Eva Meyer Keller
Institutt for farge
Lofoten International Art Festival. The key aim of this edition of the event is to create an event that involves the local inhabitants and the participating artists in a dialogue around the questions of sustainable future and expanded community. A number of international artists have been invited to produce new pieces in response to and in communication with the place as well as to show previous work alongside the new commissions. Curated by Taru Elfving & Rickard Borgstrom.
curated by Taru Elfving & Rickard Borgström
LIAF is a contemporary art festival that takes place every second summer at Lofoten islands in Northern Norway. Around twenty artists works are displayed. LIAFs ambition is to present more site-specific and commissioned works.
Maaretta Jaukkuri, Gry Ulrichsen, Tor- Inge Kveum, Per Gurnnar Tverbakk are among the previous curators of LIAF.
Lawrence Weiner, Dias & Riedweg, Amar Kanwar, AK Dolven, Gillian Wearing, Cildo Meireles Elmgreen & Dragset, Pipilotti Rist, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Olafur Eliasson, Esko Männikö, Magnus Wallin, Eija- Liisa Ahtila, Simryn Gill, Tellervo Kalleinen & Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Henrik Håkansson, Hans- Hamid Rasmussen, Jesper Just and others have all participated in the festival with new productions or previous works.
Lofoten art festival started in 1991 as a local art happening every second year and had a wide range. This happening continued until 1998 when the festival changes direction and became an international festival of contemporary art. The reason for the changing of direction was a wish to present a different kind of art that you didn’t find in the region of Lofoten. The ambition was to show high quality contemporary art from all over the world. The first international festival (LIAF) was held in 1999, and continued in 2001. In 2004 became the festival coordinated together with Momentum and the last festival happened during the summer in 2006.
The festival has through these years managed to show a selection of some of the best artists. The presentation of the art has been (mainly) showed in the traditional white cube. But also some work has been showed in the public spaces at region around Lofoten. About 20 artists have been participated at each festival from 1999.
Towards a future present
Ethos of LIAF 2008
Lofoten, an archipelago with a unique and fragile ecosystem, has inspired the LIAF 2008 festival to address the specificities and urgencies of this context. The expanding tourist industry is making its mark on the islands and the local community, while the whole of the Arctic region is facing potentially dramatic changes due to global warming. Simultaneously, the islands are becoming increasingly charged as a political arena due to the national resources, fish and oil.
As co-curators of LIAF 2008 our key aim is to create an event that involves the local inhabitants, visitors to the islands and the participating artists in a dialogue around the questions of sustainable future and expanded community. With sustainable future we want to address the need for future-oriented thought and practices, for visions of and responsibilities for the yet-to-come. This intertwines with concerns about expanded community, i.e. a notion of community that not only includes humans but also our environment, including the inanimate and inorganic, elemental as well as technological, natural as well as social, political and economic. Moreover, this notion of community emphasizes constant production and the sense of the local as something not simply rooted in a fixed origin or identity, but emerging in the various practices and encounters in the present.
We are aware of the critical ambiguity of these issues that form the ethos of the festival, their increasing importance and the attached responsibilities, as well as our implication. Therefore, LIAF 2008 hopes to also engage with the acute question of how it makes sense to create a contemporary art festival in this fragile environment.
Practices / Dialogues in the future present
The festival is now entering a new phase with an emphasis on site-specificity and commissioned work. We have commissioned artists to produce new pieces in response to and in communication with the place, but also invited them to show previous work that further adds to this discussion. Thus we hope to allow for a closer insight into the practice of each participating artist as well as to weave more complex links between specific and global phenomena, here and elsewhere, through differing viewpoints and voices as well as the dialogue and, possibly, conflicts developing between them.
The exhibition is located mainly in the town of Svolvaer. The two temporary exhibition spaces weave between them a route that intersects with the everyday flows of the town: the waterfront with its cafes and restaurants frequented both by the locals and the visitors, the daily cycle of the fishing boats, the regular tourist influx from the ferries, etc. Together with the site-specific works located in public spaces the exhibition venues map the centre of the town. This offers alternative encounters with and momentary novel perspectives on the place through individual art works and the exhibition as a whole. Meanwhile, the location itself poses a challenge to the concepts behind the exhibition and may lead to completely unexpected responses. If this happens, to whatever effect, the strive towards dialogue and the open-ended processes, which have informed and given shape to LIAF 2008, can be deemed productive.
