Utsikten Kunstsetner in Kvinesdal, Norway, overlooking Feda fiord, is a dramatic setting for the exhibition of “Meditations On Work” by Norwegian artist Beathe C. Roenning. (beathe.info)
The geography and social systems in Norway enter into Roenning’s creative process.
Photograph of Kvinesdal by Nessler Kai-Wilhelm.
Meditations On Work (2015) (Meditasjoner over Arbeid) by Beathe C. Roenning, a triptych video installation, is a mesmerizing, meditative visual and sound composition of people at work. Torill Haugen, director and curator of the Utsikten Kunstsenter, Kvinesdal, Norway, and a core partner of Streaming Museum, opened the exhibition on February 28, 2015 – on view through April 12.
Excerpt from the 15 minute work
Beathe C. Roenning: Over the past eight years I have filmed manual and mechanical work processes when I come across them. “How do they do that?” The most fascinating is the choreography that sits in the muscles and in the skilled operation of the machines.
Bertrand Russell wrote, “There are two kinds of work: The first is about changing materials location on or near the Earth’s surface relative to other material, the other is about ordering people to do this.“
As an artist I neither dictate nor perform. I observe. Bertrand Russell has a philosophical and political pressure behind his words. I am more interested in how it actually looks along this line where individuals meets society with a certain kind of knowledge.
Beathe C. Roenning
Beathe C. Roenning: A lot, I think. I live in the countryside, by the Oslofjord. It´s just an hours drive from Oslo, but it´s quite a rural feel to it. Not a day goes by without a tractor or five is passing my house. People around here are very practical, also about things they are not professionally trained to do. It impresses me.
NC: How do the systems set by the governments and cultures influence the thought processes and daily rituals of citizens and output of artists.
BCR: I am probably not even aware of how influenced I am of the egalitarian principles in Norway, I notice them mostly when I am abroad. Egalitarian is not just the ideal to grant every citizen the same rights, it is also about pulling your own weight as much as possible. Paying your taxes. Chipping in. Unless you have medical reasons not to. Art production can in this sense be a contradiction, as it will always have some uselessness about it. To be a professional artist, you have to be resourceful in many ways, but you are also useless in terms of pulling practical weight. Art practise is a philosophical practise. This has a certain aristocracy to it, whether you want to or not. For me art is telling the story about everything else.
NC: Beathe, can you describe your artistic process
BCR: There’s a balance between flow and control that I think all artists battle with. I find long term organically organized art works to be my truest form: Where life hands you opportunities, and you are prepared and ready to take them. This has lead me to great luck in situations and scenes of work, for instance, scenes that I don´t think I could have planned for. But, if I base everything on presence and luck, it might just float in any direction or even evaporate. If I base everything on control and planning, I loose my artistic intuition, and if I do, all is lost. So I learn from the luck, collect my notes on flickr, and plan for the next luck. Daily meditation helps me with this balance.
NC: The concept of minimalism and getting to the essence of an idea is tied to meditation practice. How does your daily meditation help you in creating art:
BCR: Regarding minimalism, I would be bragging if I claimed to be a minimalist. I am a maximalist, a variationalist (if that is a term), constantly dreaming to become a minimalist, and using art in the process of organizing thoughts about things, databases, words, information overload, memories and hopes.
In Kvinesdal, the Dyreknuten rises 291 meters (955 ft) over the fiord – almost as high as the Eiffel Tower. We trecked through the woods and climbed with ropes to the top of Dyreknuten for a breathtaking view of the fiord. Pictured above, Sophie, missionary, former Oracle exec; Kai, photographer and developer of intelligence software for superpowers; Jay, social activist/artist in some of the most troubled places in the world; Nina / Streaming Museum; photo by Torill, director of the arts center Utsikten Kunstsenter, Kvinesdal, Norway.
View from my window, staying at the Utisikten Kunstsenter / Hotel / Restaurant in Kvinesdal, southern Norway – overlooking Feda fiord, where besides the mystical beauty, one of the striking things about being here is to be immersed in the sounds of nature. Picture taken on the day we opened the exhibition of Beathe Roenning – a video installation that is a mesmerizing, meditative visual and sound composition of people at work. … Nina