September 11th - 19th 2017

  • Kurt Johannessen, Pekka Kainulainen and Liina Kuittinen will arrive 11th of September for a second week of Art Talks and Performance...

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 2 nd 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, in mid 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.

We also hope to have the amazing Chinese artist Huang Rui taking part of the festival this summer.

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

Finland

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

Finland

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

Norway

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.”

Roi Vaara

Finland

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

Roi Vaara is one of the most internationally recognized performance artists in Scandinavia. He was born in 1953 in Moss, Norway, but grew up in Helsinki, Finland, where he has caused constant controversy in the art world and cultural life since the early 1980s.

His critical point of view is not to attract public sensation but to challenge the way we are looking at things. He studied in the University of Art and Design 1972—75 in Helsinki and art research in Jyväskylä University 1976—77 in Finland. Vaara has made performances since 1982. He is one of the founders of Muu ry (1987), an association for cross art in Finland and the initiator and one of the founders of IAPAO (International Association of Performance Art Organizers) in Essen, Germany, 2003.

Since 1988, Vaara is a member of Black Market International (BMI), whose work proposes performance art as a simultaneous form of communication. Vaara was in Künstlerhaus Bethanien’s international atelierprogramm in 1997—1998 in Berlin, Germany.

He has organized and curated performance events of which 'Poikkeustila' festival was the first nation wide performance art festival in Finland in 1999. “Exit” festival, which Vaara organized in 2001 in Helsinki became known as the “Woodstock” festival of performance art with its 300 artists from 34 countries. Vaara has presented until now more than 300 different performances, that has taken place in more than 200 international exhibitions/festivals in 36 countries, among other things, also in Kassel dokumenta, Germany (1993), EXPO 2000 World Exhibition, Hannover, Germany Venice Biennal, Italy (2001, 2005), Havana Biennal (2004), and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). Vaara has been a visiting lecturer/ teacher around the globe. Vaara has been granted with a state award from Arts Council of Finland in 2000 and the Ars Fennica Prize in 2005.

About

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 again thought of producing this event as a 9 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 Longyearbyen and Pyramiden. In Longyearbyen the population is about 2000 while Pyramiden has 7 people living there all year around.

Objective

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.

Curator

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, Check Republic, Sweden, Finland and of course Norway, Henningsen have 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.

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.

Contact

Org. No 914 901 774
Org name:
ARCTIC ACTION ART

Contact address:
c/o Stein Henningsen
P. O. Box 732
9171 LONGYEARBYEN

Partners