Categories:> Arts

Arctic Art Forum 2017 — Slow Culture

On 25 and 26 November, Arctic Art Forum took place in Arkhangelsk. The theme was Slow culture, where the attention to aesthetics of everyday life, process of production of things and the extended idea about aesthetics was central. Along with the experimental approach and the necessity of broadening the artistic and communicative vocabulary, the needs of the people in the region were important. The key event was conference Design and architecture: changing life quality, where artists, designers, curators, producers, art historians gathered for the first time. Nordic architects and designers invited by Northern Norwegian Center of Design Architecture which currently gathers more than 700 specialists in the Northern regions of Norway, told about their professional unions, about the challenges between competition and collaboration which they tackle. They also shared own projects in graphic design, landscape design, architecture, industrial design and furniture design in Tromsø and Bodø. Representative of Evolve Arena (Oslo) Anastasia Malafey shared her vision of smart cities, and artist, curator and entrepreneur Emil Luth was talking about his work in Denmark and Russia.

Russian participants working with design in a very broad sense, told about their projects connected both with preservation of the wooden heritage and seeing it in a new light and developing of the new identities. TAF laboratory presented their work in the village of Oshevensk in the South of Arkhangelsk region, where they own, reconstruct and develop ten wooden houses. Artists and architects experiment with wood referring both to the new, and to the old – the peasant culture of the North. Taibola Assemble (Severodvinsk) presented their projects in Russia and in Norway. Collective 42design (Arkhangelsk) told about their work with graphic design and the new project on preservation and mapping of the wooden churches of the North. Museum of Northern (Arctic) Federal University presented materials about Soviet period of architecture history in Arkhangelsk and the technologies used for building Privokzalny district of Arkhangelsk. Kenozero National Park and Russian Arctic National Park shared their work on preservation and research of the unique Northern cultural heritage to the local and international audience. Curator Dmitry Pilikin told about the town and the ways to decode it as a text, and designer and artist Andrey Lublinsky told about design thinking and its use in all areas of life.

During the Forum, city administration of Arkhangelsk had a get-acquainted meeting with Northern Norwegian designers and architects, where both Russian and Norwegian parts presented their current projects. The last meeting like that happened in 1992, according to one of the participants, architect Igor Skripkin. Other representatives present were Alexandra Yunitsyna, the Main Architect of Arkhangelsk, and Mikhail Treschev, the Main Artist of Arkhangelsk, and the Mayor of Arkhangelsk, Igor Godzish.

Discussion Is Arkhangelsk a City with Abandoned Meanings or an Awaken Potential? gathered for the first time artists, designers, architects, creative industries and activists and the Main Artist and the Main Architect of Arkhangelsk for an open meeting, discussing the current challenges and the potential solutions.

The second day started with an excursion around Museum of Wooden Architecture Malye Karely which is the largest in Russia museum of this kind, where the rich heritage of the region has been preserved. These houses and objects document the pre-industrial everyday life objects in the Northern Russia. Workshops in four houses each of those had a special title connected to its content took place on Day 2. The day finished with social salsa dancing, which was both a present to the leader of the Northern Norwegian delegation, Michele Renee Widerøe, who is originally from Cuba, but also a bit special way of business dating, a reference to the folk dance of Cuban peasants and the common Utopian past.

Along with the meetings and discussions, there was an exhibition The House of Light where TAF Laboratory presented the many years’ interdisciplinary work, which combines architecture, design, sculpture and philosophy in the Northern village. The Sound Weaver was another experimental project where video was combined with the sound of the unique and unknown ancient folklore texts having been collected in the Northern villages in the second half of XX century, free jazz improvisation , bright colors of the Northern textiles and the rhythmic sounds of the wooden weaving machine. The party 33 artists was a reference both to folklore and presentation of young creative workers of Arkhangelsk.

The main stages for the Forum were The Merchant Yard, the place for the first international trade fair in Russia and Malye Karely, the largest in Russia museum of wooden architecture. The Forum keeps being a meeting place for Russian and international cultural workers and focuses on the role of the North in Russian culture.

The detailed program, information about participants and organizers: