September 11th - 19th 2017

  • Kurt Johannessen, Sophie Dupont, Pekka Kainulainen and Liina Kuittinen will arrive 11th of September for a third week of Art Talks and Performance... Arthur Mason will hold a lecture and dialogue.
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Roi Vaara was the first artist visiting this year, from June 3rd to the 12th. He did several performances both at Pyramiden and Longyearbyen and held an unforgettable Art Talk at Galleri Svalbard.
Arctic Action 2017 is the third 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.

For the 2nd edition, held in 2016, we received ten artists for ten days. We thought that maybe ten artists together, supporting each other in this demanding environment, would give more energy to each artist and create synergies. It is hard to measure this effect, but even so we felt that the group was to big for the format of the festival. We lost the intimate feeling of the first edition where we had more time for taking care and support each artist. This year we will start with Roi Vaara in June, getting support of two local artists before presenting his new work in Longyearbyen. We are agin back to the idea of giving time to one artist alone to come closer to the environment, to better understand it, sense it and create in it.

Later this year, from 11th to 19th of September, we will invite a smaller group of 4 artists to come and explore, feel, sense and create together. It would be interesting to see how a smaller group will handle the challenge. The objective is to have each one of them to present amazing art works in communication with the landscape they are performing in. All artists coming have to present at least one new work in the surroundings of the Norwegian settlement, Longyearbyen.

In July we are proud to present Emma Hoette from Australia. We also hope to have the amazing Chinese artist Huang Rui taking part of the festival this summer. Dates not yet fixed.

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.

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.

Pekka Kainulainen


Born in 1956, lives and works in Lohja, Finland.

Pekka Kainulainen is one of the pioneers of Finnish performance art. He has been active since the early 1980s. His work always carries with it a strong emotional and physical presence, and at the same time a light poetic though profound humanity that only can be experienced. In a sense Kainulainen is an artistic shaman, bringing profound poetry and humanity to those that have the chance to experience his work. He is the founder of the Finnish performance art festival Paikkari Performance. He also works in co-operation with the Finnish artist and freelance writer Iiris Pessa producing an annual video festival Sammatin Näyttämö, Lohja, Finland.
Kainulainen has taken part in performance art festivals all over the world: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Germany, USA, France, Belgium and Italy.
Today Kainulainen also works as a lyricist with the heavy metal band Amorphis. In his lyrics he mixes epic poetry and the stories of the staff of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a topic which is also very important in his performance work.

In an essay on his work, the Finnish writer Iris Pessa notes:

“In his art Pekka Kainulainen uses mythological methods that construct a story in order to describe ways of perceiving and understanding. In many of his performances he demonstrates to the audience the internal changes that happen when feeling and thought slowly create pictures and new meanings. His work often includes a very concrete coming into view or of being bared.

Even though Kainulainen is, in the end, very serious about his subject matter, the energy flows of his art encompass playful and carnivalesque laughter. His choice of material is often surprising. An altered being who has been searching for his real self is born and tears his way out of a heap of soil, grass, from underneath a moose skin, out of bubble plastic wrapping or from amidst printed advertisements. An old face is pealed off to reveal a new one.”

Liina Kuittinen


Born in 1983. Lives and works in Helsinki
“I made a piece with mud. I expected it to be challenging but I could not imagine how hard it actually was. I thought that by working with mud I would understand the material better, how it reacted with time, but I only got tired and very dirty…”

In her recent work she has been working with questions concerning duration, materiality and performance. In her artistic practice she is trying to understand time related to the human body in relation to the duration of other materials.
“Perception of time is essential in the age of environmental changes we are living in today. Humans are forced to reconsider their relations, not only to other creatures, but also to inorganic environments. Changes in ecosystems and in climate happens fast, but the processes leading to them are slow and beyond our daily experience of time. I consider performance as a possible place for renewing the perception of time and duration.”

Performance is her main practice and subject. She has been presenting her work in various events, festivals and in exhibitions. She received a Master Degree in Fine Arts (MFA) from The Academy of Fine Art in Helsinki in 2017. She has also been organizing performance art events presenting international artists in Helsinki and other cities in Finland.

Kurt Johannessen


Born in 1960, lives and works in Bergen.
Kurt Johannessen works with performance and installation art. Today he is one of Scandinavia’s major performance artists and is prominent on the international scene. Since the beginning of the 1980s he has produced approximately 160 different works and has had more than 300 presentations all over the world. His work is characterized by a minimalist and poetic presence.
In 2007 the Oslo contemporary art center, Kunstnernes Hus, presented a major retrospective on his work. In an essay on his performance work the Norwegian critic Audun Eckhoff writes:
“Kurt Johannessen’s art appears quiet-mannered, poetic, experimental. His actions and productions do not seem heavily loaded with significance, and can scarcely be said to hold the sort of specific meanings many of the well-known performances from the 1960s and ‘70s held. Nevertheless, his artistic practice – begun in the 1980s in an artistic outpost, with few parallels and precursors – is clearly anchored in the short tradition of performance art.”

