Luffare is a Swedish word that could be translated as vagrant, vagabond, itinerant, drifter, rambler or wanderer. The installation Luffare Narratives was based on a made-up childhood game that my friend Tom and I used to play when we were growing up in Sweden. The video entails a discussion between Tom and I about this game, in which we were deeply engaged as children; we at first pretended to be, and then in our minds became, luffare; walking along country roads, sleeping in barns, stealing fruit, jumping on trains to other places… As children, we lost track of time. The game began to extend into or blur with everyday life. I fell asleep at night as my luffare character: on a freight train, in an unlocked shed, by the side of the road, or in the loft of a barn. These remembered moments are without physical representations, yet they are some of the most potent memories of my childhood.
Luffare Narratives consists of three parts; one video entailing a 28-minute long dialogue between a childhood friend, Tom, and me, and two silent videos. These three elements were designed so to be projected into an exhibition space. The dialogue that takes place is in Swedish and the video is accompanied by English subtitles across the top of the projection.
The conversation between Tom and me that forms the core of Luffare Narratives took place and was filmed on a field near where we grew up in Sweden, and near where we played luffare. Subtitles accompanied the conversation as we talked about how the luffare game was constructed, becoming luffare, and what the imagined characters may have appeared like, how these characters invaded life outside of the game, and specific memories from engaging the game. Translated and subtitled for the exhibition, the impromptu discussion took place in Swedish, and was both part of and reflective of the luffare game. The conversation revealed points where personal memories of the same events converge and others where they diverge and contradict one another; differing and similar points of view; absence and presence of memory; present and past states of being and thinking about home, movement and belonging, memory, games and role playing. The rural location was accentuated via the visuals, and through background sound elements, too; at times there was overwhelming birdsong, the sound of a dog barking, a rooster crowing, or a car driving past.