Three days ago I arrived in Bergen, Norway. I am AiR for three months at USF Verftet, a former sardine factory in the harbour and my studio has an awsome view over the bay.
Only three weeks before I left I received the notice that I was arwarded a project stipend by The Norwegian-German Willy-Brandt Foundation, which was a great relief indeed considering the high living expenses in Norway!
Bergen is located at the same latitude as the Shetland Islands, North of Scotland! So I was afraid I wouldn’t see much daylight over here. Moreover, the climate is very wet and moderate even in winter – which means a lot of rain. While it is true that it is raining almost every day – except today: we had a wonderful sunny day without a single drop – the showers usually do not last very long. So when you go out you take an umbrella or wear a hooded jacket and when the shower comes, there’s always realistic hope that it will pass soon again. And from some point onwards the days will be longer here than they are in Germany.
The organization of this residency is really professional: When I arrived after office hours the responsible for the AiR program came to town again to hand out the keys and show me around. A local sim card for my cell phone is provided, so I can buy local prepaid cards and call at local rates. Besides the studio there is a small, fully equipped apartment in a former boat house next door. And last but not least: Everybody from the Kulturhuset USF team is really friendly and accommodating. Imagine, they cared for a contact person – a local artist who wrote me an email as soon as I had arrived and invited me for coffee! Through her I have already plans to go to some cultural events next week, among others to a study circle at Hordaland Kunstsenter where a curator in residence hosts a discussion circle on artistic and curatorial practices in the age of quasi unlimited options for artistic expression concerning media and techniques.
My neighbour and co-Airer is an Italian composer, Giuseppe Gavazza. He is very nice and is here for the third time over the last ten years already. It seems that Bergen affects people permanently: Obviously some former AiR from Germany stayed here to run a gallery and my direct predecessor in the studio, an American artist, just moved to Bergen as well… So, we’ll see if Dortmund can compete with this beautiful and friendly surroundling!
There wasn’t a proposal required in the call for applications. So, I have the chance to just come here and see what will cross my way and catch my interest. But I have set up some formal framework already in advance: I will realize some sort of real-space residency blog in collaboration with a local artist initiative – ProveRommet. Every second Monday they organize an event evening at a different location around town with all kinds of artistic contributions: dance, theatre, performance, music, visual/media art etc. Starting from January 30th, I will participate in every single of these events during the residency (which are 5) to present a sort of collection or collage of impressions, influences and work in progress that will develop and accumulate from event to event. I call it p.log – a blend from ProveRommet log… More information on dates and venues of p.log can be found on my website: www.rangsch.de