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.


Nordic Adventures / RACA Tours

Individuality, storytelling, authenticity and interaction... Places/communities were tourism is a major part of the local economy are challanged to reinvent the tourist/experience-industry. To become more extreme and ”authentic” is an act of balance between exploration and exploitation. In the spirit of Thor Heyerdahl, the vikings and the fishermen RACA are doing their own mapping of experience-tourism and its inpact on local communities. Everything from extreme adventure to holistic travel agencies.

RACA is offering tours in the harbour of Bergen on Saturday the 12th in exchange for a story: your best trip, best souvenir – dream or reallity. Participants will be rewarded with a diploma and postcards. During the night of the opening at S12 you are welcome to make a reservation with RACA Tours to take part in this one time only event. The diplomas and stories will become a part of the exhibition after the event. The project is based on RACA’s research from their trips to Svolvaer and Rovaniemi, where they were in dialogue with tourism companies, travel agencies and local inhabitans.

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