OCA's Verksted #16, BIG SIGN – LITTLE BUILDING, has been selected among the best designed books of 2014 by The Best Dutch Book Designs. BIG SIGN – LITTLE BUILDING has been designed by OCA’s long term Amsterdam-based graphic designer Hans Gremmen. The choice was made out of 298 books that appeared in 2014, submitted by their publishers, commissioners or designers. The jury chose 33 books that, according to their opinion, 'distinguished themselves conspicuously by their editorial choices, graphic design, treatment of images and text, choice of material and technical workmanship'. The selected books will be displayed in museums internationally, starting with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) is pleased to announce the official inauguration of the Nordic pavilion in the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, byHer Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, on 6 May, 2015. This year Norway will be solely responsible for the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for the first time in its history. For this unprecedented occasion, OCA has commissioned artist Camille Norment (b. 1970) to develop the project.
Norment’s ‘Rapture’ is a site-specific, sculptural and sonic installation in the Nordic Pavilion, for which the American-born, Oslo-based artist has composed new music on the glass armonica – a legendary 18th-century instrument that creates ethereal music from glass and water. Invented by Benjamin Franklin and once played by Mozart and Marie Antoinette, the glass armonica was at first celebrated for curing people with its entrancing music, but later it was banned because it was thought to induce states of ecstasy and arouse sexual excitement in women. If it had the power to cure, so the logic went, this bewitching instrument might also have the power to kill through over-exciting its listeners.
In a contemporary context, Norment explores the tensions this music raises today by creating a multi-sensory space, which reflects upon the history of sound, contemporary concepts of harmony and dissonance, and the water, glass and light of Venice. She is composing a new chorus of voices that correspond to the notes of the glass armonica, and this chorus will surround visitors to ‘Rapture’. She will also perform a new composition on the glass armonica during the opening days of the Venice Biennale. Additionally, throughout the run of the Biennale, she will invite artists and musicians to participate in a series of performances that echo elements in the installation.
‘Rapture’ will explore the relationship between the human body and sound, through visual, sonic, sculptural and architectural stimuli. Today the sonic realm can be both a space of misuse, as we have seen in the militaristic use of sound to abuse the body, and of affirmation, as in the performative utterance of free speech to affirm the right of the body’s very existence. The body can be stimulated and moved by sound, and in Norment’s work, the Nordic Pavilion itself becomes a body in rapture and rupture, harmony and dissonance.
Camille Norment comments: ‘Sound, by its nature, permeates borders – even invisible ones. Throughout history, fear has been associated with the paradoxical effects music has on the body and mind, and its power as a reward-giving de-centraliser of control. Recognised as capable of inducing states akin to sex and drugs, music is still seen by many in the world as an experience that should be controlled – especially in relation to the female body – and yet it is also increasingly used as a tool for control, especially under the justifications of war.’
Katya Garcia-Anton, Director of OCA, Norway and Curator of the Nordic Pavilion comments: ‘We have commissioned Camille Norment to represent Norway at the Nordic Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2015 because she is one of the most innovative, cross-disciplinary artists working in Norway today. Her work is both poetic and physical, and considers sound as an evocative artistic medium. Norment is an American-born artist, who has chosen for over a decade to live and work in Oslo, which reflects the stimulating environment for experimental contemporary art and culture in the Norwegian capital and around the country. We wish to celebrate this on the occasion of Norway's first ever Nordic Pavilion.’
To see images of Camille Norment and to hear a sound clip of Camille Norment's music, click here.
About Camille Norment Camille Norment (b. 1970, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA lives and works in Oslo, Norway) works as an artist, musician and composer. Norment’s practice includes performance, installation, drawing, writing and sound, and draws from the artist’s training in music, dance, the visual arts and literature. Norment is concerned with investigating the relationships between sound, music and the visual arts and questioning the meanings of harmony and dissonance. Her art explores the socio-political encoding of sound historically and in the present, reflecting upon the power of dissonance to carve out a space for dissent and creative thinking.
Currently, Norment is part of the exhibition `Poor Art – Rich Legacy. Arte Povera and Parallel Practices 1968–2015’, opening at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo on 13 March 2015. She has exhibited and performed extensively, including at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York (2013); The Kitchen, New York (2013), Transformer Station (The Cleveland Museum of Art), Cleveland, OH, USA (2013), The Museum of Contemporary Art (The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design), Oslo (2012, the museum commissioned a new performance to accompany the exhibition tour in Norway); The Thessaloniki Biennale, Thessaloniki, Greece (2007); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (2009); UKS, Oslo (2004); Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2004); the Charlottenborg Fonden, Copenhagen, Denmark (2003); Radioartemobile, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003); The Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2001); and The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York (2001). Among several public artwork commissions, a permanent outdoor sound installation was commissioned by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Høvikodden (outside Oslo), Norway, in 2011.
