Norway

Living Through the Landscape

Written by
Ivar Smedstad
When
20 September 2015 to 30 September 2015

The Norwegian part of the project will encompass a 10-day expedition/workshop with artists from all three participating countries in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway from 20 to 30 September, 2015.

The focus of the expedition will be on mining activity in the region and its effect on the local landscape. Both the current and previous Norwegian governments have funded initiatives aimed at surveying mineral deposits and their suitability for mining ventures, resulting in heated debates regarding a renewed interest in the exploitation of minerals, especially in the north.

Recently, plans to allow the waste from a proposed mining operation to be deposited in the Førde fjord in the west of Norway have made headlines in both the Norwegian and international press. Elsewhere, such as in Biedjovággi in Finnmark, the ecological damage from open-pit mining is still being felt 40 years after the closure of mining operations. Plans to once again start mining in Biedjovággi as consequence of soaring gold prices highlight the complexity of issues relating to the exploitation of minerals and a globalized economy, covering intersecting social, economic and ecological concerns.

Similar debates have arisen in regard to the Reppar fjord, also in Finnmark. Waste from nearby underground mining was dumped into the fjord in the early 1970s, causing damage to fish stocks, thereby affecting the livelihoods of local fishermen. Renewed interest in mining copper in the area has started new debates on the environmental impact of depositing waste in the fjord.

On one hand, mining companies need to keep costs down to stay competitive, and rural communities are often in dire need of jobs and investment to bolster the local economy. On the other hand, such initiatives have frequently caused extensive environmental damage and infringements of the rights of indigenous populations. By visiting the region and meeting with locals as well as experts, the Norwegian portion of Frontiers of Solitude aims to contribute to a public awareness of environmental and cultural issues that are both local and globalized.

Frontiers of Solitude is an extension of Atelier Nord’s previous engagement with issues related to the north of Norway in the video program Beyond Horizons.

Program

20 September
Oslo departure - arrival in Alta/Alta Airport (ALF)

21 September
Kautokeino
Biedjovággi mine

22 September
Biedjovággi mine

23 September
Biedjovággi mine

24 September
from Kautokeino to Karasjok
Visit to Sami Center for Contemporary Art

25 September
Karasjok

26 September
Kvalsund - Repparfjord depot

27 September
Repparfjord

28 September
from Kvalsund to Hammerfest
Visit to Windmill development site
Evening program in Hammerfest Art Association/artist talks

29 September
Visit to Snøhvit petroleum field

30 September
from Hammerfest to Alta

program: Ivar Smedstad

Gunhild Enger, Iselin Linstad Hauge, Vladimír Merta, Alena Kotzmannová, Elvar Már Kjartansson, Monika Fryčová

External resources

  • Strategy for the mineral industry – Second Stoltenberg government, 2013 (Norwegian only).
  • gruve.info – Website about the environmental impact of mining in Norway, maintained by Svein Lund (Norwegian only).
  • Artic Gold – Mining company campaigning for renewed activity in Biedjovággi.
  • Nordic Mining – Mining company looking to deposit waste in the Fjørde fjord.
  • Nussir ASA – Mining company campaigning for copper extraction in Kvalsund/Reppar Fjord.
  • Article in the British newspaper The Guardian on the proposed dumping of waste in the Fjørde Fjord.
  • Norges Naturvernforbund (Friends of the Earth Norway)
Related content
Kautokeino, photo: Alena Kotzmannová

Kautokeino, photo: Alena Kotzmannová

Biedjovaggi, Finnmark, photo: Ivar Smedstad, 2015

Biedjovaggi, Finnmark, photo: Ivar Smedstad, 2015

in the landscape, Photo: Vladimír Merta

in the landscape, Photo: Vladimír Merta

in the landscape, Photo: Vladimír Merta

in the landscape, Photo: Vladimír Merta

Sami picnick,Photo: Vladimír Merta

Sami picnick,Photo: Vladimír Merta

Kautokeino, photo: Alena Kotzmannová

Kautokeino, photo: Alena Kotzmannová

Biedjovaggi, Finnmark, photo: Ivar Smedstad, 2015

Biedjovaggi, Finnmark, photo: Ivar Smedstad, 2015