligned valleys classified by the geographer Rudberg in the 1960s as fissure valley landscape, sprickdalar. In these valley bottoms are elongated lakes and one of these is Langen after which is Långbyn is probably named.

In my barn studio I depict the landscape of my residency in a cartographic way in feltscapes made of fibers of Långbyns land. With wool of Helsingerfår and other fibers of the land I make felt, several layers of wool are treated with soap and water so that fibers intertwine. When making the felt layers I investigate how man and nature have brought the landscape into culture. For the feltscapes for Långbyns land I use as a basis a historically sketched map from the Lantmäteriet archives (1840s). This map consists of several parts and was made in the fields by a cartographer from the past.