In addition to her work as an artist, Norment performs as a soloist, with other musicians in selected projects, and with her ensemble, the Camille Norment Trio, consisting of Vegar Vårdal (Norwegian hardanger fiddle), Håvard Skaset (electric guitar), and Camille Norment (glass armonica).
About the Nordic Pavilion
In 1958 Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn won the competition to design the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennial. The building was completed in 1962 and has since been a space for collaboration between three nations—Norway, Sweden and Finland. Built on a plot between the pavilions of the United States and Denmark, it is centrally situated on one of the main arteries of the Giardini. Fehn was later awarded the prestigious Prizker Prize for architecture in 1997. In 2015 Norway will be in sole charge of the pavilion for the first time in its history.
About Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)
OCA is a foundation created by the Norwegian Ministries of Culture and of Foreign Affairs in 2001 with the aim of developing cultural collaborations between Norway and the international arts scene. The foundation aims to become one of the main organs in the international contemporary arts debate through initiatives such as exhibitions, seminars and publications, as well as by providing support to Norwegian artists for their activities in the international art arena and inviting international curators and artists to Norway. OCA has been responsible for Norway's contribution to the visual arts section of the Venice Biennale since 2001.
The project has been commissioned by OCA. It has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of ABG Sundal Collier, Reitan and Selvaag, and with additional support of the Norwegian Ministries of Culture (KUD) and of Foreign Affairs (UD). Further support has been provided by Fritt Ord – the Freedom of Expression Foundation, Oslo. Camille Norment’s project is being produced through a generous grant by Norsk Kulturråd/Arts Council Norway, and through the support and collaboration of nyMusikk, Ultima – Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, and NOTAM – Norwegian Center for Technology in Music and the Arts.
OCA is pleased to announce the lecture ‘Militant Fidelity and the Empire of Love’ by Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University, Elizabeth Povinelli. The lecture is organised in anticipation of Staging Three. "Incidental Insurgents", an exhibition project by Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas opening at OCA on 7 April 2015 as part of 'Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings'. 'Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings' is a project that evolves through three individual, yet interconnected presentations involving lecture performances, talks, unfinished moments and exhibition fragments, which speculate around the choleric moment we are experiencing globally. The programme in its entirety aims at debating the degenerative roots and consequences of the uncertain conditions within which we currently exist, affecting socio-political, religious, environmental and financial terrains.
Elizabeth Povinelli has long analysed ethical and normative claims about the governance of love, sociality, and the body, moving, for instance, from indigenous communities in Australia to communities of alternative progressive queer movements in the United States. Through alternative models of social relations she boldly highlights modes of intimacy that transcend a reductive choice between freedom and constraint, while theorising intimate relations as pivotal sites for different forms of life to co-exist. In her lecture at OCA, Povinelli will take as point of departure the dispute that broke out in the 1960s between the two French theorists Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou over the role of the philosopher and the procedures of truth, the nature of the event and the possibility of revolutionary politics. Pivotal to both was the status, affects, and militancies of love, and so was a shared refusal to puncture the western configurations of love. How might a militant fidelity to a form of love reappear in the empires of love?
The lecture is held in collaboration with the Academy Lecture series of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and Professor Susanne M. Winterling. In addition to the lecture there will be a screening of the films When the Dogs Talked (2014) and Low Tide Turning (2012) on Friday, 20 February 2015 at 16:00 in the main auditorium at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Elizabeth Povinelli is also going to be part of the workshop 'Beasts and Pets' organised together with Winterling, Liv Bugge and students from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.
A light meal and drinks will be served after the event at OCA.
About the Speaker
Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University in New York, NY, USA. Her writing has focused on developing a critical theory of late liberalism that would support an anthropology of the otherwise. Povinelli's Labor's Lot: The Power, History and Culture of Aboriginal Action (1994) and The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism (2002) examined the governance of the otherwise in late liberal settler colonies from the perspective of the politics of recognition. Her last two books The Empire of Love: Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Geneology, and Carnality (2006) and Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism (2011) examined the otherwise from the perspective of intimacy, embodiment, and narrative form. A new book entitled Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism is forthcoming in 2016. Povinelli has also explored questions of power and difference in late liberalism in the two films, Karrabing: Low Tide Turning, 2012, (co-directed with Liza Johnson and selected for the Berlinale International Shorts Competition) and When the Dogs Talked, 2014.
About Staging Three. "Incidental Insurgents"
A Project by Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas
7 April–24 May 2015
The "Incidental Insurgents" is a complex installation, including a collection of research material and performative moments which begins with disparate coordinates around the figure of contemporary bandits across the world, such as Victor Serge and his clan in 1910's Paris or Abu Jilda and Arameet and their gang in 1930's Palestine. These figures most clearly articulate the incompleteness and inadequacies in existing oppositional movements and inhabit a moment full of radical potential and disillusionment, contributing towards building a language for the present moment.
Staging Two. "They Went Away to Stay"
A project by Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas
Postponed to August 2015.
About OCA's Notations
'Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings' is part of OCA's new programming series entitled ‘Notations’. During the next years Notations will unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that will reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action.