“Even at dusk we can reason, because here we have already seen each other in the dark. We have lived through some dark times, but now we meet in Kiruna in Svappavaara in Malmberget. At dusk we stand together!”. On December 9, 1969, the great miners’ strike broke out in the ore fields in Norrbotten. It involved 4,800 workers at LKAB’s mines in Svappavaara, Kiruna and Malmberget. The dramatic strike lasted for 57 days and the reasons for it were many: cuts, poor working conditions and unfair wages, but also the attitude of the employer and the union towards the miners. The strike was a profound blow to the Social Democratic welfare state.The three-channel video work is a sound- and image montage from the big assembly meetings occurred at the Kiruna City Hall and other locations in Svappavaara, Kiruna, and Malmberget.
In the narrative, the workplaces public speeches and collective experience are at the centre and shows how on the rostrum the speaker is always bigger than themselves and becomes one with the sense of possibility that emanates from the crowd. The speech also emerges as its own art form in which practical struggle and lived experience are combined with poetry and dreams of a world beyond the prevailing one.
In Silver Tongue, the Great Miners’ Strike 1969–70, we bear witness to a montage of audio-visual documentation from the strike found in the archives of Norrbotten’s Media, Gällivare and Kiruna municipality: The sound originates from Kenny Karlsson’s private archive, and mainly consists of his own tape recordings from the big meetings in Kiruna City Hall. Karlsson’s material is complemented with audio tapes from meetings in Malmberget, Gällivare museum archive.