Piya Wanthiang’s Latest Visit and Office Talk

Piya Wanthinag joins Pikene på Broen for her third trip to the north as she continues the development of her project ‘All Digressions Aside’ for the Barents Spektakel 2016.

During her latest visit, Piya presented her project development to date to the community here in Kirkenes as part of our ongoing series of Office Talks with BAR International Artist in Residency guests. During the discussion, which included examples of her previous works, Piya talked about how her Barents Spektakel project will create a link and sense of community between the towns of Kirkenes and Nikel.

«For the project we will be building tent structures, one in Kirkenes and one in Nikel, we are also collecting stories connected to the local people in both towns. There will be webcams in both places and a fire in each tent, each location will be streaming landscapes and local stories across the border as part of the installation, in a way it will be an exchange across the border where people can see and connect with their neighbours in the other city.»

Piya chose the tent structure because of its familiar shape to many cultures, especially in the north. It is the connection to location and the site specific nature of the project that Piya thinks is important. She has spent much of her time connecting with residents on both sides of the border and making a collection of stories that can be shared during the project. To make the stories, Piya spends time with locals to find out about their day to day lives.

«With a lady in Russia it is hanging out in her kitchen doing whatever she wants to do, often she cooks and then we eat together for many many hours. Last time when I was there we pickled some cucumbers because that is something she does every year and she has her own recipe, or sometimes we dance in her living room in front of her television. It gives me a lot of information without feeling like I am intruding into their private lives, they get to share with me what they are comfortable with and what is really them, they are not picking their words or trying to present the best picture of themselves, we are just trying to be ourselves together.»

Piya’s next trip to the north will be in January as she begins construction of the tents prior to the festival opening. She brings with her project partner, architect Cristian Stefanescu.

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