European Tourism Research Institute
Thanks for your letter. I'm getting back to you sooner than you might have thought.
When I returned from Spitsbergen it seemed a bit clearer to me what I wanted to do. I want to do a spatial description of the situation there, a description emanating from spatial realities. Outer and inner territories, requirements and scales. Shifts in time and in focus. Balance of positions and focus. I have done similar things in the past, but that work used to originate entirely from my own observations. This is an unusual opportunity to make the description more complex by asking more than one person to participate in it. The event is extremely well delineated but in many other ways it has no boundaries.
I am writing to three people who participated in the trip, asking them what they thought happened. This question will, of course, have a somewhat different meaning for you since you have been to many of these places before and have also as expeditionleader had a say in framing the participants' possibilities for observation. I've tried to imagine how the person I am writing to might find a spatial description if not practically useful, then at least of some interest. I am thinking for example of the time when we were talking about fronts on the weather map being better than icons of sun and clouds, and of the perception of people's movements and positions in the room, how someone with a military background always felt one should stay a few steps behind and a the left of him. It might be a question of social or psychological processes that you yourself have gone through or witnessed. Or of the encounter with, or the perception of, a new place. What am I really doing here? What does one perceive as real, and what could one just as well have seen on TV? What methods do we use to see to it that something becomes real.
This kind of trip is an extraordinary event in the everyday life of most people, and at the same time it's not entirely unlike other experiences of places and events. We are constantly sorting impressions according to sameness or 'differentness.' There wasn't really a previously formulated meaning attached to the trip, just visiting a place isn't enough, the meaning must emerge gradually and afterwards. But since your expectations demand more than just recreation and a bit of fresh air, you tend to sway between meaninglessness and exalted observations. This state of mind is true for all creative work. Personally, I don't like it when someone comes and asks me to participate in something and that person doesn't try to give something back. That's why I am writing 'A Travelogue for Someone Who Participated in the Trip.' It is largely devoid of a superficial story. Certain things reappear in all letters, other things are of a personal nature. I am repeating some things I already said to you and write other things I did not say.
Trying to be open and exposing oneself to 'the entirety' of a fresh situation is both tiring and confusing. More or less consciously, I find myself milking my earlier experiences in order to find something to relate to, anything from Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff about the first space explorations, to the Haga House sit-in in Gothenburg. When I attended preliminary art school I studied ethnology and economic history at the same time. Conversations I heard awakened memory fragments of the Skolt Sami people, 'Call to Arms at Båtskärsnäs' by Åke Daun, methods of hunting and spheres of economic interests. The question is if it's helpful or if it even makes you more self-confident if you have heard about this earlier. If at last I managed to reconstruct something in my memory, it wasn't only a bit late but far too late to say it. A more lasting and useful insight was how consistent people's perception of what is a good place to live turns out. This one came to me when I was making archaeological settlement models for the the National Historical Museum. All this was a long time ago, in the mid-70s. It was just as long ago that I sketched some mountains.
I felt transported back in time. This feeling was reinforced by the fact that, in a new context, one is often treated as being younger than one actually is. It's easy to get into the position of the truth-saying child/ madman/savage/woman/artist when you don't have any concrete tasks. In the beginning I guess I had a bit too much air around me, where mutually intelligent assertions were supposed to be exchanged.
I didn't miss your little hint regarding my impending 30th birthday, but in that case I wasn't alone in my regression (the Pudding Club, the nocturnal Puff Party sessions and the somewhat sudden spirit of exploration). In the middle of all this, a certain measure of vanity. One more week in this astringent climate, a bit more sleep, and then! Just look at David Gee's glowing complexion.
The landing on Gråhuken left a strong impression even if there was only a pole marker. By performing his 'devotion,' Rolf was able to quiet down our somewhat restless circling that I suppose was an attempt at understanding and concretizing places and happenings.
