Modellarkivet: Röster om staden, arkivet och miniatyren / The Model Archive Book Project 2022

Departing from Stockholm’s urban planning department’s model archive, Malin Pettersson Öberg produced the cinematic essay ‘Modellarkivet’ (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 ‘Modellarkivet: Röster om staden, arkivet och miniatyren’ unrolls the film’s narrative through texts and interviews with professionals within the realms of art, architecture, film, literature and urban planning.

With contributions by acclaimed writers and theorists such as Olivia Eriksson, Magnus Florin, Secretary Office for Architecture, Pedro Ignacio Alonso, Malin Zimm, Axel Wieder and Carlos Mínguez Carrasco, along with interviewees Harri Anttila and Kristian Rosengren (Stockholm Urban Planning Department), the book takes the shape of an anthology where each chapter departs from a section in the film’s script.

The book lifts crucial questions about the city, the archive and 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 Modellarkivet at ArkDes — Sweden’s National Center for Architecture and Design, following an invitation from curator Mikaela Steby Stenfalk, who currently functions as the book’s editor. 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.

Partners in the project include ArkDes – Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design, Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, and officials working at Stockholm’s Urban Planning Department. The book has received generous support from, among others, Längmanska Kulturfonden, Estrid Ericsons Stiftelse, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and ArkDes. We are currently in dialogue with a publisher about the final stages of production, publication and dissemination of the book, which we aim at releasing within 2022.

Link to film:

Still from the film ‘The Model Archive’