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160612 Svalbard 1451

Thinking at the Edge of the World

11 Jun – 13 Jun '16
Kunsthall Svalbard
Longyearbyen

'Thinking at the Edge of the World’ was a cross-disciplinary international conference held on Svalbard from 12-13 June 2016, initiated and developed by OCA and the Northern Norway Art Museum (NNKM). It brought together figures from the fields of art, architecture, psychology, philosophy, history and science, who were invited to visit and think about the region, considering it as a unique vantage point from which to reflect upon the environmental, aesthetic, architectural, economic, political and scientific forces that are shaping the North of Norway and its relationship to the world.

L r Magne Furuholmen Queen Sonja Print Award Katya Garcia Anton Director OCA Linda Hofstad Helleland Norwegian Minister of Culture Jeremie Michael Mc Gowan Director NNKM c OCA Herman Dreyer
(l-r) Magne Furuholmen (Queen Sonja Print Award), Katya García-Antón (Director, OCA), Linda Hofstad Helleland (Norwegian Minister of Culture), Jérémie Michael McGowan (Director, NNKM) © OCA / Herman Dreyer
L r AK Dolven in discussion with Kim Holmen International Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute c OCA Herman Dreyer
(l-r) AK Dolven in discussion with Kim Holmén, International Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute © OCA / Herman Dreyer

How are frontiers questioned from an Arctic vantage point, and how might this questioning catalyse new thinking regarding territory, power and resource exploitation? Could concepts of society, aesthetics and community explored during the nineteenth and twentieth century – often led by artists and intellectuals from Norway and its indigenous communities – be sought again to enlighten this debate?

The conference coincided with the opening of a solo exhibition by the Norwegian contemporary artist Olav Christopher Jenssen at Northern Norway Art Museum’s Kunsthall Svalbard in Longyearbyen. The exhibition features new work inspired by Jenssen’s recent residency project with Kunsthall Svalbard.

Programme higlights included a conversation between Candice Hopkins, Chief Curator at The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, and legendary journalist and Sami political rights activist Niillas Somby, as well as Lisa Philips, Director of New Museum in New York; Robert Templer, Director of The Center for Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary; Elena Isayev, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Exeter, UK; Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; Luba Kuzovnikova, Director of Pikene på Broen, Kirkenes; Julie Decker, CEO and Director of Anchorage Museum, AK, USA; Sami poet and visual artist Synnøve Persen; and AK Dolven, one of Norway’s foremost visual artists. A panel discussion on the future of the oceans was complemented by a special screening of Leviathan, an experimental work about the North American fishing industry by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, and Kim Holmén, International Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, lead a boat trip to the glacier front.

Other elements of the diverse programme included a 24-hour sensory intervention and scent workshop devised by design historian, writer and curator Emily King with leading perfumer Nadjib Achaibou.

Thinking at the Edge of the World Elin Oyen Vister Nature Walk 3
Nature Walk with Elin Øyen Vister © OCA / Cultureshock Media
Screening of Leviathan by Lucien Castaing Taylor and Verena Paravel c OCA Herman Dreyer
Screening of Leviathan by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel © OCA / Herman Dreyer
Works on aluminium plate in The Expedition a solo exhibition by Olav Christopher Jenssen at Northern Norway Art Museums Kunsthall Svalbard c OCA Herman Dreyer
Works on aluminium plate in The Expedition, a solo exhibition by Olav Christopher Jenssen at Northern Norway Art Museum’s Kunsthall Svalbard © OCA / Herman Dreyer

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