September 19th - 28th 2016

Arctic Action II is the second edition of the Arctic Action Live Performance Art Festival held on Spitsbergen. The festival wants to be an alternative to the traditional live performance art festivals, in the sense that the performances will take place outdoor in the impressive Arctic scenery. Arctic Action wants to give the invited artists the time and possibility to work more profoundly, as to be able to integrate Svalbard’s’ natural landscape and its impressive qualities and singular expressions into their works. In other words to give the artists time and opportunity to create unique and new art works of quality on the same unique level as the environment they will meet.

Last year, in 2015 we focused on one artist at the time. We thought that would be the best way of realizing a quality-focused event of live art in the unique landscape of Svalbard. We wanted to give time to one artist alone to come closer to the environment, to better understand it, sense it and create in it. This year we will invite 10 artists to come and explore, feel, sense and create together. The objective is still to have each one of them to present amazing art works in communication with the landscape they are performing in. The artists have to present one new work in the Russian ghost town of Pyramiden and one new work in the surroundings of the Norwegian settlement, Longyearbyen.

The stated objective of Arctic Action is to produce a professional high definition digital remediation of each work in video as well as in photography for a continued redistribution on the Internet. To introduce the digital aspect of the event as a core quality, as a fusion of the live and the digital. This will of course be an expanded challenge with ten artists producing twenty works in only nine crazy days compared to last year when we could work closer with each and every artist. Still we believe in the blasting energy of ten artists working close together in the Arctic for an intense period of 9 days.

Out of the numerous live art festivals on the international scene, not one gives emphasis to environmental sustainability and digital remediation. This is clearly two of the qualities that distinguish this project as an art manifestation.

Arctic Action is a different international live event focusing on the artists within an ecological approach. Moreover, discussing issues on the relationship of sustainable development and its relation to art, as well as art’s relation to scientific research on the environment.

Marilyn Arsem


Lives and works in Boston.

She taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for 27 years, establishing one of the most extensive programs internationally in visually-based performance art. She is also a member and founder of the legendary Boston-based collaborative of interdisciplinary artists, Mobius Inc.,
Marylin Arsem is without no doubt one of the most important international artists and pedagogues in the field of action art, She has been creating live events since 1975, from solo gallery performances to large-scale, site-specific works. Arsem has presented work at festivals, conferences, alternative spaces, galleries, museums and universities in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Most recently she has focused on creating site-specific performances, often in the context of festivals. These works are not planned in advance, but made in response to a location that is selected on arrival. Engaging with the immediate landscape and materiality of the location, its history, use or politics. Sites have included a former Cold War missile base in the United States, a 15th century Turkish bath in Macedonia, an aluminium factory in Argentina, and the site of the Spanish landing in the Philippines. This year she did her project “100 ways to consider time” where she did 100 different daily 6 hours performances on time in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Maline Casta


Born in 1978. Lives and works in Stockholm

Maline is a visual artist with background in the performing arts. She often works at the interface between production design, installation and illustration. She creates constructed situations where time, repetition and persistence are the main components. Her works often have a poetic tone and uses the visitor's curiosity as a driving force. In her previous projects Maline has been exploring playing games as an alternative place where we can think beyond the existing world order. She got her Master of Fine Arts at Tisch School of The Arts in New York. Ms. Casta has worked internationally in the field of performance Art for several years and presented her work in more then 10 countries.

John Court


Born in 1969. Lives and works in Lapland

In 1999 John Court began a series of performances based on the ethics of the eight-hour working day. Court uses his body in motion to express the disarrangement of his learning experience. The performance space creates the immediacy of the juxtaposition between the self as body, the blank page and a page unread. In the everyday situation, time is invariably spent in flux between a variety of competing moods and emotions. Time is spent, caught, wasted, killed, saved, lost, found; all these events are evident in performance works of John Court. More recently he has been interested in letting the objects and materials he uses in his performances to determine the duration of the piece. He doesn’t consider his performances solo works, since they always include collaborative elements from curators, organizers, artists, viewers, objects, spaces and time. Court’s works are sensible to the site and they often create a parallel rhythm within the rhythm of the site with the ongoing repetitious action. All his works are fundamentally concerned with drawing or writing, in that drawing connects the elements of line, movement, space and time.

