Marit Ruge Bjærke, Randi Nygård

Whose time?

Paviljongen på Møllendal
Møllendalallmenningen, Bergen

At 19:00

When environmental problems like climate change and biodiversity loss are to be discussed and solved, people’s understandings of the future are central. Attempts to do something about environmental problems need to deal with the fact that such problems are caused by processes that happen over a long period of time, and that they necessitate action before the effects of those processes can be seen.

How do people relate to this future? Do they approach it on a geological time scale? Are they thinking of the next election? Do they believe the crisis is now? If so, what happens when ‘now’ is over? Not least, whose time should really count –the time of the family, of the human species, of the Greenland whale, or even the time of the forest?

Starting with concepts from various environmental debates, such as “the Anthropocene” and “Climate Crisis”, Marit Ruge Bjærke discusses understandings of time and the future and touches on the relationship between these understandings and understandings of responsibility.

After the talk there will be a conversation between Marit Ruge Bjærke and the artist Randi Nygård.

The event is the launch of Skog vil seia samfunn (Forest means society), a project of several years’ standing that Volt has with Randi Nygård in Bergen. 

Skog vil seia samfunn is inspired by a method of planting mini-forests in city spaces that was invented by the Japanese ecologist and biologist Akira Miyawaki. With his method, many local tree species are densely planted in small areas. The forests lead to the air being cleansed, they reduce noise, they sequester a lot of carbon, and they attract many animals and insects. The forests, also known as pocket forests, are thought to be especially diverse and lively.

In connection with the forest and in interaction with life there, Randi Nygård will make a series of small sculptures. The sculptures will be based on the growth of the forest. Flora and fauna help shape our social and public spaces, even in cities, and the works will indicate this.

During the period, several different public events devoted to the topics of the project will be organized, with contributorsfrom different fields: biologists, philosophers, experts on culture studies, artists and others.

Photo: Randi Nygård

Marit Ruge Bjærke

Marit Ruge Bjærke is a researcher in cultural studies at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen. Her background is in marine biology and knowledge history. Her research interests include the understanding and communication of environmental problems – with a special focus on biodiversity loss, temporal understandings, climate change, and invasive alien species. She recently published the book Fremtiden er nå. Klimaendringenes tider (The future is now. Temporalities of climate change) with Kyrre Kverndokk (Scandinavian Academic Press, 2022).

Randi Nygård

Randi Nygård lives and works in Oslo. She has a master’s degree from the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, NTNU. Among her interests is our fundamental view of nature and our relation to it. Our relations to and effect on nature are often invisible to us, and Nygård’s works are layered and poetic visualizations of them. This year she has among other things worked with the smell of bogland and with the reaction of glaciers to our way of life.

She has participated in a number of group exhibitions, for example at the New Museum and the Bruce High Quality Foundation in New York City, the Contemporary Art Centre of Thessaloniki, Museo Nazionale di Sant’Angelo in Rome, Kunstnernes Hus, Tromsø Kunstforening, Kunstmuseet Kube and Fotogalleriet in Oslo. Nygård has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Springhornhof in Germany among other places, and is part of several collaborations like Paviljong, MEANDER and Ensayos. The latter is an interdisciplinary project where artists, scholars of nature and culture and philosophers examine themes linked to political ecology. Through Ensayos, Nygård was at the Venice Biennale of 2022 and participated in a digital residency and exhibition at the New Museum in NYC in 2020.

Skog vil seia samfunn is supported by Public Art Norway, and Rådet for kunst i offentlige rom (the Committee for Art in Public Spaces), Bergen City Council.

Volt’s programme for 2022 is supported by Bergen City Council, Arts Council Norway and Vestland County Council.

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