According to Walter Benjamin, we can already envision the utopia to come because it has left its traces in the now, in “ thousands of configurations of life, from permanent buildings to fleeting fashions”.
A journey traversing the periphery of Malmö is a passage through these fragmented traces of utopia, past fields of wheat and barley, neo-medieval gated communities, distribution warehouses, outlet stores, shopping malls, conference centres, sports arenas, office towers and the greying social housing estates of the welfare state. It is a landscape in perpetual transition, like the shifting sands on a beach, altered continuously by the mechanisms of speculation and the processes of late capitalist liquid modernity. A place of flows where everything and everyone is on the move, be it the elites of the creative class or migrants fleeing war and persecution. Yet despite this constant motion it is also a place stuck firmly in the eternal present. The past has been thoroughly erased and there is only one future on offer - the status quo.
There may however still be hope of finding traces of an alternative future hidden among these glimmering ruins of the present. Between the ever expanding neoliberal city and the infrastructural apparatus of the Öresund bridge lies a potential space of resistance in the massive exhausted landscape of a former limestone quarry. This immense void, covering over 100 hectares, is the consequence of 130 years of industrial exploitation. What was once a loud, dusty site of production and resource extraction is now an eerily tranquil place - an uncanny inverted island hidden just below the surface of the city - a landscapewhich could be equally contemplated as a remnant from a distant prehistoric past, or a glimpse into a post apocalyptic future.
If we believe cities to be one of humanity's greatest achievements then sites such as the quarry could be considered as their original moulds. They are the negative spaces from which our urban environments where cast. A monumental archive recording over a century of urban development and real estate speculation, where it is not only the physical scar in the earth which speaks, but equally the ghostly mass of absent material. Limestone which was crushed, processed and burnt to create cement, later mixed with sand and gravel to produce concrete, which was then combined with steel to built our modern cities. A journey into the quarry site is one which traces the history of the modern Swedish construction industry - an indirect interrogation of the contemporary city via way of a detour into the depths of a site of its actual material production.