In Courts performances we can witness the artist bringing together other aspects of his interdisciplinary practice including sculpture and drawing. His performances can be seen as a way of marking time as we witness the artist pushing his body beyond exhaustion. Throughout his performances movements will provide the only sounds, as the artist remains silent, void of engagement with the audience.

Magnús Logi Kristinsson


Born in 1975 in Iceland, lives and works in Helsinki

Kristinsson has been creating solo performances since 1999 when he moved to Amsterdam to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, focusing on performative practice and receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003. From 2005 to 2007 he was performing with the interdisciplinary performance group Oblivia. He received his Masters of Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, where he now lives and works. Language and the body become structural and sculptural forms in Kristinsson's performance-based practice. Through a systematic manner of speaking his diverse listings become a mix of concrete poetry and music, while his physical presence is put to the test as it borders on the inanimate.

Xiao Lu


Born in 1962. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

Xiao Lu has been an explosive force in Chinese art ever since she walked into the National Gallery of Art in Beijing and fired a gun at one of her sculptures in 1989, just months before the troubles. The piece, Dialogue (1989), consisted of two telephone booths, one with a figure of a man and one with a woman, a red telephone dangling off the hook between them.
Gender and the self have been frequent subjects of her work ever since, as in Sperm (2006), about her unsuccessful search for a sperm donor, and Wedding, a recent project in which she documented her fictional attempts to marry herself. Still being an avant-garde artist that continues to work with performance art as well as with video, photo and installation, Xiao Lu is an important force on the Chinese art scene and has in performances as well as in her exhibitions shown an artistic strength being a symbol of integrity.

Irma Optimist


Born in 1952. Lives and works in Helsinki

Mathematician Irma Optimist started doing performance art in 1989. Since then she has performed at dozens of festivals, museums and galleries all over the world. During the beginning of her career, she was famous for the ironic and parodying aspects of her performances. These were directed as criticism of the prevalent masculine concept of art. Many of the works were interactive and simultaneous, based on mathematical dynamics of chaos.
In most of her work, Irma Optimist has been very personal, discussing the conditions of identity, femininity, and death. Gender, locality and nature have been her themes. The works themselves are transformations, in which the existence of the artist is connected to ritual and live installation. Irma Optimist has also acted as a curator and brought many well-known international performance artists to events she has organised in Finland. Since 2000, she has been involved in organising Là-bas, a permanent forum for living art and experimental culture.

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen


Born in 1970 in Manila, Philippines. Lives and works in Copenhagen.

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen is a graduate from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen (1996-2002). Cuenca primarily engages in video and performance art. She often takes her own Danish-Filipino background as a point of departure. Cuenca gathers, adapts, and universalizes her narratives in both a critical and humorous approach in regards to issues such as identity, culture, religion, gender and social relations. Cuenca’s productions involve scripted texts, songs; composed music as well as intricate visual elements that include set design and costumes.
In her re-enactments Cuenca explores her own art historical heritage and questions both women’s place in art history and the artist identity as such.She participated in the 2011 Venice Biennale in the Danish pavilion with Afghan Hound: four songs on video plus a live performance. Cuenca has received several prizes most recently in 2012 The Carl Nielsen & Anne Marie Carl Nielsen’s Prize. Cuenca is represented by Gallery Christian Larsen in Stockholm.

