Project concept

Memories of the North is an exhibition of ongoing investigations into the theme of Nordic cultural identity, souvenirs and nation branding. The first venue of the exhibition tour was Galleri S12 in Bergen, Norway in April 2008.

How well do our existing national symbols, souvenirs and cultural icons, represent our diverse contemporary societies? What does it mean to travel and what is a souvenir? How can we craft alternatives to those currently offered by the travel and souvenir industries? The assembled artists are engaged in a long term investigation of these questions, that continues as the exhibition travels to new venues in the Nordic countries.

In February 2007 the Swedish art/craft/design-collective S-U-B invited four other artist groups from Denmark, Finland and Norway to a meeting in Stockholm, a seminar in Rovaniemi and a two week artist residency at Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter in Lofoten ("Souvenirs"), to provide a foundation for the participants and a starting point for research. Three individual artists have also been invited to join the project that currently hosts 16 artists.

The initial concept was to invite socially-engaged artists and artist collectives to use their diverse practices to explore the project themes of Nordic cultural identity, souvenirs, tourism and nation branding. Most of the artists have responded to this request by creating participatory projects that engage local communities in a search for ways to create ”truer” representations of people and places. These projects question, acknowledge and re-create symbols and stories by inviting the public to engage in different forms of aesthetic dialogue: workshops, participatory interventions, performances and an exhibition that displays the results of these activities. The project grows as the participants engage other artists and local communities along the way.

Lotte Slotterøy

The Knitting Troll

One of the most magical creatures in Norwegian mythology has been reduced to one of the most popular souvenirs in Norway. Histories and fairytales of trolls are passed on by a rich storytelling tradition, some people even believe they exist. As an homage, Lotte Slotterøy has created her own troll through knitting. The troll costume is like an empty shell that comes to life when people put it on. The Knitting Troll will be carried out as a performance at typical tourist sites, where the tourists will be watched and studied from the troll’s perspective. Lost in the city, away from the woods and without a place in this time “The Knitting Troll” will walk to Fløyen on Saturday the 12th of April.

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