The Russian journalist and writer, Kirill Kobrin, (Prague) visited Pikene på Broen as a part of our artist-in-residence program. While in Kirkenes, Kirill was given an introduction to local history and industry: KIMEK, Sydvaranger Gruve, Andersgrotta, the Barents Secretariat, the cheese maker Øverli and Svanhovd Environmental Centre and Bear Centre in Pasvik – to mention a few – but still found time to blog on different topics; from local memory of global war to neo industrialism, etc.
The artist, Kjetil Berge, (Lofoten and London) and curator from Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter, Torill Østby Haaland, (Lofoten) joined us for some Barents research due to Kjetil Berge’s art project, Breaking the ice: one man, one ice cream van, London to Kirkenes through Russia, exchanging ice cream for a chat about the weather.
The more the merrier, right? So when the writer, Morten Strøksnes, (Oslo and Berlin) flew in for briefings and updates upon Barents Liberation Army (BLA) – BLA goes public during our forthcoming festival – the group was complete. We prepared ourselves for a weekend in Vardø by dancing around the Christmas tree at one of Pikene’s.
After a horrible boat ride – note to self; never arrange Christmas tree parties before going on Hurtigruta – we reached Fabulous Vardø and met Svein Harald Holmen, urban developer, project leader and a great guide, who took us to see the Vardø Fortress and the Witch Memorial by night.
The next day, freezing ourselves partly blue – like Svein Harald Holmen put it: ’Only locals handle the wind.’ – we contemplated last summer’s great success Komafest, a street art festival curated by the Norwegian artist PØBEL where the idea was to give attention to the depopulated Northern Norway. One can’t praise the outcome enough: If you haven’t seen the street art covering old demolished buildings in Vardø it’s definitely worth the trip! PS: Dress warm.
Read more about Kjetil Berge’s adventurous art project: Breaking the ice.
Pikene på Broen wish him the best of luck and looks forward to see him in Kirkenes during Barents Spektakel 2013 where the odyssey ends and the ice cream van is parked.