The place I remember best was the one with the blubber ovens and the gravesites, after the landing at the Magdalenafjord. I don't even remember the name of the place. It was chilly and I had been sea-sick in the morning and part of the experience I'm sure was the somewhat scary feeling that this was the way it was going to be all the time. It was a question of gritting one's teeth and the whole mental reconfiguration that results from that.
It also became clear there that it wasn't the History of a population but about temporary visits. Life-threatening visits. It's easy to get involved and absence demands an ever greater price.
The distances, the monotony and the repetition combine into the kind of insight you cannot get in any other way than by being there. In retrospect I think that I would have liked to visit many more places like that. 'More of the same' can be more important than seeing many new things.
All these ventures are of course formed by a multitude of rational reasons. They might bring economic benefits in the near or far future, they might serve as political markers, and they might produce goodwill or advantages at home among powerful people or possible future financial sponsors. But beyond that, there is an unusually high level of fiction; they are a practice, a metaphor for how one takes things in. In order to keep up the contact with reality, one has to practice, rehearse.
Finally, the surroundings become almost abstract. Living people become so overwhelming. This experience was probably stronger for me since I didn't know anyone from before. I suppose the amalgamation of history, opinions and outer attributes with which we mark our identities emerged gradually, but it's unusual that we first see very much of a person's nature. How he or she moves, reacts, grows pale, blushes, opens or clams up. 'The polar uniform' makes you more attentive to the outline of the person and soon we were actually able to recognize people from afar.
Of course, in some ways it's challenging to be confronted with an all-male environment, completely or almost so being of no great significance, neither historically nor now. You mentioned a woman hunter but it doesn't change the whole. I've been in similar situations before, on building sites, cement factories, at the World Maritime Center, educating marine officers for the whole world, the place I lived when I worked in Malmö, etc. Many men sort of 'blossom' outside of the norms of the mixed, heterosexual environment. It's nice to see. And of course women do this too. At first I get so absorbed by the variation and just stand and watch. Is this a voyeuristic male position, or a quietly observing female one? At any rate, it's necessary to have lots of time.
The difficulty and the joy in such a situation has to do with choosing a position in a new context.
The letter doesn't contain any direct questions for you. I suppose that there are some indirect questions in what I write about your perspective on the situations or events I describe. But I cannot enquire about what I don't know, so that's why the real question is: what happened? What did you think about? Only a few days after I got back, I was invited to take part in the exhibition project called 'Arkipelag,' which seems a good occasion to show this work. My part of the exhibit is in October next year. This letter is part of my work material. I am of course hoping that you'll answer in some way. I understand that you are very busy in your new job, but perhaps this moment is a good one for reflection. You were quite right about my being well, I'm happy that I hadn't found some task in advance and so was forced to be receptive. Let me hear from you if you're puzzling over something.
Spånga, 30 October 1997
It's not every day that one receives a letter like the one you sent me a couple of weeks ago. There really aren't that many letters written at all these days. It was an exciting letter, a difficult letter, but also a challenging and stimulating letter. I still don't quite know how to handle it. It is a little bit like a love letter in reverse. I have to relate to it in some way (at least this is the way I feel), without really knowing in what way - I don't feel as if I can simply reply. I can't dismiss it by saying that I really have too much going on. The letter touches on so man questions that seem important. Questions tend to crop up during long expeditions when one has more time, and perhaps more clearly defined work tasks, and thus 'reality' gets more systematized than the way you describe it. The way time is stretched out generally also means that many of the circumstances you touch on and think about get answered.
I don't know if I'm ready to take on the Spitsbergen expedition at this point or whether I can contribute to your project. I do think that I'll have to get one or a few more letters from you in order to see how the project develops and in what way I am able or willing to contribute to it. In what way do you see me participating? In a number of instances I declined to show my own insides (turn myself inside out), as I have put it somewhat graphically. I felt it was enough to be open and direct in my actions, in my interactions with the members of the expedition. And if anyone then saw me in one way or another, it's OK with me as long as 'the cause' had been advanced and/or we've been having fun. I have saved the existential thinking for other occasions. And if someone then wanted to describe me, that was OK too, even if I sometimes realized that the writer only sees a small part of me.
