Glitched Mountain

av Olivia Nilsson
Gällivare and Malmberget, Sweden

– Re-assembling Malmberget through an investigation of material memory and matter.


Architecture is about reshaping materials from the earth. Discovered, extracted, refined and often shipped and assembled far away from its source. The material we take, use and consume is deeply connected to the place and the people living close to where it’s taken from. It holds more knowledge and history than the beholding eye can tell. In the process of our attempt of domesticating nature, to enhance productivity and benefiting from using it – we have not only created impacts that heavily disrupt the ecosystem services, but we’ve also started to separate ourselves from nature. We continue talking about natural vs man-made, but it can’t be that simple. We are nature, we are mutuals.

‘Glitched Mountain’ is an investigation about how our human relationship with nature could be explored as a ‘glitch’. A glitch is generally understood as an error or a malfunction. In the manifesto Glitch Feminism Legacy Russell explores the word in terms of cracks between gender, technology and the body. A glitch is not only a disruption, but also an opportunity to transform a situation. Could it provide a division that gives us an opportunity to act differently within a fixed system. Could our disconnection to nature be defined as a glitch, an error, a division of thought that also gives us the opportunity to reattach?

This project aims to introduce a discussion about how errors, mistakes, breaks, disruptions in our reality could be translated to catalysts creating new opportunities to mend, remake and recreate our relationship with nature through the notions of care.

WHERE: In the northern part of Sweden the relationship to landscape is precarious. The village of Malmberget, close to the city of Gällivare, is about to be demolished due to the heavy extractions of ore, proceeding underneath the village. It won’t be possible for humans to live there anymore as a result of the increasingly insecure mountain and the village is expected to be fully abandoned by 2026. 

HOW: The journey – the excursion of mine, of the people who have to move, the materials that are being removed, of the ore that’s being excavated – takes place in Malmberget and Gällivare, is a method of wayfinding through the landscape to investigate the materials of this land and the people who take, use and consume them. In the splits/gaps/cracks between nature and industry this adventure explores synergies between the man-made and the natural, arguing the matter that we are not separated from nature and nature is not separated from us. 

WHAT: The project is three interventions, situated in and around Malmberget and Gällivare – exposing three different ways that we domesticate nature. The interventions are materialized by using both material from the soon-to-be demolished buildings in Malmberget and excavated stone –  a waste product of the mining industry, assembled together with a few newly produced pieces, aiming to blur or blend the two together. By shapeshifting the building material which would otherwise get burned up or become landfill, Malmberget can continue to live on, as a glitch. Holding the memories of a place that once existed. Together with an established path between the interventions, creating new pathways and connection points in the landscape disrupted by humans. 

The glitch between what’s considered natural and man-made – is uncovered and patched together in the landscape and takes shape as three interventions; Stones’, ‘The ruin’ and ‘The bedrock’. Three interventions that tell three different stories about what role nature plays in our lives. The pre-used building material combined with the new material, is creating a patchwork or a blend between what once was and what it could be. Making the visitors and users question “what was this before?” and “what could it become?” The structures serve as platforms inviting the visitors to engage with the site. It functions as a memorial, at the same time it makes these landscapes accessible to the people living or visiting Gällivare – inviting us to engage with our environment.