SPARKS – Prelude

Arctic Arts Festival

Saturday June 22
Kl. 14:30 Exhibition opening with performance Elise Macmillan

Sunday June 23
Kl. 14 Walk through the exhibition together with curator Kjersti Solbakken and artists
Kl. 15 Concert with Elise Macmillan

Tuesday June 25
Kl. 14 Tour of the exhibition togther with curator Kjersti Solbakken
Kl. 15 Drop-in workshop for children (6-12 years) with artist Simen Engen Larsen

Torsdag 27. juni
Kl. 14 Tour of the exhibition togther with curator Kjersti Solbakken
Kl. 15 Drop-in workshop for children (6-12 years) with artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed

Opening hours, Galleri Nord-Norge, Harstad
June 22 2:30 pm til 6 pm
June 23-29 Noon til 6 pm

Elisabeth Brun, Molly Davies, Anawana Haloba, Simen Engen Larsen, Elise MacMillan, Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sea Tails: Jackie Matisse, Molly Davies, David Tudor
Guest Appearance: NORDTING/Amund Sjølie Sveen

The Festival Exhibition 'SPARKS – Prelude' is based on the story of the Lofoten Line: a major national initiative from 1861 intended to make fishing in Lofoten more efficient. The exhibition takes its starting point from the story of the Lofoten Line. With its 170 km of sea cables and landlines, the system constituted the country's first telegraph line outside the main telephone network.

During the long cold winter months when the Lofotfishing took place, a temporary connection was established between 9 fish telegraph stations. Messages communicated about the movements of the cod but could also warn of upcoming storms and bad weather - a network of spark stations, by land and by sea.

The world's strongest ocean current prevented the cables from reaching the outermost islands in Lofoten: Værøy and Røst. Perhaps it was precisely the inaccessible aspect that made it particularly interesting - and not least highly necessary - to find new ways to communicate. After a series of trials and experiments, wireless messages were sent between Røst and Sørvågen in 1903.

The story tells of a man who rowed all the way from Røst to Sørvågen, a distance of 60 kilometers over the treacherous waters, to bring the news that the signal from Sørvågen had passed over the Lofoten mountains, crossed the maelstrom, and been picked up in Røst by the over 50 meters high wooden mast. Three years later, Northern Europe's first wireless spark transmitter station opened between Sørvågen and Røst, and Norway thus became number two in the world - only beaten by the Italians who managed to establish a similar connection the year before.

This year's Arctic Arts Festival Exhibition is a collaboration on the occasion of the festival's 60th anniversary, and a prelude to the Lofoten International Art Festival which is held in September.

LIAF 2024 is curated by Kjersti Solbakken.