24 June–4 July 1999, Svolvær and Kabelvåg
Among the goals formulated for the 99 incarnation of the festival was that standards should be raised via initiatives such as having a ‘main exhibitor with international experience’ and coordinating ‘exhibitions with themes and relevance beyond the regional and national level’. The greatest responsibility for planning the festival had been assumed by artist Tor Inge Kveum, who lived in Vågan at the time. For 1999, Kveum and Per Gunnar Tverbakk became curators of the festival exhibitions. Tverbakk had a background as an artist and curator, and he had operated the gallery Otto Plonk in Bergen. This was the first time the festival had people involved who called themselves curators.
Kveum and Tverbakk named the festival exhibition Neste Stopp [Next Stop]. This was made up of two main projects – Eksenter, a group exhibition with nine Norwegian and foreign artists, and Spillerom [Playspace], which consisted of a series of outdoor art projects in public spaces in Vågan. Both projects involved younger Norwegian and foreign artists, including some established names such as Lawrence Weiner. Eksenter sought to direct attention towards the human role in a world experienced as both more global and more mutable. Its title played with centres and peripheries in the contemporaneous context of discussions around the ‘glocal’, and a seminar was organised around this theme. Spillerom had a wholly different character; it engaged in dialogue with the surroundings in a way that the earlier sculptures had not. Utsmykkingsfondet for offentlige bygg, [Public Art Norway] which dealt with public art, was a partner. For 1999, the festival seemed to place the exploration of international problems in a local and regional art milieu, but it remained committed to several elements and ideas that had been established eight years earlier. There was a main exhibitor in Atelier Lofoten’s gallery – Olafur Eliasson, who arrived directly from Venice. In relation to the festival goal of achieving ‘great range and breadth’, we find several examples of projects with either historical or local connections: a historical exhibition prepared by Nordnorsk kunstmuseum [Northern Norway Art Museum], an exhibition of documentary photography from North Norway and an unveiling of the sculpture Fiskarkona [The Fisherman’s Wife] by Per Ung at the entrance to Svolvær harbour.