West Link: Chronotopia

A map depicting Gothenburg in the year of 1866. Image source: Gothenburg Museum.

The West Link is one of the largest infrastructure and urban development projects in Gothenburg’s long history. One aspect of the project is the creation of a series of public artworks for the city, with the vision of incorporating artists into the process of shaping new public spaces for everyone in Gothenburg to share.

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About The West Link

The population of Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland region is projected to grow by almost one-third by 2035. That means that more people are going to have to get where they need to go without a car. The West Link is one of the essential investments that make that possible. The West Link ties together the region and the city through an underground railway link beneath central Gothenburg, where three new train stations (Central, Haga, and Korsvägen) relieve congestion at the current Central Station. The new station designs and the development of the surrounding urban spaces are going to shape people’s everyday lives for a long time into the future.

The construction project kicked off in 2018, and the first trains are expected to start rolling through the tunnels in 2030-2032.

Art in the West Link

In conjunction with the construction of the West Link project, a series of public artworks will be created both for the platform areas of the underground stations and for the surrounding environments above ground. The new art is expected to contribute to the design of the public realm and the urban milieu around the stations.

The Chronotopia Art Programme

The West Link’s comprehensive art programme, Chronotopia, was developed in 2016 by the Swedish Transport Administration, the Public Art Agency Sweden, Västtrafik (the public transport agency for the Västra Götaland region), the Västra Götaland region’s art department, and the City of Gothenburg’s Traffic and Public Transport Authority and Cultural Affairs Administration. The art programme presents the overall artistic vision for the West Link project. All of the art produced within the framework for the West Link project is based on this programme.

The name Chronotopia comes from the Greek Χρόνος (chrónos), meaning time, and τόπος (tópos), meaning place. The theme of the Chronotopia programme is to use site-specific artistic exploration to investigate our contemporary world, the potential of the past, and possible stories of the future. The city of Gothenburg is both a place and an era in time, or rather many different parallel spaces and times. A cross-fertilization among these spaces and eras can strengthen and deepen the city’s ethical and existential dimensions.

The aim of the art programme is to provide artists with generous room for interpretation, to make possible a variety of different working processes, and to ensure a high level of artistic integrity.

The places that are encompassed by the art programme are Haga Station, Korsvägen Station, Central Station, and the Olskroken infrastructure area.

Read the Chronotopia Art Program in its entirety

Funding Provided by the One Percent Rule

The works of public art created for the West Link project are funded through the One Percent Rule at national, regional, and municipal levels. The One Percent Rule requires that one percent of spending on new construction, renovations, and additions is devoted to public art.

Read more about how the One Percent Rule works in the City of Gothenburg (in Swedish)

Art for the Station Platform Areas

It is the national government that is responsible for procuring the art for the underground station platform areas and for the Olskroken infrastructure area. The Swedish Transport Administration is the project owner and Public Art Agency Sweden the process leader for these artworks.

Two international art competitions were being held in order to generate proposals for the artistic design of the West Link’s underground station platforms. In 2016 and 2017, the winning entries were announced:

Art for the Station Buildings

The Västra Götaland region is responsible for the public art created for the station buildings and the public transit stops. The project owner is Västtrafik, the regional public transport authority, and the process leader for the procuring of the art is the Västra Götaland region’s art department.

The tendering process for the art for Haga Station is being planned now. For Central Station, the Västra Götaland region has no ownership in the property, but rather is a tenant of space owned by the national government.

Read more about the Västra Götaland regionen’s art department (in Swedish)

Art for the Urban Spaces Around the Stations

The City of Gothenburg is responsible for procuring the public art for the urban environment surrounding Haga Station, Korsvägen Station, and Central Station. The city’s Traffic and Public Transport Authority is the project owner, and Gothenburg Art of the city’s Cultural Affairs Administration is the process leader.

In the fall of 2021, the City of Gothenburg invited artists to take part in an international selective tendering for the creation of public art for the urban spaces around Haga and Korsvägen Stations. A second tender for the urban space around the Central Station was made 2023. Below you can see the winning proposals as well as all of the concept proposals that were developed through the tenders.

The public artworks are to be installed when the West Link project as a whole is completed.

Public Art During the Construction of the West Link

Public Art in During the Construction of the West Link was a project that aimed to create valuable experiences of art for those who live in, work in, and visit the city during the time the West Link is being built.

The project was a collaboration between the City of Gothenburg’s Cultural Affairs Administration and Traffic and Public Transport Authority and was made up of two parts. The first was a collaboration with GIBCA, the Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, which produced a series of soundworks linked to Haga, Central, and Korsvägen Stations.

The second part of the art project for the construction period was a collaboration with an art platform called Skogen (“The Forest”), which undertook a number of artistic studies of the West Link through at study group, called Chronotopia. These studies formed an archive of knowledge and material that was continually made available to the public through various artworks and in-depth conversations.

The project Public Art During the Construction of the West Link extended from 2019 through 2022.