There is quite a lot in the letter that I wonder about. Whether I've been too polite, impolite, not taken you seriously, etc. I myself feel that I haven't given you enough time, but then you didn't demand much either. Many wrote a few well chosen lines to Anders and clearly demanded his time! But you didn't, but what on earth did I say about your 30th birthday??? You write about maleness, about hunting women, hunting, etc, I don't know if I can take a postition on everything. The perception of reality, the motivations for the journey are themes that would interest me to think about but as I said. I'd like to see some clearer structures on your part. I guess there is also a part where I could provide you with direct input into your thoughts by furnishing you with names, dates, etc, but where I don't have to write so much.
I rarely write real letters these days, but it makes me think about what it was like on the expeditions in past times. Of course there was the radio telephone on board the base ship, but it was expensive and erratic and for that matter it could be monitored. Letters could be written in peace in the tent. I usually always had one letter going. If I felt good about the day's work, life, nature, or anything else, the letter could be finished and put away, that is to say inserted in the envelope that had already been addressed. And there it might lie until the ship or the helicopter came and fetched it. It was finished and would not be taken up again until the addressee had read it perhaps three weeks or six weeks later. On an average, I'm sure I wrote more than one letter a day despite the fact that many weeks often passed between mail pick-ups. Sometimes life wasn't so easy: there were storms, there was work that was monotonous. At those times there were no letters either or maybe only the beginnings of letters. The difficulties usually landed in the diary first and then in letters when the worry or the danger was past.
I wrote quite a few letters. They were to relatives and primarily to parents and grandparents, my fiancée, fellow students but also to people I only knew superficially. It was a way to keep in touch, to widen the narrow circle of the research camp. To be able to talk about things that didn't fit in with the small (male?) circle of friends. In retrospect, I find it fascinating that I continued to write so diligently even though I seldom received replies, and sometimes not at all. Those who were living in the so-called civilization didn't have time to write then either. I still keep the letters I received out there in the ice.
To receive a letter was happiness. Come, helicopter. It arrived so quickly. The ship we could of course see hours ahead or we knew through the radio that it was coming, but if the helicopter came I didn't know if it was going to be there for two minutes or two hours. As soon as I heard the helicopter I always ran to the tent to get the finished letters and licked them shut on my way to the pilot. (Sometimes I carried finished 'important' letters with me for days on end just in case the helicopter was going to come.) And then the first question was if he had any mail for me. The quick encounter made it necessary to put the letters in a pocket right away. Perhaps I glanced quickly at the envelopes, at the handwritings to see who had written, but to read then was impossible. That had to be done in peace and in solitude. It was a great pleasure to read letters. First to read them quickly and to make sure nothing unfortunate had happened; letters most often contained bad news, but then to read them slowly over and over again. Then I could start to answer the letters. What bliss to be able to conduct a conversation! I think that in Ånn I talked about my suspicion toward phone calls. I guess I did call a few times each summer. They seldom cheered me up much, however.
Papers were also welcome but that I'll write about some other time. My perspective on this kind of a short expedition is of course skewed by the fact that I've been to Spitsbergen many times and that I constantly relate to things that have already happened. I have to think about what I really was feeling during the last one. I count on going again precisely because it gives one such a clear sense of reality. I don't think nature, life or anything at all can be experienced via TV. You wrote about this too. Whether this is anything in the direction of what you're after I have no idea, but it is clear that your long, fine letter inspired me to an early morning with a 'fresh' brain.
It would be tempting to describe early mornings, white nights and long days in the Arctic, but time, life seems so short that it is more important to live than to write.
