Produced by FuturePerfect Productions and Performing Arts Hub Norway with support from the Royal Norwegian Consulate of New York
Since the early 2000s, a new generation of Norwegian artists has been developing and advancing a vital independent performance scene both in Norway and abroad. Norway offers a unique set of political, economic and social circumstances for exploring how independent performing artists research, innovate, develop, and disseminate their work within a dynamic, yet increasingly fragile, framework of government agencies and cultural institutions, as well as individual and private efforts. A panel of six compelling artists—working in and between dance, theater, visual art, film and music—talk about their artistic strategies, themes, and contexts. What are the opportunities for international collaboration, co-production, and presenting? Tom Sellar, editor of Yale’s international performance journal Theater moderates this two-hour symposium.
The special convening brings together seventeen Norwegian artists and producers, and thirty international presenters, curators and festival directors to the Scandinavia House in New York City.
Session One: Mediating Landscapes on Norway’s Stages
Some of Norway’s most innovative contemporary performance makers deploy mediating technologies strategically– from film to robotics, DUB (electronic music), computation, video, communication and wireless protocols. Some have also built their stage works around actual journeys exploring challenging geographical and cultural terrain. How do technology and geography come together in their current projects, and what are the productions’ expressive qualities on stage?
Panelists: Asle Nilsen & Piotr Pajchel (Verdensteatret), Tor Christian Bleikli (Transiteatret-Bergen), Lise Risom Olsen (NONcompany)
Session Two: What’s Real? Authenticity and Invention in Norwegian Theater and Dance Now
Contemporary theater and dance have taken on new agendas in recent years, challenging the public to reflect on urgent social and political priorities with a range of inventive forms and modes. How do recent and current projects by leading artists use different elements of the “real” to open up new spaces in the public imagination?
Panelists: Jo Strømgren (Jo Strømgren Kompani), Thorbjørn Davidsen (De Utvalgte), Hooman Sharifi (Carte Blanche)
Featured Artists include:
Verdensteatret is a multi-disciplinary Oslo-based art group that makes installations, performance art, concerts and other works. Their projects are presented internationally in different contexts including art museums, galleries, contemporary music festivals and theaters. Their advanced use of audiovisual technology in a close dialogue with more traditional artistic expressions results in complex orchestral works or space-related musical compositions. They have developed a unique style, combining soundscapes, kinetic sculptures, installations and stories of the fragile human soul. Deep within the nature of their work there is a nomadic perspective, an ongoing voyage. It has always been there, imprinted in the works as tiny details or radiating out from the overall history of works. They now refer to their works as ”telling orchestras” that perform compositions in the “movable room genre”.
Transiteatret-Bergen is a theatre company based in Bergen, Norway under the artistic direction of playwright and director Tore Vagn Lid. Defined as an artistic production network – including a director, sound, light, set and video designers, actors and musicians – Transit works towards the development of a contemporary performance practice at the intersection of theatre and music. Working from Lid’s concepts and ideas, the company’s core artistic ambition has been to expand the theatre as a critical room of experience, where the potential of music and musical dramaturgy are central. Since its foundation in 2001, Transiteatret-Bergen has carried out over 20 scenic experiments and award-winning productions. The company has been presented i several European countries, and was the first Norwegian company to perform at the Salzburg Festival (“Measures Taken”, Young directors project 2008).
De Utvalgte is a theater company founded in Oslo in 1994 by Kari Holtan, Boya Bøckman, Torbjørn Davidsen, Anne Holtan and Morten Kippe, fellow graduates from the Nordic School of Theatre. De Utvalgte’s practice is situated at the border of theater, visual art and performance. The company has created a distinctive and multifaceted expression through the combination of video, text, sound and music, and is the first in the world to develop a dramaturgy that combines 3D film scenography and narrative. They often use non actors in their work to further complicate and question the audience’s assumptions about roles and identities, authenticity and theatricality.
Carte Blanche, the Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance, was established in Bergen in 1989. With its home base in Studio Bergen, the company tours both in Norway and internationally throughout the year. The ensemble consists of 12- 15 dancers of many nationalities around the world, particularly known for their strong stage presence, high technical abilities and their individual creativity. Furthermore, Carte Blanche has a technical- and an administration department of 14 people in total. New programs are created every season and the older ones re-staged. The Company has previously worked with Norwegian and internationally renowned choreographers, and woks with artists that has a critical eye on the society and that manages to express this through the dance. By allowing the dancers to exploit the privileges a publicly owned company gives, Carte Blanche enables the artists the possibility to grow. This way Carte Blanche creates an exciting and unique repertoire of high quality, underpinning the company’s goal to be a forerunner of innovation, presentation and development of contemporary dance in Norway and abroad. Artistic Director and CEO from 2014 – Hooman Sharifi
NONcompany is a project-based, multidisciplinary performing arts group founded in 2002. They produce original stage performances from a conceptual approach. Over the years NONcompany has developed a collective aesthetic often described as “technological romanticism.” The company members are mostly performers as well as creators. Their current project KAZAK is a trilogy created over many years with production residences and performances in multiple countries including Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada, Poland and Lithuania. NONcompany has also created a variety of smaller projects in the form of video art, recitals, happenings and concerts. Their text-based productions can be performed in English.
Jo Strømgren Kompani was founded in 1998. Acclaimed by audiences and critics, it has grown to become one of the most stable independent companies in Scandinavia. The company has been touring almost 50 countries so far, and more than 150 performances take place annually both in large national theatres and small alternative venues all over the world. The company’s work is characterized by extensive blend of genres, research on absurd humor, exploration of nonsensical language techniques, the use of actors as dance performers and a somewhat peculiar choice of themes. With layers of dark psychology and ambivalent wit, the audiences are invited to associate freely upon storylines and symbolism. The company does not follow a defined method, but seeks to assimilate existing techniques of storytelling, where the personal viewpoint is given higher priority than formal experiment. The style of the company differs radically from the works Strømgren frequently creates as a freelance choreographer and theatre director around the world.
Additional participating artists include: Ingri Fiksdal, Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, winter guests, zero visibility corp, Mia Habib, Findlay/Sandsmark, Dieserud/Lindgren, NIE (New International Encounter) and Kari Hoaas.
Norway Now–Performing Arts from the Northern Latitudes is made possible by support from Performing Arts Hub Norway (PAHN) and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.