Two places, winter, city lights

Lysverket, Bergen Kunstmuseum, courtesy Fredrik, Datarock

TSSK, Fjordgate, Trondheim, courtsey Anita Björklund


Article by Ellen Røed in InFormation

The article “ ’Skyvelære’ (While Attempting to Balance)” by Ellen Røed is published in the latest issue of InFormation (Vol. 2 issue 2). The article consists of a short text and a video. This is a special issue on Contemporary Art Didactics, edited by Associate professor Boel Christensen-Scheel. Editorial assistant has been Ph.D. Candidate Charlotte Blanche Myrvold.

Abstract: Visual artist, Ellen Røed, developed her practice by combining technological experimentation with images and an interest in how those images function in a performative context. As a research fellow in visual arts at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, from 2009–2013, Røed employed a variety of instruments to explore parallels and contradictions between video art and natural sciences, all centered on how we relate to our surroundings. In her own research, she interviewed scientific researchers as a basis for making art. She also experimented by using scientific instruments to create images. The result was a number of works that reflected on randomness, gestures, improvisation, and other informal aspects of formal knowledge. These works were shown in the Skyvelære exhibition at Gallery 3,14 in Bergen from June to August 2013. This text has been developed on the basis of material written at Bergen Academy of Art and Design on the occasion of the exhibition. 
Keywords: art, video, gesture, standards, science, knowledge, performativity, rhythm, artistic research, Sarabande, International Pyrheliometer Comparison.


STRATIGRAFI av Cecilia Jonsson og Signe Lidén

Exhibition at Lydgalleriet, Bergen 6th December-12th January

Coal and iron, modernity’s most important ingredients. Taken from the earth’s pits and potholes, they are transformed into the most marvellous things. Coal is used for casting iron that goes into the railways where the coal-fueled trains carry coal and iron to the most remote corners of the world. The world is shrinking. Poland, Brazil and Bosnia, exotic places on each side of the globe, nevertheless common destinations, places that provide the world with raw materials. The railway lines bring with them a new phenomenon, mass tourism, which transforms the landscape into something beautiful and exotic, placing one outside it; making it an object to contemplate. Nothing to do here, one can only look. And the world becomes a reservoir of things and experiences: look, how strange everything is. Unfamiliar cultures, unfamiliar landscapes. The homes accumulate souvenirs, memories, stories from journeys one would endlessly bother relatives and friends with, slide shows proving one was actually out there, in the foreign land. Safely at home in the intimate zones and cavities of culture, the impressions from outside are sorted, processed and inscribed with meaning.
Culture was once called man’s metabolism with nature. Nature offers raw materials, exquisitely shaped by the ablest of hands; from this civilisations are made. Hence a distance is introduced, making nature an object of contemplation or exploitation, something beautiful or useful. The brutal materiality of nature becomes painfully present in the landscapes of the mining districts, an ugly and open wound which no tourist would come near. It offers nothing to look at, almost shameful in its exposure of subterranean secrets. The mine is neither nature nor culture, only potential. The extracted matter goes into culture, and the remains return to nature. Ore is nothing in itself, only the possibility of becoming something, a promise of future value. But today coal and iron are relics from a time long gone, the heavy, slow and outdated 19th century modes of production, so remote from our own digital, disembodied hyper-reality. Or maybe that is just the way our culture wants to look at itself, suppressing its own dependence on materiality, which is thereby displaced to the distant nooks of culture.
And then, this place: a small cave, a staged environment. Scent, sound. One is taken inside and introduced to impressions from these places. Representations, imitations, recordings and photographs from the sites, processes reproduced, fixed potential. Like a slice of the infinite timespan of geology, but also of the persistent work of industry and extraction, fixed in one condensed instant.
Signe Liden, Cecilia Jonsson
Bytom, Minas Gerais, Kakanj

Text by Roar Sletteland
The exhibition is supported by: Bergen Kommune and Norsk Kulturråd
Thanks to: BEK, Tolga Balci, Roar Sletteland, James Jackson Griffith, Sabine Popp,
Thomas Edler Paulsen and Re:place 


Explore Everything: place-hacking the city

Currently reading Explore Everything : place-hacking the city, by Bradley Garrett, a book on urban exploration, documentation of ruins and experiences of place. Well worth investigating!  It also has numerous footnotes and references that point to other interesting and relevant texts and resources, for example his own blog and the Talk Urbex forum. The blogs and forums contain quite a lot of the usual bragging, flaming and other forms of online squabbling, but in amongst the ranting there are some interesting references.

"It is both a celebration and a protest. It is a melding, a fusing of the individual and the city, of what is allowed and what is possible, of memory and place."

"Thus it can be seen how the many possible histories of a place are constructed through experience, memory, forgetting, political agendas, spontaneous encounters and myth-making processes. When we allow a place to teach us about itself, when we give it agency, we begin to build rich tapestries that enticingly near-range images of the past"

"As we anticipate their transience, ruins, like dreams, pull us both toward our innermost yearnings and towards a life beyond the constraints of the material world. In that tension we find a darker component of an imagined ruined future, a Ballardian formulation of urban apocalypse where the remains of our everyday existence become the archeology of the future."

"It is in these moments….. that we might make the decision to leave our mark, to take more than photographs, to inscribe a place with our own feelings and memories."


The End


B-Open seminar

The B-Open seminar, held at Lydgalleriet, Bergen, on 7 December, in connection with Signe Lidén and Cecilia Jonsson's exhibition Stratigrafi at the gallery. Below: images from the seminar and from a short introduction to the Stratigrafi installation. Open until 12 January.

Panel: James Griffith, Roar Sletteland, Toril Johannessen, Esther Leslie, Edvin Østergaard