Bear Field Mountains by Björn Engberg

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Beside a Western water tank one cold December day

Inside an empty boxcar, a dying hobo lay

His partner stood beside him with a low and bowed down head

Listening to the last words that the dying hobo said

I am going to a better land where everything is bright

Where handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night

– Arthur Fields, 1923 

Bear Field Mountains is a photographic novel by Björn Engberg about a journey along the remote freight train tracks of northern Scandinavia. A dreamy voyage in search of a promised land, hidden somewhere at the end of the railroad.

The idea of a forgotten utopia located along the train tracks has it’s roots in an old hobo myth from the turn of the 19th century. A myth which could be described as a modern version of the medieval concept of Cockaigne, an imaginary land of plenty and ease, first manifested by the Goliards (a group of Latin satir poets from the 12th century). Examples of the hobo version of Cockaigne is manifested in songs like in songs like Arthur Fields’ “The Dying Hobo” (1923), about a dying man’s last wish to take a freight train to paradise.

Engberg’s utopia, or rather his search for it, lead us through a wild land, seemingly deserted by humans but filled with curious animals and strange plants. More than just portraying the wilderness, his pictures build a narrative, or even an abstract map, of a physical as well as a spiritual journey to paradise.

Pages: 78

Size: 27 x 32 cm

Language: English

Print: Offset

Released in 500 copies

Published by Moon Space Books 2016

Out of stock