Folkemuseet – «New Light»

Year: 2019

Project type: Event / Temporary installations

Location: Bygdøy, Oslo, Norway

Artists: Ingrid Solvik, Reidun Solvik, Gard Gitlestad

For their 125th anniversary, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History decided to celebrate in a way that would inspire visitors to see their open-air exhibit of historic buildings from across Norway from an entirely new perspective.

Titled «New Light», the intention of the event was to use light to radically transform a selection of their vast open-air collection of buildings. The museum wanted their buildings and cultural environments, which date from the middle ages up until the 19th century, to be recontextualised to inspire visitors to see unexpected details, connections or stories.

Among a wide range of installations spanning a 6500m² area, a few of the most prominent included:

1: Gol Stave Church

By contrasting a 12th century Stave church with contemporary stage lighting technology and aesthetics, this lighting scheme comments on the historical significance of churces as cultural and social meeting points in the rural areas of Norway, and links them to modern meeting points like discotheques and concert halls.

The exterior lighting used weatherproof moving lights programmed in synchronisation with a soundtrack composed by Tonik Ensemble for the Stave church. The interior installation was a «deconstructed disco» where a modular synthesizer generated random voltages used bot to the generate an abstract soundscape, and to control beams of light that were reflected off a large mirror ball suspended amongst the wood-carved ornaments in the ceiling.

2: Setesdal Chinatown

The cultural landscape of Setesdal was transformed into a Chinatown of sorts, by means of 100 Chinese paper lanterns suspended between the 17th century buildings. The intention was to accentuate the striking similarities between the architecture of Setesdal and that of certain places in Asia, and by extension, inviting to reflect on how otherwise unconnected people in completely different places on the planet can sometimes come up with very similar ideas.

Spectators also came up with other interesting and surprising interpretations. For instance, the installation was take by some to be a reference to how Chinese restaurants have a peculiar tendency to appear all over rural Norway; others interpreted the Setesdal Chinatown to carry a strong anti-nationalistic message – much to their dismay, and to our contentment.

3: Dreams of the Past

Video mapping for a loft from Numedal, which was used to store food on the ground floor and house guests on the top floor. Handmade animations, inspired by what the travellers staying in the loft hundereds of years ago may have dreamt about, were mapped to its facade.

The concept revolves around how dreams are influenced by knowledge and by experiences throughout the day, and thus, how dreams 400 years ago must have been vastly different.

Soundtracked by Jorunn Børve Eriksen.