17 November – 18 December 2016, 7:00pm
COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITION: MUNCHMUSEET ON THE MOVE AND UKS (YOUNG ARTISTS’ SOCIETY)
VENUE: LANDBRUKETS HUS
[NB. This exhibition took place under the auspices of former UKS Director Johanne Nordbye Wernøe—text and images follow the style sheet devised 2013–2016]
Through an open call, the Munch Museum and the Young Artists’ Society (UKS) invited artists to submit proposals for art projects in the borough of Old Oslo. The jury selected two projects: Hanne Ramsdal & Rebekka Nystabakk’s writing workshops in Oslo Prison, and a new performance by Amelia Beavis-Harrison based on the resulting texts.
Hey, you there on the other side of the wall, look up at me!*
Over the summer, Hanne Ramsdal and Rebekka Nystabakk carried out a number of writing workshops with inmates in Oslo Prison. The texts produced in these workshops provide the basis for The sun comes up or the world spins round, call it what you want, a project that seeks to create a meeting place between the inside and the outside of an almost invisible institution, located centrally in Oslo. Through a collection of texts, sound recordings and a series of live readings, audiences will encounter the thoughts of a group of people they normally, by definition, would not meet. The inmates’ texts are about daily routines, boredom, longing for a normal life, coffee, TV, dreams and aspirations. Visitors are invited to create a conversation by giving something back to the prison in the form of their own writings and reflections.
The exhibition at Landbrukets Hus creates a temporary meeting between two places, a stone’s throw apart, uniting the inside and the outside – freedom and its opposite – if only for a few weeks.
Into the prison coffee goes […] All enemies of health are put in prison in Health Land.**
In the texts from the writing workshops, Amelia Beavis-Harrison noticed a number references to coffee as a normalizing element in the daily life in the prison. Research into the connection between prisons and propaganda in Norway led her to the 1930s campaign Melkeveien til Helseland, devised to encourage children to drink milk. This cartoon presented utopian life in Health Land, in which coffee was characterized as an evil that belonged in prison. This campaign connected to the former role of Landbrukets Hus as the headquarters for milk distribution in Oslo. Through conversations with Hanne and Rebekka, Amelia was told that the writing workshop had inadvertently led to the cancellation of the inmates’ football match. The Milky Way is a site-specific performance in which Coffee and Milk play each against each other in an unusual game of football, accompanied by a vocal score.
Participants in The Milky Way: Benjamin Lønne Røsler, Don Lawrence, Eirik Slyngstad, Per Magnus Barlaug, Silje Johannessen, Espen Solsbak, Eline Reve and Ksenia Aksenova.
The exhibition has been curated by Maria Horvei (UKS) and Natalie Hope O’Donnell (the Munch Museum).
Landbrukets Hus, Schweigaards gate 34C (entrance from Hollendergata)
Exhibition dates: 18 November–18 December
Opening hours: Thursday to Sunday (12.00–17.00)
* Text by 414 from Sola kommer opp eller jorda snurrer rundt, kall det hva du vil (2016) [the sun comes up or the world spins round, call it what you want]. The authors have been anonymized, and the names replaced by cell numbers.
** From Melkeveien til Helseland [the milky way to health land] originally produced for Melkeprodusentenes Landsforbund [the national association of dairy producers], which later became Reisen til Helseland [the journey to health land] for Norsk Tannvern [the Norwegian association for dental protection]. The images have been reproduced with the kind permission of Norsk Tannvern.