Det gode liv // The Sweetness of living at Arctic Arts Festival

Pikene på Broen are excited to announce that we will curate this year´s festival exhibition at the Arctic Arts Festival, taking place in Harstad, Norway 24. June – 1. July 2023. 

What does “the good life” look like from the north, in a Nordic context and in light of global climate crises, loss of biological diversity, green transition, energy crisis and the consequences of geopolitical instability, war and conflict?

These are the questions we will raise in the group exhibition “Det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living”, which is part of an ongoing artistic research project initiated by Pikene på Broen in 2020. The initiative takes its inspiration from the publication Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (2018) by Matt Hern and Am Johal, where the authors investigate philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s invocation of Alexandre Kojève’s phrase ‘la dolce vita’ in the context of globally complex issues that relate to an overheating planet.

The ideas of ‘la dolce vita’ describe a common attitude in Spain, Italy, and southern Europe that is claimed to be qualitatively different from the Protestant work ethic of northern European countries. Agamben argues that this attitude describes a wholly different relationship to the future, a recovery of time, a resistance to capitalism, and the preservation of a significant way of living: in short, the capacity to define life as something outside of work

Drawing upon several perspectives and artistic approaches, the group exhibition will include works by Carl Christian Lein Størmer & 1999Q, Puolanka Pessimism Association, Kvae og Bark, Espen Sommer Eide, Tine Surel Lange & Pavlo Grazhdanskji, Riikka Keränen, Åsne Kummeneje Mellem, and Anastasia Savinova & John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal, as well as several contextual contributions from participants who have been part of the research process since 2020. 

During the festival week the exhibition space will be activated in different ways together with Pikene på Broen´s collaboration partners in response to some of the themes and narratives that have emerged within the process.


Det gode liv / The Sweetness of Living at Arctic Arts Festival 2023

KVAE OG BARK are an artist duo based in Trysil. They have a practice that is based on food performance, text, storytelling, and socially engaged inter-generational dialogues. In previous works their approach has formed performative dinners and unique gathering concepts, often involving designed installations and costumes, locally sourced ingredients, food serving, and poetry.

Carl Christian Lein Størmer is an artist from Tromsø working across several fields and disciplines; he has had several previous projects as a film director, cinematographer, still photographer, editor, composer, vocalist, guitarist, drummer, producer and writer.   

1999Q is a visual artist and experimental filmmaker based in Kirkenes, Norway. He works with tracing a chain of controversial relations between humankind and the fragile environment of the High North, with a particular emphasis on the role and function of northern monotowns.

Anastasia Savinova is a visual artist based in Umeå, Sweden. She works across different disciplines including sculpture, installation, drawing, video, performance, and found objects. Her practice revolves around ecologies, hybridity, and investigating how everything is intertwined and how we are always emerging as a part of something greater. 

John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal is a composer and sound artist currently living in Oslo, Norway. John Andrew’s music often engages with field-and-archival recordings as well as site-specific sounds. John Andrew leads the project Torsketromming with scientist Rebekah Oomen.

Tine Surel Lange is a Norwegian composer and interdisciplinary artist based in Lofoten, Northern Norway. Her work is inspired by arctic landscapes, mythologies, and sound choreography with a focus on listening, space, and how different connotations colour how we listen to and experience art.

Born in 1991 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Pavlo Grazhdanskij now lives and works in New York City, USA. His artistic research interests centre on: strategies of representation; the problematics of documentary and found material, data processing and collection, biopolitics as well as images of survival strategies and abstraction.

Åsne Kummeneje Mellem is a Kven visual artist based in Tromsø. Through experiments with the Kven craft technique “käsityö” she works to create room for dialogue on Kven culture and to bridge lost generational gaps in the transfer of traditional knowledge.

The Puolanka Pessimism Association is based in Puolanka, Finland, a town which has become famous for its particular brand of pessimism. Under the surface of the group’s activities lies an art and activism project that is highlighting issues such as the centralisation of public services away from rural areas, and society’s dismissal of the inherent values that can be found within smaller communities in the north.

Riikka Keränen is a visual artist from the Kainuu region of Finland. Her work involves playing and thinking in dialogue with the entire spectrum of the world’s materials, which allows for a reflection on the entangled nature between human and other-than-human worlds.

Photo by Randi Sjølie

Espen Sommer Eide is a composer and artist based in Oslo. His artistic practice involves time-based media with a special focus on music and sound, which is further characterised by an experimental approach to instruments, archives, places, and languages. In recent years he has been experimenting with machine learning and other forms of collaboration with artificial intelligence.

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