- A walk through land use, politics and art in a changing world.
Comprising a guided hike up Mount Løvstakken and a workshop led by artists Bik Van der Pol, Å samles på et fjell (To Gather on a Mountain) seeks to bring together a group of people to reflect on how we engage with the world – in particular, how we mine, excavate and otherwise exploit the ground on which we stand.
One of the seven Caledonian Mountain peaks that surround the city of Bergen, Mount Løvstakken forms part of the Earth’s continuously shifting tectonic system and contains a high concentration of naturally occurring radioactive granite, a granite that can be used for energy production. Acting as what Marcia Bjornerod described in Timefullness (2018) as an ‘earth-embodied record’, the mountain bears witness to events that have unfolded – and continue to unfold – over millennia.
After hiking up Mount Løvstakken, participants will assemble to collectively form an inverted question mark, or point d’ironie, near the summit. Subsequently, over lunch, at DUI which is located in the former port area of Laksevåg, members of the group will engage in a discussion about the future of energy production. Interested in the potential of the Ancient Greek chorus – whose role in classical theatre was to speak collectively for past and future generations, giving voice to that which is keenly felt yet hard to articulate – Bik Van der Pol seek to reprise this traditional theatrical device for the present day. Who is speaking for the past and the present? What future world do we imagine? Å samles på et fjell looks to unite the knowledge and experience of a group of people in an attempt to define what needs to be decided collectively for the country’s future.
Central to the Norwegian economy is the petroleum industry: crude oil and natural gas account for more than half of Norway´s annual exports and the country is currently ranked the third largest exporter of natural gas in the world. In 1971, the Norwegian government produced a white paper, dubbed the ‘Ten Commandments of Oil’, which served to guide the country’s petroleum policy and to ensure that income from the oil industry would benefit the society as a whole.
Taking the ‘Ten Commandments of Oil’ as its point of departure, Å samles på et fjell considers what the future of the energy industry might look like in Norway. At a time when minerals are extracted from mountains and oceans and wind farms are constructed on hillsides – projects often financed by international funds linked to tax havens – Bik Van der Pol hope to collectively generate ‘Ten Commandments for Earth’ that reflect humanity’s impact on the planet and the responsibility we have for the natural world that we share with other living entities.