6 December

An ASMR-rattle for stressed-out cultural workers was among author and Kunstkritikk-contributor Susanne Christensen’s most memorable art experiences this year.

Alexander Rishaug, Conversations with Land, 2023. Documentation from performance, Midtfjellet Wind Park, Fitjar. Photo: Susanne Christensen.

Alexander Rishaug, Conversations with Land, Lydgalleriet, Bergen

A busload of curious people spread out across the landscape. We were visiting the Midtfjellet Wind Park at Fitjar, some 65 kilometres from Bergen. We were there on the occasion of Alexander Rishaug’s exhibition, to experience the supersonic sounds emitted by a wind farm. In the gallery space, the experience was abstract, but on the tour we felt first-hand what people and animals react to. 2023 was a year of Sámi activism, and wind turbine noise interfering with the lives of the reindeer in the coastal district of Fosen is central to the dispute. Wind turbines were once a new and wonderful thing. Through Rishaug’s work, I opened myself up to the fact that green technology can have negative consequences.

Pinquins & Kjersti Alm Eriksen, Interval, 2023. Documentation from performance, Borealis – a festival for experimental music, Bergen. Photo: Johanne Karlsrud.

Pinquins & Kjersti Alm Eriksen, Interval, Borealis – a festival for experimental music, Bergen

Pinquins comprises the three percussionists Sigrun Rogstad Gomnæs, Jennifer Torrence, and Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen, and for this work they collaborated with set designer Kjersti Alm Eriksen. In the centre of the stage stood a structure that looked like the skeletal frame of a not-yet-completed cabin. I was struck by the idea of this structure being an ASMR rattle for stressed-out cultural workers to enjoy. The four performers danced around pulling at strings that turned the rattle into a rhythm instrument; the kinetic sculpture emitted plenty of sounds that aroused pleasure and wonder. Suddenly, it rained sunflower seeds.

Harpefoss Hotel’s new open-air gallery, Okulus, made by Rintala Eggertsson Architects. Photo: Barbora Hollan & Martin Vinje.

Ceramic Ringebu 1993–2023, Centre for Ceramic Art, Ringebu, Curated by Torbjørn Kvasbø and Ingunn Svanes Almedal

This anniversary exhibition arrives thirty years after the legendary Olympic workshop held in Lillehammer during the summer of 1993, where Norwegian ceramicists came into close contact with colleagues from Australia, Ireland, and the USA. The barn that houses Centre for Ceramic Art’s exhibition space is well suited: it lets in light, air, and swallows, making for a magical atmosphere. The CCA is a leading authority when it comes to knowledge of older traditions and cool contemporary ceramics alike. On the journey through Innlandet, I also received a tour of Harpefoss Hotel’s new open-air gallery, Okulus. A beautifully designed wooden architectural platform winds its way across the forest floor, opening up towards the Gudbrandsdalslågen river in spectacular fashion.

– Susanne Christensen (born 1969) is a writer and critic living in Bergen and Copenhagen. She is the editor of Norsk kunstårbok and a regular contributor to Vagant. She has published the books En punkbønn. Musikk og aktivisme i Russland og Nord-Amerika (A Punk Prayer. Music and Activism in Russia and North America, 2015) and Leonoras reise (Leonora’s Journey, 2019), both with Forlaget Oktober.

For this year’s contributions to the Advent Calendar, see here.