Eva, I have read through this letter, and won't work on it any more but will leave it to you for continued correspondence. Next week I leave for New Zealand in order to still my need for penguins and to live more clearly. I would appreciate a continued contact with you if for no other reason than the pleasure writing to you again, but if there's going to be more I'll have to see more.
Stockholm, 13 November 1997
So nice to get a reply. I understand that the form and possibly the purpose of the letter is puzzling. You write that you have to find a way to relate and that you can't just answer and that's more or less the way it was intended. What I'm after is 'more difficult' than getting facts about polar research. Almost no one writes letters, especially when you are home. It demands a certain kind of intention, or else it becomes at most a Christmas card. But even if there is a form, I'm writing to you 'for real.' I have tried to find areas I am interested in that you might possibly be interested in as well. There are many threads you can choose.
I was entirely prepared to take the program of Swedarctic just as it was. It wasn't until the end of April that I was asked whether I wanted to come along to Spitsbergen, so I wasn't there at the preparatory course in Ånn. Since I didn't know very much, one place was as good as the other as far as I was concerned. It isn't as clear to me as perhaps to some of the others what aspect of a given place or event is interesting. When finally I was on board the ship I could have well imagined both getting stuck in the ice at Vitön and the fun of getting to Barentsburg, also to walk a longer distance somewhere, but this approaches private travel. In that case, one can simply go, maybe just because the name of the place sounds good or because it's at an interesting place on the map. I have a predilection for strategically situated places - it's sometimes turned out that the chosen destination is off-limits for military reasons, which happened in Harstad and Tarifa. But that can be a good choise of place too, often with a settlement that's been there for a long time.
Given a slightly longer time to prepare it might have been possible to dress up a number of irrational wishes into a decent project description. The downside is that one might then feel obligated to do a certain thing, even if after a while it turns out not to be a particularly good idea.
You don't need to worry that you've been too much or too little something. It would be very strange if there were not certain frictions when you enter into a new context. I choose to be aware of this. Much has to do with possible consequences of certain tendiencies and it's just as much a question of the role of the artist as of myself. I was asked late, but that's not personal. There was no one who treated me as a child or an imbecile. The closest I came to feeling like a child was when Claes wiped my pants with moss. I really appreciated his concern. A bit of confusion is good.
In some sense an artist must make himself or herself 'useful': by selling something, by taking part in a dialogue or simply by serving as a testimony to the fact that there is cultural life at all. One has to fulfill someone else's expectations, which in and of itself can be an expectation not to fulfill expectations. Otherwise one becomes totally isolated.
When I'm writing to you about the trip I am using experiences from
my work as an artist, for example in the sections in my first letter that had to do with seeing, the relation between eye and body and the difference between seeing and finding. In order not to swell up inordinately as 'opinion authority', it can be good to encounter some resistance and factual correction, and at the same time you'll get some insight into certain artistic issues through the back door. Another area that we have already touched upon is territory, integrity. In a way it is revealing to show the way one thinks but it isn't the same thing as revealing one's interior life. I understand that you have been described, I have too, but it's not what I'm interested in doing. I would not have written to you if I hadn't thought that you were capable of expressing things that lie a bit outside of your professional area, but it would be immoral to write to somebody who is too eager to show himself but unconsciously reveal himself, like in some TV programs.
I would be happy if you kept a 'file' called 'perception of reality' open and sorted things into it what you thought could fit there. How is clearly?
It isn't easy to describe what I call, for lack of a better term, 'a spatial description.' I can imagine that the observations still form a 'topography', cluster themselves around poles or borders as clear/unclear, real/excessively real/unreal, or when integrity is stretched or pressured. I have never before done work exactly like this, or else I wouldn't do it. The method has not been worked out, so I'm running the risk of failing intellectually and humanly.
I am completely aware of the fact that I am the one who has to press on with this but if you can think of something then just send it on.
