Nora Joung

Memorial: The Right to Work

Arna Industrihus, Entrance 4
Fabrikkvegen 1, Ytre Arna Map

Opening Wednesday 30 October 2019 at 19:00
Free bus from the bus stop at Festplassen in Bergen at 18:30

Hours: Every day 17:00–19:00

Memorial: The Right to Work consists of archive material that documents the winding down of a factory. A/S Arne Fabrikker in Hordaland employed up to 1200 people. When Norway joined the European free trade organization EFTA in 1960, protective tariffs were abolished and the company experienced increasing competition. To counter the increasing competition from free trade, attempts were made to pave the way for a more resilient national textile sector. The Department of Industry entered the fray to build up the holding company A/S Norion. Norion was a fusion of the privately owned Arne Fabrikker, started by Peter Jebsen in 1846, Høie Fabrikker, owned by Peter Mentz Jebsen, and Mosjøen Veveri.

The Jebsen family retained the share majority in Norion, while the Norwegian State came in with a large shareholding. In 1977 the then Minister of Industry in the Labour Government, Bjartmar Gjerde, gave what were considered guarantees that 165 jobs would be maintained at the factory in Ytre Arna.

When the engines in the still-profitable part of the business were nevertheless moved out of the region and large numbers of the workers were laid off, three workers, backed by their respective unions, sued the State for loss of income and failure to maintain the workplaces at Arne Fabrikker.

The material in Memorial: The Right to Work is based on, among other things, legal documents, historical documents, interviews, recordings and union records. Joung’s project takes its starting point in a judgement from the Eidsivating Court of Appeal (Eidsivating lagmannsrett) in 1982 when the three laid-off industrial workers Haaland, Markhus and Boge from A/S Arne Fabrikker lost their suit against the State.

Article 110 of the Norwegian Constitution says that "The authorities of the state shall create conditions under which every person capable of work is able to earn a living through their work or enterprise." When the State sold its share of Norion in 1986, this marked the end of public intervention in commerce to safeguard jobs for the population. The requirement that the State, through the Department of Industry, should be obliged to maintain 165 jobs at Arne Fabrikker was not fulfilled by the Court. The court ruling from 1982 concludes that the Minister of Industry’s guarantees to the employees of the factory were not binding, creating legal precedence for future breaches of promise between politicians and voters.

Nora Joung

Nora Joung works with installation, video, performance and text. She studied at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design; the Valand Academy, Gothenburg; and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Joung works as an artist and critic, is part of the editorial board of the small publisher H//O//F and is one of four people who organize the artist-run exhibition space Destiny’s in Oslo. Recent projects include Ding Dong at UKS/Kunstnernes Hus, Game of Life IV – The Prospect Cabinet at Kristiansand Kunsthall, and the performance Grini and Norway’s Futures at the Oslo Biennale. Joung grew up in Ytre Arna, and is now based in Oslo.

Composer: Snorre Magnar Solberg.

Thanks to:
Arna Industrihus and BEK.
Ytre Arna Historielag with Anne K. Wille, Bjørn Bremerthun, Solaug Damminger, Vibeke Mowinckel Lorentz.

The project has received support from Bergen City Council, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Arts Council Norway and BEK. Nora Joung has received the Hordaland Art Centre’s production grant from Bildende Kunstneres Hjelpefond.

Volt’s programme in 2019 is funded by Bergen City Council, Hordaland County Council (KUP), Public Art Norway (URO) and Arts Council Norway.

Photo: Thor Brødreskift

All projects →