Avesta Art Biennial, Verket, Avesta (SE), 2008 | Western Trilogy, Gylleboverket, Gärsnäs (SE), 2012
Big Game, HD-video, 2008, 10:30 min. Installation view from Avesta Art Biennial
Big Game is the first part of my Western Trilogy, followed by Kära mor och far and You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was filmed at a bison sanctuary in my hometown Avesta and it stars childhood friend Fredrik Pettersson in a role that nods to Clint Eastwood’s notorious Man With No Name character from the Sergio Leone films. Initially intended as a documentary about the somewhat shady history of the sanctuary, the plans changed when an interview was suddenly interrupted by a local official. This bison sanctuary had been initiated by the local steel mill Avesta Jernverk in the 1920’s and in 2005 it was handed over to the municipality. During my research I was informed that a wealthy trophy hunter, as well as a Middle Eastern business associate of the steel mill, had obtained permission to shoot a few of the endangered and protected animals, either for monetary exchange or as a bribe. Some of the people I spoke to vehemently denied this, whereas others claimed to have witnessed the killings. It all played out like a game of Chinese Whispers and it was clear that the local officials didn’t want this story to go to tape. I ended up re-staging the preparatory telephone interviews using a voice actor and then filmed a duel between an unnamed cowboy character and a bison bull.