Bluff, 14 November 1997, 23:30
I have now reached the southeasternmost point of New Zealand and am looking out over the sea. I know that Antarctica lies over there. I have also been on this side of the continent. It is a great satisfaction to know that Antarctica lies there beyond the ocean and also to know how cold it is and how beautiful it is and how enormous it is. It's been twenty years (exactly!) since I was there. I am trying to tell my travel companions what it was like, how it felt, but they don't listen. They don't understand. There is something special about having been along. All the way from the wingbeats of history [He refers to reasearch on the green house efect, I think.] to hard cold reality. I have experienced it all, but my companions have not. They don't know the reality, not that reality. My fingers have been freezing but I've still managed both to survive and to do research. It feels good afterward. Despite the fact that it's been twenty years I still retain real friends from that expedition. The hard life, the experiences, the survival has united us forever. Other than that, I have stones, slides, souvenirs that mean something to me, that give me back those memories. No one else can be part of that experience, but I know that I've lived. It feels incredibly good. There are no doubts. I have taken part in reality. My contribution has been meaningful. That feels good!
After having expressed myself like this in the introduction, I think that something similar can be said about each expedition. Perhaps ours to Spitsbergen was a bit short? Perhaps you should come along for a longer one to get a clearer sense of that reality. It's tempting to write a lot of nonsense to you now. You seem so young and uncorrupted, but...
I don't think I'll attempt to interpret the present but hope to hear from you instead and hear whether I am part of your project or a spectator. Both are OK. Take care! Let me hear from you sometime.
November 25, 1997 20:39
There isn't the same feeling in e-mails as in ordinary letters, but this isn of course efficient and fast.
You know I have read your letter three times (slowly and carefully), but either I don't understand or else you are attempting to do something so revolutionary that you're unable to explain it. Hopefully I was able to answer one question with the letter from NZ, but I want to know more about how you think. I'll have to as you to be clearer regarding what you hope to get from me.
A year has passed since the Spitsbergen trip, maybe that's why it feels less distant now. In addition, the time when this work has to be ready is drawing near.
It was hard to continue writing last fall. I felt as if I had already gotten many answers in your first letter. Then the letters crossed. I needed some time and perspective to try to find out if there were lots of implicit assumptions. A bit too much time, I think now. Not for me, it's quite normal that some things get put aside for a couple of months, but there's a difference when you are addressing another person.
Here is part of the background: I wanted to use the opportunity of being on the Spitsbergen expedition to understand what kinds of expectations you had of art. What it can be, what needs it fulfills, what knowledge it can impart. Those were urgent questions both for myself and in a general context. The concept of art, seen from the inside, is very expansive, even expansionistic. It can contain whatever it wants to, life and the commonplace, science, technology, etc. The real confrontation with the outside doesn't lie in one's not understanding, but in whether something is meaningful or not. Built into the idea of taking an artist along on an expedition is the idea that the artist will 'transcend' his or her ordinary activity and relate to that specific situation. So the delineation of the work doesn't have to do with the definition of art; that question becomes a purely personal one.
'Border crossing' and 'exchange' have become part of a very common discourse and there are surely more concrete hopes as well about pedagogic exchange and public relations etc, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the thought of an exchange of ideas couldn't have a serious intention as well. I have always wondered how that really would happen?
Last summer I had just read through lots of material on different art projects that in one way or another related to places and people, so I was rather tired of all kinds of methods. But the question, how does one do this, is an honest one. Exchange what? What am I going to exchange with?
What I'm writing moves in an imagined (shared?) area between me and the person I'm writing to. It isn't a topical area, but more a question of recognizing structures, the ability to recognize a misshapen chanterelle in the desert. When one writes it's easy to end up on a meta-level. Visually, things are clearer. Geology must contain many such identifications as well. In order to have communication about these matters one has to pile up lots of examples. I do this in my travel journal. These are attempts that have to be filled in by experiences from other events in order to become clearer.
You write about the fact that it fascinates you that you wrote so many letters during expeditions despite the fact that you didn't always get replies. The relationship between the one who is far away and the one who is at home in the middle of civilization is of course an uneven one, but I am really also fascinated by the fact that the desire to put onself in touch is so strong.
