As part of this year's Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad, Northern Norway, the festival exhibition I am a Multitude presents different ways of being in the world, and the complex symbiotic relationship between all of us. From the microscopic, which can make quite a surprising difference, to the macroscopic that supposedly makes a bigger impact, we wish for the exhibition to, in an imaginative way, open up for the exploration of various types of existences and sensualities. In a time when the distant has slipped even further away, and the near has crept even nearer, we aim to build bridges and to inspire the exploration of less obvious connections.
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2021. All Rights Reserved
I AM A MULTITUDE
But who are you?
For a while, I am the cabbage. Then I am the door handle of the public toilet. I am the immune system. I am the bar of chocolate. I am the gut. I am the handrail and the stop button on the bus. I am the keyboard of your computer. I am the air. I am a kiss. (1)
What do you mean? That you can be anything? From the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, or the animal kingdom?
We have to be brave and erase the line between dead and living matter. (2)
Yes, and some might even take it so far as to claim that everything is just one big organism. Interwoven, mutually dependent. Maybe, when it comes right down to it, created from the same substance; whether that should turn out to be magma, bacteria, or something else entirely.
But! If all things are made out of the same,
and share that inner roaring flame,
why cannot I dissolve myself
and out of this pond, become something else?
What can I do to be like you?
What hole do I need to fall into? (3)
(1) Bacteria and fungus from Viktor Pedersen’s body in his video Jeg er mangfoldig (I am a Multitude), 2020.
(2) Egill Sæjönsson in the video and performance-
(3) The creature in Mercedes Müleisen’s video installation The Pond’s Crust, 2019.
Participating artists: Allora & Calzadilla, Annika Eriksson, Antti Tenetz, Atelier Éditions, Camilla Renate Nicolaisen, Daniel Slåtnes, Eva Bakkeslett, Egill Sæjönsson, Gerd Aurell, Inghild Karlsen, Iselin Linstad Hauge, Jean Painlevé Jana Winderen, Jenna Sutela, John Cage with Lois Long & Alexander H. Smith, Matti Aikio, Mercedes Müleisen, Michelle-
Curated by Karolin Tampere and Torill Østby Haaland from the North Norwegian Art Centre.
Festspillene i Nord-
1] Daniel Slåttnes, Plant Cyborgs 2015・021, P. obtusifolia (baby rubberplant), robotic prothesis, software that interprets the biosignals of the plant. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Meta.Morf Biennale for art and technology, Gråmna, Trondheim Art Museum.  Eva Bakkeslett, Makkverk, 2017. Video and sound installation with compost worms Eisenia fetida. Courtesy of the artist.  Jana Winderen, hydrophone recording 15 meter under the sea ice by the North Pole in 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: MAMONT foundation.  Mercedes Mühleisen, The Pond's Crust, 2019. Video installation. Photo: Christian ﾘen.  Service dogs at the Karelian front. Courtesy of the Murmansk Regional Museum of Local Lore. Photo: J. I. Kozminskij.  Viktor Pedersen, Jeg er Mangfoldig (I am Multitudes) (still), 2020. Courtesy of the artist.