Kjærleikens ferjereiser (Ferry Travels of Love)


Helena Hietanen-Technolace
9 June–8 July 2001, Svolvær

In 2001, the art festival marked the millennial change by launching its first website. At 27 and 28, Vibeke Sjøvoll and Gry O. Ulrichsen, both from Vågan, were the youngest curators in the festival’s history. They made use of the web catalogue to write a text that considered how poor the economic basis of the festival had become. The title of the festival was Kjærlighetens Ferjereiser [Ferry Travels of Love], taken from Edvard Hoem’s 1974 novel of the same name. In an October 2000 Lofotposten interview, Ulrichsen asserted that she and Sjøvoll had been given free rein for their work, but that the cultural director of the municipality of Vågan, Astrid Arnøy, had expressed a hope that they might integrate Vågan artists into the exhibition. Eleven artists participated, two from Vågan, and work was undertaken with the local community via what were perhaps the festival’s most directly social projects. The curators hoped to strengthen the multicultural North Norwegian identity, via concrete connections with the approximately four hundred asylum seekers and immigrants then living in Svolvær. The artists’ group, New Meaning, to which Ulrichsen belonged, organised language and computer courses for refugees and immigrants. If we compare the programme from 2001 to those of earlier festivals, we see that the opening of the festival was organised to coincide with the opening of an exhibition at the North Norwegian Art Center but not with other exhibitions. The time of a multitude of exhibitions seemed to have passed. Also in 2001, the Kjølelageret freezer plant in Svolvær harbour was converted into an exhibition space and would function as a site during the next three festivals.