The decision to express one's ideas probably implies a certain isolation, and it also creates that isolation, but the isolation itself generates energy to get out of it.
It shows that you have written many letters once.
There is a studio space in Longyearbyen. A couple of days ago I was asked whether I was going to apply for it. It's 13 square meters, in Nybyen. I tried to explain that it didn't make a lot of sense to be there if one didn't also have chances to get out of there and move around. It's a good thing I haven't been sitting there and writing.
I have re-read your letter from New Zealand. I do envy the clarity and distinctness of your memory of the Antarctic twenty years ago - the sharp definition - that it is so markedly different from 'other reality.' It's sad, to be sure, but this difference makes it easier to accept how hard it is to share that experience so that others can understand.
You touch on an aspect that is often sensitive for scientists and artists: to make one's mark on history. I came to think of an exhibit eighteen years ago (exactly) It was perhaps my most 'heroic' show. It was set up without any kind of a budget, which meant that we had to spend the whole summer picking stuff out of containers (and some things from building sites that were perhaps not thrown away). Everything was then hauled to the studio, just as the show itself on opening day had to be carried a kilometer or two to the place of the exhibit, the Årsta-field. That' s where I collapsed in exhaustion. The show was actually good, in a way that would be a bit too long to write about here, but in this connection it's rather strange that, among other things, it was about the fact that 'the ordinary' is evasive... about a loosened sense of reality. In art, modes of action, aesthetic choices and choices about content are quickly and effortlessly absorbed. Many times, it's only those who have taken part and a couple of more people who know the way it was. And then it gets interpreted in different ways.
To be sure, I have exploited the relationship between objects and experiences, and maybe memory too. This is probably why I have almost no souvenirs. I sometimes pick up rocks or other objects, but either I lose them or I find something that I have no idea about what it is.
It isn't surprising that what you experience with all your senses appears more real. It is surprising that the memory of physical exertions pales so quickly. The body remembers, but it shows in different ways. How do you remember the cold?
By all means, do write some nonsense. I feel that I've had to write so much. I regard you as a participant and hope you will be one. There have been shades of Virginia Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own' in what I've written to you. I have focused a lot on the preconditions. I don't know why.
11 Jan 1999 15:00
Thanks for the Christmas card. You didn't leave the penguins in the lurch.
Yes, a long sea voyage would be nice. Though I can't imagine how it could be managed. There was an article in the Dagens Nyheter yesterday about a charter trip with a Russian ice-breaker, on which the writer had enlisted as a kiosk clerk. A while ago I also read 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer, about the Mount Everest tourism. The seemingly forced Sci-fi of Pohl & Kornbluth's 1952 'The Space Merchants', in which both trips to Antarctica and to the moon are everyday occurrences, might come true.
Now, I don't want go into those genres. Here is the catalogue as a PDF-file, in which the exhibition photos and the correspondences are included. Is there anything that you would like to comment on? There is still space.
12 Jan 1999, 8:35
I'm at bed here in Östersund, turning on the computer and with some effort I'm able to read your correspondence with us four about Spitsbergen. It seems so long ago. The expedition was probably too short; it didn't give a lasting impression! However, I've been back to Spitsbergen and to Antarctica as well, satisfying my longing for penguins. No, I'm not leaving them in the lurch. Thanks for your invitation to Arkipelag. Unfortunately, I was already in the southern hemisphere when you had your opening.
I could see that you would send me something more. Yesterday I made a short visit to Spånga to say 'goodbye' to my sons, who are each going on a long trip. At night, when I was alone again, I happened to come across your address. I felt with my hand on a high shelf where I could not see. There I found your address torn from an envelope or letter. I don't know how or when it got there.
