A dry wind blows over barren lands. The sky is bleak, the sunlight filtered through a veil of smog. The world is silent, the only sound to be heard is the rolling breeze. When the wind dies away, the silence is deafening. In a deserted room, a human climbs over a pile of broken furniture. A cloud of dust flies up as her friend tosses some old rubbish across the room. Apart from these two, no one has been here for ages. All there is to find are traces from people who have left.

In his futuristic epos Aniara from 1956, in 103 poems – or songs – Nobel laureate Harry Martinsson tells the tale of thousands of people that were shipped away from Earth after the environment was destroyed in a nuclear war. It sings the songs of religion and sex, life and death onboard a space craft that looses its course on the way to Mars, getting lost in the universe. In the short film “And Then We Dreamt of Birds”, the lense is turned back towards Earth, telling the tale of the few people that were left behind. In this deserted future where nothing grows, there is nothing people can do but wander, and search for meaning, and dream. Old images are long gone, but through whispers they have heard of things small and large, living and flying. Things with bodies, clad in colors, things swirling through the sky. According to these ancient oral traces, these things were called birds. ”Then We Dreamt of Birds” was conducted as a multidisciplinary research project at Stockholm University of the Arts, 2024. Professionals from several disciplines – direction, costume, lighting, mask, visual arts, film making and spatial design – have collaborated in this interpretation of Aniara, aiming to highlight the traces we make on the environment, in all our creative endeavors. I was invited to write the script, to develop the koncept, and do interpretations as a visual artist. The film will be exhibited at Galleria 3H+K in Pori, Finland, in May 2024.