Sophie Dupont


Sophie is Born in 1975. She lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sophie Dupont works with performance, sculpture and photography, but disregarding media the starting point for her works is often an existential and poetic reflection on the basic human conditions and on the basic elements and mechanisms of both body and mind.
Dupont’s poetic and existential focus also often reflects in her works’ formal minimalism and choice of materials, which are often in dialogue with the body and mind – either symbolically or directly.
Recurring themes in Sophie Dupont are simple rituals and repetitions. Through those she examines the contradictions and connections between object and subject; body and psyche and her past performances have thus been quiet poetic studies of respiration, body weight, balance and movement.
Dupont received an MFA from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has studied Contemporary Dance at London Contemporary Dance School (The Place).

Arthur Mason


As part of Arctic Action III festival, Artica Svalbard and Arctic Action have invited cultural anthropologist Arthur Mason to hold a breakfast lecture and dialogue.

Arthur Mason holds academic appointments as Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in the Department of Social Anthropology and as Adjunct Associate Professor at Rice University in the Department of Anthropology.

Dr. Mason’s research addresses the exchange of Arctic petro-industry information in elite premium networking spaces and the broader context of energy knowledge provisioning for visualising the future. His previous work examines Alaska Native history, including moments of identification and political recognition via forms of heritage work, citizenship, and academic expertise. His forthcoming research focuses on aesthetic in hydrocarbon imagery and interconnections between the Arctic’s changing environmental and cultural systems and other regions of the world.

Emma Hoette


Born in 1986, in Australia, Hoette has lived and worked in Amsterdam and in NYC for the past 10 years.
Hoette can best be described as a captivating storyteller: an artist that uses her body, clothing and film to weave narratives exploring the issues of our time in a way that will ignite and foster conversations.
Working at the intersection of design and performance, Hoette thoughtfully investigates objects and space. She researches and mobilizes everyday acts and materials, giving them agency by transforming them into striking choreographic projects.
Through these new perspectives on the everyday, her work challenges established assumptions of use and exchange, value of materials and experiences, and the frictional borders between objects, dress and bodies.
Her practice is structured by specific and disciplined routines and rituals of collecting, taking apart, reinterpreting and re-configuring movement, objects and images. This approach results in choreographies and performances that explore social interactions with/experiences of others and observations of the environment. She works to create spaces of physical sensation where thoughts, emotions, experiences and questions arise that inform and re-invent ways of seeing and being.
Hoette’s work has been shown in a range of contexts spanning performing arts venues, festivals and galleries across the US and Europe. She holds a BFA in Integrated Design (combining fashion, choreography and performance) from Parsons The New School for Design, NYC and has recently been selected for the MFA in Creative Practice at Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music in association with Siobhan Davies Dance, London starting September 2017.

Roi Vaara


Born in 1953, lives and works in Helsinki and Budapest.

Roy Vaara is a pioneer in video, installation, performance and collective arts in Finland and internationally best known of his performances. His background is in visual arts and in improvisational sound works. As soon as his elemental groundwork in his art became clear to himself, he rejected the conventional genre based art disciplines to work on site and situation specific interdisciplinary art forms made live. He has done performances since 1978 and since 1988 he has been active in a performance collective Black Market International whose mode of operation is based on free and open exchange of ideas.

Roi Vaara has performed over 500 unique, experimental works. His art has been presented in numerous international exhibitions/festivals in about 50 countries world wide. He is one of the founders of Muu ry (1987), an association for interdisciplinary art in Finland and its honorary member since 2012.
He has written about art, worked as visiting lecturer and teacher in numerous universities and art academies around the globe, curated and organized performance art programs. Poikkeustila (Exceptional State or State of Alarm) in 1999 was the first and until now the only nationwide performance art festival in Helsinki. In 2001 Vaara organized EXIT Festival called as Woodstock Festival of Performance Art which presented works of about 300 artists from 34 countries in Helsinki. His performance Artist's Dilemma on video became an international hit and the emblem of 47th Bucharest Biennale subtitled as Art, Life & Confusion (curated by René Block) in 2006.

Roi Vaara was born in 1953 in Moss (Norway) from Finnish parents, studied art in University of Art and Design (now Aalto University) in 1972-75 in Helsinki and in Jyväskylä University 1976-77 in Finland. He was granted a state award from the Arts Council of Finland in 2000 and the Niinistö Foundation's Ars Fennica Prize in 2005. In 2010 he was nominated (by Esther Ferrer) to 5x5 CASTELLÓ International Art Prize and was awarded Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of Lion in Finland.


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
P. O. Box 732

+47 99582558