Meanwhile

Meanwhile

Meanwhile is an exhibition that sheds light on events around the globe in the first half of the 17th century.

A Mosaic of Stories

In 1628, when Vasa is built and sinks, the world is a place where large ships sail across the oceans and the world map takes shape. People travel and connect both willingly and unwillingly. Contacts are formed over continents. Ideas, goods and diseases spread. Conflicts arise.

Meanwhile – in another place, shows fragments of events from this world. 

Meetings between worlds

Beneath a tree in the Chinese capital city, the Emperor takes his life. An Indian princess dies after having delivered her 14th child. In the midst of the burning war at La Rochelle, a soldier remembers the scent of his newborn daughter. In the Russian Taiga, a serf has run away to escape his master. A widow crosses a yard on the Westman Islands, her keys dangling from her hip. 

The stories are small pieces of a great mosaic from times characterised by the meetings of civilisations. Meetings that change the world.

The world's network

The human thirst for knowledge and fortune provide the motivation for some of these events. As a consequence, wars and conflicts arise and world trade positively explodes. Trade between different peoples and cultures creates a global economy.

Certain kingdoms grow and forge empires at the expense of others. European states establish colonies. The Ottoman Empire reaches its peak. The Mughals, Qing China and Russia expand and Poland-Lithuania is the largest alliance in Europe.

Ever more goods are shipped over the seas and the world becomes a marketplace, even for trade in people. The great religions spread over the globe.

Exchange of knowledge and thought inspire new discoveries and ways in which Europe views the world. In human consciousness, the Earth slowly exchanges place with the sun and a new view of God and the universe takes shape. Some question the Christian Church.

History or myth?

Our view of the past reflects the way we view ourselves. Historical stories are formed in retrospect. We interpret what we see based on the history we have learnt. Our interpretations of history are coloured by what we already know.

Creating historical truths and myths tempt those who wish for power. Different regions of the world have different ways of preserving their stories. It is more difficult to get access to stories from regions where oral tradition is strong.  In the search for global history, it becomes clear that the written word has a more lasting power over the stories of the past.

Pictures as stories

Pictures provide us with the opportunity to peek into another time, they tell about individuals and events. The artists create a version of history for us to interpret.

New history is formed here, but our pictures are fragments and we understand them in many different ways. In this exhibition images provide us with scattered tales about the world.

Some images in the exhibition can be disturbing for small children.


The exhibition opened on 1 December 2013.



Stories from the exhibition

Vasa