I haven’t had much time blogging lately. Here’s some of what keeps me busy at the moment:
One and a half week ago me and Jon Arne Mogstad was driving to Seljord to unstall the LMW installasjon “What goes around comes around” at Seljord kunstforening. I believe we both enjoyed seeing it again. Personally it is always satisifying to see that the technical part is running by the end of the exhibition period. Some years ago I was discussing issues of stability with Øyvind Brandtsegg. I was delivering one of my usual Bergen-like bold and ignorant statements saying that I wanted to work on the edge of what is possible even if it implies that the computers will crash every now and then. Øyvind having worked on technical development for some of the long-term installations of Arne Nordheim totally disagreed. His point has stuck with me. As I have gained more experience with running installations in gallery spaces I have started emphasing the the technical parts should be stable and easy to maintain for the staff at the gallery. Since the discussions with Øyvind Mac OSX has happened and apart from the vast improvement in stability of the OS itself I also feel that the introduction of crash logs also helped improving stability in Max a lot. The last installation I did that had serious stability issues was Lydspor the collaboration with Asbjørn Flø for Ultima 2004.000 As we needed Max to interface to two sound cards to drive 40 speakers we had to use OS9 ( I believe that by now this would also be possible in OSX 10.4). It was not a welcome return. MIDI and USB crashed all the time and the installation had to be guarded at all times to restart it whenever it decided to die. It sort of suited that project as it was dealing with glitches and hardware and software shortcomings anyway but still…
Me and Jon Arne also played around a bit with the volume settings of the audio before starting to dismantle. It is amazing how critical the volume is to complexity and density as well as emotional content and impact. At low volume the installation appeared harmonious and beatiful but increasing the volume somewhat (like 6 decibels) made it turn a lot more complex and less assuring.
During the trip we also found time to see the exhibition at Vestfossen kunstlaboratoium. If you are able to pass by it is highly recommended to see it. Personal favourites included Donald Judd Claes Oldenburg Mari Rantanen (a close friend of Jon Arne) Jaakko Niemel and Pipilotti Rist. I saw the video “I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much” by Pipilotti Rist earlier this year at the media center at Pompidou but seeing it as a projection was a thrill. I couldn’t get the tune out of my head for a week and writing this I can feel how it’s getting sticky again.
The installation “Staged spaces” a collaboration with Karen Kiphoff has been accepted for Høstutstillingen. I arrived in Oslo yesterday to start preparing the installation. Today has been spent carrying equipment mounting speakers make sure that patches work and working on the room for the installation. The staff at Kunstnernes hus is excellent. Ever since I exhibited at Malmökonsthgall as part of Electrohype two years ago I have been appreciating the improtance of a good technical staff at the exhibition space. A lot of the work done today is totally practical. It is the sort of work that will never be dealt with theoretically and no-one will ever get exited about it. But still it is absolutely vital to the final result and involves a great deal of experience and know-how. If this part fails to be done properly everything about the installation will fail.
The installation that will form part of the final evaluation of the fellowship project is getting closer opening at Hordaland kunstsenter at November 3.000 The title of the installation will be “A cubic second”. Last week I had a very good discussion with Hilde Hauan Johnson conserning the design of the room. I was contributing to a workshop arranged by her last autumn concerning acoustics and textiles. I believe that workshop ended up being more useful to me than any of the students.
Finally the Jamoma project is in the middle of a major transform at the moment. Tim has started porting several of the core components to C++. I am trying to help out as best I can by my C and C++ skills feels pretty rusty at the moment.
The final exhibition that I will be doing as part of the fellowship project will take place at Hordaland kunstsenter (HKS) November 3-12. Last Friday I met with Mari and Petra to discuss various practical matters and sign the contract for the exhibiton. This is the second time I have been signing such a contract. The exhibitions I have been involved with have generally been organized in a mostly informal way and as I am often collaborating with other artists it has not always been me dealing with this kind of practical matters.
The contract brought up one issue that I have not been aware of or considered before.
If the art work should be sold the income will be shared between the gallery and the artist. A 30/70 percent split seems usual here in Norway. As I am working on sound installations I have considered this unlikely to happen so I am generaly not specifying a price for the work upfront. So far so good.
