In November and December, Pikene hosted Tea Andreoletti (FI) and Chill Survive (FI/IS) as part of our new Artistic research fellowship programme supported by Nordic Culture Point. The artists benefited from a longer stay in the Sør-Varanger area, got to know many of the local experts and places in the region, and found overlapping topics in the spaces between their respective long-term practices and Pikene’s ongoing projects. We hope to welcome back our fellows again in February to share some of their findings. For now, here is a preview of their experiences of doing research through the polar night!
“I left Kirkenes a week ago, and winter is yet to come here in Helsinki. I remember the residency at Pikene på Broen as a mesmerising and intense accelerated course of survival in the dark, resistance to cold temperatures and advice for bear encounters. A close-up observatory of boundary lines that appear so abstract and absurd when viewed closely. A precious container of links to surviving cultures. Lastly, an occasion for inspiring conversations with the military on migration laws and border dynamics, and with the Sør-Varanger mayor.
The time in Kirkenes amplified my research on my hometown marriage with the neighbouring villages in the Alps of northern Italy. I had the opportunity to observe from a distance and with a foreign gaze the problems related to union and the coexistence of different traditions and cultures – from the micro-cosmoses of Sør-Varanger (NO) and Seriana Valley (IT) to the macro ones of the counties and the EU.”
Tea Andreoletti, Gromo (IT), is an artist who works as a storyteller, water-sommelier, pilgrimages guide, non-professional fencer, and candidate for mayor in the 2026 Gromo elections. Her nomadic projects are documented in oral stories and embroidery on her Sunday Dress.
“During our latest leg of wanderings, thanks to the generosity of our host Pikene på Broen, Chill Survive’s members Tinna Gretarsdottir and Pia Lindman visited Kirkenes, Näätämö, Neiden, Vadsø, Vardø, Pasvik, Varangerbotn, and Tana – encountering cod, rivers and rapids, salmon, reindeer, Nikkel, midday moon, seals, NATO, waters, frost, silence, Tea-to-be-mayor of Gromo, blue and insisting darkness, witches, borders, goađit, stories from Grenselandet, hybrid languages, oblivion and remembering. We are struck by the resilience of life, such as those of trees, lichen, kelp, and soil. They ferment and re-member, make new sense of changing landscapes, when old stories are forgotten. So, we can sing again, perhaps? And listen with, for, and to critters, matters, life, salt and ice – on water, tundra, and taiga. Chewing and breathing with everyone we have met and will meet. Voicing to build communality, to member again; us, others, and non-human us.”
Chill Survive is a network for artistic research and local exchanges. We have encountered life and landscapes in Kuusamo, Aanaar, Lofoten, Nuuk, Venehjärvi, and Keflavík (to name a few). We have tested the icy waters of the northern Norwegian coast (in more ways than one) and listened to underwater sounds from an oceanographic research ship on the Atlantic Ocean. We have sung for viruses and worked with other non-human co-travellers.