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Return to Nature?

Contributed by Jono Lewarne on Sep 28th, 2023. Artwork published in
July 2023
Return to Nature? 1
License: All Rights Reserved.

Lying at the head of Van Mijenfjord in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Sveagruva was one of the largest underground coal mines in Europe. In 2017, after almost 100 years of coal production, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani embarked on one of the most ambitious environmental projects in Norwegian history. Their goal was to end mining operations, remove all traces of mining activity and return the area to its natural state. In 2022 Artica Svalbard collaborated with LPO Arkitekter and UiT (The Arctic University of Norway, Academy of Arts, landscape architecture programme) to commission four new essays by leading experts from the Nordics to discuss the Svea project and its related issues. This essay collection is part of Artica Writings, a curated series of disparate texts around a central theme. Some relating to the polar regions and their global influence, others looking at climate change, cultural history and personal perspectives.

The book cover is printed using coal from Sveagruva in Svalbard. It was ground down to a particle size below 100μm and mixed with a transparent ink base which was then used to print the covers on a Heidelberg press by The Letterpress Collective in Bristol, UK.

The titles are set in a few layered styles of Q Project and Q Project Mechanic by Typotheque, and aim to represent the recolonisation of industrial matter by natural elements and the transition from an industrial landscape to a natural one. The variable version of Isola – a recent release by Luzi Type – is used throughout for all reading text, partially backslanted as a further nod to things returning, or going back, to how they were before the mine was established. The subtitle on the cover, “The Transformation of a Post-Coal Mining Landscape”, is set in Kommuna 400 by The Temporary State.

The text pages were printed by Taylor Brothers Bristol Ltd in yellow and black plus a Pantone spot color that matched the coal ink used on the covers.

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