It is common for the gallery to insure the work for the duration of the exhibition. When estimating the value of the work I have mainly calculated the value of the technical equipment in order to ensure that I would be able to replace it in case of theft or damage. My works are to a large degree data-driven and as long as I have proper backup of the software used including Max patches and media files I haven’t considered the art work stolen/lost/destroyed as long as the technical equipment can be replaced. Most likely o-one would have a clue about how to run it anyway and I would be surprised if it was passed on to some collector instead of the equipment being scattered and sold in support of the loccal drug dealers.
But according to the the contract with HKS the 30/70 share also holds valid for the insurance return if the art work is lost/damaged/stolen. So in order to ensure that I will be able to replace all of the technical equipment I will have to calculate the value of the equipment and add the “profit” for the gallery on top of that. That is well worth remembering for the future.
The curator Veronica Diesen has initiated a discussion on how The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is functioning.
(The discussion in Norwegian is taking place at Underskog.no and unfortunatley you have to be a member to access it. If you are not a member but would like to get access please contact me off-list. I have 3 invitations I could share.)
Acoording to their own web site The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a private foundation and was founded by The Ministry of Culture and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in fall 2001.000 The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. They list their primary activities to be an international studio programme an international support programme
an archive with portfolios of work by selected Norwegian artists and discursive activities.
I did a quick survey of geographic distribution of artists in their archive based on information from their own web pages today. This is were the selected artists live and work:
Oslo (80) Berlin (13) New York (4) Bergen (4) Paris (2) Malmö(2) Aker/Lier (1) Bærum (1) Lofoten (1) London (1) San Fransisco (1) Sande (1) Stavanger (1) Ullensaker (1) Vang (1) Akershus (0.5) Bogota (0.5) Glasgow (0.5) Helsinki (0.5) Holmestrand (0.5) København (0.5) Lyla Sverige (0.5) Stockholm (0.5) Trondheim (0.5).
I only counted once I didn’t do any control counting so there might be some minor errors in the numbers above. Artists living and working two places provided 0.500 “vote” to each of those locations. Artist groups were counted on equal weight as single artists (one vote). Artists living and working at more than two locations were discarded from the overview as were artist for whom no information where provided on where they live and work.
The statistics indicate a strong geographic problem. Approximately two thirds of the artists live and work in Oslo. I want to be cautious about strong opinions on why this is the case. It might be that funding for OCA is insufficient for them to be able to do a proper job on a national level. It might also be that the statistics more than anything is an indication of a more general problem: That it might be extremely difficult to survive as a professional artist if you are situated outside the Oslo region. Bergens Tidende was writing about this last autumn.
But the overview of exhibitions in Norway in the fall of 2006 seems to indicate that it is also a lack of a national perspective in the OCA organization. Only exhibitions in the Oslo and Bergen regions are listed. Stavanger will be Eurpoean Cultural City in 2008.000 This will be a major opportunity for gaining international attention and interest to the Norwegian art scene. I would have expected that OCA already was deeply involoved in making the most of this potential by contributing to a strong emphasis on what’s happening in the Rogaland region.
Personally my only experience with the OCA organization was in fall 2003.000 I was coordinating a workshop in collaboration between NoTAM BEK PNEK and Ultima to be held at NoTAM in Oslo. Tim Place was one of the invited guests. After the seminar he was to get to Bergen to hold additional workshops. For his stay in Oslo OCA provided a residency. Once outside Oslo OCA was unable of providing any additional support.
While I off course was happy about OCA supporting the stay in Oslo I also was left with an impression that the organization was set up in such a way that their ability to cotnribute to international exchanges outside of Oslo would be very limited. OCA has five residencies all on their premises in Oslo. I would have prefered if the residency program had been set up according to a more distributed and networked model either with some of the recidencies permanently located in other parts of the country or even better with one or more free-floating residencies: No permanent space but contributions towards covering expenses for stay for artists coming to other parts of Norway. I imagine that this would have been much more flexible though it would also probably be more expensive.
This is what happens if you play Eno’s Thursday Afternoon on a jukebox.
“Is it stuck?” she asked no one in particular. “Or skipping or. . .something?”
She wandered off. The song wandered on.