October 23, 2018 - Office for Contemporary Art Norway - Office for Contemporary Art Norway
October 23, 2018

Office for Contemporary Art Norway

(1) Oswaldo Maciá, field research for “Fables of the Wind,” BISTI/De-Na-Zin. Courtesy of the artist. (2) Mette Henriette, All the In-Between Spaces, documenta14, Athens. © Stithies Mamalakis.

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Autumn artists-in-residence at Artica Svalbard

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre gate 7
0551 Oslo

T +47 23 23 31 50

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The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) is pleased to announce Oswaldo Maciá and Mette Henriette as autumn artists-in-residence at Artica Svalbard. OCA is a long-term Key Partner of Artica Svalbard, in Longyearbyen, in the Svalbard archipelago. 

”Two internationally-recognised artists working across disciplines, Oswaldo Maciá’s and Mette Henriette’s practices channel the sensorial dimensions of the world we live in. Maciá’s field-based artistic research across tropical rainforests and extreme deserts leads to symphonic compositions as well as olfactory-acoustic sculptures and installations that excavate the counter-narratives of human and geopolitical relevance embedded in our understanding of the past, present and future. Mette Henriette’s musical inspiration is drawn from a myriad journeys in urban and natural environments including the polar regions and central Asia. Her assemblages of sound, light, sculpture, scenography, and choreography reveal emotional worlds that are as delicately intimate as they are monumentally forceful. They convey the landscapes that inhabit the human, as well as the human that perambulates across those geographies.”
–Katya García-Antón, Director and Chief Curator of OCA

Maciá and Mette Henriette will spend several weeks in the city of Longyearbyen, in the archipelago of Svalbard, where global warming is occurring at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. Only 650 km from the North Pole, Svalbard is the northern-most year-round settlement on Earth with a diverse population of around 2,200 inhabitants. An extreme landscape where as much as 60 percent of landmass is covered in ice, and less than 10 percent has any vegetation, Svalbard is at the epicentre of some of the most urgent questions of our times. Climate change stands amongst the most studied field by the large number of international scientific researchers at the heart of Svalbard’s community, given that climate warming and the effect on oceanic currents or glacier melting is notoriously magnified in this latitude of the world.

Yet Svalbard is a place of transformation in other senses too. Its history as a coal mining centre is being replaced into a future as a deep-earth storage site for global data, and a listening post for planetary intelligence. Moreover 2020 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the unique Treaty of Svalbard which made the archipelago a protectorate of Norway, and whose signatories amount today to almost 40 nation states. The treaty’s governance model had great historical importance as it has ensured that other signatory nations to the treaty have equal rights to Norwegians citizens to engage in resource exploitation, as well as scientific research. With the upcoming expiration of the accord, the question of international collaboration as a collective global project lies at the heart of the archipelago, the circumpolar region and the planet's future. Artists in residence in Svalbard will be a part of this crucible of ideas, through discussions with local researchers and thinkers as well as Longyearbyen citizens.

”During my time in Svalbard, I will continue to record migratory winds in different deserts around the world for the acousmatic composition ‘Fables of the wind.’ Svalbard in the Arctic is a key location; a center for research, a place for a direct observation of the tragedy of climate change. ’Fables of the wind’ places us in the allegorical space of the wind, an endless cycle of departure and return.”
–Oswaldo Maciá

”The silence of Svalbard resonates in me. There is a stillness and grandness about the landscapes that makes me listen in a different way than I do other places. This time of year there is darkness and a sense of danger too. So I am curious to absorb those surroundings and see what my creative response will be. The only thing I know for sure is that it will be both visual and sonic, and that my process will be indoors and outdoors. Something tells me there will be shapes of water, but we will see.”
–Mette Henriette

About the artists
Oswaldo Maciá is an artist working across media, hailing from the Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. During the 1990s, after completing an MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London, his work was shown in solo exhibitions at key venues such as the Museum of Installation and Clove gallery as well as in group shows such as the seminal Ideal Standard Summertime at Lisson Gallery (1996). Since then he has gone on to create olfactory-acoustic sculptures, performances, installations, and collaborations sourced from research across diverse environments, landscapes, and social contexts. His works have been exhibited all over the world, including at the Riga Biennial (2018), Tate Britain (2016), Manifesta 9 (2012), Biennal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2011), Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece (2009) and many others. In 2018 Maciá won the Golden Pear at the fifth annual Art and Olfaction Awards in London for his experimental work with scent, and his work is held in international collections such as Tate Britain and Daros Latinamerica. He lives and works in the UK and the USA.

Mette Henriette is a Sámi-Norwegian interdisciplinary composer, saxophonist and performing artist whose work has shown around the world. In 2017, she premiered the solo performance In Between at documenta14, a piece reflecting on nomadic lifestyles which took place inside Athens Concert Hall. Later the same year, she performed at the opening show for the Indigenous festival Riddu Riddu celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first Sámi political assembly of 1917. In 2015, she released her debut double album on the renowned German record label ECM Records to worldwide acclaim. In addition to her solo work, she has collaborated on projects with artists and groups such as Marina Abramović, Anton Corbijn, Manfred Eicher, OMA, Nicolas Jaar, Darkside, Valgeir Sigurðsson and CocoRosie and her work has been performed at The Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, Aesop, Atlanta Jazz Festival, The Research Council of Norway, Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, and many others.

About Artica Svalbard
Artica Svalbard was founded in 2016 by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, Fritt Ord (the Freedom of Expression Foundation) and the Cultural Business Development Foundation of the bank SpareBank1 Nord-Norge. Artica’s Key Partners are Norsk PEN, OCA (Office for Contemporary Art Norway), and the Queen Sonja Print Award. The purpose of the foundation is to facilitate artistic and cultural activities on Svalbard, and to support the development of Norwegian art and culture by enabling artists in all genres to create and present their art. The foundation aims to bolster the cultural and creative industries on Svalbard and generally increase interest in Svalbard as a destination. The foundation has an Arctic and international focus and will organise public events to raise awareness of and discuss Arctic Norway’s relevance to fields such as culture, geopolitics, climate change, migration and minorities.

Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)
The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is an independent foundation whose principle aim is to support art practitioners based in Norway, including Sápmi, and to foster exchange and catalyse discourse between Norway and the international arts scene. In addition to administering a series of grant schemes, residencies and visitor programmes, OCA develops its own discursive, exhibition, publication, and research programmes focused on bringing to Norway the plurality of practices and histories at the forefront of international artistic debates while also actively participating in and shaping such debates nationally and internationally. OCA has been responsible for Norway's contribution to the visual arts section of the Venice Biennale since 2001.

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