Joakim Stampe


Born in 1959, lives and works in Gothenburg

Joakim Stampe has become know internationally within performance and street art and is regularly invited to festivals and art events all over the world, from Korea, France, China, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico to Norway, Finland, and many other countries. In his work he has fusioned the ephemeral with the art object, painting with performance and matter like water, fire, yes even air and stone. Inspired by Gaston Bachelards theories on the poetry of matter Stampe creates work that constantly surprises in their fantasy and artistic expression. He has furthermore developed a concept on the action of giving as art. The notion of giving away art objects for free is quite controversial in a society dominated by a hysterical consumption. In which even the idea of artistic creation and its value has been reduced to that of simple wage labour.

Jiri Suruvka

Czech Republic

Born in 1961, lives and works in Ostrava.

Jiri Suruvka, working in the area of performance since 1988, founder of a performance group Vorkapelle Lozinski (with P. Lysacek), leader and writer of performance cabarett 'Fun masters comeback', member of the art group 'Frantisek Lozinski, o.p.s.' (with P. Lysacek and F. Kowolowski). He also works as a painter and new media artist. Today he is Professor of New Media class in the Faculty of Art, Ostrava University. He represented the Czech Republic at the Venice Biennial in 2002. Suruvka have presented and exhibited his work all over Europe and in the United States.
'The content of my work is mostly ironical and self ironical, with black humour, with moral messages and a social engagement. I graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of the Ostrava University, majoring in Czech and arts. I am a liberal artist and a disabled pensioner part time.'

Sarah Gerats


Sarah Gerats (NO/BE) relates to her work as an exercise in possibilities. Her works are characterized by repetition, commitment, motion and a strong relation to her environment. Some of her media are photography, storytelling, performance and rumours.
Sarah received a master in Time and Space at the Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki, and a post graduate at the HISK in Ghent. In 2012 she accidentally moved up to Svalbard, where she lives and works.

Equinox 2016

Arctic Action took part of the Equinox 2016 performance art movement when all artists in the festival participated in a collective performance by the harbour of Pyramiden.


The idea of the project is to create a sustainable and innovative event showcasing major international artists representing different tendencies in performance art. In the first edition of the festival we decided to host one artist at the time for between 7 and 10 days. To give time to the artist to come closer to the environment, to better understand it, feel it and work in it. Then we wanted to produce a 7-10 days festival where all artists collectively were invited for a certain period of time. Maybe they will as a group working together better understand the landscape and understand their challenges, how to work with the unique nature and animal life, the stillness and silence conveyed, as well as the societal structure of the small settlements. For the seventh edition of Arctic Action we want to invite ten artists from the North to tell their stories from the North.


Our objective of Arctic Action is to profile it as an innovative and high quality event of live art on the international contemporary art scene and highlight its natural core themes, the relationship between man and nature and environmental protection.
It is our hope that the art works produced in the exceptional natural environment of Svalbard will stimulate a greater awareness on the fragility of our planet.


The curator of Arctic Action is Svalbard native, Stein Henningsen, who has an extensive network on the international scene of live art. Having been active internationally producing work in Italy, France, China, USA, Canada, Czeck Republic, Ukraine, Germany, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and of course Norway, Henningsen has an established position on the contemporary live art scene.

Our Vision

Arctic Action is a different international live event focusing on the artists working within an ecological approach. Moreover, discussing issues on the relationship of sustainable development and its relation to art, as well as art’s relation to scientific research on the environment.


Through its specific location, Arctic Action will in a natural way and quite probably through the artists work highlight global environmental issues.
Being a protected ecologic zone Svalbard is a natural example of a sustainable future. Most issues related to our planets survival and sustainability is inter-connected with Svalbard in one way or another, exemplified by the Global Seed Vault. A performance art event in this specific location can be exemplary in highlighting these vital issues.
Sometimes an image can speak more than a 1000 words, and we believe that the images created at Arctic Action will do that. Integrating the human action and its surrounding environment. Although the awareness on these global issues for a sustainable future are rising around the world, we believe that Arctic Action through its production of convincing artist images will be able to strengthen and support this development.


Org. No 914 901 774
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c/o Stein Henningsen
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