The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland is a so-called “micronation” founded in 1992 by artists Carl Michael von Hauswolff and Leif Elggren. The Kingdoms take the form of a divine monarchic hierarchy, which, like monarchies were intended, rule supreme over their subjects. As stated in their founding constitution, The Kingdoms claim sovereignty over all kinds of territories considered as borders:
i – All border frontier areas between all countries on earth, and all areas (up to a width of 10 nautical miles) existing outside all countries’ territorial waters. We designate these territories our physical territory.
ii – Mental and perceptive territories such as: the Hypnagogic State (civil), the Escapistic Territory (civil), and the Virtual Room (digital).
Describing their role as “The Materialisation of the King in the World”, the artists have annexed different border realms of our world and lives – every time we are in the period of mental activity between being asleep and being awake, we have entered their Kingdoms.
In their 25th anniversary year, The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland have set up The Ministry of Constitutions and Hierarchical Matters in Gothenburg, as an opportunity to reflect on citizenship and the rights provided to citizens and subjects through the written constitutions that sit at the heart of national laws. Here we can learn about the written constitutions of all the countries of the world, and engage in a personal act of constitution-writing, not normally offered to citizens. How might we consider our rights and freedoms in society when offered the opportunity to write our own laws?
Carl Michael von Hauswolff lives and works in Stockholm.
Leif Elggren lives and works in Stockholm.
The work can be seen at The Museum of Gothenburg during the biennial. Open Tuesday-Sunday 12-17.
The work is commissioned for Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017.
Supported by The Cultural Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery
The Ministry of Constitutions and Hierarchical Matters, 2017, installation view WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, The Museum of Gothenburg. Photo Ola Carlsson.