The Model Archive: Voices on the City, Archive and Miniature – Book project 2021

Departing from Stockholm’s urban planning department’s model archive, Malin Pettersson Öberg produced the cinematic essay ‘The Model Archive’ (20 mins) in 2017. The film undertakes interdisciplinary methods in order to, through the lens of the archive and a condensed narration, reflect on contemporary society. The book ‘The Model Archive: Voices on the city, archive and miniature’unrolls the film’s narrative through texts and interviews with professionals within the realms of art, architecture, literature and urban planning. In the shape of an anthology, the book lifts crucial questions about the city, the archive and the miniature: Who builds the city and for whom? How does the shape of the city relate to the shape of our lives? What potential lies in the archive now as well as in the future? And how can architecture models act at once as a tool and an evocation of dreams that can confront the existing city? What level of responsibility does the architect hold, and to what extent is the citizen allowed to influence their city? The book aims to comprehensively mirror the different stages of research, interviews, production, exhibitions, texts and image material in the project, and offer the reader a deeper understanding of the topics raised by the film.

The project as a whole has been going on since the film was first commissioned and shown in the group exhibition ‘The Promise’ at Index — The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm (2017). The film was later displayed in the solo exhibition ‘The Model Archive’ at ArkDes — Sweden’s National Center for Architecture and Design, following an invitation from curator Mikaela Steby Stenfalk, who currently functions as the editor of the book. In relation to the exhibitions, several public talks and archival walks have taken place and the project has received positive attention from both  visitors and press, for instance Lars Epstein at a major daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, and Astrid Eiderbrandt at the Swedish national public television, SVT.

Important partners in the project include Stockholm’s Urban Planning department, ArkDes – Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design, and Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation. We have received generous support from, among others, Längmanska Kulturfonden, Estrid Ericsons Stiftelse, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and ArkDes. We are currently searching for a publisher which can help us make justice to the book’s urgent topics and share them with a wider audience.

Link to film:

Link to PDF: book overview

Still from the film ‘The Model Archive’