I reread our letters in the text you sent me. What in the world did I say about your birthday? I didn't have any musings on the greenhouse effect, did I? Though I worked on it some twenty years ago. The texts sound different in English than in Swedish. Why are you doing it in English? When I reread the texts I realise how much of my life I have lived outdoors in tents, shelters and snow caves, often by myself or in small groups. I have enjoyed it. I have had much time to think. I'm not sure what I think today, since everything has changed. At present, even trappers and hunters have fax and e-mail. Will it be possible to live alone with nature in the future? Will it be possible to find peace or will the many opportunities force us to speed up our doings in the hope of experiencing more things rather than experiencing them more intensely. In fact, what does intensity mean in this context?
Is it possible to live several lives simultaneously? As when one tries to watch two television programmes at the same time by zapping between them?
Eva, do you have nine lives? Are they good? Good luck with your project!
Many warm greetings
Before turning this into a comment on your text, please send me a reply and allow me a few days to reflect.
15 Jan 1999 14:35
I'm in my studio in Bagarmossen now. It faces a bare hillock with a few pine trees. It is very quiet and peaceful here.
Half the texts were already in English, and it was cheaper than translating everything into German. Furthermore, English is a language all the participants (and many others) understand. Sure, it becomes a bit 'hazy' with a translation and one becomes aware how much more precise one is in one's own language. Language is also a place where this becomes obvious.
How far should, can or does one want to go?
Yes, if I should be consistent I have to agree that a correspondence is the expression of a wish for alternative lives, (but I don't zap and my cellular phone is off).
I didn't find it too far-fetched that 'wing-beats of history' could signify the greenhouse effect and I wanted to point at isolation on the macro level (isolation of the earth), beyond the snow caves, polystyrene walls, the isolation created when you are much absorbed by something, measurements of one's flesh, etc.
About the birthday, I think that I understood that you considered me a bit giggly. Read it together with what comes before it. The art world is very youth oriented; there I'm considered 'old'. I wouldn't have been able to remember such details if I hadn't made an effort to describe a sort of temporal and spatial flux
It is possible to work on any aspect of reality, but I prefer to deal with more straggling and indistinct situations. The distinct here and now is where one just exists, I suppose.
19 Jan 1999 13:32
Do you have any changes or additions? Could you please send a short description of yourself, your professions, 4-5 pieces of information. I hope that I don't sound too doggedly abrupt when I write. Talking about intensity, I think letter writing is an exiting medium. But I would love to talk to you sometime too.
9 February 1999 6:36
You wanted a few lines about me. Will the following do?
I was born in 1944. Already in highschool I became interested in the mountains and the polar regions, which I got an outlet for when I participated in the Stockholm University Svalbard Expeditions 1966 and 1969, and in a number of jobs I did in the mountains in northern Sweden. My studies of the melting away of the inland ice led to a Ph.D. in 1980. By then I had already been to the Antarctica - in 1977, invited there by American scientists. And I had begun on a post for the Swedish Tourist Federation in the mountains.
The next 10 years I spent working with mountain tourism. The knowledge that I acquired there came handy when I started organising expeditions to the polar regions in 1987, and built two Swedish research stations in the Antarctica. Ever since 1987 I have been on month-long expeditions both to the Arctic and the Antarctica, sometimes more than once a year. Since 1991 I have visited Spitsbergen/Svalbard every year. The peculiar mix of a grandiose landscapes and cultural remains makes Svalbard my dream place in the north. Since 1997 I am the manager of a tourist research institute in Östersund.
If you want to cut in this text, send me your version! I asked you what you included from a former letter, but you never replied to that question. How are you working?
All the best
9 Feb 1999 11:00
Like all your letters I will keep this one as it is. Your presentation is a bit longer than the others. Justice or authenticity? I will ask for your permission if I cut in it.
9 February 1999 12:17
I see, I have never managed to understand what you are doing precisely. So I will try to digest this as well, since there are interesting aspects to it, but when all this is over, we have to make some time for a meeting where we can talk a bit faster than the occasional letter allows for.