Dals Langed, Sweden 2011

In August 2011 I was an artist in residence at the Not Quite Art Residency in Fengersfors, Sweden. As part of my work I organized a game of soccer in the local forest next to the public lake. We contacted the local soccer team who donated some balls, and rounded up a motley crew to fearlessly enter the primeval woods to play a heretofore unexplored version of the world’s most popular game.
The event was a success, so much so that a nearby university professor heard about the game and hired me to organize an even bigger event for their upcoming freshman orientation. She knew of an old soccer field that had been subsumed by the forest years ago and thought a game there would be a great orientation activity for the incoming art students. We explored the forest near the school and sure enough we found an unusually flat, clearly man-made plateau in the dense woods. Again with the help of a different local soccer team we acquired a dozen balls and some uniforms, and set to work creating a basic ruleset and field for the game. On the first day of school, we marched forty unsuspecting new art students through the woods and into the field, where they were surprised with the most surreal sporting pitch they had ever seen. Generally not the sporting type, the young Swedish artists dove into the game with aplomb, happily kicking balls throughout the woods, inventing ingenious ways of navigation, attack, defense, surveillance and camoflouge. The game weaved out in and out of a competitive contest and a cooperative performance, but at all times remained an engaging focus for the real activity at hand, social interaction and introduction. By the time the game ended, all participants felt they took part in a special and unique event that completely erased the jitters of starting a new phase of life, and ushered them into a time of new and exciting experiences.