Eric Forman, an artist from New York, was at Træna in August 2016. His residency ended up with a series of videos, created through an interaction between the artist, the residents, some choosen objects and the landscape of the island. The result was shown at the Bodø Biennale, at Gallery NOK in september 2016. See the video below and read the blog interview with Eric here.
Under This Light (Under Dette Lyset)
Multi-channel video, dimensions variable
Hi Eric, you are living in New York, working as an artist and as Head of Innovation at School of Visual Arts. How come you wanted to go to a small little island in the northern Norwegian archipelago?
I have always dreamed of going to the Arctic Circle. I wanted to immerse myself in the landscape of the mountains and fjords and the open sea. And I was very curious what such a tiny community would be like. Coming from New York, it is a rare treat to be in such a beautiful quiet place.
From your perspective, as a short term inhabitant in Træna, what did you like most about staying here, and was there something you didn’t like?
Slowing down to the rhythm of a small town. Seeing friendly faces every day. Waking up and seeing the surreal beauty. Sometimes it was very solitary. I had many days in a row where I worked and saw nobody. This was hard sometimes, but valuable. Also I could never remember when the only store was open :-).
Photo: Gallery NOK, Bodø
You’ve created an installation during your residency, what is it showing us?
This installation shows an assortment of objects that seem to move endlessly through time in the natural surroundings of the islands of Træna, Nordland. The objects are placed out of context in the wild landscape, a hybrid form of photograph and video, still-life and landscape. Formed from time-lapse assemblages of thousands of photos, the “object-videos” show the light and shadow movement created by the northern sun over a twenty-four hour period, compressed down to minutes. They have no end and no beginning, so they seem to share the strange timelessness of the Arctic Circle…
How did you pick the object in the videos?
The object in each video was picked in collaboration with the people of Træna. Through a series of conversations, each was asked to contribute a physical thing to be photographed, something that connected them to the region. Each object or memento was a departure point for memories and histories of individuals, families, houses, and towns in the Nordland region. Just by virtue of being chosen, each memento can speak for those whose natural tendency might be to not say much. Yet the videos allows the objects to speak for themselves, to suggest to viewers the stories that might be behind them, and the others that might be shared by many.
What does these images say about the place and its people?
Together, these representations speak about Træna as a place more than about any individual. The ancientness of the landscape, the remoteness, the weather, the patterns of life and work in this environment, the food, survival, and community. Each object seems at first to be personal and specific, yet their shared vulnerability to time is communal and universal. The installation becomes, like the people here, a balance of intimacy and opacity.
What happens now, after the residency?
I am proposing other projects based on my work in Træna, some in other countries. I am expanding on this idea of collecting personal objects with stories hidden inside them. And formally, investigating hybrids of photography and video, and still-life and landscape. I am currently designing a new sculptural form to present the work which includes a sensor-based interactive component.
And finally, who would you send to Træna for a months residency, and why?
I would love to send my artist and maker friends who are grinding it out in New York. Escaping the city is just what they need to reinvigorate their work!