ARE YOU DOING HERE?
the spring of 2005 a group of recently educated artists decided
to establish themselves in Trondheim. Why is it that they have
decided to stay when until now the first goal for former art students
has been to get away from the city as quickly as possible? Can
Trondhiem offer artists the same potential for growth and development
as Oslo, Berlin, London or New York? As an artist here do you
face different challenges and possibilities than in those and
other larger cities?
Marienborg is a group of newly established artists who want to
bring new possibilities in relation to their personal work. We
want to think and act in a new way in terms of our role as artists
in Trondheim and also start a debate about contemporary art. One
of our goals is to find a number of different ways to create temporary
spaces for young artists to work in the city; and that this could
become a new arena for artistic expression.
the occasion of Forum 1 we would like to invite you as an art
critic and consultant to Trondheim. In What are you doing here?
the artists who are part of Marienborg will show their personal
work and also collaborative projects. During this period we will
work together with you critics in ways that are site specific
with a common goal, to activate the city. We would like you to
investigate what kind of role you can have and look at what possibilities
there are for mediating between the city and us. The starting
point for this investigation is the current situation in Trondheim,
and the art that will be presented for Forum 1.
The current situation in Trondheim
art in Trondheim has until now had a very low profile; there is
no tradition here in taking part or experiencing this sort of
culture. It is a language that has been almost non-existent both
visually and in terms of intelligent media exposure and debate.
In Trondheim there is virtually no arena for young contemporary
art except a few players working within a limited scope. Very
few people in the city are even aware that there is an art academy
here, let alone that there are international artists working with
Trondheim as a base. The few active organisations are struggling
to get people through their doors.
At the same time the city council has a political goal of using
art and culture as one of trademarks of Trondheim’s new
identity. There is also a plan to build a Kunsthall (centre for
contemporary art), by 2014. What kind of image this will have
and how it will be run has not yet been decided. A proposal has
been made that it should be located at Dora 1, an industrial warehouse
that was originally built as u-boat bunker by the Nazi’s
during World War 2. The debate about this has just started (see
www.tt.teks.no). On the Trondheim airport bus the county council
and their new initiative Kreative Trønderlag, is advertising
their vision: Trønderlag, the most exiting region in future
Our experience is that the disparity between these visions and
the actual situation is very wide. This creates a worrying but
potentially exiting gap. The situation could open up possibilities
and generate new working opportunities for artists in Trondheim,
and also create a space for initiatives like Marienborg. So what
happens in a situation like this?
Trondheim city council are spending 7-12 million Norwegian Kroner
on public art works each year. One initiative they are funding
is Generator, a collaborative project between the council and
Trønderlags senter for samtidskunst. This is an art project
that “wishes to explore, expand and challenge the frames
for art on the public space (www.generator2007.no). Trondheim
Electroniske Kunstsenter (TEKS) has started developing an international
art Biennale, MetaMorph, as a continuation of Trondheim Matchmaking
(symposium for art and new technology, www.teks.no). These are
a few examples from the city councils culture plan 2005-2010
We ask ourselves: what role will the artist have in the vision
of art as a trademark of Trondheim? We wonder how they will anchor
these visions in the population of Trondheim and the current identity
of the city? We also want to raise questions concerning whether
it is possible for an artist to work in a free, critical and reflective
way with the support of the community as a step toward creating
a new identity for the city. In addition to this we think it is
about time to incorporate some critique into the discussion about
the future of art in Trondheim.
Art generates critique, critique generates discussion, discussion
generates engagement, engagement generates a meeting, and through
the meeting between people we can ask others and ourselves:
What are you doing here?