Furthermore, the production processes of the new commissions are not all closed prior to the exhibition but some take shape within and alongside it, such as in the form of a film production (Jun Yang), an inventory of local collections (Joshua Sofaer), or a semi-scientific experiment (Tomas Saraceno). Some function as proposals for future (Platforma 9.81) while others direct our attention to current transformations within the town (Lara Almarcegui). One project entwines the local traditions and materials with global concerns around urban development (Marjetica Potrc). Another engages the local inhabitants in an experiment in alternative service economy (Elin Wikström), while another is a product of a collaboration with a local choir (Katarina Zdjelar). The works in public spaces engage with, for example, the questions of printed word and production of communities (Yang Zhenzhong) as well as trace the subtle lines between private and public (Lise Harlev). Some, then again, move out of the town and create temporary spaces for engagement with the surrounding environment (Sami Rintala), and focus our attention momentarily on the specific instead of the spectacular in the landscape and its inhabitation (Kimsooja).
The exhibition also encompasses a series of screenings at the cinema in Svolvaer (Artur Zmijewski) as well as a video program, based on an open call for submissions, of works placed in various sites around the Lofoten (Video Program). Prior to and coinciding with the exhibition a series of workshops has been integral to the festival: a collaboration between artists Institut for Farge and local school pupils on a production of an alternative festival; a series of performances and workshops that focus on production and negotiation of shared spaces with the means of sound (Alexander Rishaug, Mad Professor, Marius Watz); and a workshop between Ramallah and Tromsö Art Academies led by artists Learning Site.
Alongside the exhibition an extensive program of events encourages critical encounters to expand beyond the frame of the exhibition. These range from tours offering various local perspectives on the art works to discussion platforms on urban planning and visions for the future of the Lofoten, This is all presented here, in our alternative guide to the exhibition, which is itself an art project – a collaboration of the artists collective Raketa with local high school pupils, who take us on a tour not only of the exhibition but also of the prior processes and exchanges that have made this festival possible.
This expanded exhibition program does not aim to provide a coherent statement as a whole, but instead hopes to involve different audiences, voices, investments and approaches in a web of interactions that address the Lofoten – as a complex environment in constant process. All the practices in the here and now open, thus, towards the future as well as take actively part in wishing a future present into being.
LIAF has been located in the astonishing landscape in Lofoten and could offer the participants something remarkable. Lofoten is becoming a very topical region in the political loaded debate about climate, environment and world heritage. This debate can definitely offer the artists interesting approach to these issues. A subject of tension that concerns discussions around the images of the landscape and the site-specific work compared to the purchases art project.
The artists participating in the exhibition have been invited to produce new pieces for the festival as well as to present existing works. Some production processes of the new works happen within and alongside the exhibition, such as in the form of a film production (Jun Yang), an inventory of local collections (Joshua Sofaer), or a semi-scientific experiment (Tomas Saraceno). Some function as proposals for future (Platforma 9.81) while others direct our attention to current transformations within the town (Lara Almarcegui). One project entwines the local traditions with global concerns around urban development (Marjetica Potrc). One engages the local inhabitants in an alternative service economy (Elin Wikström), while another is a collaboration with a local choir (Katarina Zdjelar). The works in public spaces engage with, for example, the questions of printed word and pollution (Yang Zhenzhong) and trace the subtle lines between private and public (Lise Harlev). Some move out of the town and create spaces for engagement with the surroundings (Sami Rintala & Dagur Eggertsson), and focus our attention on the specific instead of the spectacular in the landscape and its inhabitation (Kimsooja).
The exhibition also encompasses a series of screenings at the cinema in Svolvær (Artur Zmijewski), presentations related to the workshops that have taken place prior to the exhibition (Institutt for farge, Learning Site), and an alternative catalogue to the exhibition produced in collaboration with local high school pupils (Raketa). Alongside and entwined with the exhibition there is an extensive program of events: video and performance programs, sound performances, series of talks and workshops. More information is available elsewhere on the website.
The exhibition is located mainly in the town of Svolvær. The route between the two temporary exhibition spaces intersects with the everyday flows of the town: the waterfront with its cafes and restaurants, the daily cycle of the fishing boats, the regular tourist influx from the ferries, etc. Together with the site-specific works located in public spaces the venues map the centre of the town, but the exhibition also connects Svolvær to the surrounding built and natural environment of Lofoten.
LORENTZEN & KJØLELAGERET, Svolvær
HOUSE FACADES, Svolvær
(Austnesfjordgata 3, Storgata 76, Vestfjordgata 72)
Day tickets: kr 40 ordinary, kr 20 JR./SR., family kr 100
LIAF pass: kr 150 ordinary, kr 100 JR./SR.
With the pass you can attend all LIAF arrangements for free, discounted or free workshops, as well as discounts on most arrangements and exhibitions by our partners.
LIAF is funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, Nordland County Council, Municipality of Vagan and supported by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Norwegian Art Council, Nordic Culture Point.