When I arrived to Sweden in the summer of 2012, I knew relatively little about this country. My perception of this place was primarily based on a historical, though not very precise, imaginary which was defined by some of the main milestones of Swedish politics and culture during the 20th century: ranging from the folkhemmet promoted by the Social Democratic governments of Tage Erlander and Olof Palme, through the unique political, social and emotional universe of Astrid Lindgren, to the dramatic complexity and existential anguish of Ingmar Bergman’s characters.
During my first months in Stockholm (which were exciting and inspiring in many ways, but also odd and puzzling in others) I found in literature a precious source of learning: the novels of Mankell, Strindberg, Sjöwall-Wahlöö, Lindqvist or Läckberg, as well as Tomas Tranströmer’s poetry or Martin Kellerman's comic strips helped me to better understand my new environment and get to know my new neighbors.
Moreover, the reading of Jonas Mekas’s autobiography, I Had Nowhere to Go, made a deep impression on me and was a great inspiration for reflecting on my own experience as an immigrant. Alongside these literary works, also dictionaries and textbooks soon became important objects on my daily basis.
Both the origin and development of Ingen ko på isen [No Cow on the Ice] have been noticeably determined by those factors, resulting in a relevant presence of the written word in the film. For two years, I have been documenting my experience in Stockholm both in pictures and written words, in such a way that my shooting was regularly accompanied by writing on my diary, and vice versa. By doing so I was exploring my new environment through images and sounds, while at the same time I was also reflecting on this through my writing. Furthermore, I was even learning the Swedish lexicon for all those images, sounds and thoughts. Thus, this straightforward procedure has enabled the different ways of expression to merge harmoniously in this film.